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Weekend Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans Ahead of Sunday's Season Finale 


NASHVILLE – Welcome to the last weekend of the Titans regular season.

The Titans wrap up the 2023 season on Sunday against the Jaguars at Nissan Stadium.

I know some folks are ready to turn the page.

I'm ready to open up another mailbag.

Let's go…

Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE.

Chris Chambers from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: Last season and this season have been disappointing for Titans fans. A few days ago, my son came into the room with a t-shirt from a few years ago that said, "Exotic Smashmouth". While there was no Super Bowl that year, the Titans did have success. My question is, has the team lost their identity? They knew the brand of football they were playing with the "Exotic Smashmouth" identity. Granted, with all of the injuries many of their top physical players have been out, but the identity of a team is not limited to one or two, but is the DNA of the team. Has that identity been lost with so many new faces coming in and out of the facility due to those injuries? Every NFL team deals with injury, but why does it seem the Titans are more prone to injury? Thank you for enduring these questions from frustrated fans.

Jim: The whole "lost their identity" thing is a popular conclusion when things are going poorly, and they are. I do know the Titans have lost a lot of games, and they're not going to be able to hang their hat on anything until they find a way to consistently win, and that's been a while. ... Wish I could answer the injury question. Some are bad luck, no doubt - it's football. But is there more behind it? If I knew I'd say something.

Caleb Sutton from Roseville, California
Question: Hey Jim I was looking at the latest NFL news and then I see "complete AFC pro bowl roster" and I check it out and it says King Henry made the pro bowl and I'm happy but it doesn't show a Punter so I thought if he was healthy do you think Ryan Stonehouse would have made it?

Jim: Hey Caleb. Derrick Henry was the only Titan player named to the Pro Bowl. Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry were named as alternates, but they're down the line enough I don't expect them to be added to the Pro Bowl roster. I do think Ryan Stonehouse would've made the Pro Bowl if he hadn't gotten hurt.

Dan Baird from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. It appears to me that the organization is at a total fulcrum moment this offseason. Ran's first season as GM and Vrabel's worst season is a weekend away.
Tannehill and Henry's probable last year. It ain't rock bottom, but rock bottom is within reach.
I really like the fight in Levis and don't see the overwhelming need to use our 1st round pick on QB, but I do see the massive need for a first class left tackle.
Ran and Vrabes need to stay on, but we need a new OC.
Not afraid of a rebuild year or 2.
What say you?

Jim: I say, at 5-11, this team underachieved. At the end of this season, there will be changes and the goal will be to come back and be better next year.

Will Lange from Friendsville, Tennessee
Question: After the AJ Brown trade for bust-draft-pick Burks, it was hard to get behind the Titans' new GM. We still haven't forgiven 'ownership' for the Todd Dowling 'experiment' and all the pain and frustration we had to endure pretending he wasn't a drunken mental midget' last season. I'm sure that's 'preaching to the choir'.
Tannehill will not be back in 2024, due to foolishly elevating his salary after his comeback season. Too bad as he still has a 'lot of juice left in him' __ but unable to pass from the 'pocket' with no offensive line. Levis witnessed the same torture. That same offensive line couldn't even 'run block' for Henry {Surely, that's in his mind as his contract ends and he becomes a 'free agent'}.
THE Question: Malik Willis got one 'wild-pitch' fumbled snap over his head and went immediately from #2 QB to '???'. If the line can't 'run or pass block', doesn't it only make sense that a young physical QB who can both run, pass, and take a hit be 'employed'? What to you know that we don't know as to to why Willis was NOT given a chance?? Is this going to be another 'Steve Young' repeat?? We all loved Levis' 4 TD debut, but the offensive tackles soon 'let him down'. Seems like a 'scrambler' like Willis obviously was a more logical answer than another 'pocket passer' like Levis. How many hits can Levis take before he becomes disenfranchised with the line and the Titans?

Jim: Some swings and misses in here, Will. For starters, Ran Carthon didn't make the AJ Brown trade—that was under Jon Robinson's watch. It's Downing, not Dowling, and not sure how that was on ownership. Malik remained the 3 because he's always been the third best QB on the team. As for Levis, I'm sure you've seen by now he's not playing on Sunday.

Alf Ritter from Munich, Germany
Question: Thank you so much, Jim, for all you do!
Your mailbag is just a tremendous motivation for fans - it amplifies our pride after a win and gives consolation after a loss!
Congratulations to DeAndre and Derrick for their 1000 yard seasons. Of course, football is a team sport but it shows what incredible players they are. Especially Hopkins turned out to be a great hire. (remove his production and our passing game could easily have been an unmitigated disaster).
For the "take care of the close games" mantra: sounds like an excuse to me as we have not been competitive in too many games including last Sunday.
Still, I like the intensity and hope that coach Vrabel gets a chance to continue for many seasons to come. (this season provides lessons to everybody)
I also trust in our General Manager (see the Simmons extension and the Hopkins signing).
My question to you: Do you think that the team can create a contract offer to Ryan Tannehill to be our QB #2 and mentor for Will Levis for some more seasons?

Jim: Good to hear from you, Alf. And thanks for reading. As for Tannehill returning, call me skeptical. And, after listening to him in the locker room this week, I sure got the sense he doesn't expect to be back.

Cody Connally from Detroit, Michigan
Question: Mike Vrabel doesn't deserve to be fired nor do I want him traded, but this year has a lot of blame on him.
1. He let Jim Schwartz walk in favor of nepotism for his friend. He literally let the best DC in the NFL this year walk out the door in favor for an AT BEST average DC.
2. He had another nepotism friend hire in OC who is actually having a worse year statistically in EVERY CATEGORY than Todd Downing lolllll. And we have better skill players than last year. You can say the offensive line is worse but that leads to my next point.
3. We can say the offensive line talent isn't where it needs to be and that's hurt us most but all reports from last year stated he and Ms. Amy wanted to hire a GM who would listen to the coach and let Vrabel have a lot of say. Therefore, we can blame him just as much as Ran for the pitiful free agent signing of Andre Dillard and for leaving the OLine depth as pitiful as it is.

With that said, Vrabel's ownership of the situation needs to be seen in admit tong his wrongs by firing both the OC and DC like he did with our ST coordinator. And of course the offensive line coach needs to be fired. That will be the first firing of the off-season. Some dude who has only had OLine coaching experience in some division 27 school!?!? Unacceptable.
At least it better be the first firing.
He needs to actually hire people who have a high pedigree or who are at least highly thought of in the coaching world as up and coming assistant coaches.
But I doubt it. He'll hire some friend who has no business coaching OC/ DC or most likely he'll keep them both.
This is what will hurt Vrabel in the long run and will get him fired if he doesn't change.
Hopefully Mrs. Amy puts her foot down this off-season once again.

Jim: Thanks for weighing in, Cody.

Clifford Cushman from Magnolia, Texas
Question: Happy New Year, J.W.!!! I read the Vrabel quote about how losing sucks, & I wonder; does he know why the Titans are losing? Its the offensive line! As much as I was impressed by signing Ben Jones, I am just as disappointed by letting Aaron Brewer take his place. The talent just isn't there. Is it because he is familiar with them both? Drafting Skoronski, a projected guard, in the first round, while we needed a tackle, is frustrating. Taylor Lewan was brought back season after season & couldn't stay healthy. We let Conklin walk & I'm not sure what happened with Ben Jones. Here is the bottom line. The NFL rules are written to favor the offense, so focus on offense by building an offensive line. This franchise has a rich history of drafting & signing excellent offensive linemen. This uninspired lineup has gotten our quarterbacks injured, wasted Henry's best years & I dare say caused Marcus Mariota to lose his confidence. We are trading up for quarterbacks we can't block for. If Brewer starts next season, I'm flying out there & crapping in Vrabel's coffee! Following this team the past couple of seasons has been akin to driving behind one of those drivers with their left blinker on for 10 minutes, who speeds up, slows down then speeds up again. What the hell are we doing?

Jim: Hey Cliff. I suspect the head coach has a pretty good idea of why the team is losing. And while the o-line has played a big part of it, it's not the only reason. Take last Sunday, for example. Treylon Burks dropped a bomb at the start of the game. The Titans got a silly roughing punter on special teams. There have been issues across the board all season. Yes, the o-line needs to be fixed, but let's not pretend that is this team's only problem.

Andy Stambene from Lethbridge, Alberta
Question: Hi Jim hope all is well with you and the Famiglia. Well this year has been disappointing but there have been some players that have come to the forefront and look to be good maybe great players down the road. One is Will Levis who I thought wasn't going to amount to much...another is...well I'm not sure who the others are at the moment as I didn't see enough games to warrant an Opinion one way or another...I like Weaver and his great size...nice that the Titans have him under contract for another season to see if indeed he is the prefect compliment to Landry! Surprised they cut lose Tart...Autry needs to be signed again and maybe some other DB's need to be brought in as they didn't get the job done though I like McCreary,Molden and Hooker. The Offensive line? Well I didn't like many...Skoronski should be kicked out to LT to see if can play there with Dillard going to Guard cause the guy can't play LT in the NFL...Carthon's first really bad evaluation and signing...Petit-Frere? Hope he comes back and plays RT or LT! Brewer was not very effective...Looks like the Titans should take another OL with the first rounder though some expert draft pundits point to WR? Can't get the ball to speedy WR's if the QB is on his Derriere 5-8 times a game...Anyways hope the Titans turn this thing around and get an Offensive line that keeps Levis from getting mauled seemingly every other play...and I guess we as Titans fans have to say goodbye to a great,great RB in King Henry...but the kid Spears looked to have the goods to be a pretty good player in the backfield and out into the open field...Good Luck to the Titans and coach Vrabel wherever he ends up...hopefully In Nashville but one never knows on the NFL...All the best in the New Year to you and your Famiglia Jim and the Titans Family too! And thanks for keeping us abreast of the happenings of the Titans its always a pleasure to read your insight, opinions and the Mailbag of course.

Jim: Hi Andy. I'm with you on Levis. He's given many reasons to feel optimistic about the position moving forward. The Titans need to find a way to protect him better. Autry should be a priority, I agree. Thanks for sharing your opinion in here.

Johnny Long from Bowling Green, Kentucky
Question: Hey Jim. Hope you and the fam had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. It's been a long season but I'm very optimistic heading into next year. Vrabel and Ran have a tough road ahead, but that's what they get paid today. That being said, do you talk to Ran Carthon regularly? If so, I'd love for you for more details about Derrick Henry's future with the team. Henry has carried this team on his back for almost a decade and would love to see him finish out his career in Tennessee. In no way does anyone want to see him in any other jersey, at least not any Titans fan. I understand the business side of things so I'll leave it at that. Thanks for all that you do and here's to playing spoiler to the Jags.

Jim: Hey Johnny. I see Ran on a regular basis, but I don't talk to him about decisions that don't have to be made months from now. Ran, Vrabel and everyone else is focused on the now, and that's the final game of the season. Decisions about Henry and other players won't be made until further down the road.

John Cox from Camden, Arkansas
Question: I don't really have a question as much as a comment, and I hope that you can edit it and use it.
This season has really been disappointing, but the Titans and their fans have a chance to do what Manager Lou Brown told his Cleveland Indians in the movie Major League.........."I know everybody thinks we're gonna lose, but maybe we can give em all a great big shtburger to eat!" That's what I'd like to do for the Jaguars after they did that to us last year in the season finale.
I, personally, have no hatred for the Colts & Texans and whoever wins between them will get to the playoffs. *I'm rooting for the Colts. I do not like Jacksonville and I would love to see the Titans beat em this Sunday. I think it would be a great way to end this miserable season and send us all into the off-season with kind of a good feeling.
Feel free to edit however you need to. :)

Jim: I hear ya, John. Happy New Year.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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