NASHVILLE – And we're on to Philadelphia.
The Titans return to action on Sunday vs the Eagles, and it would be a good time to bounce back.
It's going to take a big effort, of course.
Thanks for keeping this mailbag hopping.
Let's roll another edition out there before this weekend's game…
Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE
Michael Bailey from Winston Salem, North Carolina
Question: Hey Jim! I'm looking forward to doing what we do best…beating the brakes off of teams that people say we're "suppose" to lose to! My wife and I will actually be making the trip to Philly for the game (unfortunately I couldn't convert her to the two-tone. She's a passionate Steelers fan and plans to wear her team gear. I'll be decked out in my Titans gear ready to support…PRAY for us! haha).
My question relates to our losses. I notice that we are in a pretty good space to make it into the playoffs and we will more than likely be joined by the Bills, Chiefs, and Bengals. Not that you know (or could tell us if you did), but is there ever a time when a team would forecast some repeat match-ups and not "show their hand" during the first meeting? I'm not saying that they'd try to lose the game or anything, but maybe they wouldn't implement a certain game plan or use certain plays. This way, they would be able to really get on them when the games matter more (playoffs). I've seen us beat teams during the regular season, only to lose to them in the playoffs (most recently, the Chiefs twice). The Bills, Chiefs, and Bengals losses were close (well except the Bills). So I'd love to believe that we just didn't use certain things (to save them for the playoffs).
Jim: Hey Michael. Well, that school of thought hasn't applied to the 2022 season so far, as everyone pointed out in the last mailbag. As we all know, these Titans have lost to the really good team on the schedule, and beaten lesser opponents. We'll see if that changes on Sunday. … As for holding stuff back for a potential playoff game down the road, no I don't think that's something the team would do. Have fun at the game! I'll be on the lookout for a Titans fan with a Steelers fan!
Steve Kwiczak from Strathmore, Alberta, Canada
Question: Hi Jim, I am writing you from a long way north of you, close to where warren moon played some 42 years ago. First my question, is Odell Beckham an option for the Titans? I am not well versed in the cap situation for the Titans so i figured you could sort that out for me. Now for the rant. To all of the Titans fans screaming to change the offence change the offence. If we stop giving Derrick Henry the ball and start slinging it all over the place you all will be screaming about how untrustworthy Tannehill is. How about all of you sit down and remember this team under Vrable has a winning record. this team has consistently made the playoffs under Vrable and my last point be grateful as we are not so far removed from those losing and barely .500 seasons. Take a deep breath sit back and enjoy watching a unique talent set records, be thrilled you're not Detroit (rebuilding since 1956) and say thank you to the Titans for being in every single game this year (we dont talk about the Buffalo game). Have great week lets go Titans
Jim: Hey Steve. Hope you're staying warm! I haven't heard anything linking OBJ to the Titans, and I haven't seen the Titans mentioned as a place he's interested in coming. He seems to be steering the plane, and on Friday he was visiting the Giants I saw … And, thanks for your feedback.
Kristen Rodriguez from Glendora, New Jersey
Question: Hi Jim this is Kristen I just wanted to let you know that the Philadelphia eagles have a stingy defense and offense. Jalen Hurts is quick moving away from the defense. My question is can you have 11 on defense with different defense plays and pressure? I've been studying football defense. I heard of wide 9 and the 4-2-5 defense. Thanks Kristen. Go titans!!
Jim: Hi Kristen. Sounds like you're doing great, and you're right on the money with the scouting report. As for your question, all 11 guys need to be on the same page each play, but the defense can definitely give different looks based on down and distance, personnel, etc.
Mike Knecht from Wappingers Falls NY
Question: Hey Jim. First time asking a question. Live the Titans. My question is, and maybe I am over thinking it. Am I the only Titans fan worried about the division? We have a tough schedule coming, and have not clinched yet. Should we be worried, or am I over thinking this?
Jim: Hey Mike. I'm not going to sit here and say the division is in the bag, because it's not. The Titans have work to do. But I think Colts fans and Jaguars fans should be more worried about the division than Titans fans right now.
Brad Smith from Kent Island, Maryland
Question: Hey Jim. I noticed in the last mailbag a ton of frustration in our beloved Titans, which I have been a fan now for 45 years.,a lot of it leaning towards the O-line which is effecting the "D-Train" and his ability to break through, so to speak,..oh and by the way, feel free to use that nickname i made for King Henry at anytime,.well from my observations is once Henry stutter steps or stops his feet from moving forward he is almost always tackled immediately,.i know because of his strength and size they want to keep plowing him up the middle, yet with this O-line, it is not working,.Henry NEEDS SPACE to get in gear and get much needed momentum,.that is why he fairs very well on screen passes,.cuz he is already getting that engine going with those feet moving and then he becomes the frieght train nobody wants to tackle,.not just saying he needs more screen passes,.but pitching it to him to get the motor/feet going on the slight outside would be very beneficial to this running game.,everytime he heads up the middle in a delayed handoff i scream at the TV for him to pop it to the outside if the hole aint there,.that way his feet are already moving and he can utilize his speed to unleash that power that defenses are afraid of,.also i think it would be an awesome idea to have both RBs in at the same time occasionally to keep the defense on its heels,.and could you imagine Henry lead blocking once in a while for Hilliard?!,. I shudder to think,.lol,.thanks for the time and GO TITANS!,. and by the way, real quick,..we dont have an answer for AJ and I TOTALLY EXPECT him to burn us really bad!,. Just keeping things real,..lol .thanks Jim
Jim: We'll see, Brad. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Franky Markle from Dyersburg, Tennessee
Question: Jim, you've done a heckuva job so far this year, thank you for giving us a platform!! I have a good idea what the goals were at the beginning of the season, and maybe they haven't changed. I think we need to finish 10-7 or 11-6 and win the South. Get a home playoff game. A few good/ great games, we can make our own bye week(S). Win the South & GET HEALTHY.!! What's your thoughts? Thanks & TitanUp
Jim: Hey Franky. Appreciate it. Sounds like a good plan to me.
Alan Taylor from Brentwood, Tennessee
Question: No specific question here Jim. Won't add much to what others have said about disappointing loss to Bengals. 3 red zone trips that totaled 6 points was a killer. Didn't think that Tanny had his best game - his stats look good but thought he missed some reads: one to Derrick when he was standing in left flat with no one within 20 yards, and a couple to Woods.
But hey, let's remain optimistic here. Likelihood that we win the division and get into playoffs is still good. Let's hope we continue to get healthy and get hot when it matters most. I also think that our offense will be better if we can get Phillips on the field and mix in Hilliard more. Derrick, Hilliard, Burks, Woods, WBI, Hooper, and Chig with Tanny's accuracy has positives we have not seen. Maybe need some routes/options to allow Tanny to throw quickly - KC has had those schemes with mediocre offensive lines for a few year's now.. thanks
Jim: I hear ya, Alan. Thanks.
Shad Bloom from Curwensville, Pennsylvania
Question: Hey Jim, long time titan fan here, and diehard to say the least. Gotta be considering I live in the heart of steelers country, and spending year after year ripping my hair out watching the titans fail to reach 8 wins while the steelers owned the AFC North and racking up super bowl wins. '08 was a dream season that I'll remember forever though. Pure domination of the regular season like never before easily taking the #1 seed into the playoffs. I just knew we were gonna win it all, years of being ripped a new one by everyone I encountered for proudly wearing the jersey of the then resurrected and unbelievable Kerry Collins fueling my long overdue chance to trash talk my friends as the titans destroyed everyone in their path. Only to absolutely crush my dream of watching them win a super bowl with a humiliating loss to Baltimore in the divisional round (thank you LenDale White, schmuck) and promptly returning to our place of desperately struggling, and most often failing to finish a season above .500. Fortunately that is FINALLY a thing of the past. Management has drastically improved, resulting in a great coaching staff being brought together. Draft picks being spent wisely in addition to finally being aggressive in free agency attempting to improve the dismal pass game that continues to haunt us. King Henry can't do it all. Adding Woods, and Hooper this season made my heart happy and sent my expectations soaring. Tannehill should be the most lethal qb off play action pass in the league right now without question. Racking up 40+ yard completions multiple times a game, and never finding himself throwing interceptions thanks to defenses not being able to keep anyone deep in the secondary for fear of allowing the monstrosity wearing #2 to hit open holes, and being able to gather a head of steam that DB's have nightmares about having to try to stop without being stiff armed into another dimension. I was extremely disappointed when they gave tannehill that huge contract. He has spent his career coming up short and not delivering in clutch situations. When the spotlight is on him he is practically guaranteed to fold. (Refer to last year's divisional round against the Bengals.) Do you think he will ever make the jump to a qb that demands the respect of defensive staffs when prepping for games? Teams can feel comfortable lining up man to man on D even with just mediocre DBs, not even worried about giving them help over the top. How much longer do we let tannehill hold us back? We're wasting King Henry's prime. If we had Rodgers, Brady, Mahomes, hell even Andy Dalton right now we would be shoe jns for the super bowl. We are playing well in all facets of the game, but pass offense is the parachute slowing us down. What would you like to see the Titans do to become elite?
Jim: Hey Shad. Well, obviously a lot of thought went into this. I can feel your frustration. My takeaway from Sunday certainly wasn't that Tannehill is holding the team back. Can he be better? Of course. But, in my opinion, the Titans can get to where they want to go with Tannehill as the QB – but they're going to have to be better around him. And, too many times this season that hasn't happened. So, you asked me: What would I like to see the Titans do to become elite? Win the division, get in the playoffs, and then play good football without turning the ball over and sabotaging their chances. If that happens, the team will have a chance to be elite. If not, it's going to be another disappointing offseason, and the team will start the quest all over again in 2023.
Marcos Taron from Essen, Germany
Question: Hi Jim. Yeah, kind of a hard loss on sunday, cause really avoidable …
Just to let you know .., the weekly german nationwide prime time free tv match is always one of your early noon slot games … unfortunately a lot of Buccaneers, Seahawks, Chiefs and Packers over the season
U can guess which one was last week and which one is upcoming …
So , it seems to be a great moment for an upset in philli 😉
I believe in a W!
Jim: Saludos Amigo!
Sean Williams from Germantown, Maryland
Question: I get the feeling AJ will light up the Titans for over 150 yards but its his revenge and understandable. Do you think that the Titans should start going more uptempo with the run game or perhaps bring the hammer with the Maryland I. They are already going to stack the box anyway, this could also free up the Tight Ends more.
Jim: Hey Sean. We'll see on A.J. … As for the up-tempo, hey, it seemed to work vs the Bengals. I wouldn't mind seeing more of it myself.
Joey Hertz from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Good Morning Jim. Always really appreciate your patience with us and our questions. I don't want to be another fan saying the same thing over and over in regards to The OC. Also I dont think it is right to keep bringing up the off the field incident as that doesn't have anything to do with his performance and i am certain he already feels badly about it. We are 7-4, and still in control of our destiny. More to feel good about than bad. That being said- i am worried about our offense. Last year the excuses were injuries and Derrick not being there. This year I mean yes- Taylor is out be but for years now he generally isn't reliable. For the most part Derrick, Woods, Hooper, and Tanny have been in the lineup. The concern is the predictable 2nd down, low conversion third down, poor pass protection, no half time adjustments, and not finding ways to keep the most impactful players on the field. At this point you find a way to get Derrick, Burks, woods, Hooper, Chig, Hilliard any combination of those 6 players as much as possible. It is not happening. We maybe stop running so much to the side of the line where Daley and Radunz are and go towards Right side more. Hilliard averaged 6.8 yards last year. He might get 1 - 2 carries a game. Run Derrick 20-22 and give Hilliard 7-8. Mix it up. I think these examples are why you see the fans blaming the OC because he owns all these things. Titan up.
Jim: Thanks for weighing in, Joey.
Karen Hanson from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Good morning Jim. Life-long resident of Nashville until retirement. Watched the process of getting the team to Nashville & all of the ups & downs since. Each year I think "Maybe this will be the year"😉 I've been impressed with Coach Vrabel & GM Robinson. Between the off season moves of players & the draft picks, I feel that they let the team down, especially the players that have given their heart and soul for this team. There were obvious injured players that needed to go and very obvious insufficiencies on the offense line and OC coaching. I'm also frustrated with the scouting agents. I feel that this is a lost season!! Unfortunately, it appeared that the players feel let down by the organization & the coaching staff. They looked like a team that's lost faith in both. What a shame that they let this team down by the bad choices being made. Then to top it off, there wasn't any consequences to the incident with Todd Downing. Don't get me wrong, we all make mistakes, however, when an organization lets something like that slide, it affects the moral of the whole team & I believe that's what the players were feeling this past Sunday. To me, this feels like a repeat of some things that went on in the Jeff Fisher years. Do you think all of these accumulated mistakes can be rectified this year, or will we have to wait another year? I'm 74 years old & would've loved to have seen these precious, hard working players be rewarded with a SB win. Just my thoughts - I'm very disappointed & confused with the decisions approved by Amy Adams Strunck. Thanks for listening.
Jim: Hi Karen. Well, you sounds like a passionate fan. But I have to tell you, this can hardly be deemed a lost season on December 3. The Titans are 7-4, on track to win the division and host a playoff game. It's not as gloomy as you make it sound. A lot of teams would love to be in the same spot the Titans are in right now. I can't make any promises about what's going to happen from here, but it's going to take a combined effort for things to end like everyone wants it to end and no one is throwing in the towel or moping.
Beau Siddens from Covington, Indiana
Question: Hey Jim. I'm a long time Titans fan. I am also a believer in Vrabel and Tannehill. I get disheartened that hype videos leading up to games always talk about the opposing team's QB vs. the Titans and "King Henry" instead of Tannehill. I like Henry when we throw the screen to him. He normally produces huge yardage. As a RB, he's not productive and it seems as though we waste multiple downs trying to get him a break out play, which ultimately resulted in a loss Sunday, among other deficiencies (penalties). Question: Do you agree? If so, could you please talk to Downing and ask him to utilize the Henry screen against the Philly? Tell him I sent you..lol
Jim: I'll let him know, Beau! … As for wasting plays, I always hear coaching say they don't call plays thinking they're not going to work. Sure, there have been some duds, but they weren't designed to be duds.
Bud Stein from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Top of the morning Sir Jim
Bud in the heart of jag country but as you now Oiler titan fan Luv ya Blue. Thanks for all your good works, As in the past emails I have had negative comments about the Titans case in point Marcus Mariotta was Better than Titans Org gave him credit for.WAKE UP TITAN NATION That said now we are in latter part of schedule. I read your mailbag and Titans fans are living in their own Psychosis and need to look at the big picture. All the comments about beating no one with a winning record. The Titans organization Doesnt pick the schedule. The Titans have pretty much beaten teams they should have and have been competitve in games with top tier teams other than the Bills game early in the season in a hostile enviroment The Titans have lost 3 of 4 games by a total of 8 points.Chiefs loss with a backup. The Titans are3-0 in the division and 5-3 in the AFC I believe. If titan fans look across the NFL every week on any given day anybody can beat anybody. I dont know the exact specs but i would think with a couple more wins with a current 3 game lead Titans will win the AFC South and look forward to the playoffs and not dwell on what happened last year and doesnt mean the end result will be the same.. Yes the Titans could improve on certain phases coach better play better offense defense but correct me if Im wrong isnt that true most all other 31 teams in the NFL after a loss. My best Jim and happy holidays.
Jim: Happy holidays, Bud!
Buck Amodei from Smartsville, California
Question: Hi Jim. I sure had a good laugh at some of the fan posts on Tuesday. Since I try to keep it on the glass-half-full side, it's a swell time to go against the grain here. Everybody and their elderly mother seem to take a jab at TD and I guess I will too. Is it possible to make him drink 2 cans of Red Bull at halftime every game? I'm actually quite impressed by the game planning that goes into the first 15 or 20 offensive plays we use, but it seems to go downhill after that. Swaim goes out and Chig comes in and the Bengals put a CB up against him in coverage. This is a sign they really respect our rookie TE and it is the exact reason I was harping in the offseason to get away from one dimensional TEs. Swaim might be the better blocker but I bet Chig can push that CB around better than Swaim can his matching LB. Do we take advantage of it? Maybe 25% of the time.
Since teams love to copycat, you and I both know the Eagles will crash a DB into the backfield every time we to run a stretch play with Henry now. Since TD has proven to be really good at advance planning but not planning on the fly, hopefully he has had time to think about it. If Henry had pulled up even once and threw a pass behind Mike Hilton last Sunday, I bet you he'd think twice before crashing down like he was every single time last Sunday. If you think Henry can throw the ball behind the defense, you don't have to go back very far to find a reference. I'd love to see us do an occasional stretch type play where Henry takes an outside run play and draws the defense up and laterals back to Tannehill just to buy a little extra time to work someone deep (as our pass protection can be sketchy on it's own). With defenses going all out when Henry touches the ball, I wouldn't mind running more than one flea flicker this year as well. If defenses continue to sell out the moment 22 touches the ball, then there is certainly more reward than risk in using 22 as bait more often. Besides, we have to do something to keep all the DBs home or we are going nowhere.
I understand the frustration here. Our defense is legit. It was last year too. The last two years, all we had for playmakers was Henry and A.J. Brown, and really good defenses can smother both of them, even if they were both healthy at the same time. When it was Corey Davis and Jonnu as supporting cast, it was tougher for teams to game plan against us. We can really spread the ball around this year, and while no one guy can quite match Brown, all of them combined is more dangerous than what we had before in the passing game. If we can go with Burks, Woods, Chig, Hooper and Henry and the opposing defense rotates into a nickel package, I'm feeling pretty good about Henry gaining more than 1 yard per carry. If the defense stays base, we can motion our TEs out into a spread package and see how they like that. Our personnel shouldn't necessarily dictate the formation, but we didn't have all the personnel to do this effectively last year.
Anyway Jim, I hope that the Bengals loss was a good wake up call, that we can't just bully everyone around and expect to come out on top. We need to get a little more creative if we want to get the job done. I still feel this team has more offensive weapons than we've had since 2019, and our defense is as good if not better than the defenses that carried us to the playoffs for many years now. Please bring Todd those Red Bulls for me. We have personnel where we can create some mismatches. We don't need to run the same broken play when it hasn't worked all day. We need to make Mr. Hilton and those that follow in his footprints respect us and stay where they are supposed to be... or else Henry is going to be playing with 11 men in the box before long. I know you say nobody in the organization listens but since some are keenly aware they are recipients of much criticism, then by process of elimination, they aren't as deaf as you give them credit for being.
Keep up the good work and don't let the crabby fans get to you. I'm still hopeful we can put all of this together in about 6 weeks and make a real run when it counts.
Jim: Oh man, a lot of fans are really airing their feeling out in here this weekend! Thanks for taking the time, Buck! All good on my end.
Charles Johns from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, thanks for this outlet so we can voice our opinions however worthless they may be. Let me start by saying I believe we have a good team despite an o-line that's below average. The main problem I see is that we are so predictable based on alignment showing run or pass. You can be predictable in the run game if you have a dominant o-line but we don't. You can be predictable in the passing game if you have elite weapons but for half of the snaps we don't even have our best weapons on the field. Can we get a little creativity with our play calling, play our best players, and not show the defense what we're doing based on alignment at some point this year. I haven't been one piling on Todd Downing but I'm starting to get frustrated knowing what we're about to do on every offensive play. We make it easier than it needs to be to defend us. A Monday morning QB like me shouldn't be able to call out what we're about to do on the majority of our offensive snaps. I just think our team deserves better. Thanks for the opportunity to vent. Let's Titan Up and knock the Eagles down a notch.
Jim: Thanks for chiming in, Charles.
Amy Cross from Old Fort, Tennessee
Question: Not a question, but I just wanted to thank you and (Kevin Rader) for writing and talking about type 1 diabetes. My husband has it. It hasn't been a year yet. Still learning how to manage it. Took him this year to his first pro football game when we played Denver he loved it!
Jim: Hi Amy. Thanks for reading. My wife is also a type 1 diabetic. She's on an insulin pump. I know how life-changing it can be. Here's wishing your husband – and you – well. Here's the story for those who missed it: CLICK HERE.
Bill Mahanna from Byrdstown, Tennessee
Question: I have noticed Derrick Henry has been missing many practices but has been stated non injury related, if it's not too personal what's going on? Do you think it has affected his play or is there still problems with the offensive line again???
Jim: Hey Bill. Derrick usually gets a day off during the week, and that's usually on Thursday. There's nothing going on with him – Vrabel and the training staff are just watching his workload. It's pretty common across the league with veterans.
Steven Crosio from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question: Hey there Jim, is Ohio State trying to distract Mike Vrabel from helping Titans defeat the Eagles by offering him the Ohio State Head Coaching Gig?
Jim: I figured it was about time someone wrote the "Titans coach would be a good fit at his college alma mater story." I remember reading how "Jeff Fisher would be a good fit at USC" and "Mike Munchak would be a good fit at Penn State." Rinse, Repeat.
Bill Caldwell from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: Afternoon Jim, waiting for this storm to pass. Tough game. Bengals just controlled the line. U watch replays from above and u see them push our line sideways effectively closing up any holes we were trying to make. I think we missed Ben a lot with Brewer having a terrible day snapping the ball. Ryan had to reach every which way on many occasions, throwing off the timing. We'll be stronger next game. Looking forward, with Ben getting closer to his end, just really reinforces focusing on the OL next year. We're wasting some great years for Derrick and Ryan. Stay strong.
Jim: Have a good one, Bill.
Tommy Henley from Cookeville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim always thankful for the news an questions I just wanted to say I hope the best for our Team I love to see them win an feel bad for our losses keep head up boyz let's go to philly an play physical can't wait till Sunday thanks for letting me share Jim Titian Up!!!
Jim: Appreciate it, Tommy.
Have a great weekend everyone!