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Weekend Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans

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NASHVILLE – And we're on to Cincinnati.

The Titans return to action on Sunday, ready to face the Bengals, and aiming for a bounce-back effort after suffering their first loss of the season last Sunday.

Let's bounce into another Titans mailbag.

But first, can I get a 'Go Dodgers!'? 😊

I know, I know, stick to football.

Let's roll…

Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE

Andy Stambene from Lethbridge, Canada
Question:
Hey Jim been a Titans/Oilers fan since 1971! When I looked at the defense at the beginning of the season I thought they had the makings of a wrecking ball dominate defense. To say they have looked sloppy and have underwhelmed is an understatement! Clowney and Beasley have been mostly absence. At this point I would not bring the two back... hopefully though they can turn things around and be factors... otherwise let's let the kid Landry play more and I'd like to see Evans moved over to the outside with Long being moved inside to a starters role with J Brown. Still pulling for the Titans but hope they can find some more success on Defense and not rely on the Offense to bail them mostly out. We have a great defense...provided everyone comes back from IR and plays up to snuff...What do you think?

Jim: Hey Andy. Well, Landry can't play any more than he's been playing. He's been logging about 95 percent of the snaps, and he rarely comes off the field. I definitely think the potential is still there, especially from what I've seen in small doses with Clowney. I think this is the weekend when the pass rush finally breaks through. It should at least, considering the Bengals will be missing three starters on the offensive line. I'll say this: This team has too much talent to be so bad on third down, and to be in the bottom third on defense. I get it - fans want to see it in action, not read about potential.

Nathan Surles from Brooklyn, New York
Question:
Hey Jim, always reading yr mailbag...1st time commenting,
We almost won a game we had no business winning!! That tells you how good this team is!!!!!!! Are there any moves coach V is going to do to improve our pass rush! Thanks

Jim: Hey Nathan. Thanks for jumping in. Well, Vrabel and everyone else is hoping the guys on the roster can get it done. Just like I just discussed with Andy, the outside backers are going to have to impact games more, from Clowney to Landry to Beasley. I think you'll see Derick Roberson get some chances as well moving forward. But it's a team effort. Getting Adoree' Jackson back at some point will help on the back end, but he's not going to solve all the problems.

Joe Eyolfson from Sanford, Manitoba
Question:
Tough loss to the Steelers last Sunday. I think it was AJ Brown who said the team probably learned more from that loss than they would have with a win, and I couldn't agree more. Loved the turnaround on both sides of the ball in the 2nd half, and now it's time to look forward and secure a victory next Sunday against a surprisingly competitive 1-5 team in Cincinnati. I can feel those Colts breathing down our necks already!
3 questions for you, all somewhat related:
1) I have always wondered about salary payments for an injured player - for example Adoree Jackson or Taylor Lewan. I assume that they still get paid per their contract (I.e. they would still get paid their "guaranteed" money => and miss out on any performance related payments they don't reach). Is that correct?
2) Related to #1, does the team get the money "back" under the salary cap for the time that players are on IR? (say Adoree comes back and plays the final 10 regular season games, would the Titans get 6/16 of his cap hit back to use on players while he is down)? Am I making any sense here Jim? A lot of these Salary Cap calculations are an absolute mystery to me 🧐
3) Final question => and of course it's hypothetical; JRob comes to you this weekend and says "Find me one player before Next Tuesday's trade deadline". Who do you pick, and why?
Sorry for cluttering the inbox, but as always I appreciate your knowledge and insight. Thanks for all you do Jim. Go Titans! ✊

Jim: Hey Joe. I'll tackle these in rapid fire fashion:
1- The players on Injured Reserve get paid the same as they would if they remained on the 53-man roster. And you're right – only the incentive bonuses are impacted because obviously they're not paid.
2- No, there's no break on the salary cap for injured players.
3- As long as we're dealing with hypotheticals, how about Myles Garrett? If not, Aaron Donald? Neither of these guys are available, of course, but both are game-wreckers and it's fun to dream, right?

Rom Dunaway from Franklin, Indiana
Question:
Thanks for possibly taking my question! I was reading some of the tweets during ST coach Craig Aukerman's Zoom conference when he was commenting on Stephen Gostkowski's sock. It got me thinking about the practice routine for kickers. I figure each has their own routine but what does a typical practice look like for Kern and Gostkowski? How many kicks are they getting in on a daily basis? Do they practice a lot of situational stuff like the O and D would go through (red zone, 3rd & short, 4 min, etc.)? Keep up the good work and Titan Up!

Jim: Hey Rom. It really depends on what's planned day to day in practices in kicking periods. Those guys work a lot on their own on a side field, but the team has special teams periods during the week. And they work from different distances, in hurry-up situations, and in end-of-game situations as well.

Matthew Huddleston from Shelbyville, Tennessee
Question:
Do you see the Titans making any moves prior to the trade deadline? I see all the "experts" say we should make a move for Stephon Gilmore, but I don't really see how a 30 year old CB is going to help unless he can magically rush the QB while covering downfield. A pass rusher is what we need. I think we all thought that is what we were getting by signing Jadeveon Clowney, but he seems like he just isn't what he used to be. Now that may be due to double teams and other whatnots. So to be more specific with my question, do you see the Titans making a trade for a defensive lineman? Would they be willing to give up the draft pick (or picks) needed to add Quinnen Williams to pair up in the middle with Jefferey Simmons? It doesn't matter how good your defensive backs are if you can't get pressure on the QB or sack him when you do get pressure.

Jim: Hey Matthew. I always answer this with: Nothing Jon Robinson does surprises me. The reality is the GM isn't going to discuss potential moves with me, even though I work for the team. Sure, I get a heads-up when stuff is about to come down the pike so I can prepare a story, and I'm privy to certain information. But I learned several years ago the GM doesn't divulge much leading up to the trade deadline. I do feel certain he's making calls and exploring potential deals (I actually saw him talking on his phone during the early portion of Friday's practice 📱). But that's just how he operates. We'll have to see if anything comes to fruition.

Michael Williams from Dallas, Texas
Question:
Everyone needs to understand our defense has new players. Give the Titans time to gel together on defense. I know football. The Titans will be a great defense by week 11. Have faith and keep rooting the titans on defense. Kb, js, kv, jb, jc and mb. Adoree take your time coming back. We need you back at a 100%.

Jim: Hey Michael. I know a lot of folks in here sure hope you're right…

Rick Pinkerton from Terryville, Connecticut
Question:
Jim, Thanks for being our voice. I want to say I am so proud of our team. They got themselves in a hole and nearly climbed out. You can see how much they care for each other, no finger pointing, not blaming Steve, just saying they ALL need to improve. I love what Kevin said This loss could be a blessing in disguise as it shows our weakness that cannot be covered up by a win. I agree It is much better to lose NOW than go through a season hardly losing than lose in the first round of the playoffs, Ask the Ravens. I think that this team sees each game as a big challenge not taking any of them for granted. This Bengals team is a good team. We will have to play well to win, which I believe we will do. One question: Up here in New England the Patriots need a tight end very badly {amongst other things} What happened to Delanie Walker?

Jim: Thanks Rick. As for Delanie, he remains a free agent and isn't currently on a team.

Jared Mixon from Valdez, Alaska
Question:
AAAGH! Let's compare the current season stats of kickers whom the Titans have passed over and released-
Parkey: 8-8 on field goals, 22-23 on XPoints
Succop: 11-13 on field goals, 25-26 on Xpoints
Santos: 10-12 on field goals, 12-12 on Xpoints
Gostkoswki: 10-16 on field goals, 18-20 on Xpoints
And there was Greg Joseph who was a perfect 9-9 on Xpoints for the Titans last year. Out of all these kickers, why is it we have kept Gostkowski on the roster? Last I checked, Joseph was still available. You didn't answer this question when I asked at the beginning of the season, so I'll ask again: Why can't we bring Joseph back?

Jim: Hey Jared. The kicking situation is so easy to second guess. When the Titans signed Gostkowski at the start of the season, I didn't get a single complaint, or hear anyone say: 'Man, the Titans should've kept Greg Joseph instead.' Or, 'Man, what were we thinking not bringing back Parkey or Santos?' Of course, you'd rather have a proven kicker with Super Bowl experience over a kicker (Joseph) who kicked one field goal last year, and the rest extra points. Why didn't he stick with the team at the end of training camp? Well, if you watched practices at the end of August like the GM and the HC (and myself), you wouldn't be doubling down on this question. I like Greg Joseph. He's a good guy, he did a good job last year, and he was solid most of camp. But his inconsistency at the end of August opened the door for them to bring in Gostkowski, and sign the other guy Joseph was competing against (Tucker McCann) to the practice squad. The HC and the GM still have faith in Gostkowski, who has kicked three game-winners this year. That's why he's still on the roster.

Callum D from Bruxelles, Belgium
Question:
Love the Ask Jim sector! As a fan living in Europe it's sometimes difficult to keep up with the team! With the need for pass rush showing again against the Steelers, and the Cowboys saying Griffin is on the trade block, do you see a possible trade for us before the deadline, for Griffin or another pass rusher? If so, do you think this could be the missing piece that could help our secondary and give us the edge in what I'm expecting as two very tough and important games vs the Colts?
Also, I've been debating with a friend whether the winner overall of the two games v Indianapolis will take the division and would love the input of someone who knows much more about the game than me!
Thanks for your column, keep up the good work! Titan up!

Jim: Hello Callum. Welcome to the sector! Man, that has a nice ring to it. In case you missed it, Griffin was traded from the Cowboys to the Lions this week. Will the team be going after someone else? This is just me, but if the team ends up making a trade, I'd bet on it being at a different position…

Eric Koehler from Las Vegas, Nevada
Question:
Is there positive news on Isaiah Wilson? This team is really looking good offensively and I'm sure they'll come together defensively. Jon Robinson has been great in the draft but our first rounder doesn't seem to be working out and the longer it takes the more it starts to feel like Kevin Dodd 2.0. Hoping there is some good news soon. Titan Up!

Jim: Hey Eric. The positive news is Isaiah practiced the entire week for the first time this season…

Andrew Brown from Leeds, England
Question:
First, thanks for all the amazing stuff you do, your twitter feed keeps me sane! Onto the football... I have supported the Titans/Oilers for over 25 years and bar the obvious RB/QB connection, its been a long time since i enjoyed watching our offense as much as I do. I think fans need to take a breath and remember the years and years of 7-9,8-8,9-7 if not worse finishes. This is an exciting team that has so much heart and never gives in, this alone means its a joy to watch them week in week out, admittedly we do need to improve on 3rd down, especially the 3rd and longs, i think that's what frustrates people the most! which leads me to my questions, is it a personnel issue? Surely just getting Adoree back isn't enough?? You can see Clowney and co put pressure on the QB's as a lot of 1st and 2nd downs fall short or are clearly hurried in their passing, most running games don't pile up long yard runs, its just the deep throws! and then following on from that, are we looking to trade for anyone pre deadline?? Thanks again for all you do!

Jim: Appreciate it, Andrew. I'm with you on all your football takes here. The third down issues are a combination of several things, from a lack of a pass rush to some shaky coverage in the secondary to, well, guys have been too damn wide open too many times for one reason or another. As for the possibility of trade deadline moves, there's a chance. I'll just say they don't call the GM 'Trader Jon' for nothing…

David Jenkins from Ashland City, Tennessee
Question:
Imagine this- we never sign Clowney or Beasley and we keep Ryan, Casey, and Correa. In hindsight Better off or not? Go Titans!

Jim: Not. I wouldn't give up on Clowney and Beasley yet. Plus, Jurrell Casey is out for the season with an injury, and Correa was at the bottom of the depth chart at OLB. Do I think Logan Ryan would help? Yes, but the Titans have a chance to be solid at corner when they get healthy.

Mike Turner from Shelbyville, Tennessee
Question:
Hi Jim! Thanks for doing what you do. Written a few times so I know you know how much I'm down with my Titans. Just wanted to say also how much I respect coach Vrabel but I get a bit disappointed in his lack or energy and positive reinforcement for his players during the press conferences. I get not getting overhyped. And I support. But great play deserves positive reinforcement. Several players play great week after week and I'm sure as hard as they play they would enjoy PUBLiC appreciation for that effort. He shouldn't dismiss it so effortlessly. In fact praising a players great performance can inspires others to strive for great things. Again I am huge huge fan of my team and coach but please consider just as constructive criticism. I don't pretend to understand his world. Just know what has worked for me in my past careers and others as well. Here's to this weeks success to also a quick shout out to Malcolm Butler who doesn't get the praise but has really been ballin lately

Jim: Hey Mike. Well, that's just the way Coach Vrabel is. He just doesn't shower guys with a lot of praise. Now he will – I've heard him rave about guys plenty. But he wants them to keep working and striving to get better. And I know from being around the game for so long, sometimes guys get their feathers ruffled if some guys get a lot of praise, and others don't. So Vrabel plays it pretty straight, and it seems to work. It's very obvious to me his players really respect him.

Keith Lane from Clarksville, Tennessee
Question:
Hello Jim, I pray all is well with you and your family. Long time reader of your mailbag, first time writing in. Before Tennessee got their professional football team I was a lifelong Steelers fan. I always said if Tennessee got their own team I would definitely support them. So 21 years later I am still on the Titans bandwagon. I've seen the best and worst of this team and still support them. With the way things are going this year with our defense, I'm really surprised that we are 5 and 1. With that being said, I will take it. I just have to ask about the bashing of Clowney? If people will look at the games that I've been watching, he is double teamed about 85 percent of the time. So my question is more to our fans. Why not bash the people that aren't double teamed and still can't get to the quarterback? It has to be a team effort for any team to win! Thanks for all you do! God Bless!!

Jim: Hey Keith. Thank you for taking the time…

Tim Akers from Nashville, Tennessee
Question:
Regardless of the outcome against the Steelers, while disappointing, was certainly another exciting must see finish. My question concerns the Titan's next game. What are the three most important things the Titans must do to win against the Bengals. BTW, that Joe Burrow sure looks like the real deal, doesn't he??

Jim: Hey Tim. The Bengals won't be a pushover. Burrow is talented, and even though they're 1-5-1, they've played a lot of games close. Four of their five losses have been by five points or less. If the Titans don't show up ready to play, then they'll get beat. Biggest keys? 1. Run the ball well against a Cincy defense that's struggled vs the run. 2. Get pressure on Burrow, who will be playing behind a banged-up offensive line. 3. Get off the field on third down defense.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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