NASHVILLE – The 2023 offseason is now under way for the Tennessee Titans.
No, it's not as much fun as getting ready for a playoff game, but that's what happens when you end the season on a seven-game losing streak.
Now, the plan is to get better, and find the pieces to make it happen.
I always enjoy sorting through the suggestions in here.
Let's see what everyone is thinking in this weekend's Titans mailbag.
Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE
Chuck Williams from Newport News, Virginia
Question: I've followed this team since they drafted Dan Pastorini, I bleed columbia blue. (IMO the 2 best teams were 1993 Oilers and 2000 Titans; those playoff loses still hurt). I have a comment and a question:
Comment: I am very encouraged by Coach Vrabel's candid assessment after the train wreck at the end of the season:
- Offensive line is horrible other than Ben Jones
- We lack team speed on both sides of the ball
- Offense play calling was horribly predictable, especially on 1st down
The coaches that needed replaced (offensive coordinator, O-line) are in the process of being replaced. The GM responsible for assembling the bad O-line and an offense with no reliable speed except Derrick Henry (who's starting to lose it) is also in the process of being replaced.
Buck up kids - the glass is half full - our defensive front seven is top-five stout (even with Landry out before the season started). We didn't lose many games by double digits. This team wins 10 or more games with a better line and receivers. This can be fixed in one offseason if our new GM selects the right free agents and draft picks.
Question: Why don't we use a fullback in front of Derrick Henry 90% of the time instead of 10%?? Earl Campbell had Tim Wilson paving the way for all his runs. If you're going to run predictably Derrick Henry on first down against a defense stacking the box waiting for him, he should at least have a fullback leading the way every time IMO.
Jim: Good to hear from you, Chuck. I do think Nicholas Petit-Frere did a pretty good job during his rookie season, although he struggled more late in the year. He'll get better. As for Henry and a fullback, the days are gone when a fullback will be on the field that much. Appreciate your takes here.
Jeremy Rodriguez from Winchester, California
Question: Hey Jim. Now that the off season is in full swing and GM meetings are starting. What does it say about the Titans when Adam Peters turns down an opportunity to become a GM? Is that a knock against the Ownership? And, with the Titans being over the Cap, how likely will it be that some of those big money players restructure their contracts to help bring that down? Thanks for always keeping Titan Nation informed and update! Looking forward to an interesting off season.
Jim: Hey Jeremy. I think it says Adam Peters thinks he's in a good spot with the 49ers. He also turned down an opportunity with the Cardinals. TBD on the restructures/cuts. The team needs to find a new GM first and that person will work with head coach Mike Vrabel in deciding which players to keep.
Chris B from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. Thanks for all you do. Has to be tough to balance the positives and negatives, but you keep it real! Not here to hash over the season or the last game..I think it's been digested enough regarding injuries, lack of depth, a thin playbook, blocking etc.. My topic is my experience in Jacksonville. I'll make it as clean as possible. Never ever have I seen a fanbase with so little character, so rude with no respect for people. I get they won...be happy and celebrate but personal physical and verbal abuse? Walking under stadium before game and caught just a glimpse before a guy shoulder slammed me to the ground. Never stopped or looked. Very intentional. Next guy held up his hand for a high 5. When I reacted, he pulled it back, flipped me off and yelled eff you! Standing in line after the game to ride the boat back across the bay a group came by saying eff the titans, let's rip their jerseys off and beat their %ss. Ride on the boat was just bad as their were multiple chants of eff Tennessee and eff the titans. All of this happened in front of my wife and kids. 15 years ago I would have been in jail. I was close to going over the line anyway. We have been on road games to places known for their passionate fans..KC, Indy, Cincy, Minnesota, Cleveland, New England and even the Jets. Never have I encountered anything like that. I get a drunk acting out, but it was soooooo widespread. I was impressed their stadium was packed and loud..like the old days here. Anyway, as beautiful as the hotel and stadium were, the fact it's an easy trip, I will never set foot there again.
Anyway, just a different mailbag subject. Tried to keep it clean.
Jim: I'm sorry to hear this, Chris. Stories like this are why I'll never understand why some Titans fans were cheering for the team to lose so they'd get a better draft pick. It's not worth it to give Jaguars fans – or any fan base, for that matter – the upper hand. Under no scenario is it OK for you to be treated like that. I know the team appreciates your support.
Gregg Accas from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: FINALLY!!! Props to Vrabel for firing the underperforming coaches without delay. Realize we have so many needs, but here's a suggestion: Draft Stetson Bennett (could he follow in Tom Brady's footsteps as underappreciated at first but all he does is win?) and hire Georgia OC Todd Monken as OC. He called a near-perfect game against TCU and he has been an NFL OC for 2 teams. He has been the OC at Georgia since 2020 and you see how that turned out. He also has a great rapport with Bennett.
Realize that's a long shot draft strategy, but we have to start rebuilding somewhere. And as much as I like Ryan Tannehill & love Derrick Henry, think it's time to rethink the run-first approach. Note that this year, of the 3 players who topped the NFL rushing stats, none of their teams made the playoffs. The top 7 QBs in passing…all their teams made the playoffs. Just saying. Lastly, want to express my appreciation to all the players who gave their blood, sweat, and tears to this season that came up short. Wishing each of you well in the future, wherever you go.
Jim: Thanks for taking the time, Gregg. I'm curious to see what Stetson Bennett's draft stock ends up looking like leading up to the draft.
John Burnett from Dickson, Tennessee
Question: Well the season ended on the downside but I have faith the team is going to do what it takes to get back to winning football. Bye Todd is just a start and a good one but more needs to be done in the way of player personnel. Offensive line needs revamping and there's a lot of cap space available by cutting some of the high priced failures we have endured. I'll leave it up to management to address that but it seems Amy has no problem making the hard decisions. I look forward to next year as always. Go Blue.
Jim: Have a good one, John.
Chuy Cano from Corpus Christi, Texas
Question: Well...I really thought we had the jags there...if it hadn't been for that fumble..I think our defense would've held them like they were that night. Really impressed with Dobbs...I thibk if we had picked him up early and put him n when Tannehill went out....we would b n playoffs this year..but not bad for the little time he was there. WE REALLY NEED some big time meat...some big time names next year! I hope our new GM signs, trades, sweet talk...whatever and get some much need help for the o-line! Our defense is great. Glad to see OC is gone along with other offense guys. I just dnt understand why we didn't sign any players...big time players that weren't signed yet......like Ty Hilton....cowboys picked him up...and he's doing good with them. Doesn't our front office personnel keep track of players that aren't signed still.....r we tapped out already on $. He was n our division. Would've been a great wr 4 us. I hope next year is better 4 us...hope we get some much need help on the line...hope we get rid of some dead weight and injury prone players. Hope we still keep Tanni as our starter...keep Dobbs as a great backup....if not starter....or get a blockbuster qb in off-season. Love my Titans! Hope Ms. Amy gets her hands n the pot and make some great personnel moves. Until next year Mr. Jim
Jim: A lot to think about here, Chuy. Hope all is well.
Benji Fanikos from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Dear Jim. It was indeed a disappointing ending to the season, but it was to be expected based on how the season has gone. There needs to be changes this off season, and I trust ownership will spur them to happen. We need varied and less predictable play calling, able defensive backs, and a defensive scheme that throws off our opponents. Most of all, I think we need to find a new quarterback. Tannehill has decent arm talent, but his poor pocket navigation and inability to go through his progressions quickly are not compatible with an average offensive line. He served us well, but we need someone who can elevate a team and create opportunities for our skill players, even when we're not running for 180 yards a game. Lastly, I hope that coach Vrabel has seen that the "in-house" approach to hiring assistants has not been a successful one and that not focusing on hiring the best football mind available causes more disruption in long run. Here's to a resilient next year. Thanks
Jim: Hey Benji. Thanks for weighing in. The decisions at QB this offseason will be huge. I can't say I'm on board with ditching Tannehill. A lot is going to depend on $ with him, and what other options might be. Let's face it – he worked behind a makeshift offensive line in 2022, with a group of receivers that didn't scare a lot of defenses.
Elden Neemia from Honolulu, Hawaii
Question: Wow. Watching and listening to coach Mike Monday address and just like that, the next headline from you is the parting ways with certain coaches. Wow things are going fast for sure. Totally understand. Now i agree with Coach Mike on everything his talking about and totally excited to see what he envision for he want's/Need in the team. I say right on.
Some Question coming from others kind of bid questionable (lol) but i get it when some may be listing to the already given answers lol. Anyways its gonna be an exciting future for Titans. Coach Mike do have a solid plan on what he see and what Titans need. Thats say's it all.
Great Job to Coach Mike and Owners Amy for not wasting time on the search. Rest up renew your strength. An organization with a Vision, always brightens the future for the people and fans. Without vision, people parish and i can say, it will only gets better moving forward after listening and paying attention to What Amy see's and what coach Mike just shared.
Thank you Jim for the Job well done by you in keeping Us fans up to date. Mahalo!
Jim: Mahalo, Elden!
Jim Williams from Lubbock, Texas
Question: Hi Jim. Well, it's time to start thinking about the 2023 season. Chalk up 2022 as the "Year of Too Many Injuries." First, there is no need to rebuild this team. The core guys on offense need to return: Tanny, Lewan, Davis, Jones, and Woods. Management should sign Tanny to a team friendly extension. This would free up about $18M in cap money for 2023. Keep in mind, somebody has to play quarterback and Tanny is at least as good as the guys who will be available, and at a more more reasonable price. He is equal to Derek Carr, and is a superior choice to Carson Wentz, Jameis Winston, and Jimmy Garrapolo (always hurt). Hopefully, Nate Davis will return with a 3 or 4 year deal. The defense should be dominating in 2023, with Simmons, Landry III, Autry, and Tart playing together again. A good pass rush can conceal a lot of deficiencies in the secondary. For the draft, use the 11th choice in the first round to bring in the best offensive lineman on the board. PLEASE! The offensive line brought down the team in the last half 2022 and it has be rebuilt. So, the priorities for the off-season should be to stabilize the QB position for the foreseeable future, and strengthen the offensive line. What do think about this strategy, Jim?
Jim: I think you're being overly optimistic projecting all of those guys to return, Jim. Heck, I think I'd be surprised if just two of the five guys on offense you mentioned are back. I do agree the QB position needs to be stabilized, and the Titans better get better up front.
Tom Mackie from Gloucester - England
Question: Not really a question, just wanted to mention Ryan Stonehouse, who as an undrafted rookie FA, broke Sammy Baugh's 82 year old record for season long gross average punting distance with 53.1 yards per punt this year.
There have been lots of negatives this season, which fans and the media have commented on and at the beginning of the season, fans were rightly concerned with a rookie taking over from Brett Kern, as Brett had been such great punter throughout his career.
I am sure the Titans coaching staff will work on his placement and try to reduce the return yardage, but he has been mightily impressive this season.
Jim: Hi Tom. I thought Ryan Stonehouse did a great job. His cleats and jersey from the season are headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, of you haven't heard. Here's the story on that: CLICK HERE. Ryan also talked about his goals to improve in 2023.
Scott Taylor from Dayton, Ohio
Question: Greetings Jim.
Hope you & yours are doing well 😊
Well Jim I guess a lot of people are getting their wish. With the firing of T. Downey ? I have read a lot of your mailbags and seen a lot of people screaming for him head. Or firing of him. And then Vrabel let a few others go also. Well I will say thank you for your services and good luck in the future.
Now we are going to need to get the right people in there place and hopefully build a championship team.
Speaking of replacement. Do you think it's possible that he asks T. Kelly to be a O.C. and then ask. J. Schwartz to take over as a D.C. ??? I think with a decent draft and the players that we already have it's very possible to get to a championship?
Well Jim I would like to say thank you to. J. Dobbs for coming in on short notice and doing a fairly decent job with what he had to work with.
Well now we are off to the off-season and time to get a good G.M. and hope that he doesn't want to replace Vrabel
Jim I hope that you enjoy the off-season. And hopefully the players get some rest and heal up?
Also want to thank you for all that you do to keep us fan in the kno about the team 🙏
Jim: Thanks, Scott.
Two things: I do think Tim Kelly has a shot for the O.C. job, and the new GM will not be in a position to replace Vrabel. Amy Adams Strunk is the only one who has the authority to do that, and that's not going to happen.
James Cantrell from Cookeville, Tennessee
Question: Ok Jim let's have some fun here. The titans hire you for the gm position. What all would you do?
Jim: Change this mailbag from "Ask Jim" to "Ask the GM."
Keith Baley from Rochester, New York
Question: Good morning Jim.
One thing I have noticed regarding the Titans fanbase over the last couple of weeks is in regards to some fans being on opposite sides of the spectrum. One side couldn't wait for the season to end because they were aware Tennessee had no shot to make any playoff noise and even would have rather lose so Tennessee has a higher pick and it magnifies more of the holes and issues on the roster and coaching staff.
The other side was win at all costs, don't worry about where we draft and try to make a run.
What are your opinions on both mindsets and is there an incorrect way of thinking on either side?
Jim: I think the coaching decisions made by Vrabel would have been made regardless of whether the team made the playoffs or not. And, I don't think the result of the Jaguars game would have had any impact on roster decisions. … As for draft positioning, having a higher pick doesn't guarantee anything. … With all that said, I'll also say I've never been a fan of the thought process of cheering against your team.
Jonathan Humphrey from Rumsey, Kentucky
Question: Hey there JIMBO! Well it was a sad day in camp kickakee (Ernest Goes To Camp reference) for the Titans! As you have seen in the past thousand mailbags Im sure everyone will be dancing up and down after the "Downing" of Downing. I'll be honest this season was the first time EVER watching the Titans that i was physically ill after coming out of an 89% chance of playoffs to losing out 7 games in a row. I dont think they have ever done that and I hope it NEVER happens again. After the recent changes in staff and what is upcoming this offseason i still remain optimistic and I'll be front row and center when the first game comes in the fall. I'm hoping I can finally get to meet you in person at one of the games and shake your hand and show my gratitude for all that you do. Any chances in the offseason that we grab some O-line studs??? follow up question is there anyway of opening up some Cap space by releasing Lewan Taylor cause lets face it, if a mouse farts in his general direction he goes on IR for 6 games. Thanks again JIM! TITAN UP!!!!!!
Jim: We'll meet at a Titans game one day, Jonathan. And yes, Taylor Lewan's future in Tennessee is definitely uncertain – he's said it himself.
Matt Montanaro from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Question: Hey Jim; This one really hurt. What an epic collapse! A pundit on a local sports radio station here in our city predicted some 6 games back that the Titans would not win another game this season and I laughed it off! Wow! I really hope we maintain some sense of competitiveness moving forward. We have cap worries - no doubt. I just hope we do not go into the obscurity of 1 and 2 win team for the next three years or so. I hope that Vrabel figures out that he needs to go outside the organization to find his next OC and that it doesn't have to be from within and it doesn't have to be a buddy. I think Vrabel is a great coach but I also think he needs to open up a little more and find the best people to work for him - even if they potentially outshine him. As for ownership, I hope they look to find the brightest mind outside the organization to manage this team. Our drafting has been sub par under JR and it is now showing. We need a forward-thinking GM with a tap on finding the right talent and drafting the right people. Finally, we need to look at our training staff. I think there is a glaring weakness here. For two seasons now we have been near the top of man lost games. We need to strengthen that department with some new approaches to player/injury management and avoidance. There are programs targeted towards staying ahead of the injury curve. Training and physical management has become a science.
Jim: Hey Matt. Sorry to hear the Canadian pundit ending up being right. No doubt the team needs to figure some things out from an injury department – that's what derailed the season more than anything. At the end of the year, too many backups were playing.
Marc Combs from South Carolina
Question: Just wanted to thank you for all you do covering the Titans. A surprise playoff run would have been nice, but we got kind of what I expected. What a way to lose the last game though. I really believe the loss will probably benefit us more than the win, but I still wanted us to win the division. I'm hoping we find a great left tackle in the vein of Michael Roos in the draft. I hope Lewan is back, but I have a feeling he's done. Maybe we can rebuild the line via free agency. My Dad always said you build your team through the offensive and defensive lines. God bless everyone in the organization.
Jim: Appreciate the well wishes, Marc.
Alice Burgoyne from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hi Amy. Would love to see you have a Super Bowl win !!, When are you going to step up and keep our cohesive group together to make that happen!!!Starts at the top and flows thru the valley!! Make dad and all us Tennessee fans proud!!!
Jim: That's her plan, Alice!
Al Rohrer from Farmington, Missouri
Question: Hello Jim. First time writer and Nashville native now living in Missouri. Appreciate your patience in dealing with some of the questions you receive. I'm a huge Titans fan and three of my five kids still live in the Nashville area and are Titans fans. I'm particularly a fan of Teair Tart, Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, and have been a long time fan of Josh Dobbs, from back in his days at Tennessee. Hope he stays on. Looking forward to next year because I have a lot of faith in the team and in Mike Vrabel. More to say but will wait until the season starts. Again, thank you for handling this job with class and patience.
Jim: Much appreciated, Al. Take care.
Izeck Thomas from Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Question: Hi Jim. I don't necessarily have a question. I just wanted to say that I am proud of Dobbs. Its not easy to come in and learn a new offense as quick as he had to. Its not easy to play with that much pressure with everyone expecting a win, when the team has lost 5 in a row. He made some mistakes, but I think he looked good most of the time he was in there. I hope to see him back next year and maybe with more playing time and coaching he will really develop.
Jim: I agree – Josh did a nice job, Izeck.
Franky Markle from Dyersburg, Tennessee
Question: Tough mailbag on Tuesday!! Jim, you handled it with grace. On to the off-season……..
I think we have a GREAT nucleus of players on this team. I'm sure we have a great coach. Hopefully we get an offensive coordinator that uses the TEs.
Using the TEs got Arthur a head coaching job. If we hire a good GM and they make the decisions on talent, we will be hard to beat next year. Sit back, enjoy the playoffs. It will make it that much sweeter next year. TitanUp!!! Thanks Jim!!
Jim: Have a good one, Franky.
Hunter Phelan from South Pasadena, California
Question: Hi Jim. Hope all is well with you after a disappointing end to our 2022 Titans. Wanted to say thank you once again for the platform you give us fans to sound off, vent, and answer our questions the best you can. Trying to find some positive thinking in the rough stretch of 7 straight losses. Our Titans are 2 play-in losses away both to the Jags from making the playoffs 6 straight seasons. Lots of franchises would love to be in our position, even though we have come up short in the ultimate goal of winning a championship. I commend Coach Vrabel for having the team ready to battle every game. 4 or the 7 ending losses Titans had a shot to win, with lets face it a very shorthanded roster. Proud of the fight, but like everyone involved disappointed with the results.
Just wanted to say thanks to the 2022 Titans for the great effort. Let's get the changes we need made, and Titan up for next year!!!
Jim: Appreciate it, Hunter. I always enjoy all the feedback!
John Clark from Chesapeake, Virginia
Question: Happiest 2023 Jim!!! I'm gonna miss you and being able to go on my rant's hopefully 2023-2024 will be the year for us! I really wanna see Henry get a Super Bowl with his HOF career before he starts a decline! See you in September you and your family be blessed!!!!
Jim: I'm not going anywhere, John. Heck, this mailbag is going to be hopping this offseason.
Have a great weekend everyone!