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Tuesday Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions from Titans Fans

201229-huddle

NASHVILLE – Well, the snow sure was pretty.

The rest of what we saw in Green Bay from the Titans, not so much.

Things snowballed – pun intended – in the team's ugly loss to the Packers, and it kept the Titans from securing the AFC South title.

But not all is lost, because it's a new week, and there's a big opportunity on the horizon – win on Sunday against the Texans in Houston, and the Titans will be division champs.

Yes, there's plenty to talk.

Let's get to it in the last Titans mailbag of 2020 ….

Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE

Eli Decko from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Question:
After watching the Titans defense lose another game for the Titans and a shot to lock up the division, do you think Vrabel goes with this failed approach of no coordinator next year? I know you're not into looking to next season during a season but this is a dire situation. No pass rush, no bodies in gaps, horrible tackling. This was atrocious. Green Bay had the same conditions to play in and just pounded us in every aspect. The refs need fined or fired for their incompetence as well. I watched 11 holds that were blatant not get called. There were clearly a ton of superstar non calls going on. Jim, what do you think needs done to win vs a Houston team that is going to be motivated to ruin our season?

Jim: Hey Eli. Good to hear from you again. You're right – I'm not looking into what Vrabel might do in the offseason at coordinator, just like I am not looking into what might happen with Corey Davis and his contract in the offseason, or if Arthur Smith might get a head-coaching job, or anything else. The team's fate this season will be on the line on Sunday in Houston, and that's all that matters right now. What needs to be done vs the Texans? For starters, figure out a way to play better on defense.

James Richards from Sarasota, Florida
Question:
Hey Jim hope all is well and that you had a blessed Christmas. Can we please get a defensive cord for next year? I love Vrabel and what he brings to the organization but 15 sacks all year and horrible third down defense has hurt the team all year long and it's always they need to improve when do we actually look at it and say it's time for a DC I think being the head coach and calling the defensive plays is too much for Vrabel.

Jim: Hey James. This has easily been the most popular topic in here all season, because the defense has been a problem all season. Like I told Eli, we'll see what he decides in the offseason, which hopefully doesn't start next Monday.

Mike Temple from Birmingham, Alabama
Question:
I hope everyone is having a healthy and happy holiday season. Disappointing loss in Green Bay, but it's time to move on. We have a chance to win the division for the first time in over a decade and host a home playoff game! My question is do you think team leaders can get the team refocused on the big opportunity still in front of us? We're at our best when we're aggressive, focused and playing our game. The team's goals are still in front of them, let's go make some new memories. Thanks for all you do and Titan-up!

Jim: Hey Mike. You're right – there's no time to sulk. I do think the team leaders and the coaching staff will have the team focused and ready to play on Sunday in Houston. The reality is the team never lost focus. It just got outplayed, and got beat soundly, against one of the best teams in the NFL. Now it's time to bounce back.

Peter Palmer from Mirimar, Florida
Question:
Offensively we have one of the best offenses in the league, but our play calling is poor. Our offense clicks better with a run 1st offense putting the ball in the hands of Henry. Why is it we refuse to feed Henry the ball to wear down the defense as well as to keep the defense honest?

Jim: Hi Peter. Hey, I get all the complaints about the defense. But let's not make it sound like the offense has been predictable and stuck in the mud all season. Refuse to feed Henry? C'mon. The guy has 344 carries for 1,777 yards this season. He carried the ball 23 times on Sunday night, even with a lot of folks thought the team should've been throwing it.

Peter Gibson from Basehor, Kansas
Question:
I am the father of Pete Gibson, the owner of Pride and Glory Tattoo, 2nd Ave, Nashville TN. On December 25th, Christmas day, approximately 6:30 am a bomb was activated in an RV parked just 37 feet in front of the shop. Although the shop was completely destroyed, as well as many others nearby – no one was killed (Thank God). Devastating as it was, the loss was more of memories than items. The true love and belief of the Nashville SMALL BUSINESS owners is a dream that cannot be taken or destroyed, NOR WILL IT BE!! Our great Nation and State are resilient and understand that being an American is a PRIVILEGE AND NOT A RIGHT. We earn what we have! And we protect what we've earned. We will prevail! GOD Bless the USA. Please know that His Grandfather was killed in Vietnam and his father (me) served in the Army for 20 years and can only say that he and others like him, make all of us proud. Although he was not a tattoo artists, many Titan Football players have come to his tattoo shop supporting Nashville. Peter Gibson (Pops).

Jim: Hi Peter. Thanks for writing in, and thank you and your family's service, and for your patriotism. I'm sorry about your son's misfortune, and for all those impacted by the horrific bombing in downtown Nashville, my hometown. It's sickening, and senseless. I actually saw your son being interviewed on television – he was wearing a Titans cap. Tell him to stay strong and know a lot of people are thinking about him, and praying for better days ahead. Sounds like he's from a family of strong men, which will serve him well.

Johnathan Conway from Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Question:
Hi Jim, no question today. I just want to show support and send some love and prayers to Tennessee today! I'm heartbroken to hear about the bombing in Nashville, and I hope the people that were injured in the blast can make a full recovery! Titan Nation has had to battle to get through this last year, both on and off the field, and it goes to show that there is tough, and then there is TENNESSEE TOUGH!

Jim: Thanks for taking the time, Johnathan.

Chris Blackie from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Question:
Hey Jim, Canadian Titan fan that's been cheering for the Oilers/Titans since Warren Moon left my beloved CFL Edmonton Eskimos. Love that the team has been consistently good since Vrabel and Robinson have taken over but I hate it when we defer after winning the coin toss.
With a top flight offence that's built to play with the lead and a suspect defence that has difficulty getting off the field wouldn't it be the smarter decision to take the ball to start the game when you have the choice? Especially when playing the likely MVP. Both Cleveland and Green Bay embarrassments came after Titans deferred to the Second half and both times I got a sick feeling in my stomach.

Jim: Hey Chris. I got this question from two other fans as well. I understand both schools of thought here – the Packers set the tone with the early TD, after the Titans elected to kick it. I will say, the way things played out, the Titans made the most of the decision by scoring at the end of the first half, and then on their possession to start the second half. Let's face it – the Titans didn't do enough of anything right to win on Sunday night. They could have gotten the ball at the start of both halves and it wouldn't have mattered.

David Jenkins from Ashland City, Tennessee
Question:
Any chance Clooney returns?

Jim: I hope so. I enjoyed him in all the Ocean's 11 movies, and he was really good in Michael Clayton, too.

David Chandler from Roxbury, Massachusetts
Question:
Good Day. My Name is Mr. Chandler. I watched the Game. The refs were responsible for two (bad) calls. One, when Titan player, was NOT off sides and it was shown he was Not. The Packer player running the side line and stepped, out of Bounds, in front of the Black ref (the color or the has nothing to do with my concern (I'm BLACK). Is there a playback to overturn a refs missed or re-correct their CALLS, the HEAD Judge should go to the replay and correct the mistakes. These wrong or calls NOT made (costed the Titans 14 points) Please understand, I did not Bet on the Game. There needs to be MORE fairness (right is RIGHT). Last night the REFS were WRONG and should be held for their countability (who knows if they're from GREEN BAY). I'm from Massachusetts, Its' not costing me anything, But! It did, robbed me and most people of a fair Game. (Fair is FAIR). Isn't this What we teach our Children to be Fair (to be of good sportsmanship). Thank you for your time to my concerns.

Jim: Hi Mr. Chandler. Thanks for airing your concerns. I know a lot of Titans fans were frustrated with those calls, and I agree – both were bad calls. Unfortunately, the offsides call is not a reviewable play. And on the second one, Titans coach Mike Vrabel said he didn't get word the Packers player had stepped out of bounds until it was too late, so he didn't get a challenge flag in on time. It's maddening when calls like that are missed, because they do impact games. I will say I think Vrabel gave a good no-excuses explanation when asked about the officiating on Monday. Said Vrabel: "I coached fifth grade baseball in the Columbus Diocese league. We were three-time Diocese champs. I coached with Mike Mulligan. Mike Mulligan would tell the boys, and he would remind me, that when you show up for the game, you should expect some bad calls. We should expect some called strikes that you thought were a ball. I try to use the same approach, that it's a part of the game. There may or may not be mistakes made. We have to sit there and live with what's called, and we have to do a better job of making sure that those aren't close. That's how it goes."

Franky Markle from Dyersburg, Tennessee
Question:
Well snuff!!! That didn't go as planned. Well, half went right, the Colts lost. More of a comment than a question. I think if you would have told us that we'd be 10-5 going into week 17 and if we win, we win the AFC South and we get a home playoff game. I think everyone would have said book it. So the playoffs really start this week. Thanks for keeping us updated all year. TitanUp!! It's go time.

Jim: Right on, Franky.

Randy Lincoln from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question:
I'm sure this has been asked before, but I must have missed the answer. Our defensive woes are worrisome, especially entering the post season. Are they caused by the lack of the right players or are the schemes that our head coach is running the blame?

Jim: Hey Randy. I don't think there's anyone without blame. And if we see another performance like we did on Sunday in Green Bay, there may not be any "entering the postseason" for the Titans.

Jared Mixon from Valdez, Alaska
Question:
I love snow, that's why I live up here. But let's hope the Titans never have to play in snow in the playoffs, because it takes a good defense to play in bad weather. And. We. Don't. Have. A. Good. Defense.

Jim: Some bad memories of the Titans in the snow for sure, Jared.

Carol Thomas from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question:
I was disappointed that we lost on Sunday. However, when they rolled that cover back from Lambeau Field and the snow was falling as hard as it was, my first thought was it reminded me of the time the Titans played the Patriots when Vince Young was called in during the last few minutes of the fourth quarter. The team was so far behind there was no way we could catch up. Of course that team did not have the talent of this one so I was willing to hold out hope that the outcome would be different. Unfortunately, it was almost just as bad. So, here's my question: Why not schedule teams that have those kind of weather conditions earlier in the season when the weather is not like playing on an ice rink with wind chills in the teens? It's not that our team is soft but here in Tennessee we just haven't had consistent winters with snow and ice. Call it climate change but the winters here are not even close to what I experienced growing up back in the 60's and 70's. If the schedulers are going to schedule those kind of games then why not at least consider going to stadiums that have retractable roofs. I'm just glad none of our players got those cleats stuck in that field and ended up getting hurt.

Jim: Hi Carol. Hope all is well. I remember that game in Foxborough well – I was there that day. I still remember talking to Bud Adams on the phone from the press box at Gillette Stadium after the game. He wasn't happy. Sunday's loss to the Packers wasn't nearly that bad, but it was ugly. The Titans are left to play the schedule the NFL presents them, and they were unlucky enough to get a snowy and blustery night in Green Bay. Personally, I loved it – until the game got out of hand in the second half. And of course I didn't have to play in it. The reality is somebody has to play in Green Bay and Buffalo and places with cold and the potential for snow in December and into January. And the teams from the North sometimes have to travel to places in the South in September when it's hot and humid. If I'm the Packers, I'd love to see as many games scheduled for December at Lambeau as possible. And the teams that travel there, well, they're going to have to deal with it better than the Titans did.

Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question:
Hi Jim. The wheels have come off. This season is essentially over. The Titans probably won't even make the playoffs. That's cool. There's always next year. There is a big problem though - Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel are good at producing good football teams but they aren't the right guys for building great football teams. These guys started out good when they first got on board but they can't take it to the next level. I watched the post-game presser with Ryan Tannehill. He's too hard on himself. He's one of the top 3 QBs in the league but he had a down day today. I wouldn't trade him for anybody. That having been said, I don't like the Titans offense in cold weather. I'm going to stay away from TV sports for 2 or 3 weeks until the Titans are done for the season. It looks like a one-and-done post-season for the Titans if the Titans even go to the playoffs at all. You guys need to go 14/2 or better in the regular season in order to avoid northern teams in the post-season. David Long caught my eye tonight. He plays with ferocity. Having him makes it easier for you guys to move on from Jayon Brown. Yea, I l think Jayon Brown plays well but the team can't afford him. Adoree Jackson seemed rusty but that was probably because he was away for so long. Anyway, you guys should draft all defense in 2021.

Jim: Sounds like you've got it all figured out, Jimmy Dee. Happy New Year.

Randy L from Yorktown, Virginia
Question:
I'm sure you'll have a full mailbag this week so just add mine to the list! I can't help but think of the saying about the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Although not an exact match it seems like we have been talking about our defensive woes since the season began. I love my Titans regardless...our GM, Coach Vrabel, and the players, BUT I think the GM and Coach have to take much of the blame for our defensive issues. I know we often hear "we have to coach better" and I think Coach Vrabel himself would hold anyone else accountable. BUT it's more than just saying that...we have had to make a defensive change since the season began really. It would be different if we steadily improved or were even middle of the pack but unfortunately that's not the case (we are at the bottom of the entire NFL in every defensive category). I obviously don't know all the inner workings of the organization but I believe that a good coach knows how to get the most out of their talent and will scheme it up that way. I look at the Titan defensive players and in no way see a bottom-of-the-NFL defense....maybe I'm just biased. The obvious and ongoing issue that we all talk about is the pass rush...can a good defensive coordinator scheme up stunts to play to our strengths? Lastly, I don't see the same disciplined and limited-penalty team I saw last year - we've had some absolute killer penalties (especially one of my fav players) and some huge defensive lapses. I haven't seen too many GM/Coach combos or Coach/Coordinator combos that have worked...it's just too much for one person to manage effectively. I love me some Coach Vrabel but he needs to check his ego a bit and get a good defensive coordinator.

Jim: Hey Randy. I understand your frustration. Thanks for taking the time.

Raman Williams from Summerville, South Carolina
Question:
Remember when Keith Bulluck stomped on the terrible towels and then we lost in the playoffs with a dominant team. I think karma has struck again. A couple years ago after the Boys beat the Pats, Dion Lewis made that comment about the Patriots being cheap so that's why they got beat down. Looks like that the same thing has happened to us. So I guess Logan Ryan wasn't asking for too much money after all? I know he's moved on and got his money, and I know you won't bite the hand that feeds you, but if I'm right (about paying Logan, not karma), a simple "your perspective is interesting" will suffice. Thank you for your time.

Jim: Hey Raman. You lost me with the whole "Terrible Towel karma/Dion Lewis" thing. It just doesn't make any sense. Sorry. And I'll never say anything bad about Logan Ryan. He's a great guy and I'm happy for his success.

John Cantu from Houston, Texas
Question:
All we needed to do is win Sunday against the Packers and what happened? We have the Texans next Jim. Can we beat the Texans and win the division? I love my Titans when they have a bad day it shows. Happy New Year Jim thanks for all you do. Let's go Tennessee Titans win your division Titan up guys you can do this.

Jim: Good to hear from you John. It's win or go home time for the Titans, that's for sure. See ya in Houston.

Zack Kitterman from Eagle Mountain, Utah
Question:
Hey Jim! Tough loss on SNF. But despite the disappointing showing, we've won enough to still control the division which is more than most can say. But many, including myself, wonder if we are truly a contender with our struggles on the defensive side of the ball. We have a bottom tier defense that can't get to the QB or stop them on 3rd down. Key guys have stepped up in certain games and shown improvement, but ultimately we fall back to the same baseline in other important moments. Coach Vrabel has done an amazing job with this team, but when questioned about the defensive struggles he gives the same, wrote answer of "We need to coach and play better", but then the following week, the defense is not coached any differently, struggling all the same as prior weeks. Do you think a true DC would help shore up some of these issues and allow him to continue to focus on other big picture items? No matter what though, I look forward to winning the division for the first time in too long next week. Titan up!

Jim: Hey Zack. Yes, there's plenty to be frustrated about. But what you said right out of the gate is most important: The Titans control their own fate, and a win on Sunday gives the franchise a 11-5 record its first division title since 2008. And that would be quite an accomplishment in itself. But you're right, there's reason to be concerned because of what we continue to see from the defense. Do I think a "true DC" would help? Well, I can't say for sure. I know during the course of the week this season, Vrabel and the defensive staff have followed a similar approach in terms of communicating and putting a plan in place for Sundays. Of course, the defense has been a lot worse than last year. Some of that could be attributed to coaching, and some of it can be attributed to poor play. It's a combination of a lot of things, as Vrabel has said. This much we know: It's past time to make improvements in all areas on defense because the season is now on the line.

Have a great week everyone! Happy New Year!

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