NASHVILLE – Hope everyone enjoyed the weekend's playoff games, even if the Titans weren't playing.
Things have been by in Titan land, nonetheless.
Four interviews have been completed as the team searches for Mike Vrabel's replacement.
More interviews are on the horizon.
This Tuesday's mailbag is here, from snowy Nashville …
Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE.
Tom Meyer from San Antonio, Texas
Question: Howdy Jim. I hope all is well with you. I have waited until some of the chaos has died down from the seasons end and Vrabel's firing. I must say I really liked Coach V, but did question some of his decisions. He is loyal to a fault with some of his hirings and did not seem to miss on a lot of personnel choices. I have read where he was wanting full control of the team. Not sure how that would work. I can understand on why he was let go. This is the NFL a business if you do produce you will be on the outside looking in. I won't ever not support this team. I was a young child when my older brother took me to Shriner field to see the Oilers practice, some old guy was kicking and I asked my brother why he was playing. The guy was George Blanda!! I fell in love with football and the Oilers right then and there. I will always be a team supporter and have the joy of meeting many players over the years. There will always be highs and lows with every team. Look at what happened between the Cowboys and Green Bay. Just think we could have had Matt Lafluer as the Titans coach. Oh well as they say stuff happens for a reason. Just hang tough and it will all work out. Have a great off season and let's get ready for free agency and the draft.
Jim: Appreciate it, Tom. Cool story about George Blanda. ... I'm sure Cowboys fans are worked up in Dallas right now…
Paddy Kennedy from Dublin, Ireland
Question: Hi Jim, I've watched and read your column for a long time and I've never felt the need to write to you with an opinion. However I need to ask you what the hell is going on within the Titans management. I was sick when I read about Mike been sacked. How can you blame a head coach when he doesn't have the players to pick from. I'm no expert Jim. I'm Irish leaving in Ireland but I'm a Titan fan. I think there has been a huge error of judgement made here but only time will tell. Can I wish Mike and all his family the very best for the future. Thanks Jim.
Jim: Hi Paddy. Thanks for taking the time. Hope all is well in Ireland!
Joseph Pinzur from Hartsville, Tennessee
Question: Jim. Not really a question here; more of just a comment to my fellow readers of this mailbag:
Those who bemoan the firing of Mike Vrabel seem to be forgetting that 'his' players who would "run through a brick wall for him" - often actually did have to try to run through the brick wall of opposing defenses stacking the box because of our predictable play-calling.
Coach Vrabel is certainly a good coach, and he will do just fine wherever he lands next. But alot of his early success in Tennessee was with a strong offensive line / running back combo that he inherited when he arrived in Nashville.
So, thank you to a decent coach and an even better person; but I am more than ready for a fresh start for this team that I have involuntarily loved for over 20 years!
Jim: Definitely seems like folks are still split on this.
Janet R Brewer from Lenoir City, Tennessee
Question: I actually had tears running down my cheeks when I saw the news about Mike Vrabel. Don't the suits know a good thing when they have it? I think the Titans are in for more bad seasons with this very bad decision.
Jim: Hang in there, Janet.
Darris Mays from Carrollton, Texas
Question: Hello Jim. I pray all is well! I just wanted to say how happy I'm with Amy's decision to fire Mike V. It was his time to go. I see we have a lot of upset people in here for what. People keep forgetting he cut our top 5 offensive line away. This team was ready to compete for a super bowl and he decided to trade away and cut some of our best players. His ego is too big to be a good coach. He had the chance to take this team to a super bowl. I would like to list my top #6 coaches in order. (1) Bobby Slowik (2) Ben Johnson (3) Dan Quinn (4) Mike Macdonald (5) Brian Callahan. (6) Mike Kafka. Have a blessed day
Jim: Thanks for the list, Darris. We'll see if even more candidates emerge this week.
David Hurd from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: I think the biggest problem with vrabel is he was not willing to change the offense to modern times.Its hard when you win a lot of games running the clock and playing defense but i think if i saw henry run the ball up the middle one more time i would croak.I wanna see an offensive minded coach like san fran or la rams.Are we wrong wanting that change with i think a possibly really dynamic qb.Thanks.
Jim: Hey David. I've heard from a number of folks thinking like you, and some candidates on the team's interview list fit your description.
Bob Easley from Austin, Texas
Question: Hey Jim, WOW, according to Wednesday's mailbag, there was lots of fan support for Mike Vrabel. For me, a fact based approach would recognize the team has had two terrible years, i.e. we are in decline. There is a paradigm that excuses Coach Vrabel because of AJ's departure and because of injuries but I don'r accept this. Vrabel told his players to step up when adversity hit, and that's what we needed from him. I support Amy and Rand in there decision.
From my humble vantage point, we had King Henry and the last two or even three years, it doesn't seem we had the right plan on the way we used Henry. If that is true, that's a coaching issue. I'll explain below.
In the last several years, despite Henry's accomplishments, the offensive game plan seems to have actually hurt us for the following 4 reasons which all point to coaching. 1) we were too, too dependent on the run which led to... 2) stars like AJ being encouraged by their agent to move to a pass oriented offense... 3) we had to invest too much time and effort to set up the run and if the run wasn't effective, we were lost and 4) even when the run worked, it was slow and methodical and rarely gave us big leads which would leave the door open for the opposition to catch us in the 2nd half.
Finally, while on the topic of the 2nd half. It often seemed that the other team made adjustments at halftime and then beat us in the pivotal 2nd half? That's seems to be a coaching issue. Other teams have great runners AND an effective passing Game. Let's try a head coach who can do that.
And now my "Ask Jim"... would you agree?
Jim: I agree the team needs to get a whole lot better on offense moving forward, and it starts with fixing the offensive line. I agree Mike Vrabel is a good coach (hasn't earned "great" status) but his inability to establish a good o-line hurt the team, his quarterbacks, and ultimately him. And, he had something to do with building this o-line, too.
Harold Witherspoon, III from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. Let's start with the back story people want to forget. We got here because Mr. Robinson did a subpar job as GM. Had he been let go wrongly he would be employed now and building another team. No one in media or the league said a word about his departure because it was warranted after taking the seat of power for granted and forgetting he had a boss and a great head coach to involve in the decisions. His building of the team, or lack there of, is why we are where we are.
I truly believe Vrabel was jaded by that experience and wanted more control in the roster building process. That led to challenges with the owner and a new GM that she picked to help fix the issues. I don't think Vrabel saw that as the solution rather that he was the one that suffered through the roster challenges without a true say under Robinson and wanted it his way.
Our owner is very invested in this and you see the difference in her and her dad who basically gave Houston the finger and we became a place for him to do that. Bud didn't invest. Amy has year after year.
Now with Vrabel seeing only his way out as the answer I think it bumped heads with what Amy saw as the future.
Vrabel is a great players coach. Made lemonade out of lemons. But he didn't seem to necessarily be an organization management guy and Amy saw that. Even though he probably felt strongly he could fix it.
It was a mess that is the ghost of Jon Robinson. That said I hope Vrabel gets his shot to prove his point somewhere because he is a great coach. I look forward to Amy's continued investment in rebuilding this organization. I'm looking forward to Ran showing his skill of identifying the right talent as he did in San Fran.
The next coach with Ran and the other scouts have to focus on the obvious, rebuild O-Line, DB's, keep the D front 7 in tact, develop Levis and Sharpe, and figure out what to do about our training staff and keeping people healthy.
The people jumping ship need to get out of their feelings and keep the ultimate goal of any team in front, winning!
We ain't been winning under the current mood and personnel in the building. TitanUp
Jim: Good to hear from you, Harold. Interesting take, with some truths sprinkled in here. There's no doubt the new head coach is going to have his work cut out for him. And while Jon Robinson had some bad misses, he also put together a team capable of winning it all for a few years, and it didn't happen.
Cheyenne Brigance from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Not really a question but a wishful thinking, I would love for the Titans to bring in a coach that would bring back the RUN-N-SHOOT OFFENSE that made me an Oilers fan in the first place!!!!! Also, I appreciate all of the columns you bring to all the fans, thank you so much.
Jim: Oilers fans love the Run n' shoot!
Mary Nelson from Paris, Tennessee
Question: Been a fan since George— Blanda that is. Seen a lot of moves the strangest of which was the Dan Pastorini / Kenny Stabler trade. This latest move may be in that league. Don't think it really surprised Mike with all the head shaking he did this season. Ups and downs that's what this team has been. Don't really know why it's never been great or consistently above average. Do you have any opinion why?
Jim: A lot of reasons, Mary, starting with offensive lines that weren't nearly good enough.
Raymond Farrar from St. Louis, Missouri
Question: Hello and Happy New Year, Jim! By now, I'm sure you've received hundreds, if not thousands of emails in reference to Mike Vrabel's firing.
This is NOT one of them.
I would like to ask you about the upcoming draft. Aside from offensive linemen, what else is a need for the Titans to greatly improve next season?
Jim: Definitely received a lot of feedback, Raymond. As for the draft, so much depends on what happens in free agency first, and who stays off the current team. The team has money to spend, it's just a matter of how it chooses to attack it.
Martin Moore from Adams, Tennessee
Question: Jim, Happy New Year and thanks for the great job you do! I attend almost every home game with friends and family, and go to a couple of away games every year. We have great fans and deserve an exciting and competitive football team in Nashville! I am glad to see Mike Vrabel and his sub par coaching staff move on and excited for a fresh start. I always had high hopes for Vrabel's Titans, but 18 losses out of 24 is just not acceptable for an NFL franchise. I've heard pundits claim that it was the roster's fault for the poor performance, and I generally disagree; how do other successful coaches make it work with similar talent while Vrabel could not? This year's roster was good enough to compete but suffered numerous close and at other times ridiculous lopsided losses. We have some very solid players on defense w/ Hooker, Molden, Landry, Simmons, McCreary and Bunting; but our defensive scheme was just too soft and gave up way too many big plays. We have solid offensive players as well w/ Levis, Spears, Chig, DHop, Burks, Moore, and Skoronski; but our O line was horrible (coaching), and our offensive scheme was horribly conservative, predictable and embarrassing (coaching). I want a head coach that doesn't try to win games 17-13 and goes into prevent defense with a 7-10 point lead every week... Hopefully we spend our cap money and draft picks on O Line (LT & C), inside linebacker, and DBs. I've supported this team ever since they came to Tennessee and have always been excited for the start of every season, and feel the same way about 2024! Hopefully the Titans hire a motivating and offensive minded Head Coach, and bring in the very best supporting coaching staff that money can buy! I'm very optimistic that Amy Adams Strunk wants to build a winner! May God bless you, the Titans' Organization and their wonderful fans that show up loud every home game!
Jim: Hi Martin. I said in here several times during the course of the season this Titans team underachieved. The Titans should have won more than six games. I know a lot of folks were frustrated by the o-line, the offense. For one reason or another, the Titans quit finding ways to win close games, instead they found a way to lose them. I'm curious myself to see what happens next.
Billy Scarberry from Myrtle Beach, North Carolina
Question: Hello Jim, First time reaching out. Do not let my current address throw you.
I spent 43 years in Nashville, prior to my move here in April, 2020.
I have over 60 years under my belt as a football Analysis.. NONE professional, though..
Call me a dreamer if you wish.. I am a out of the scoring sheet on this one, But here goes..
Either resign Tannehill. Or allow him to retire And offer him a coaching job.
Here's the. One where your eyes start to Glace
Offer the Tennessee Titan coaching job to..
I think if this happened, Derrick Henry will jump
At resigning with the Titan's..
Are you off the floor, Yet?
Talent will be banging at the Sports plex front
Office to sign up..
Finally. Did I tell you when I moved To Nashville
In 1977, from. A small town, Hopewell, Va.
While standing downtown.. My goal was to
Be a Metro Police Officer for 25 years.
Jim. I exceeded that by 2 years, retiring from MNPD
In 2008 with 27 years service ..
Do you see any credibility here. Now?
Now it's your turn to share with Amy..
Happy New Year..
Jim: Thanks for taking the time, Billy. Appreciate the story. I'll pass along, but I see Tannehill moving on. As far as Deion goes, this isn't going to happen.
Brandon Leonard Wes Des Moines, Iowa
Question: Hey Jim, first time caller, long time listener. Was just curious how much lasagna you can eat in one sitting?
Jim: Depends on where it's from. If it's from Iaria's in Indianapolis, a lot.
Harry Prentiss from Sunbury, Pennsylvania
Question: Jim I really liked much of Coach Vrabel's tenure but it was probably time for a change. As I watched the games I was able to when not working I noticed even though they played hard there were so many stupid mistakes it has to rest somewhat on coaching. I use the fact the offensive line had 30 false start penalties as an example. We as a team found ways to lose many games that were winnable and that to me seems a direct result of leadership and coaching. It seems over the last 2 years nobody seemed to improve and again that falls on coaching. I know they've had many misses in the draft but still it seems like there was a void in coaching them up. I wish Mike well and it was a good run with him but as you pointed out it's been awhile since a playoff game and even longer since there was a win.
Jim: Thanks for weighing in, Harry.
Have a great week everyone!