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Weekend Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans Before Jaguars Game


NASHVILLE – And we're on to Jacksonville.

The feedback was fast and furious following the loss to the Jets, and hey, I let everyone sound off in the Tuesday mailbag.

The reality is I could've filled up this mailbag entirely with angst with some of the emails that came in over the last few days.

But at this point, it's time to focus on what's next.

The Titans were bad last week, but things aren't all bad around here – check the AFC South standings.

Let's dive into another mailbag, as everyone continues to share their thoughts on these Titans.

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

Dennis Boom from Gordonsville, Tennessee
Hi Jim. I hope all is well with you. After Saturday's loss to the Jets I looked at the stat line and saw that King Henry had over 150 rushing yards and it got me to wondering: How often has a team had a RB gain in excess of 150 yds and lost? I tried to do a search for that info but could not find it. Would you have access to that kind of data? I imagine it has happened but not very often. Would you have that answer? Thanks!

Jim: Hey Dennis. I took your question to Dwight Spradlin, Director of Media Relations for the Titans. He's the guy who regularly comes up with some great nuggets on the Titans each week. And, once again, he didn't disappoint.
Here's your answer, with some great background:
The last time a player rushed for 150 yards in a loss was Minnesota's Dalvin Cook (181) -- against the Titans on 9/27/20. Since 1970, teams are 730-147-2 with a 150-yard rusher. The Titans are now 10-1 when Derrick Henry rushes for 150 yards. Barry Sanders had the most total games (25), wins (18; tied with Emmitt Smith) and losses (7) in 150-yard rushing games.

Troy Patterson from Iowa Falls, Iowa
Hi Jim, long time Oilers/Titans fan. Just wondering if you think the offense is too predictable? Every team knows we want to run with Henry but do you think they use play action too much? I don't understand why the O-line is having such a hard time protecting Tannehill. It doesn't matter if Brown and Jones are playing or not nothing will change until they fix the problem with the O-line. Looking at the injury report after 4 games you would think we are at the end of the season, do you think there is a problem with conditioning? Some people wonder why they don't get the recognition or get mentioned as an elite team. Every year they seem to lose these type of games, I understand this is the NFL and anybody can beat anybody on a given Sunday that is why you have to come ready to play every week. I enjoy reading your column every! Thanks Jim!

Jim: Hey Troy. I don't think the offense has been too predictable (Keep reading for more on this). What this offense has been guilty of so far is not being good enough in the red zone, and not being very good in protection. If the offense would've score some early TDs instead of kicking field goals against the Jets, the Titans would be 3-1 right now and we wouldn't have so much negativity swirling. As for two more things you hit on – the o-line and conditioning. The o-line needs to do better in protection, there's no doubt about it. Guys have missed assignments, and guys have flat gotten beat. But again, all is not bad here – Derrick has 510 yards after four games, and is on pace for 2,168 rushing yards. Lastly, you can't pin all the injuries on a lack of conditioning. Guys get hurt in the NFL, on every team. The Titans have had a bad run of luck.

Skip Randolph from Prosper, Texas
Jim, I've been an Oiler/Titans fan all my life (50 years). And though Sunday's loss was hard to watch, I still consider the 41-38 loss to the Bills in 1993 the worst in franchise history. But here's what different about then and now. That game was at the end of the season. We have time to fix some of the errors. And make no mistake about it, there were errors across the board: coaches and player alike. For example, how could we pull D. Henry out during 3rd and short, why were there no adjustments to better support the OL after the 3rd, 4th or even 5th sack, how could Jet's WR Davis get that wide open? We showed several times we could easily move the ball against the Jets, only to settle for field goals, sacks and red zone breakdowns. Although I know ever TITAN wants to win...this felt wrong. It felt scripted. I've seen Coach V and team make real-time adjustments and out-coach the best of them. But not Sunday. Not against a first year coach and Rookie QB. ODD. To my question: What are the top 5 things we need to focus on moving forward if we are to remain relevant and competitive this year? Thanks in advance for allowing me to vent....I'm better now, and I'm ready for this week. Go TITANS!

Jim: Hey Skip. I feel like I need to come clean here right out of the gate, and I know a lot of long-time Oilers fans are not going to like this. I grew up a Buffalo Bills fan, dating back to the days of O.J. Simpson in the 1970s. I was the kid at school with the Bills jacket from Sears, O.J. posters on the wall, saying 'Miami has the oranges, but Buffalo has the juice.' My parents let me stay up until halftime of Monday Night Football so I could watch, and listen, to Howard Cosell deliver the Bills highlights. I hung a Bills beach towel out my window when the 0-11 Bills beat the Cowboys in 1984. I drove solo the Super Bowl XVIII in Atlanta, and sat in the upper deck by myself. I tell you all this because I didn't feel your pain from the comeback game. I, in fact, was on the other side of it from an emotion standpoint. ... But, I am with you on your take to there being plenty of time to get things fixed, because we are just four games into the season, and there's a wh,ole lot of football left. The Titans need to play better. The Titans need to get healthy. But it's too early to write off the season as some folks seem to be doing. Five things the team needs to focus on? Let's go with – 1. Get healthy, 2. Protect the QB better, 3. Improve in red zone, 4. Play better on defense, 5. Force more turnovers. (P.S.: I hope no one holds by Bills fandom against me - that was my team from the time I was a kid).

Christopher McQuade from Aurora, Colorado
Hey Mr. Wyatt, first time writer here. I just would like to start by thanking you for all that you do. I really do look forward to reading other questions and your responses to them. I just read Tuesday mornings (10/05) and didn't see anything related to what has been bothering me. Twice during this game and I've noticed plenty of times before. On 3rd and 1 or 3rd and 2 the Titans were in shotgun with Henry off the field and McNichols in. That to me is just telling the defense we are going to pass it here. This Sunday that resulted in a sack while in the red zone and then a snap over Tannehill's head. Both killed the drive and had to settle for 2 field goals. Now I know Henry is already getting 30-40+ touches a game. I understand that he needs his breaks but he can't be standing on the sidelines during the money downs when it's that short of distance and in the red zone. I just don't think many teams can stuff Henry on back to back plays for 1 or 2 yards. And if they do congratulations to the opposing team but you can't have your 3 best players on the sideline in that type of situation (AJ and Julio this week due to injury). I think the Titans need to implement McNichols more on the early downs and let him take a few handoffs just to show they can run with him as well and as I said earlier that's when you can give Henry a breather. I would like to see what your take is on this situation.

Jim: I appreciate it, Christopher. You're not the only one who has mentioned this. I think it's a pretty good observation, and one I also think may need some attention/thought. And we're going to have the same type of questions/debate when running back Darrynton Evans comes back as well, which isn't too far away.

Dana Pickerel from Las Vegas, Nevada
Hi Jim! is it too early to talk about replacing OC Todd Downing?

Jim: Yes. In fact, I think such talk is ridiculous after Week 4. The offense, which played without its top two receivers last Sunday, hasn't been very good in the red zone, and protection has been bad. But the offense hasn't been stuck in the mud as some suggest. In fact, the Titans' 87 first downs over the past three weeks lead the NFL, topping the second-place Chiefs (86). Also, the 87 first downs are the most in franchise history over a three-game span within any season. No one wants to hear this after an L, but these aren't the Titans from the Terry Robiskie era.

Adam Finlan from Spring Hill, Tennessee
Hey Jim is Adam I am a Down syndrome question for you about Tennessee Titans go to super Bowl get a trophy from mayor at Nashville.

Jim: Hi Adam! Great to hear from you again. That's the plan!

Chris Chapman from Hermitage, Tennessee
Hey Jim! Hope things are going well for you! Especially after reading that last mailbag bro! Dang! I just wanted to jump on here as a fan and say "People this is football! Any team can win on any Sunday in this league!" Yes..... Even the lowly Jets! We've moved on from last Sunday, haven't we? Jim, as a fan I'm sorry you had to read let alone answer some of that mess. Moving on.... We have 21 injury designations and I have to ask; is the cupboard bare as far as the open market? Are the Titans brass worried about being able to find signable players to cover some of the key positions or do you think most of these injuries are recoverable? Seeing AJ Brown and Julio both having issues makes me glad they kept Chester Rogers. I believe we can turn things around though! Coach has always seemed to have a way of lighting fires underneath players after funky games! I just really don't wanna see Urban Meyer get a W against us this week!!! As always thanks for all you do and a big shout out for handling all the hate mail like a Pro! C'mon ppl Taylor Lewan ain't the prob give the man a break! TITAN UP!

Jim: Hope all is well, Chris! Thanks for taking the time.

Tom Holler from Oak Ridge, Tennessee
More of a comment than a question. I noticed more than one post in the last Mailbag calling for the heads of the offensive and/or defensive coordinators' heads. Am I wrong, or weren't there similar sentiments concerning Arthur Smith the first year he was OC? Seems to me that worked out OK. I think we all need to take a deep breath and exhibit a little patience

Jim: Yes. I also have gotten a lot of complaints from fans about the team running the ball too much on first down, and how the team has become too predictable on first down. Well, since you brought up Arthur and the offense, below is a look at the numbers with Arthur and Todd Downing on first down plays. I have a feeling this may surprise some folks:

2020 (full season)
First down plays: 480
First down plays – rushing: 310 (64.6%)
First down plays – passing: 170 (35.4%)

2020 (Games 1-4)
First down plays: 122
First down plays – rushing: 79 (64.8%)
First down plays – passing: 43 (35.2%)

2021 (Games 1-4)
First down plays: 138
First down plays – rushing: 79 (57.2%)
First down plays – passing: 59 (42.8%)

Alex Legall from Tampa, Florida
Jim, I appreciate all your coverage over the years. If someone told me in August that after 4 games Titans would be 2-2 with a 1 game lead in the division while dealing with lots of injuries, lots of new faces and I am sure some tweaks to their schemes, I would probably take that.
Defensively without their main pass rush acquisition, I think they have been better than last year. Looks like big communication breakdowns in the secondary or players not trusting their assignment. That is fixable.
I look at the first 4 games this way……essentially this was the pre-season for a lot of guys. I went to the Tampa game. Starters didn't play - like they didn't throughout the pre-season. I wonder how much that has to do with this slow of a start - new coordinators, probably some tweaks to scheme, new players, players coming back from injury and essentially no live football until week 1. Yes, you don't risk major injuries but on the flip side with all those changes, hard to get game ready. I am curious your perspective on that.
I have supported the Oilers and Titans since the 1980s. I've seen our teams be outmatched and have no hope vs the competition for many seasons. That is not this team. They have not started well but are cohesive. They play hard but have potential but make mistakes. They are talented but have not shown their best as yet. Get healthy, clean up the mistakes and make the playoffs. That is all that matter in my opinion.

Jim: Appreciate you taking the time, Alex.

Kevin Yoshizu from Honolulu, Hawaii
Aloha again Jim. Jim, seeing all the injuries our players have this year, do you know if Titans players use any form of acupuncture for rehabbing injuries? I've never believed in it till a couple of months ago when I sustained an injury on to a ligament to the back of my kneecap. The pain was so bad I couldn't even put one ounce of pressure on my right foot. I had 5 free treatments given to me by a friend so I decided to try it. Treatment was 6 pins being stuck in my kneecap area and waiting for them to work it's magic (absolutely NO PAIN when needles went into the skin) n 15 min. of a compact muscle pulsating machine after the pins were pulled out. Dr said use an alternating warm n cold compress thru out the nite. 11 hrs later the pain went from a 10 down to a 2. Next morning the pain was completely GONE! Just in time for the huge waves that hit the south shore of Oahu. Could you have the team look into acupuncture if they haven't tried it yet? We need all the advantage we can get this year especially w Julio n AJs and others being sidelined w injuries. Mahalo Jim, gotta catch some waves! GO TITANS!

Jim: Aloha Kevin. Glad that worked out for you! I can't share what is being done and not done with treatment, though. Hang Ten!

Bill Cochran from Fairview, Tennessee
Hi Jim. This more of a statement...It seems as though the Titans play tough against good rated teams. And lay down a die against undefeated teams like the Jets. Which worries me that they play 0-4 Jacksonville this Sundays. Also the front line of offense is not letting Tannehill be safe in the pocked. This is my first time writing to you. I enjoy reading all the comments and answers. Have a good day

Jim: Good to hear from you, Bill. I've heard this a lot, and I get it. The Titans better not repeat some of these sins on Sunday

Joni Daniels from Antioch, Tennessee
Needless to say, I think we all saw that heartbreaking loss to the Jets on Sunday. I know the Titans will bounce back from this but my concern is that with all the hits that Ryan Tannehill is taking, will he remain healthy enough and be effective enough to play the way we all know he has. Yes, he's using his legs as much as he can but he can't continue to put his body at risk by becoming a runner! What will it take to fix that offensive line now rather than wait until Tannehill get hurt?

Jim: Hi Joni. It's a concern of mine as well. The Titans can't afford to lose Tannehill, so they'd better protect him better.

Patrick Croff from Clarksville, Tennessee
This is not so much a question as just a comparison. I grew up in Michigan. I did unfortunately miss last year's game of Titans vs Lions. But after much thought there is only 1 comparison I can make of the Titans of the 2020s; that is of the Lions of the '90s. We got the greatest RB in football at the time. Every game seems to be a nail biting close contest. Constantly playing up to the best of opponents and down to the worst. My only advice to Titans fans: Buckle In, it is going to be a long decade! Even the Lions in the 90s more often than not made the post season.

Jim: Hi Patrick. I don't think this is a great comparison, partly because it's not accurate. Barry Sanders was spectacular. But the Lions went 7-9, 6-10, 12-4, 5-11, 10-6, 9-7, 10-6, 5-11, 9-7, 5-11 during his career in Detroit. So they were good in some years, terrible in several others. I remember the Lions losing in the first round of the playoffs just about every year they made it. Well, the Titans have gone 9-7, 9-7, 9-7, 9-7 and 11-5 in Henry's first five seasons, including an AFC title game appearance and three playoff appearances in five years. I'm expecting another playoff appearance this year. So, the Titans with Henry have been more successful than the Lions were with Barry.

Rebecca Runyan from White House, Tennessee
Hi Jim. I am tired of listening to excuses from the coaching staff of the Titans. We continue to make bad trades and sign injury prone washed up veterans in the off season. Our players are either not conditioned physically to handle the NFL or they are whiners who want to be out on injury 50% of the time.
My question is this, have we considered how Tanny and Henry feel about being stars on this team? I feel sorry for them! To be a star on a completely inept team must be demoralizing.

Jim: Hi Rebecca. Don't feel sorry for them. They're happy to be the stars of this team. Look around the NFL – plenty of teams are in worse shape than the Titans right now. No offense, but this is an inept take.

Roy Jenkins from Harriman, Tennessee
Good morning Jim, I've been an Oilers/Titans fan since the 70's and bleed two tone blue. Our GM and Coaches picked the players we have on this team and must have seen something they liked. I could understand getting a player from another team that seems to be an upgrade to what we already have and him not playing up to par. BUT when you have several that come in and don't play up to expectations then we have no choice but to look at the coaching staff. I understand keeping the same system and trying not to make significant changes but we both know what it means to keep trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. I am a JRob fan and think he's definitely good for our team, he has set the bar higher and is the reason we expect more than mediocrity. I like Vrabel also but It's hard for me to believe that there's not some kind of finger pointing in house. It is early in the season but we have to look back at our problems from last year that are still here this year. You've dedicated a big part of your life to this team and if anyone has their finger on the pulse you should. I'm curious what the overall feeling is around the coaches and players, is there a different mindset of any sorts whether positive or negative? Thanks for all you do brother TITANUP. God Bless

Jim: Hey Roy. Well, the mood hasn't been good this week, and it shouldn't be. I can't say enough that losing to the Jets was unacceptable, there's no way around it. But as I've said in here plenty of times, it's early. There's plenty of time to get on track. The Titans need to beat the Jaguars, and get going in the right direction again.

Reuben Alvear from San Francisco, California
Dang. The Titans lose one game and suddenly "the sky's falling," and "this is the worst player in NFL history," and "immediately fire the OC and DC." Fire Todd Downing after what? The nearly 1000 yards of combined offense TEN put up v Seattle and NY? I don't seem to recall too many people ripping Shane Bowen after the 2nd half v Seattle, or the Titans' defensive effort v Indianapolis. Yes, the Jets are a team TEN needs to beat, and TEN needs to improve. Yet, let's have a little faith and not catastrophize. The Titans are 2-2, not 0-5. In 2019 the Titans were left for dead after their 2-4 start, and then they got rolling. Last season they were written off after a stretch in which they lost 3 of 4, yet they rebounded to win the division. Stick with the team through the tough times. And if some of the online "experts" think it's so easy to coach in this league, what's stopping you from working in an NFL front office or gettin' on the sidelines and scheming up game plans? :-)

Jim: Good take, Reuben.

Bud Stein from Jacksonville, Florida
GM Jim. Bud here in Jax land. Hope I make thru this weekend LOL. As I've said prior longtime Oiler / Titan Fan. Even after Sundays loss to the Jets Coach Vrabels pressors are much the same even into last year. We have to coach better we have to play better same ole song! But this year it so clear the OC and DC dont have it together. Are we waitng til 8 or 10 games into the season to make a change when may be to late. The famous Jim Mora saying PLAYOFFS. Turn the reigns over to Jim Scwartz Jim Haslett or get Wade Phillips To get Wade cant be money? He wants to coach again.The proof is in the pudding. the defense is worse than terrible.the offensive line not much better Yes injuries Yes players can play better but every weeks sayin we have to coach better doesnt cut it The players dont call the plays correct me if Im wrong.. I watch a lot of sports shows on espn nfl network and nobody talks about the titans at all unless its Derrick Henry I saw the bengals/jags game and I strongly hope the Titans coaches did and better wake up NOW As always JIM you do a great job that we can count on Luv Ya Blue/ Titans UP!!!

Jim: See ya in Jacksonville, Bud!

Danny Giles from Covington, Tennessee
I think we need to get much more creative on offense. Flea flickers, WR sweeps, Halfback pass option. It seems like we are very predictable which allows teams to tee off on Tannehill. Why do you think?

Jim: Well Danny, you're going to be happy with the game plan for this week then! Get your popcorn ready… Oh wait, that line didn't work out so well for Lane Kiffin. Let's just go with, 'Stay tuned.'

Have a great weekend everyone!

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