NASHVILLE – We're a week into May and closing in on the Titans rookie camp this weekend.
OTAs with the veterans and rookies is on the horizon.
This Tuesday's mailbag, meanwhile, is here….
Jeff Hawley from King City, Oregon
Question: Do you think the Hroniss Grasu signing was because of his history with Marcus and what are the odds he might start at center?
Jim: Hey Jeff. I'll be completely honest: I think Hroniss is fighting for a roster spot more than a starting spot heading into OTAs, minicamp and training camp. At center, Ben Jones is ahead of him. The head coach and GM like him. There's a logjam at guard, with Kevin Pamphile, Aaron Stinnie, Nate Davis and Corey Levin, who can also play center, in the mix. Hroniss was obviously brought in to compete, so the personnel folks saw something in him they like. If he ends up making the team – or surprising me and earning the starting job – it will be because of his ability and not his history with Marcus, however.
Joe Galazia from New Castle, Pennsylvania
Question: Hi Jim. Original Houston Oilers fan here! As a huge fan of the Tennessee Titans since the days of Warren Moon and the Run and Shoot, I have long since given up on seeing throwback uniforms and recognition paid to our proud history. However, NOW, I am so excited with recent events and with Amy Adams Strunk. She has reconnected and made it possible for former Oilers to have a home in TN! My question is this Jim...Does this make it possible to see a return of The Houston/Tennessee Oilers to the field this year?? If not, PLEASE explain why this throwback game cannot or will not happen.
Jim: Hey Joe. I get the sense folks are more interested in wearing the slightly redesigned Titans light blue unis (with bigger, easier to read numbers) than the Oilers uniforms. Could the team wear the Oilers unis one day? Well, Amy Adams Strunk said she'd only wear them if the NFL approved a second helmet, so the team could match them up with the Oilers helmet. Until that happens, I'm not expecting to see them.
Jason Lloyd from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. I have to admit I was surprised to see Jeffery Simmons is up and walking around without a limp. Since his surgery was so recent, I expected him to still be on crutches at this point. Can you fill us in and let us know what part of the rehab process he is in, how much further he has to go, and what needs to happen before the training staff feel he's ok to get back on the field? I was excited to see him up and moving around and wondered if he may be further down the road that we thought, but got to thinking and realized it may be he's right on track rather than ahead of schedule because I (and probably a lot of other Titans fans) aren't familiar enough with the recovery process to tell. Thanks Jim!
Jim: Hey Jason. Simmons suffered the ACL in February, so he's still in the early stages. Simmons will be in town later this week with the rest of the team's rookies, so the team's doctors and trainers will get a better idea of where he is then, and how to proceed. The good news is regular season games don't start until September. He won't be out there then, and exactly when you'll see him – and whether it's 2019 or 2020 – depends on how his rehab goes. The recovery time is usually seven to nine months and oftentimes more, so it's way too early to speculate now.
Eddie Parsons from Ten Mile, Tennessee
Question: I have two "what if" questions for you. If the Titans had beaten the Colts in the last game of the year last year, would Marcus Mariota have been able to play the next week in the playoffs? I know there's no way of knowing for sure, but some friends and I were discussing it and were curious. While on the same subject, the playoff loss to the Ravens in 2009 (2008 season) is one of the hardest losses I've had as a Titans fan. I still contend to this day, 10 years later, that we would have won if Chris Johnson hadn't gotten hurt - the Ravens simply didn't have an answer for him on defense (except to injure him!). So my next question is, do you know how bad CJ's injury was in that game? IF the Titans had won, could he have played in the AFC Championship game the next week, or the Superbowl 3 weeks later?
Jim: Possibly on Marcus, but we'll never know. C.J. had his ankle turned in the pile. I'm betting he would have been able to play.
Kenston Farmer from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hello Jim. My question is about the crowded and talented ILB room. Who do you think are our starting two MLB's this year are? I know Evans will be used to rush the QB on passing downs but I think he will make his bones as a MLB. There are two spots for 3 guys. Jayon played extremely well last year and Rashaan came on late and was a 1st round pick. It's hard seeing either one of them relegated to a bench role but Woodyard has played well to yet has only one year left on his deal. Do you think he will be phased out and used more in spot duty while the young bucks run loose?
Jim: Good question. I'd bank on Wesley Woodyard being in there, and Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans will be heavily involved, too, in different packages. As long as Woodyard keeps playing at a high level, he's going to be on the field. But there's no doubt Brown and Evans are talented and they're going to be tough to keep off the field.
Robert Wood from Hendersonville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, I was wondering when the Titans are going to get a new stadium, preferably an indoor stadium. I know that we've had upgrades over the years but it's no surprise that teams getting new stadiums have hosted the Super Bowl over the years (Minnesota last year, Atlanta this year, with Los Angeles and Las Vegas in the near future). Nashville is capable of hosting such an event but a lack of an indoor stadium hasn't helped us. Not to mention it would be good for hosting other, non-football events. Perhaps we can team up with the new soccer team coming to town and share a new stadium. Thanks again #TitanUp
Jim: Have heard no buzz about a new stadium. The emphasis now is to continue updating Nissan Stadium, which has been the case in recent years with the addition of new seats, video boards, ribbon boards, elevators, a sound system, and WiFi. So don't bank on a new stadium any time soon.
Chris Chapman from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! Hope all is well! The draft has come and gone and everyone did an awesome job; especially JRob! I'm stoked and intrigued about our draft picks and free agent signings! I just saw where we picked up "Joe Dirt" aka Riley Bullough!!! I watched him on Hard Knocks, I gotta say that dude is a good player with a team 1st attitude. He kinda got a raw deal in Tampa and I remember thinking as I watched him practice that he should be here. Tampa let 1 get away that they never should've! I do know that Rlley ain't too keen on being nicknamed "Joe Dirt" but hey as a fan I say it with love! I'd like to be the 1st fan to welcome him to Draftville and the home of our Tennessee Titans! Im gonna say him being here gives us depth and makes us better! What do you think bro Jim?
Jim: Hey Chris. He's a tough player and he'll definitely help on special teams – if he makes the team. The Titans are well stocked at linebacker, so he'll be in the competition. I'm looking forward to watching him compete.
Have a great week everyone!