NASHVILLE – The preseason is now in the rear-view mirror.
Now, it's time to focus on the regular season, and the opener against the Arizona Cardinals on September 12 at Nissan Stadium.
But first, the Titans have a lot of roster decision to make.
All NFL teams must be down to 53 players by Tuesday at 3 p.m. On Wednesday, the practice squads can be formed.
It's going to be a busy couple of days.
Let's pass the time with another Titans mailbag …
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Carl Murdock from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Question: Hello Jim. This is the first time I have ever written. However, I read your column every Tuesday and Friday as I am checking the Titans website several times daily for news. I have been a fan of this franchise since 1978, Earl Campbells rookie year as the Houston Oilers. I have never had the opportunity to make it to Nashville for a game. I noticed the speed and good hands of Khari Blasingame in the final preseason game against Chicago. I have a play that I would like for you to pass along to Todd Downing....Line K. Blasingame and King Henry up in the I formation in the backfield. The defense will surely see this as a run up the middle with K. Blasingame as the lead blocker. However, play action to King Henry around the left side and a short pass to the right to K. Blasingame. And when K. Blasingame scores a touchdown on this play I will be watching my mailbox daily for tickets to my first game at Nissan Stadium. GO TITANS !! Thanks for your good work Jim. Keep it up.
Jim: Good to hear from you, Carl. I appreciate you reading. Sounds like a great play to me! I'll pass it along. Blasingame has some wheels for sure – I saw it when he played at Vanderbilt, and we all saw it on Saturday night. Pretty impressive for a guy that size, huh?
Don Smith from Sebring, Florida
Question: With the regular season just weeks away, bottom-line, how do you feel about the overall defense improvements? The team has seemingly pulled in a few players in various positions that needed bolstering over 2020 season play. Just wanted to hear from you what you see coming in the next few weeks. Thanks for taking time to answer I enjoy your posts very much!
Jim: Hey Don. Well, I've liked the attitude, and aggressiveness of the defense in the preseason. I think DC Shane Bowen is now in a position to be more successful, with better players on the team, from Bud Dupree to Denico Autry to Jackrabbit Jenkins to Caleb Farley to Elijah Molden. The addition of Jim Schwartz as senior defensive assistant can't hurt. Some returning players should be in a position to succeed. But the reality is it's too early to say. While I think the unit will be a lot better, we're not going to truly know until the regular season starts, and games matter. Sure, there have been some encouraging signs in training camp, and the preseason. The Titans ended up finishing No.1 in the NFL in total defense in the preseason, allowing just 199 yards per game. But it's a clean slate now, and we'll find out very soon about these 2021 Titans.
Ben Bowen from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: I was watching the game Saturday and I noticed something that our coaches didn't see. On a 4th and 8 the pass was contested. The network showed the play over and over, and then when they came back from the commercial the Bears were kicking the ball. How is that possible....I even reversed the video to make sure. On that play the Bears got a 5th down, when we should have had the ball on the spot the ball was on when they tried the pass. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I know I'm right. Thanks for your time.
Jim: Hey Ben. There was definitely some confusion on this on social media, and I believe it's because the broadcast had the down and distance wrong on the screen. On first down, the Bears were called for a false start, which made it 1st and 15. Then they were called for holding, which made it 1st and 22. After a seven-yard completion, it was 2nd and 15. After a seven-yard scramble, it was 3rd and 8. The play – and the call that was reversed – was on 3rd and 8, not 4th and 8, even though that's what appeared on the TV screen. Then, the Bears punted on 4th and 8.
Hunter Phelan from South Pasadena, California
Question: Hi Jim. Thanks for another great off season of training camp, and mailbag articles. Hope all is well with you. Was curious about Harold Landry. I haven't heard one peep about him during training camp. Only thing I ever read he was being put on covid protocols. Did he have a good training camp? Is he still our starting OLB?
Jim: Hey Hunter. Relatively quiet camp for Harold. He missed some time early with an injury, and now he's on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. He is still in line to start at OLB, however. He's worked on different moves this offseason, and it sounds like he's had success there.
Greg Smith from Hohenwald, Tennessee
Question: Thank you for keeping us informed during camp. I had heard good things about John Simon in practice and he seemed to perform well rushing the passer in at least one of the preseason games. It looked like he was primed to be a backup at OLB only to be cut from the roster the day after the the Chicago game. Can you provide any insight as to what the coaches did not like from his most recent practice or game performance?
Jim: Hey Greg. Well, John came out guns blazing. He had an INT early in training camp, and made some nice plays in coverage. He got into the backfield. He was a little quieter in the last week or so. And while he was released on Sunday, Mike Vrabel made it sound like he's still on the team's radar. This is what Vrabel said on Monday: "Hopefully we can continue to have a relationship with John (Simon). I have a lot of history with John (Simon), and as a person and as a player, I think very highly of him. Hopefully we can potentially find a way to bring him back as we work our way through this process, that is something that could happen. As far as those other guys, they have been working in special teams, have improved. It is just very early on in this roster process of the roster construction."
John Hutcherson from Estero, Florida
Question: What game will be the Veterans Day game? I might fly back for the game.
Jim: Hi John. The Salute to Service game is scheduled for November 14 against the Saints.
Michael Evans from Columbus, Ohio
Question: Big "Titans" fan in Columbus, Ohio (not a lot of us). I have been with the team since Earl Campbell days. Stuck with them everywhere. It is hard to get a lot of information and team merchandise here. Which is really odd, since 2 prominent fixture of team history are Ohio State Alums. Even harder to see games outside of Bengals or Browns. My 2 part question is: Julio going to play at beginning of the season and secondly, Do you expect my favorite player- Evans ( 54) expected to have a great season this year.? I am hoping he has Pro Bowl season. It would be nice to see Henry and Evans on the Pro Bowl roster or even better Super Bowl Champs!
Jim: Hey Michael. Stay strong up there. I do expect Julio to play, starting Week One. He's looked good warming up before games, getting his conditioning, but the team decided not to play him in the preseason along with a lot of other guys. He was on the practice field on Monday as well. As for Rashaan Evans, I know he's expecting to have a bounce-back year. He's definitely worked at it. Rashaan is usually the first guy on the practice field each day, and I think he had a good camp. Now he needs to carry it over into the regular season.
Jason Petty from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: I'm back to ask a couple more questions to you Jim. With camp & preseason coming to an end for the 2021 season, and all the questions you've answered for us the fans, and info/ news you've delivered, hopefully this is a quick but nice change of direction for you. With that all being said, here's my question(s) for you this time around. What has been your favorite part of camp/ preseason? How would you rate this team versus the past 2 seasons (playoff teams) Titans? Finally, what excites you most about this team? And their potential can't be the answer to the last 1. Jim you are the eyes and ears of all Titans fans on a daily basis, and I personally want to thank you for all the work you've done keeping us informed, updated, and excited about our team. You are awesome my man. Thank you.
Jim: Hey Jason. Good to hear from you. I love training camp because it's when the real competition begins. And it always creates a lot of great storylines. The best part for me was the joint practices in Tampa against the Buccaneers. But I'll be honest: Training camp has been a little more sterile in Nashville the past couple of years without fans. It just doesn't have the same feel, so I'm looking forward to the return of fans next year. As for rating this team, it's hard right now based on what I saw in camp. On most days, Julio Jones, A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry weren't out there in team drills, and a lot of guys missed time. So, I don't feel like this has been the true Titans team – same for preseason games. We're going to find out a lot more about this team in the near future.
Nick Daniels from Albany, New York
Question: Hey Jim, I think I speak for all of us in that we appreciate all the work you do for us fans, it doesn't go unnoticed, and we thank you. Can you give us an insight as to what's happening with the players on the Covid list, and if they are being tested every day? Given the season starts in two weeks, it appears everyone has a legitimate chance of being active for Week 1. Thanks!
Jim: Hey Nick. For starters, yes, everyone on the Reserve/COVID-19 list right now could be back for Week One. As far as testing goes, players were getting tested every two weeks. Once a player or two tested positive, the testing increased for everyone. Now, it's all about whether guys have symptoms or not. Those in the protocol need two negative tests in a 48-hour period to be able to return, or 10 days after the initial positive test. Guard Nate Davis, the last of the Titans on the COVID list, went on Monday, which means he could return late next week, as long as he's OK from a health and recovery standpoint.
Kilroy Caldwell from Blues Hill, Tennessee
Question: Man, I love the mailbags, and the sweating work, the 2 tone blue is doing to achieve the Lombardi, hats off to J-Rob, Amy, Coach V & The Entire Organization. Being a life long TITANS & BAMA( black sheep in my family) fan, I'm ready for some football- JULIO, JULIO, KING HENRY, AJ BROWN going Downtown, RYAN throwing TANNINBOMBS, and a WRECKING CREW D, it's going to be fun to watch opposing D.C. & O.C.'s scratch their heads. My question is about Miller Forristall, what are his chances of making the practice squad, and how many are on the practice squad? Keep up the great work, my condolences and prayers go out to the Reese family.
Jim: Hey Kilroy. Appreciate the email. A total of 16 guys will be on the practice squad, and that would be a great place for Miller to continue to develop. We'll know who is on the list on Wednesday.
Have a great week everyone!