NASHVILLE – Another week down in March, and now we're less than a month away from the NFL Draft.
Right now, there's a lot of uncertainty in the world, and that includes the NFL.
This much we know: The questions keep coming into the Titans mailbag, and I'm going to keep answering them.
Hope everyone out there is staying healthy and safe!
Let's do this…
Mark Mizell from Colorado Springs, Colorado
Question: First time writer Jim. Thanks for your work and keeping us up to date. At this point I'm starting to get concerned that we'll have 11 players on the roster to line up for defense. All I've seen is a steady stream of good players leaving and signing elsewhere. I get that we traded Casey to ease the cap burden, but I expected us to use that money to sign someone. It appears that our defense has gotten worse as a good number of starters and primary backups are gone. Is there any hint of a plan? We don't have an unusually large number of picks in the upcoming draft that we can afford a large number of losses. Not sure our offense has improved much at this point either. We were really rolling toward the end of last season, but isn't the off-season all about improving? Not just maintaining? On paper a lot of teams are getting much better, even in our division (see the Colts). Give us hope!
Jim: Hey Mark. Good to hear from you, and I hear ya. But keep in mind free agency isn't even two weeks old and a lot of players are still out there. Plus, the NFL Draft will provide a lot of opportunities and all you have to do is look back at last year's draft class to know you can get impact players there – Jeffery Simmons, A.J. Brown, and Nate Davis all turned into starters, and David Long and Amani Hooker were contributors. Going into this offseason, priority No.1 was to keep Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry in the fold, and that was done. I do agree some work needs to be done to enhance the team's chances of contending again. The team still has some holes that need to be filled, but the good news is there's time.
Johnelle C from Kaneohe, Hawaii
Question: Aloha Jim. I just wanted to thank you, Amie, Coach Mac, Mike, and your team for all your hard work and dedication over these past 5 years. I've had such a fun time listening to the OTP, reading your articles, and keeping up to date with everything Titans. I especially wanted to express my appreciation for Amie, it is nice to have another woman to look up to in the football world. I really enjoyed hearing her thoughts, perspectives, and for creating the OTP. Our owner Ms. Amy is also another woman that I look up to. I can't believe all of the great things she has done for our organization and for the NFL at large.
I'm so happy that Marcus got his first chance in the NFL with the Titans. Unfortunately it didn't go as we planned, but the Titans will always hold a special place in my heart. As my last question, I was wondering if you could tell me what is the difference between the responsibilities of the starting QB and the backup QB to prepare for a game during the regular season? I always hear that backups prepare as if they were starters, but is there anything else that they have to do? I remember hearing from you guys that Marcus was giving our defense a "good look" at what the opposing QB might do in a game. What does that entail? Wishing you and the team the best in the 2020 season. Mahalo.
Jim: Aloha Johnelle. Thanks for the kind words, and I'll pass along to the crew, especially Amie.
As for Marcus, I wish him well, too. He's a fine young man and I hope he has success with the Raiders. As for the QB responsibilities, both of them prepare during the week to play. But the starter definitely has the advantage because he's getting the majority of the reps in practices, which helps. So the back-up just doesn't get the same looks going into a game, and that's why it's so hard to step in and run the offense to perfection. Both QBs practice, sit in meetings, watch film, chat with coaches, but the No.1 QB gets most of the work on the practice field. When you heard about Marcus giving the defense a good look, that was him working as the scout team quarterback against the first team defense. That's oftentimes the role of the No.2 QB, playing the role of the other team's starter vs. the Titans defense on the practice field.
David Stalder from Albuquerque, New Mexico
Question: Hey Jim, Titans verses Brady and the Bucs in the Super Bowl. How great would that be?
Jim: Hey David. It would be great. But Titans vs. anybody in the Super Bowl would be great.
Steven Crosio from Brick, New Jersey
Question: With COVID-19 changing everything with everyone in lock down how worry should we be about the Titans' season regardless of offseason and draft?
Jim: Hey Steven. It's a whole new world. The draft is still a go, per the commissioner. But I have serious doubts about whether there will be any offseason work (OTAs, minicamp). I'm hoping there will be a training camp and a season, but right now I don't know if anything is 100 percent. If there is a season, teams will face a much bigger challenge in getting ready with the reduced meetings and practice time. Keep your fingers crossed, but make sure you wash them first!
Russell Sicard from Lockport, New York
Question: Hey Jim, Greetings from a geographically challenged Titans fan! Now that Tannehill and Henry are secured will the Titans seek a veteran QB for back-up or will Logan Woodside fill that role?
Jim: Hey Russell. I like Logan Woodside, and I know the coaches like him, too. I saw him post on social media he was working with receiver Corey Davis and tight end Anthony Firkser earlier this month, which is a good sign. I expect Logan to have a chance to win the back-up job, but the team will definitely add another QB. Whether that guy is a veteran or a draft pick, well, I'm curious to see myself. Logan will have an edge on a lot of guys because he has been in the system and will benefit from that. What he doesn't have is NFL experience, so if it ends up being a proven veteran, he'll have to really impress to beat him out.
Franklin Prince from West Palm Beach, Florida
Question: How good is AJ Brown. Is he the Number One receiver on this team now?
Jim: How good is A.J.?
Well, he was good enough to lead all rookies with 1,051 receiving yards in 2019, and he also had eight touchdown receptions among his 52 catches, and 60 rushing yards with another score.
Brown was good enough to become the first rookie since Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1998) to have a minimum of 50 catches, 1,000 receiving yards and five touchdowns while averaging 17-plus yards per catch, plus four touchdown catches of 50-plus yards.
Brown was good enough to become the only NFL rookie since 1970 with 1,000-plus receiving yards and an average of 20-plus yards per reception, and good enough to lead the NFL with 605 receiving yards over his final six games of the regular season.
Brown was good enough to post five 100-yard games, which led all rookie receivers in 2019, and were the most by any NFL rookie since Amari Cooper (five) in 2015. He was good enough to become the fourth rookie since 1970 with at least four touchdown receptions of 50-plus yards.
So yes, Brown is pretty darn good. And while I like Corey Davis, I think Brown will further establish himself as the No.1 receiver this fall.
Denarius Floyd from Lavergne, Tennessee
Question: What do you think the Titans have a plan up their sleeves with this Jurrell Casey trade and placing a tag on the KING (Henry). My beliefs are we're going to sign Logan Ryan. we needed money or him. Get rid of Adoree get one more good free agent possibly a secondary type player and get us a RING.
Jim: Hey Denarius. The GM always has something up his sleeve. Whether the team re-signs Logan, well, we'll have to wait and see there. I've seen reports of Logan wanting $10 million per year, which is what he made the past three seasons. I'm not sure the team goes there, and I'm not sure if Logan has any flexibility with that number. I'd love to see him back myself. We disagree on getting rid of Adoree, who has improved. And I don't think he's going anywhere.
Robert Thomas from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Why does it feel like Deja vu with the Titans' Front Office allowing Jurrell Casey to be traded to Denver for a lousy 7th round draft pick?? I still feel hurt every time I see a picture of Steve McNair in a Titan Uniform. Like Casey he put his heart and soul on the field for the Titans every time he went on the field through every kind of injury imaginable but in the end he was locked out of even the weight room. From that time on it seems the Titans were cursed under a cloud. The changes kept coming and the losing seasons kept piling on. From Vince Young to Jake Locker they were never able to match McNair's grit, determination, skill, and heart.
Then come a young Marcus Mariota straight out of college and a number two draft pick. He reminds a lot of us of a young McNair but he's not given much to work with on his Offensive Line and that makes him a bit too cautious with the ball at times. However, no one can fault his grit, determination and the heart he plays with, yet he enters his last season with the Titans where through the fault of missed field goals by an inept substitute kicker he is replaced and tagged with a 2/4 record which is a misnomer because it was the lousy kicker that lost two of those four games. That kicker missed FOUR field goals against Buffalo that left 12 Points on the field and he missed two field goals against Indianapolis that left 6 points on the field, yet it is Mariota who is blamed for the 2/4 record that gave Tannehill his start.
So now the front office sends Mariota packing, they send Casey to Denver, they let Conklin go and are dragging their feet on signing Logan Ryan. Sometimes it's about how people are treated who have been true and faithful and not necessarily just about business. Despite it all my loyalty as a Titans fan remains intact of that there is no question. I just hope they aren't making the same mistakes when it comes to the chemistry and make-up of the team. I wish Godspeed to all of the Titans who for whatever reason will not be wearing the Titan Blue next year. They should be remembered for the contributions they made over the last four years that made last year possible. Thank-you.
Jim: Hey Robert. No comparison between trading Jurrell and what happened with McNair. I've said this before, but the Jurrell decision was based on his big price tag moving forward and projecting what he'll do on the field. It was a business decision with football in mind. What happened with McNair was completely different. The team originally told McNair he wasn't allowed to work out on the property because they feared the liability of a $23.46 million salary cap hit if McNair got hurt. It was a bad look, yes, but not the same deal. As for your take on Mariota, it's time to quit making excuses for him. He didn't play well enough to keep his job, and he's no longer on the team. I've covered the NFL for over 20 years and seen a lot of tough decisions made, in Tennessee and elsewhere. It's a tough business.
Mark Sanderson from Burlington, North Carolina
Question: Hey Jim. Hope all is well with you in this challenging time. In regards to the draft, what's your best guess as to the team's set up? Do you think there will be camera's in each team's "temporary" war room? Will we see video conferencing with players? Having a real time chat during the draft would be interesting. It certainly will be different this year for sure.
Jim: Hey Mark. Great question. In reality, no one knows. Heck, we don't know even know for sure if facilities across the NFL will be open by then. I've seen reports of teams potentially setting up their war room in a ballroom of a hotel. There's just a whole lot TBD here. Stay tuned.
Have a great weekend everyone and stay safe!