NASHVILLE – Hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend.
Thanks for keeping the questions rolling during the offseason as we count the days until training camp.
Now, let's kick off another Titans mailbag…
Aaron Krepel from Wanaque, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim. Just wondering if you've seen a change in leadership in the team with the arrival of Saffold and Wake? I read how Cameron Wake was working to teach the younger guys about life, on and off the field, but how is Saffold with the younger guys? Our line seems to have struggled lately, with obvious injury problems. But hearing him talk about the blocking mentality in LA for Gurley makes me very optimistic for this season.
Jim: Hey Aaron. Those guys have definitely brought great leadership to the team, and there's no doubt the young guys are watching Wake. From what I've seen from Saffold, he's more than willing himself. Overall, I think the team has really good leadership across the board. What Wake has already done from a leadership standpoint has already been well documented here at Titans Online, but I do think Saffold will be a nice addition on and off the field because of his play and his leadership skills. He's a no-nonsense guy who has played at a high level for many years.
Jordan Newbury from Cushing, Texas
Question: Hello Jim, hope all is blessed on your end! My question isn't about X's and O's and whatnot, it's about jersey numbers. I saw where A.J had one number then switched to #11 at the beginning of camp and was curious if there was a cutoff time for such? Can a player switch their number after the season starts? Silly question, I know, but I've always wondered if there was a rule on that. Thanks again, God bless and #TitanUp
Jim: Hey Jordan. Good question. I know the NFL would love for guys to pick a number and stick with it, but sometimes guys switch even leading up to the season. A lot of times – and this was the case with A.J. – guys will switch because a number they want has been freed up by another player getting cut. When teams go from 90 to 53 a whole new batch of numbers open up so players oftentimes change then, a week before the season starts. You might remember Derrick Henry wore #2 during preseason of his rookie year before switching to 22. From what I understand, the league doesn't have a deadline but it does want to be kept in the loop and made aware of potential changes in advance if possible.
Henry Martin from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Hi Jim. Hey man, active Navy veteran with 21 yrs of service and #1 Titans fan down here in Jacksonville, FL. I really don't have a question but more of a suggestion about our uniforms. I love the design and everything, but I think adding gray pants or even an all gray uniform would be awesome. Maybe something down the line to think about if we are looking to tweak our uniforms. But anyways, have a wonderful day and always #TITANUP!!!
Jim: Hey Henry. First off, thank you for your service. Secondly, hang in there down in Duval. Lastly, I think the gray you mentioned would definitely be sharp. It would have to be down the line, though, because the uniform combinations are currently set and gray is not among the options right now.
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: I'm sure you saw the good news about Jefferey Simmons starting to run in a straight line. That's very good news. That having been said, I still agree with you 100% that it's best for him to heal completely before giving him too much to do. Even if he has to sit out the entire season it's best to not push him no matter how much we fans gripe about wanting a DT. Deep down inside we fans with sense and smarts all know that the team is right to let his activities match his healing rather than pushing him. Pushing him could aggravate the injury and then he might have to redshirt 2 years or longer. I'm hoping that Austin Johnson and Daquan Jones are stepping up. That's what the team really needs at this time. Are you seeing either Austin Johnson or DaQuan Jones stepping up?
Jim: Hey Jimmy. Like everyone else, I saw where Jeffery posted a video on social media. His running is a part of the process and I wouldn't get too excited yet. He still has a ways to go. I think DaQuan has been good this offseason, but let's face it – the team hasn't been practicing in pads, and during the offseason the defense has the advantage. We'll get a much better idea on progress when the pads come on in camp. DaQuan is going to be solid. Austin, meanwhile, will need to perform well with competition around him.
Omar Kennard from Jacksonville, North Carolina
Question: Will they really let Mariota do his thing? He has a lot of receivers this year so that should not be a problem. I have a lot of faith in him. I'm really asking: Do you think they will let him do a lot of play calling let him feel things out it's all or nothing this season. Thank you for your time.
Jim: Hey Omar. Marcus has a good supporting cast around him, and an OC who has faith in him. He's going to have a chance to have a good year as long as he stays healthy. With that said, I hear from a lot of folks who want to see a Derrick Henry-led offense, so of course there will be a balance.
Tom Temple from Las Vegas, Nevada
Question: Hello Jim. Have to be up front and tell you I have been a Dolphin fan since 1970 that being said I'm now a Tannehill fan and have been keeping an eye on your Titans. Can you see drawing up any plays with both your #1 and #2 QB's on the field at the same time since Tannehill was a receiver in college.
Jim: Hey Tom. Appreciate the honesty. Interesting question, and I must tell you someone else asked about this after the team acquired Tannehill. My first thought was no, and right now I haven't seen anything or heard anything (not that I could tell you anyway) to lead me to believe this might happen. With that said, Mike Vrabel showed in his first NFL season he's willing to try anything, from trick plays to fourth down gambles to running the Wildcat with Derrick Henry. Now it's OC Arthur Smith's offense, of course. So he could decide this is something he might want to do to surprise other teams. So after thinking about it more, I guess my answer is I wouldn't rule anything out at this point.
Nkwa Yellow-Duke from Somerset, New Jersey
Question: When is training camp going to be open to the public?
Jim: Hey Nkwa. The first practice open for fans is scheduled for Saturday, July 27. Plus, there will be an open practice from 6-8 p.m Saturday, August 3 at Nissan Stadium. The rest of the schedule, including the dates of the joint practices with the Patriots, is HERE.
Tim Farris from Stephens City, Virginia
Question: Hi Jim. Hello from VA. Got to admit I'm a little jealous of your job. If you need a break, I gotcha covered...My question is in regards to Dane Cruikshank...are we seeing a pick not materializing very well here? Seems a bit too low key, unheard from, unhyped, and seems to just be going with the flow. The Hooker pick, and the roster seemingly full of talent in the secondary signals a question mark for me about his ability to make it to 53? Your thoughts?
Jim: Appreciate it Tim, but it's time to get cranking and I'm ready. I thought Dane played well as a rookie. He was good on special teams, and he did what was asked of him on defense. He showed a lot of toughness when he came back faster than most expected with an injury. And in his second NFL season, the team will ask him to do even more. There's no way I'd say he's not materializing – he had two veterans in Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro ahead of him. With that said, Amani Hooker really impressed me this offseason, and from the look of things he's going to have a chance to get on the field early this fall if he keeps it up. There's enough room on the roster for four – maybe five –safeties, so that would mean Byard, Vaccaro, Hooker and Cruikshank make it with possibly another spot up for grabs.
Have a great week everyone!