NASHVILLE – The Titans were back at Nissan Stadium on Friday for the first time since the 2019 season.
Sure, it was just a practice. But it was a welcome sight.
And it means we're one day closer to kickoff for the 2020 season.
The clock is ticking, and the questions keep popping into the Titans mailbag.
Let's roll out another one…
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Brandon Marchbanks from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hello Jim. I've been a fan of the Tennessee Titans since their inception in 1997. I was elated in 1999, when they changed their nickname from the "Oilers" to the "Titans". I've continued to support the team through their "Good, Bad, & the Ugly" seasons. For the upcoming 2020 season, which rookie draft pick do you think will have the most significant impact on the team?
Jim: Hey Brandon. I'm going with defensive back Kristian Fulton, because I think he's going to have a significant role in the defense, and I think he's really talented. The other guy is running back Darrynton Evans, but he'll be in a complementary role to Derrick Henry, of course. This is not to say I don't like first-round pick Isaiah Wilson. I just think his time will come down the road.
Andrew Bonilla from Walden, New York
Question: Hey Jim! Love all the work you do for the team to keep us out of towners in the loop! My question is, with no joint practices and no preseason, what do you think will be the hardest thing to emulate for the team as they prepare for other opponents? Also, can we really expect these guys to be physically and mentally ready for week 1 without these things?
Jim: Hey Andrew. It's definitely going to make things tougher. I think tackling is one thing that could be sloppy early across the league. Sure, you can practice technique and fundamentals, but there's nothing like doing it in live action. And for the Titans, the last time they tackled someone was in the AFC title game in January. For teams who saw their season end after Week 17, well, you have to go back longer than that.
Stephen Clifford from Melbourne Australia
Question: Hi Jim. Huge Titans fan and what an exciting time the play-offs where last season. Looking forward to this season and the improvement again of Jeffrey Simmons and A.J. Brown. Not to mention the future HOF'er Derrick Henry. My question is: What have we done to help the defence in able to stop opposition Tight Ends who I see continually carve us up. Is there any way to stop this as we are continually giving away crucial 3rd downs to a TE play. We are a huge chance to be SB Champions this season. Thanks for your work. GO TITANS.
Jim: Hey Stephen. Appreciate the question from Down Under. Tight ends are more athletic and more dynamic players around the league than they've ever been, and that's why a lot of teams have trouble covering them. Do the Titans need to improve in this area? Yes, no question. But honestly, I don't think the Titans were as bad as you suggest. I went back and looked at how the team did vs tight ends last season, and again, the team needs to do better. But only one tight end had a 100-yard game vs the Titans – Atlanta's Austin Hooper, who had nine catches for 130 with no scores. Other than that, I thought the Titans did a pretty good job vs. tight ends for the most part. In two games combined vs the Chiefs, tight end Travis Kelce, one of the best TEs in the game, had 10 catches for 105 yards (5 catches for 52.5-yard average), and a touchdown. He had just three catches for 30 yards in the AFC Championship Game. He's fared much better against other teams. Saints tight end Jared Cook had three catches for 84 yards and two TDs vs the Titans, and Raiders tight end Darren Waller had six catches for 73 yards but no scores. Indy's Jack Doyle had eight catches for 94 yards in two games combined, with no TDs. Other than that, no tight end really hurt the Titans in the 19-game season. Doing the math, tight ends averaged 5 catches for 57 yards per game. The Titans also allowed 10 touchdowns to tight ends in 2019, which is too many. But again, these tight ends across the NFL are really talented. Looking ahead to 2020, I think the Titans have some guys who can match up with tight ends, at linebacker and safety. Heck, I think linebacker Jayon Brown is a guy who has proven capable himself. We'll see what happens as far as matchups go this fall, but the defense will have some other options to slow tight ends down.
Joe Zavala from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: We brought in a whole bunch of ppl In this week.. but not one of them is of any substance.. that mean they are gonna have open tryouts like the Disney movie next.. c'mon man
Jim: Hey Joe. I assume you're talking about the additions of quarterback Trevor Siemian, tight end Geoff Swaim, running back Marcus Marshall, and receiver Krishawn Hogan this week. All those guys were brought in to compete in camp and the possibility to stick as back-ups, not to supplant starters on the roster. That's why the roster count is at 80 players right now. You wanting them to just roll 22 guys out there for practices?
David Stalder from Albuquerque, New Mexico
Question: Hey, Jim. Crowd noise can have an impact on the game: false starts, delay of games. I've only been able to make one home game in Nashville over the years but Nissan stadium can get good and loud; I loved joining in. If there will be no fans in the seats for the first game, what is the team aloud to do to create that noise. Will the game be silent? Can they pipe in crowd noise?
Jim: Hey David. The team actually worked with some artificial crowd noise at the practice on Friday. The league has informed teams it will be an option to use for this fall when no fans are in the stands, so that's going to take some getting used to. I actually thought it sounded pretty good on Friday. It's better than nothing if you ask me.
Mark Ski from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: If you can relay a message to the home office: If this team takes a knee I'll be done with this team/ NFL.
Jim: What if it's a knee in the Victory formation, when the team is running out the clock at the end of a win?
Lorien Tenore from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Will the NATIONAL ANTHEM still be played at Titans games this year? It breaks my heart to think that the Titans would take the field without this time honored tradition. My family will not be attending or watching any Titans games if the NATIONAL ANTHEM is not a part of the opening celebration. I sincerely hope you understand that we are a football family. My husband played, my son plays, and we are faithful fans all the way back from the Memphis and Vanderbilt stadium days. I was in attendance at the inaugural game at Adelphia stadium but cannot continue to support a team or organization that refuses to play our nation's song. Good luck with your future season. I'll be finding something else to do on Sundays.
Jim: I'm expecting the National Anthem to be played. The NFL has said that because of the coronavirus, the anthem singer won't be on the field, however.
Jesse McMurray from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question: With his experiences both on and especially off the field, have the Titans looked in ERIC BERRY's direction? He would be an invaluable addition at a low-risk price... what are your thoughts?
Jim: Can't see it. The Titans already have a pair of good safeties in Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro.
David Butler from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. With no pre-season and limited camp due to COVID, teams obviously have a new approach to their rosters and how much they can put in as far as play calling goes. I think the Titans have an advantage here because of how many of the core players from last year are returning. What teams in the NFL do you think will see the same advantage and what teams do you think the lack of "working together as a single unit" will hurt?
Jim: Hey David. There's no doubt teams with a lot of returning players and coaches like the Titans will have an advantage heading into the season. But unfortunately, some of the league's best teams from a year ago – the Chiefs and Ravens among them -- are in the same boat. Those two teams will look very similar from a personnel and scheme standpoint. When I look at teams that will face a big challenge, the Panthers are the first team that comes to mind – a new head coach and staff with two rookie coordinators, and a new QB. Plus, they play in a division that will pit them against Tom Brady and Drew Brees twice.
Have a great weekend everyone!