NASHVILLE – Welcome to the bye week Titans mailbag.
I'm posting this, then I'm going to say goodbye for the weekend.
Going to try and rest up for a long stretch of football in December, January and, if all goes well, into February.
Hope everyone is doing well.
Let's jump right in …
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Simon Aston from Leeds, United Kingdom
Question: Hi Jim. Greetings again from the UK!
Although I can understand that there's a lot of frustration amongst fans of the Titans following the defeat at the Patriots, I really feel that the future is looking good. If you'd have looked at the fixtures at the start of the season and someone said that at the bye week we would be 8-4, most Titans fans would have certainly taken that. We have some very winnable games coming up (although look what's happened against "poorer" teams this year), so I really can see us regaining the top seed in the AFC. What do you reckon Jim? We've had our blip, so let's look forward, get players fit and well, and head into the post season with a lot of confidence. Cheers Jim
Jim: Good to hear from you again, Simon. And I'm with you here. My bet is if you'd asked Titans fans at the beginning of the season if they'd take an 8-4 record and a two-game lead over the Colts (plus the tiebreaker) in the AFC South at the bye week they'd jumped on it. The last two games weren't pretty, and the injury luck has been brutal. But this team is in a good spot with five games left in the regular season. Hopefully guys will get reenergized, and healthier, during the bye week.
Tae Cho from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. Long time reader, first time writing in. Thanks for your continued content over the years! My thought centers around our strength and conditioning and/or training staff. At what point are they held accountable for the mass number of injuries we continue to pile up literally week in and week out? I think something like a Jones Fracture is a freak thing..but the continual soft tissue injuries, strains, "chest injuries" where quite honestly the hit did not look overly aggressive…at some point it's not just a run of bad luck, right? Everyone in an organization is held accountable to certain criteria that is specific to their roles - if the number of injuries or IR visits isn't at least one of those said parameters for the aforementioned staff members, then what else are they ever going to be held accountable to? Thanks again, appreciate all you do and provide!
Jim: Hey Tae. A lot of folks are wanting to blame the strength and conditioning staff and the training staff for all the injuries. Personally, I don't think it's fair. It's football, and guys get hurt. Have the Titans had some bad luck during this historic season from an injury standpoint? Yes. But look around the league, and guys are going on IR left and right. I thought Coach Vrabel gave a great answer on that question this week when asked about the team's strength and conditioning staff, and training staff. Here's his answer: "I have the upmost confidence in Frank (Piraino) and Brian Bell and Mondray (Gee) and our training staff and Todd (Toriscelli), I do. I appreciate that question. I have never suffered an injury, and again I don't like to refer back to my playing days, but I will in this instance. I never suffered an injury and said, 'That damn strength coach.' I never said that. I never said, 'That trainer sucks.' I know that is not the case. Some of these things are unfortunate. Some of these injuries are kind of just part of football. There is a large responsibility on the player to make sure they are doing everything they can to stay on top of things and the programs that we have them do. I will go back and use Corey Davis as an example. He suffered some hamstrings early on so then he was on a hamstring program, or I remember Rashaan (Evans) as a young player maybe had an issue with his groin so now, he is on a groin program that they do religiously. A lot of this is – you don't go to class. As a young player, there is no class or campus you have to be on. You come in here and you do your rehab, and you do all of those routines. A lot of that falls on the player and their responsibility. Then some of it is just unfortunate that guys get injured out there playing."
Joe Carlone from Laval, Quebec, Canada
Question: Hi Jim. Being in Montreal Canada, we only get national feed here, so no local Nashville feed. We all understand that injuries are hurting the Titans, not sure these injuries are related to anything the team is doing wrong in its off season training programs or any other of the ridiculous comments I hear from TV analyst commenting on strength and conditioning staff not being up to par,
Bud came injured
Julio came injured
AJ has been hurt all the time, and gets hurt on every play
Derrick, well it was only a matter of time, teams stacked the box and we even hear Tannehill calling a run play from Montreal. But Jim, time after time, I hear from the coach, we need to coach better, play better. Stop saying it and do it … We as fans expect that any pro player out on the field is expected to make fundamental football plays, an extra point, a field goal from 40 yards, line up properly. Tackle, our tackling is terrible, on that one touchdown vs the Patriots they didn't even try. I'm sure the coaches see this, what do they do about it is the question? your thoughts? You think we will win 3 out of the 5 remaining games?
Jim: Hey Joe. My thoughts: Your tone here makes it sound like the Titans are 4-8 instead of 8-4 at the bye. And yes, I do think the Titans will win 3 out of the final 5 games.
Travis Fernandez from Maui, Hawaii
Question: Aloha Jim. I read the Tuesday mail bag and saw a lot of pessimism. Let's not forget the Titans this year are 6-0 against playoff teams from last year, which is pretty remarkable. I also understand this isn't the same team from that stretch due to injuries. Last week's game against the Patriots really was a lot closer than the score showed. I believe it was 26-13 when the Titans were driving and Tannehill through a pick in the endzone. The defense held the Patriots to a FG then in the ensuing Titans drive, Vrabel went for it on 4th down deep in our territory, which at that time I agreed with the call, and they didn't get it giving the Patriots a very short field and they capitalized to go up 36-13. Anyway, alot of people are hating on Tannehill, but I still believe in him, and the team. Yes, he does need to play better and not turn the ball over but like Vrabel said, it's not just him. The RB's need to hold the ball better, the o-line needs to block better so Tannehill does have time to throw, the d-line needs to gets pressure on the opposing QB's which hasn't happened in the past two weeks, and the the DB's need to tackle better. With all that being said, this bye week couldn't have come at a better time and hopeful that we will get healthier coming out of the bye. Looking forward to what the team and this amazing coaching staff can do down the stretch run! All we got to do is make the dance and from there, anything can happen!
Jim: Aloha Travis. As you can tell, the pessimism has lingered into the weekend mailbag as well. I think this is a fair take. Mahalo for taking the time.
Hector Sanchez from Mojave, California
Question: Hey Jim. I'll make it short here: Is it time for Titans fans like myself to start panicking?
Jim: Only if you're stuck in the Mojave Desert in July with no water…
Dennis Utterback from Louisville, Kentucky
Question: Jim. I hope you and your family are doing well. I would like to make several statements. First off I think the Titans would be better off by letting Julio Jones and Bud Dupree go. Neither one has contribute much for the Titans since they been there. The Titans made a big mistake by letting Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith go. Look what Corey Davis did to the Titans in a revenge game.
I was glad to see them let Adrian Peterson go he didn't have much to bring to the table. The question is how come the Titans don't go after Marshawn Lynch he's more of a power, bruising running back than Adrian Peterson. Do you think the Titans would consider in bringing Delanie Walker back? I really think he could be a big asset to the offense. I think if the Titans could make these couple changes it would help the team a lot. TITAN UP!!
Jim: Hey Dennis. I understand the fans being frustrated with Julio, but I don't get the shade on Bud Dupree. He busted his butt to come back quickly from his ACL injury in late December, and he's played well when he's been out there. Plus, he's been a great influence on other players since he's been here. The guy is hurt. The team is not letting him go, and just the suggestion of it is silly. As for "letting Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith go", it's been eight months -- it's time for you to move on. And, so has Marshawn Lynch – he's retired. Lastly, the Titans aren't bringing Delanie Walker back. Need to start living in the present Dennis…
Jay Wayne from Lawton, Oklahoma
Question: Hello Jim. Is Julio Jones still on the team? This guy stays injured. Tannehill has no receivers (all injured) and the ones who do play cannot catch the ball half the time. I know you and all Titans fans are frustrated, but the bottom has fallen out and we will be lucky if we make the playoffs. Thanks for taking my questions and rant. God Bless.
Jim: Hey Jay. Julio Jones is on Injured Reserve. He eligible to come back for the team's next game against the Jaguars, but it remains to be seen if that happens. He's been dealing with a hamstring injury, and rehabbing inside.
Kevin Yoshizu from Honolulu, Hawaii
Question: Aloha Jim. After reading Tuesday's mailbag, I found a lot of negative comments on our Titans team. But for me, I found a lot of POSITIVES! Our O line played terrific in the running game. Our 2 running backs were awesome except for their fumbles. It was great to see the Titans reestablish the running game and even tho we lost the game, I was so excited n am really looking forward to the final stretch of the season. Because w an effective running game Tannehill will surely improve on his passing, I promise you! The coaches also should be more comfortable calling running plays when they are inside of the 5 yd line rather than calling on a pass play when they are sitting on the 2 yd line like last week. Also I like seeing our new receivers on the field making plays. They all are super talented and all they need is game time reps to be successful w Tannehills timing on the routes. Coach Vrabel n his O coach n D coach are doing a super job w what they have. We WILL be in the playoffs n if we can win out, I think we can still get the number 1 seed. So let's all be thankful for what the Titans have done so far this season n keep on rooting for them!
Mahalo Again! Jim
Jim: Aloha Kevin. And Mahola for taking the time.
Andrew Oldman from Antioch, Tennessee
Question: Does the organization know approximately what game AJ Brown and Julio Jones should both be ready to play again?
Jim: I'm just going to tell you when they're eligible to come back (after missing three games):
Julio: vs Jacksonville on December 12.
A.J.: vs. San Fran on December 19.
Damian Lee from Mesa, Arizona
Question: Hi Jim. How good was the Titans in 2000?
Jim: I think the 2000 team was better than the 1999 team that made it to the Super Bowl. Might've been the best Titans team ever.
Christian King from Canada
Question: Hi Jim. Just want to see when finally someone in the organization is going to realize Tannehill isn't the QB for the team. Throwing 70-80 yards in the wild card and championship game? 90 yards against a rookie Qb? What a joke he is. I agree with the guys at the NFL network now. Tannehill has been exposed!! He is awful. He was released by Miami for a reason!! Also, when is someone at the top in the Titans organization going to realize that Vrabel and Robinson are not the duo to take this team to the next level. How many broken players are these guys going to continue to recruit? Obviously the ownership has no clue with who should be leading this organization. Curious your response Jim. I am sure this wont even get posted.
Jim: The only reason I'm posting this Christian is to show ridiculous questions/comments don't take a bye week …
Mike Miles from LaVergne, Tennessee
Question: Jim hope all is good for you and your family. Got a few questions for you. Do we have anyone else we can put on IR? I mean with Rice going on we now have 18 on IR. Do we have anyone coming off soon? Do we have much of a chance getting back to #1 in the AFC. Just want all to keep believing in the Titans and get rid of the negativity. TITAN UP Y'ALL WE CAN WIN OUT.
Jim: Appreciate it, Mike. You don't want to know the answer to the first question…
As for who is coming off, a lot of the IR guys will be eligible to return for the Jaguars game, including Bud Dupree, Julio Jones, Dane Cruikshank, and Racey McMath. A number of guys who've missed games recently who aren't on IR (Rashaan Evans, David Long, Nate Davis, Jeremy McNichols, Teair Tart, Greg Mabin, Ola Adeniyi, for example) could potentially return for the Jacksonville game as well. We'll see how things shake out at the start of next week. And yes, the Titans still have a chance to get the No.1 seed back…
Fred Cozzi from Bolingbrook, Illinois
Question: Jim - Great Q&A column every week, love reading it. Clearly the injuries are keeping this team from exceling the way we had hoped. One thing the coaches in particular our OC have to do is make game to game adjustments. Running that 3 bunch set on 3rd down hasn't worked all year, if anything it has gotten Tannehill hit and pressured. Hoping we can get a W against Jax and get some guys healthy, I really think this team has what it takes when healthy to get us deep in the playoffs and chance to win the SB.
Keep up the good work! TITANUP
Jim: Appreciate it, Fred.
Phillip Brymer from Barrow, Alaska
Question: I have been a Titans fan since the Oilers moved to Tennessee. I am currently living in Alaska for work and don't get to watch many games so when I get the chance it is always exciting for me. I knew the game with the Patriots was going to be a hard fought one with all of the injuries but I believe in our team because we have been winning games this season. My frustration comes from listening to the game announcers when they talk about the Titans. They refuse to give our team credit for anything they have done this season and wanted to talk about it was amazing that we kept the game close by halftime. I don't really know where I am going with this but I felt like I needed to vent and wanted to see if anyone in the organization has noticed this as well. I also wanted to say thanks to Mike Keith and his team for everything that they do. They do an amazing job. Keep up the good work.
Jim: Good to hear from you, Phillip. And you're right: Mike Keith (and the entire Titans Radio crew) is the best.
Randy Lampkin from Indianapolis, Indiana
Question: What are the chances that we will be healthy after the bye week?
Jim: Hey Randy. Well, I'll just say the Titans will be "healthier." Not everyone is going to be back, and available, after the bye. Some guys will return, however, and it's going to help guys dealing with short-term injuries. It's going to help guys mentally as well. It's been a grind.
Have a great bye weekend everyone!