NASHVILLE – It's time to turn the page.
The Titans head back to Florida on Sunday, this time in Jacksonville, against the Jaguars.
Many of you have lingering concerns/comments stemming from this past Sunday's game in Buccaneers after an overflowing Tuesday mailbag.
We'll get into some of those and more as we move ahead.
Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE.
Kyle Boudreaux from Houston, Texas
Question: Hey Jim. Last time I wrote in, I was negative as can be!
I'm gonna switch it up - last year at this point, the Jags were 3-7.. dead in the water. They then turned it on and we choked! What do you say this week we return the favor and go get our first road W! Turn it on from there, get to 6-6.. anything can happen. Wishful thinking!
Aside from not being very talented, this Titans team looks like they lack heart and effort - I hope that Vrabel can rally the troops and at-least be competitive. Isn't that what Vrabel is good at, a leader of men! I hope that he hasn't lost the locker room. You're around the team everyday, do you feel like these guys have that typical Titans/Vrabel mindset? Tough, Gritty, Competitive!
Give us something to look forward to, what can we be hopeful about? Do you see this team laying down? Will we at-least fight?
Hope all is well Jim, I hope the game in December against Houston is meaningful, the Tennessee Titan Fans in Houston will be there!
Jim: Hey Kyle. Sounds like a plan for Houston. And, your history lesson is right on the Jaguars – their season turned with that Week 14 win in Tennessee. Not sure the Titans "choked" (your words) in 2022. The reality is that team just wasn't very good at the end of the year … As for this year's team lacking "heart and effort", I don't buy these Titans are necessarily lacking it either. These guys are professionals, playing for their careers and a paycheck. You mail it in on Sundays and that's not only a bad look for your current employer, but the 31 other teams as well. You think Vrabel is going to let guys skate? I don't. I just think it's hard to look too "fired up" when things aren't going well, and you're consistently losing games. This team needs a spark, and a win. The team looked like it had plenty of heart and effort against the Falcons because they played well that day. How much enthusiasm can you show in a 20-6 loss when you're not making any plays? See ya in December.
Lyn Taliaferro from Parsons, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Enjoy your work. When will the Titans break ground on the new stadium?
Jim: Hi Lyn. When this season ends, early part of 2024. In fact, there's already some preliminary work being done in the area surrounding the stadium.
Frank Galovic from Bradyville, Tennessee
Question: First, in Vrabel I trust. He is a great coach who is a terrific motivator and develops his players. I go back a couple of years and having 90 some players go through the roster and still be the top seed in the playoffs proves what a great coach. I hate to say it but I think the only players not tradable for draft choices and OL are Hopkins, Phillips, Westbrook, More, Hooker, a few others and, of course, Levis. The team lacks overall talent and a lot of that can be blamed on Robinson and his poor management of the cap where it seemed the only player that stayed past his rookie contract was Simmons or went on IR.
Jim: Thanks for weighing in, Frank.
Joan Dutton from Cerritos, California
Question: Hey Jim. What was obviously clear as day (vs Tampa Bay) is that no matter who the quarterback is if the line doesn't give him time to throw and protect him it doesn't matter how good you are you are going to get sacked, make mistakes, get intercepted, get hurt, and become extremely inefficient in the position. I appreciated what I have seen with WL but I still think having RT (once he is cleared to play) with a 29 million dollar payday I think it makes sense to play him. But maybe RT should sit out the rest of the season to completely heal so that he can move on from the Titans. I don't believe he will stay as a backup! What are your thoughts?
Jim: Hi Joan. Will Levis is going to be this team's starter moving forward, unless he's injured or has a drastic drop in play. Ryan Tannehill will be the back-up, starting tomorrow in Jacksonville.
Buck Amodei from Smartsville, California
Question: Hi Jim. Hey, I'm sure I will be too late to make the Tuesday cut, but hear me out before the weekend. Once again this year, our team is confronted with poor play from the offensive line and a secondary that always seem to rank among the worst at giving up a ton of passing yards. There are more problems than that, but OL and Secondary are the two biggest and I'll keep this email to that.
My question to you this week revolves around the O Line.... can we start a go-fund-me so that Ms. Amy has enough money to hire a proven offensive line coach for 2024? Since the average salary for an OL coach is about $200-300K per year, I'm sure we can put a dent in that bill. Since we blow money like Pacman at a strip club trying to bring in guys who have a track record of at least being serviceable, just to see their production in our uniform isn't what it was elsewhere... it might be time to overspend a little bit and bring in someone who knows how to coach up an offensive line. If you want to call him an 'offensive assistant'... and keep Houghtaling... be my guest. The results of this O Line is on par to be worse than last year. We drafted a guy at #11... with the expectation that he would make a good Left Guard? We signed Dillard to a contract of $29 million, but we cannot afford to overspend on an OL coach?
Now, I'm pretty sure $3 mil or whatever will go down as dead cap money at the end of this season and we will cut our losses on Dillard. He will probably go somewhere else and at least look like a decent backup again. I really do believe that this unit is more a reflection on coaching than what we have or have had. Skoronski is a tackle, Radunz is a tackle, Brewer is a Center... (hey we got that one right after a dismal 2022), Brunskill was a good find at RG, but we have no answer at LT. I still hope we give Radunz a little more time to prepare to actually play LT and see how he pans out, but maybe that's part of why we are so bad. Asking someone to play RG... no LG... no RT... ok prepare to start at RG... no .. .go play LT. See... he's bad too... a couple of false start penalties and you're toast. Then we insert Rupcich (a tackle) at RG instead of Levin because we don't want all of our centers to risk getting hurt.
For the better part of 2 years now, I've teed off on personnel decisions, but I don't make big money like those that make these decisions. Even poor Mr. Houghtaling makes more than I do, but just barely.
Going forward, it looks like we have around $100 million in cap space and that will go up when we part ways with Dillard. We should also have a top 10 pick in hand. A decent veteran starting LT in the NFL makes around $15 million per season. In all my years as a fan, I can say this of our offensive line coaches: Munchak was a legend. Grimm was good. Matthews was meh. The rest were a dumpster fire. The best investment Ms. Amy could make with the spending spree we are about to embark on... is paying Munchak whatever it takes to make nice and come back out of retirement and help this team fix it's perpetually broken mess of an offensive line. If we have to overpay a couple hundred grand, I still think it's better than voiding another 30 some odd million dollar contract. I don't care if you call him an offensive assistant or an OL coach. This mess has gone on longer than it should have under Vrabel's watch.
It it can't be Munchak, there are other proven OL coaches in this league too, but we simply cannot go on being the worst and I'm just not buying into the theory that we only draft losers and our unforms are covered in kryptonite. Injuries were a good excuse too the last two years, and a valid excuse at that, but our injury list this year is average at worst. At some point, coaching needs to come under the microscope. I'm not putting all of this on Vrabel, but you've got to admit that Schwartz as a 'defensive assistant' made us look a lot better on the field than Bowen could do going solo. How about an 'offensive assistant' who can make sure our guys can protect the QB?
Jim: You put a lot of time into this, Buck. Appreciate it. And congrats on your salary.
Tom Mills from Donelson, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. I don't know anything about the psychology of football and football players, but you have been around them for so many years I am guessing you're a pretty good judge of the inner-workings of a player and team. Yes, our OL is abysmal. And we've had players that were propped up in Training Camp as "breakout stars" that simply haven't produced. At all. But is there anything psychological about playing at home vs. away? These are pros so I wouldn't think so, but losing all away games makes me wonder (and not look forward to Sunday's game vs. Duval). Is there something to that, or are we just that bad of a football team?
Jim: I wish I knew the answer to this, Tom. I can't explain the road woes, especially considering the Titans posted the fifth-best road record in the NFL in Mike Vrabel's first five seasons – 25-19. But yeah, this season the Titans haven't been very good away from Nissan Stadium.
Barry Stouffer from Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. Thanks for all you do. I know you choose what questions/comments to publish in the mailbag, and I think you do a great job of balancing positives and negatives. In particular I enjoy the questions/comments from fans that are knowledgeable about the game. I also thought it was very classy to publish the recent fan comments that were complimentary to RT. Please keep up the good work.
Jim: Appreciate you saying this, Barry. I do my best, and I want to include all opinions, good or bad. Thanks for reading.
Daniel Smith from Mesa, Arizona
Question: Soooo.... Does anyone remember a guy named Mularkey. He coached us from worst record in league to playoffs in 2 years. Maybe it was three. I believe he even wo. A playoff game gis final year. Malarkey and the Titans had a tough rugged attitude personality and play. I loved the way Mularkey coached. Unfortunately and despite his early success, apparently our organization had their minds on hiring Vrabel no matter what.
I hated the firing of Mularkey and hiring of Vrabel at the time and seems I was right to question Vrabel.
Vrabel had the luxury of The Kings dominance especially in his playoff years.
He's clearly not a problem solver. He keeps telling us the problem is this it's the o-line it's that, but like a previous writer he hasn't fixed even one position. At o-line. Never replaced Lewan or Safford except for signing them when other teams cut their asses.
One last thing.
Vrabel has robbed The King of having any holes to run through.
Its a shame cuz that is Hall of Fame talent, commitment and class
Go Titans gosh dang it rootin tootin shucks my golly. Translation Beep Beep Beep freakin Beep.
Love your work
Waddup fellow fans
Jim: Thanks for taking the time, Daniel. This is an example of me letting fans having a chance to voice their opinions. I don't agree with this – Mike Vrabel is a better coach than Mike Mularkey, plus, all of this team's problems can't be pinned on the head coach – but I want to show the range of opinions I get in here on a regular basis.
Filip Vukovic from Spreitenbach, Switzerland
Question: Hi Jim. What's the mood like in Titan Land? Hope the players keep their heads up? Of course they try their best but the sports world is merciless, eat or die as we say here. But to be honest, there were just too many question marks about the constellation of players, wasn't there Jim?
I have to say I'm happy. Not because we are losing but because there are no more excuses. We just couldn't do it consistently well. Somehow I don't feel disappointment rather relief. On the one hand, Mike Vrabel made the right decision with Will Lewis or Kevin Byard and I have confidence in him that he is ready to make these tough decisions for the franchise and push forward with the rebuild and on the other hand, the guidelines are now clearer, of course games try To win but first and foremost look at which players are now imposing themselves.
These are exciting times as a Titan fan. I am very confident that Mike and Ran will make the right decisions with more cap space and good draft picks. TITAN UP AND TITAN FOREWER!
Jim: The mood isn't great Filip. Need a win around here. I like your positive outlook!
Erick Taylor from Porterville, California
Question: Hello Jim I know you have been dealing with a bunch of questions regarding how bad coaching, bad OL bad pass coverage , so hope mine is a little more positive for you….
1- I hope Arden key comes out and has 5 sacks against his former team(i think he has been very quiet)
2- Mike vrabel is a great coach and a loyal one at that 3- everybody talking bad about your team is need to keep positive and just keep pushing just like our players do every week ….. I thank you Jim for all the reports you do… one more thing my 3 boys are big Henry and Simmons fan and they also wonder when Caleb Farley will be back?
Jim: Hey Erick. Lots of questions/comments for sure.
1- I know of a lot of folks who would love to see this as well.
2- I don't expect to see Caleb Farley play this year.
Josh Bomar from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Good morning Jim! Well, here we are at 3-6. Coming into the season, we knew the O-line was a huge question mark. What's so frustrating as a fan is that we have now come into the the LAST 3 SEASONS with the same question mark. Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? I now see we have added Throckmorton, a guy who was waived by the worst team in the league... I also noticed in your column that you mentioned he has played at several different positions on the line. It seems like this coaching staff values versatility more than anything when looking for offensive linemen. What about size and skill? Why do these seemingly not take precedence over versatility. I don't think you can get any sort of cohesion when you're constantly moving guys around trying to get "the right combination" on the field. Guard, Center, Tackle, they're all offensive line positions, but the assignments and techniques are totally different. If we are asking these guys to know how to play every position on the line, it might be information overload. Just interested to see what your thoughts are on the matter because you don't hear people talking about that at all. When you look around at good o-lines in the NFL, guys play one position, which makes since because they focus on that one position/assignment and nothing else. Can you help me understand what the thinking is from the staff?
Jim: Hey Josh. Fair question. The answer is everyone loves versatility, from the coaching staff to the front office. And that's not just a "Titans thing." Dillon Radunz is a perfect example of how much versatility helps here - he's played all over the line, when he's been needed in a pinch. Obviously every player has his strength, but the more you can do, the better.
Dakota Houston from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, I'm actually currently in the middle of this weeks mailbag (Tuesday) and I feel like the reason we are in this position is because ownership, management and the coaching staff went all out for the Super Bowl a couple of years ago. I don't think that's a bad thing really, it just unfortunately didn't work and now we are seeing the "reset" mode. I think you could potentially see the Eagles hit this position as well because they have tried the same thing these past two years. I hope the team is able to turn it around, resign Henry and have a great draft and start the "reset" which shouldn't take as long as a re-build. Who knows and we'll see! Would love to know your thoughts. I hope you have a blessed day! Thanks!
Jim: Good to hear from you, Dakota. Well, there's no question that 2021 team was built to win a Super Bowl, with better personnel than this year's squad. And, that group blew a golden opportunity to win a Vince Lombardi Trophy, there's no way around it. I think the same thing about the 2000 team. The talent has undoubtedly slipped since then. I truly believe things will get better in time. Until then, the Titans have to find a way to a way to be better than they've been through nine games.
John Deane from Wellingborough, United Kingdom
Question: Hi Jim. We won't win any games with the QB on his back, slow up the rush by occupying them with 22. Give number 8 a chance. Remember 20 Touches!!! Cheers.
Jim: I hear ya, John.
Michael Miles Sr. from Lavergne, Tennessee
Question: Jim hope the rest of this year will be better than the past has been for you. I am not writing to complain or to get mad about this year for the Titans. I will be a true fan and hope that we can get back on a winning road. Question for you, is there any really good offensive players coming up in the draft worth looking at? It seem we get free agents and they don't hold up long to help us out. I know we are probably going to see Henry go and Tanny is gone. We need to find a LT FOR SURE. I would like to see us turn this year around but I just don't think it will happen. People want our head coach gone but why do that. Now he does need to replace his OC and maybe even the DC but Mike has done a good job. Hope for the best people and take what happens and say what my Vandy teams say each year, "wait til next year"
Jim: Hey Michael. Hang in there. Yes, there will be plenty of talented players in this year's draft. And, that's not just Vandy with the wait til next year mantra – that applies to every team in this state.
Walter Weglarz from North Fort Myers, Florida
Question: Hello from Ft Myers again, had the feeling when watching the LAC game this team is just off. Was going to go to Tampa for my bday, with the bag to put over my head but this team is just not getting it done to put in that much effort. The street I live on down here has NFL flags flying from all over. I have put my Titans flag away for the year. Only redeeming thing I have is that my neighbor is a Giants fan!! Thanks for always being honest and not afraid to get in the dirt when its needed!
Jim: Appreciate it, Walter. Hope Fort Myers is making a comeback.
De'andre Nelson from Clarksville, Tennessee
Question: Antonio Brown is back, are you going to sign him?
Leonard Cooke from Jacksonville, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. I was really hoping the team could right the ship, but after losing these last 2 winnable games, I may have to throw in the towel. I don't believe our rookie quarterback is ready, but at least he's taking the hits instead of Tannehill. Noone can last long with our terrible offensive line. Ryan will be beaten up some more before the season's over because Levis is going to get hurt. Willis may even get thrown to the wolves again. Not only can our line not protect our qb's, they can't even run block and give Henry a chance to save us. We traded away our best defensive back and it showed. Our front line played their hearts, but got worn out when we couldn't defend a pass and get off the field. I guess my question for you is, is there any salvation to this season or is it time to go for a high draft pick and call it a season? At this point we'd have to win out to get a shot at a playoff spot and I don't see it happening.
Jim: We're headed your way, Leonard.
Have a great weekend everyone!