NASHVILLE – The Titans are back at work after the bye week.
With five games left in the regular season, it's time to close the regular season strong.
Next up is a game on Sunday against the Jaguars.
But first, let's dive into another mailbag.
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Clem Thompson from Liverpool, New York
Question: How do you see the running backs role going forward between Foreman, Hilliard and McNichols - assuming he's healthy?
Jim: Hey Clem. I think you're going to continue to see a rotation. Against the Patriots, Foreman got more carries (19 to 12) while Hilliard got more yards (131 to 109). I think the two backs complement one another well, so it makes sense to use them both. I think they'll have a chance to earn more opportunities by playing well. Now things will get interesting when McNichols returns, and that could be soon. I suspect the return of McNichols might cut into Hilliard's carries at some point, but again, a lot is going to hinge on how guys play – and how they hold onto the football. I don't think I need to remind anyone both backs put the ball on the ground in Foxborough, and that's one way to get your opportunities decreased.
Jason Key from San Angelo, Texas
Question: Hey Jim, what are your favorite flavor of wings?
I've never been to Buffalo, the hottest wings have never disappointed, but the Bills... well, I'm not a fan. The Bills should have, and almost did, find a way to win that Monday night game. But they didn't. I thought for a little while that the Titans would be in the lead for the AFC (today), but they aren't. And that's okay, nothing really negative about this week. The season's not over yet, by far, and the chase for a bye isn't over yet either. I think Monday night's game just proved that the AFC is still up for grabs. How do you see it playing out in the East and North?
Not that I think it to be a big deal, but it's been so negative the last couple of weeks in the Mailbag! As a lifetime Titan fan, please excuse me for saying the write-ins have sounded a bit harsh. We all want to be 12-0. And who should complain when the number two AFC team is just getting healthier this week by taking the week off? BTHO Jacksonville! Titan Up!
Jim: Hey Jason. The Patriots did just enough to win, and that's all that mattered to them. As for the rest of the way, I see the Patriots winning the East, and the Ravens winning the North. Give me the Chiefs in the West. And, the Titans in the South. The biggest question right now is who will earn the No.1 seed, and it's certainly within reach. After a bye week, the top-seeded Patriots go to Indianapolis before hosting Buffalo. They also have a January 9 trip to Miami. There's a long ways to go for every team.
Tanner Steen from Helena, Montana
Question: Hi Jim. I live in Montana and have been watching every game at a place we have to drive 1 hour too. I just would like to know why we don't get very much information about Henry. In the latest updates it says Vrabel couldn't comment on it. Is it like a privacy thing, trying to keep people positive for a return, maybe he won't return, etc.? Also everyone needs to stop hating on Tannehill, we had a rough 2 games without starting receivers. If you could answer this it would be great! Thanks Jim.
Jim: Hi Tanner. The reason there is not much information about Henry right now is because he is still recovering from surgery, while waiting to see what x-rays and further tests along the way might show. No one knows right now whether he'll be able to return in mid-January, when the playoffs start – not Derrick, not Vrabel, and right now, now even doctors. Vrabel didn't say much when asked about Derrick on Monday because he'd just answered the exact same question about him the last time he held a press conference. Believe me, Vrabel is not going to get into a habit of giving updates on a player who isn't close to playing right now. Everyone is just going to have to be patient, including Derrick.
Rick Foltz from Harrisburg, North Carolina
Question: Hello Jim. Long time reader, first time writing. Been a fan of this team for 40 years and been through all ups and downs. My question is about Sam Ficken. He had such a great camp and preseason before the injury, how's his rehab going? Is there a chance he could compete again for the job after he is healed up? Also, I think we should all relax and let this thing play out. I personally think we will be proud of our Titans at the season. Titan Up and enjoy the ride.
Jim: Hey Rick. Good to hear from you. I've been getting some questions on Ficken of late. I haven't seen Ficken since he walked past me from the practice field to inside the building the day he was injured – on September 10. I hear his rehab is going well, but I've heard no buzz at all about him coming back. I get the sense Randy Bullock will continue to be the guy down the stretch, unless he stumbles. I know he had a tough day in Foxborough, but he's been pretty good overall (18-of-21 FGs, 29-of-32 PATs) and now is not the time for kicking drama in my opinion.
Randy Paltzer from Kaukauna, Wisconsin
Question: Hello Jim. First, thanks for all you do for the Titans faithful. I have been an Oiler/Titan fan since big Earl Campbell burst on to the scene. I have seen all of the ups and downs and can't help but think at this moment the Titans are so very close to winning their 1st Superbowl. We are missing one piece and no ill will to Tannehill but QB is that piece. Ryan has done a complimentary job, but I don't believe he can get us over that hump. I have watched another QB do that for multiple years in GB and believe that the Titans need to do whatever it takes to bring Mr. Rodgers to Tennessee if he becomes available at the end of the year. Imagine Rodgers, Henry, and AJ going into next season. This may seem a lot to ask but we need to make this happen before Henry's tires go flat. Hoping for an exceptional finish to the season but fear more playoff disappointment. Titan Up!!!
Jim: Hey Randy. There's no question Rodgers is one of the best QBs in the league. But if I were you, I'd quit dreaming of this scenario. It's not going to happen…
Rich Coppersmith from Jupiter, Florida
Question: Hey Jim. I would like to thank you for handling all these questions every week. It's very depressing to read all of the negative comments, I don't know how you do it. We are in a great spot right now, two and a half game lead in our division, one game away from the top seed in the AFC and the easiest schedule remaining in football. Most, if not all, of these players on the IR will be back before the end of the season and we will be fine. Do people realize that seven out of our eight wins were against playoff teams from last year? We are easily one of the top five teams in the league, if not the top, when we have all of our players, no doubt in my mind. Thanks again for doing this every week, it can't be easy.
Jim: Hey Rich. You're from one of my favorite spots. My in-laws have a place in that neck of the woods, so I've been to Guanabanas, U-Tikis, Square Grouper and Hog Snappers a bunch. I've headed out for some deep sea fishing off the dock there in Jupiter many times – even saw former Titans QB Blaine Gabbert there once. … I like your optimism, and I do agree the Titans are still in a good spot. But the team is going to have to play a lot better. Getting some key guys back will be key for sure.
Martin Feben from Levice, Slovakia/Middle Europe
Question: Hi Jim, greetings from Slovakia :)
I have a question. This question bothers me and a few fans around me. Why the best players of the preseason do not have a chance to show what is in them. For example, Mason Kinsey and Mekhi Sargent??? I know the preseason isn't very important, but these two boys are the best. Even with so many injuries. Are there any circumstances why they don't have a chance or something else happened??? Thank you very much for your answer.
Jim: Hey Martin! Hope all is well. Mason did have a solid preseason, and I think he's a good player. He continues to do well in practices, where he helps the team as a scout team player. But, for now, the GM/HC have gone elsewhere when looking for help on game days. Mason just needs to keep working. As for Mekhi, not sure if you're aware, but he's no longer with the team. Sure, he flashed in the preseason, but he didn't show enough to stick.
Trevor Sinard from Cookeville, Tennessee
Question: Are the Titans doing anything in practice to help build chemistry between Tannehill and his backup receivers?
Jim: Yes, the team practices every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The hope is some of the front-liners will start returning to the mix soon. Julio Jones is scheduled to return to practice on Wednesday, along with Racey McMatch, so those are some positive developments.
Michelle Sadler from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Thank you for giving such insight on the Titans each week. Really appreciate your thoughts. Just a comment from a question last week from Someone who wrote about Jon Robinson and Vrabel not being a right fit for this team. That person sounds like either a Colts fan, Texans fan, or Jaguars fan. I'm mean really. I believe team Vrabel and Robinson have brought this team to a point where we could go much deeper in playoffs and actually win it all and I appreciate the ownership for bring them to Tennessee. We are just going through a rough slate with injuries but this team is relentless. Who would have thought we would have beat the Bills, Chiefs, Colts 2 times, Rams, and Saints Lets go fans. Have faith and TITAN UP!!!
Jim: Thank you, Michelle. Yeah, I think that guy has dipped into the eggnog a little too much already …
Parrish Smith from Dothan, Alabama
Question: Jim. Enjoy reading the mailbag every week! I have been a Titans fan ever since I was old enough to really begin following. Luckily for me that began in the McNair and George days! My wife and I are visiting Nashville and finally attending my first Titans game on the 12th against the Jaguars. Any recommendations on what to do/where to hang out before the game? We want to make sure we get the full experience! Thanks, and #Titanup!
Jim: Hey Parrish. I'm sure you're looking forward to the weekend! It's supposed to be a nice day on Sunday. On game day, I'd get to the stadium a few hours early just for the festivities around, and inside. Here's a link with all the game day info: CLICK HERE.
Buck Reising of 104.5 does a pregame show on the East side of the stadium a few hours before kickoff so maybe you can meet him there as well. Have fun!
Sharon Atkinson from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. I'm a "Lady Titan" fan that bleeds purple! Meaning red & blue blood !! Lol I love your mailbag, this is my first time writing you. I have (5) other sisters that through the pandemic (and closing of our churches we watched our churches virtually, THEN it was on every game we did this and continue to watch together through texting and sending memes etc. like we are sitting in a room together on the couch! We Love our Titans win or lose but we get crazy with these wins especially this season. We're keeping King Henry in our prayers on Sundays he gets a moment in the starting text early morning and all out injured players! One more thing: You need a "like button" really bad, I love the opinions of my other T. Titan fans. Bless you for your time and what you do for us all ! Blessings,
Jim: Thanks for the blessings, Sharon. Sounds like you gals are a great group of fans! And I like the idea for the like button! Take care!
Reuben Alvear from San Francisco, California
Question: After the bye, the Titans get rewarded with three games in twelve days. Smh :-)
Before the season if you had told me that: the Titans would be ravaged by an absurd amount of injuries, Tannehill would have INT struggles, the O-line would struggle to protect Tannehill, the Titans would be in the negative in turnover ratio and the Titans would have some sporadic, shaky play.. but, that after Wk 12 the Titans would be in 1st place in the division with a 2-game lead, then you bet your you-know-what that I would take it.
Yes, TEN played poorly the past two games. And they need to clean things up cause it'll be hard to win if they're turnover prone. Yet, I believe it speaks to the guys' grit, tenacity, heart and fight that they were still in the HOU & NE games in the 4th quarter. Wks 6 through 9 stand out, imo, cause TEN was humming. It appeared in those weeks that guys were playing off of each other well, and they appeared more deeply immersed in the offensive and defensive game plans.
I believe in Jon Robinson and Coach Vrabel, and their ability to steer the Titans back to the level of play I mentioned above. Let's keep the faith!
Jim: Good to hear from you, Reuben.
Have a great week everyone!