NASHVILLE – The Titans are back on track.
Now, they have to stay on it.
A blowout win on Sunday over the Jaguars kept the Titans in the AFC South lead with three games to go, but there's no time for a slip up.
Let's tackle some questions as we begin to look ahead to next Sunday's game vs the Lions.
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE
Joe Noah from Walla Walla, Washington
Question: This is at least the 2nd game this season where King Henry picked up a lot of yards in a short period of time. I am having a hard time understanding why they would pull a player who is in the lead for rushing yards this season and could have broken the single-game rushing record.
So I have 2 questions:
1. Why would the team pull King Henry when he could easily beat all kinds of records if he stayed in? (if I am him and I come 100 yards from having a 2000-yard season I would be very upset on coaching decisions)
2. Does the coaching and management in the front office not want King Henry to have a 2,000-yard season or break the single-game rushing record for some reason?
Jim: Hey Joe. Going to get right to it:
1. The single-game rushing record is 296 yards. C'mon, Derrick wasn't close to that. And frankly, the team is more concerned with winning the division -- and being smart with Henry and his health -- than it is about chasing individual records. The same goes for Henry. Coach Vrabel admitted on Sunday some players lobbied for Henry to get another carry or two since he was so close to 200 yards, and he gave him another carry. And Henry ripped off a long run to put him over the mark. So, it's not like Vrabel is completely unaware, and without care about milestones. But the Titans aren't going run Henry into the ground – and risk an injury – in a blowout.
2. Um, no. 😑
Chris Davidson from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, I'm sure you are receiving lots of questions about the defense, but I want to discuss something not many are talking about and that's Derrick Henry. After some calculations it should be brought up that he needs an average of 156 yards/game in the last 3 to reach 2000yds rushing and 158/per game to beat CJ2Ks record all while possibly putting more TDs on the board than CJ2K. This is huge!!! I think given the matchups and knowing how Henry does in late season its possible don't you think? Titan Up Jim!
Jim: Hey Chad. Oh, believe me, folks are talking about it. I do think Henry has a shot at 2K, but it won't be easy. And like I said to Joe, the Titans are going to be more focused on winning the division – and Henry's health – than anything else. Let's just say the Titans clinch the AFC South before the season finale. It won't be easy, but it's possible. And let's say Henry is 104 yards away from 2K in the second half at Houston. How do you think folks would react if Henry hurt his hamstring or suffered a high ankle sprain, and it knocked him out for the rest of the season, while chasing 2K? I admit it would be fun to see Henry make a run at 2K, or the all-time rushing title. The last few weeks of the 2009 season watching C.J. was a blast. But you've also got to consider the big picture. Best case scenario is Titans win the division as Henry goes over 2K…
Keith Green from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Good to see the Titans get back on track with a solid win! My question is related to how the players prepare for games. Can you give insight into what a day looks like for the players during the week leading up to the game - amount of time at the practice facility (on the field, in meetings, weight room, etc.)? Also, thanks a lot for sending the Quick Hits during the week. I always look forward to them!
Jim: Hey Kevin. Great question. Well, every day is different. And things are different this year with COVID, because players don't have 24-7 access to the building like years past. On Mondays and Tuesdays, they now have to work away from the facility on Zoom unless they're rehabbing injury. But the regular work week consists of practices, meetings, lifting, treatments and more Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of each week, with lighter walkthroughs on Saturday before games. The Wednesdays through Fridays are long days. Coaches are in the building a lot more. And thanks for checking out the Quick Hits!
Tim Everett from Salisbury, North Carolina
Question: Hi again, Jim! Thanks for what you do! It seems that every game, there are two or three offensive play calls that just don't make much common sense to me. I'm in no way claiming I could do better, just merely looking for explanation. The 4th and 2 in Jacksonville's red zone.... on that drive, the left side of the o-line, mainly Quessenberry, was getting hammered and giving up lots of pressure to Tannehill. So, on 4th down, let's run to that side, and, not use the biggest, strongest running back in the league. Oh no. Let's use our backup guy... I understand Vrabel wants to be confident in the defense and it had been playing well, but why not take the three points and move on? Thanks Jim! Have a great week!
Jim: Hey Tim. Well, I think we'd all rather have 2 or 3 that don't make sense, and a lot more that work. And I think your number is high. Keep in mind the Titans recorded their fourth consecutive game with at least 400 yards of offense and at least 30 points on Sunday. It's the first time in franchise history that the team has accomplished the feat. The Titans have scored 30-plus points in 8 of 13 games. So Arthur Smith is doing a few things right. As for the play call in question, don't tell anyone, but I actually agree with you. Just being honest. But I think Arthur is an outstanding offensive coordinator who makes a heck of a lot more good calls than bad ones. Heck, I can only think of 2 or 3 all season I haven't liked and a boatload of others that have been ingenious. I just didn't like McNichols there, even if the reason he was in there had to do with the team wanting to get the play off fast. I'm just taking the points and going up 10-0. Fortunately, it all worked out.
Craig White from Seattle, Washington
Question: Hey Jim, I appreciate all your articles and reading your answers to these questions. It makes being a Titans fan and living on the west coast that much more enjoyable and as if I'm still close by. My question today is more of a fun one. What is the locker room like during seasons like this? From our crazy exciting playoff run last year to this season. Have you noticed differences in the culture and overall things happening in the locker room compared to the days before Vrabel? I feel like Vrabel and Robinson have done a fantastic job of putting a solid well coached team together and just wanted to kind of get a behind the scenes look as to what the players and coaches are like when we're playing this well. Thanks again!
Jim: Well, I hear it's been fun… Here's the 411, Craig: In a normal year, I'm in the locker room 3 or 4 days a week, after the game on Sundays, and on the team plane. So, I see the excitement up close, and get a great feel for the mood. Not this year. Because of COVID, reporters aren't allowed in the locker room this year, and I'm not on the team plane like years past. Hardly anyone aside from the players, in fact, is allowed in. This year, I do my interviews on Zoom, and I either fly commercial, or I drive. I've flown to Denver, Minneapolis and Baltimore this year, and driven to Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Jacksonville. I'll be flying to Green Bay, and Houston. And I'm cool with it and I understand why – I'm just happy I'm able to travel to games, and glad to be able to still do my job. Of course, I'm hoping things return to normal in 2021, but I realize even then there could be changes. The most important thing is keeping the players safe, so I completely understand. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss the open locker rooms, and traveling with the team. The mood on the flights home after wins is hype. Last year's playoff run, and being in the middle of it all, was the most fun I've had since I began working with the team. But it's different this year, and we're all adjusting. So, I don't get to hear Daren Bates and his boom box, and I can't tell you what the mood has been like compared to years past. But even in a year where COVID has changed a lot, I can guarantee you the guys are still having fun. And hey, I'm still enjoying the year, too, even with all the changes and restrictions. As for the overall culture of the team, it's come a long way -- in a good way -- from roughly 7-8 years ago.
Alex E from Iowa
Question: Jim. A Titans fan here out of Iowa. I think the Titans are doing a great job, even with the up and down defense. Here's my question for you: Who do you have winning the Big 12 championship game Iowa State or Oklahoma?
Jim: Hey Alex. Good to hear from you. I know it was a great game back in October. I'm picking the Sooners in Round 2, but I'll be pulling for the Cyclones 🌪️ and hoping they get to ring that Victory bell. 🔔 … I know they'll hit it hard ev'ry yard for I.S.U.
Dave Stalder from Albuquerque, New Mexico
Question: Hey, Jim. I live out here in the desert so I rarely get to watch a Titans game. Most of the time I listen to Mike and the Coach on 104.5 the Zone. Their commentary is awesome, better than whoever the networks have calling the games. But when I do get to watch them, they lose. Every time. If I just listen, they win. Undefeated when I just listen. First half in Cleveland killed me. Put the Zone on my phone and watched the rest of the game with the TV muted, and they almost came back. The Green Bay game will be on TV that Sunday night. Should I watch or just listen? Hate not seeing King Henry feed.
Jim: Hey Dave. Have you not heard? That game will be blacked out in the Albuquerque area. I guess you'll just have to listen… 😀
Reinhard Schiendorfer from Pfäffikon, Switzerland
Question: Hi Jim, I do not understand the standings which can be seen in NFL.COM. In AFC South Titans are ahead of Colts (I guess due to division record of 4:1 > 2:2; but in AFC conference Colts are ranked higher than Titans (although conference record of 7:4 > 5:4) which I do not understand. Thanks a lot and stay safe.
Jim: Hi Reinhard. You're thinking on the AFC South standings is right – the Titans currently hold the tiebreaker over the Colts because after head-to-head (which is 1-1), the next one is division record. If the two teams win out, the Titans would win the division because of their 5-1 division mark. So that finale against the Texans could be key. Heck, at this point they're all key. Not sure about the conference mark, because the Titans would be ranked higher because of their currently division lead (over a team that's currently a wild card). There's a lot of football to be played so this will all sort itself out.
Have a great week everyone!