NASHVILLE – Happy Father's Day weekend to all the dads out there.
Hope everyone is staying healthy and safe as we've crossed the midway point in June.
Thanks for stopping in to check out the latest Titans mailbag. And thanks for keeping the questions coming during what has been an interesting offseason for sure.
Let's kick this thing off…
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Fred Eberhart from Evanston, Illinois
Question: Hey Jim! I really appreciate all you do answering fans questions and providing some great reading! I wanted to ask you your thoughts on Arthur Smith, and the job he did last year, as well as his future as our OC. He seemed to really shine after the switch to Tannehill, (which I guess everyone did) but I did notice him catching his stride late season with some great unpredictable play calls, and Titan football was very enjoyable to watch. Do you think he'll continue his success this upcoming year, and do you think his experience as TE coach will help Jonnu have another even better breakout season? Thanks so much!
Jim: Hey Fred. Well, I thought Arthur did a fantastic job. Let's put things in perspective.
In his first year as OC:
--The Titans ranked first in the NFL in red zone efficiency (75.6%), third in rushing (138.9), fourth in yards per play (6.12, which was the third best in franchise history) and 10th in points per game (402, 25.1 per game).
--The Titans' red zone efficiency was the best in the NFL since 2013, and the third-highest percentage in the league since 1991.
--The team surpassed the 400-point total for a season for only the second time since 1990 (435 in 2003).
--Tennessee featured the NFL's leading rusher in Derrick Henry (1,540), the league's highest rated passer in Ryan Tannehill (117.5) and the leading rookie receiver in A.J. Brown (1,051 yards). And Tannehill and Henry became only the fourth NFL duo (since 1973, when passer rating was established), and first in franchise history, to lead the league in rushing and passer rating in the same season.
It's a tough act to follow for sure, but the unit will benefit from all the returning players. And I do think Jonnu Smith could the team's best breakout candidate.
Rick Smith from Union, Kentucky
Question: When I pay for the NFL Ticket, or spend $800-1000 to bring my family down to a game 4 to 5 times a year that is my time, our time, the fans time we are paying for that time to watch football! They can have the platform on NFL Network or wherever all day long, I can turn it if I like. Without fans the players have no platform as MLB is about to find out. I am a retired police officer I have worked with bad officers I have actually arrested bad officers. The majority are very incredible people, and when you need help who do you want beside you? Deal with the bad Officer, or Doctor, or Priest, or Boss or Athlete. I will tell you this If this season becomes a kneeling, commentator discussion during MY TIME I will find better things to do on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. I am done. I Love the Titans and what Amy Adams Strunk has done but I am getting tired of getting issues shoved down my throat. I love reading the mailbag you have always done a great job Jim, but I believe the NFL is about to make a big mistake and one that could lose a lot of fans. As Always Jim, take care to you and yours.
Jim: Thanks for taking the time, Rick. I've let fans share their opinions in here, and I appreciate your willingness to do so as well. I've seen both side of this debate over the years, and some thoughtful viewpoints. Thanks for reading, and again, for sharing your thoughts.
Jack Warren from Calabasas, California
Question: Hey Jim. What a year, huh? I was going to opine about current events or Colin Kaepernick...
But enough of all that. One of my favorite young men on this team said it better than I ever could.
"Love On One Another No Matter What Race You Are" - Kevin Byard
Jim: Hey Jack. You're right – Kevin nailed it.
Jarin Sloan from Miles City, Montana
Question: I have been a Oilers/Titans fan since I was old enough to pick my own team. I have great respect and admiration for the players, coaches and owners. I was wondering if the organization knows if there has been talk or any chance of Bud becoming part of the Hall of Fame. Mr. Moon said it best and I could not agree more that he is very deserving of that honor. Secondly, is there any time frame on a deal being done with Derrick Henry? He is a great role model and leader it be a shame to see him in another uniform. Finally a big thank you to the players, coaches, staff, owners and the rest of the organization for all you do in the communities and how you make all your fans feel like they are appreciated. Even when they are miles away from Nashville!! TITAN UP
Jim: Hi Jarin. Well, there's been talk. In fact, Mr. Adams was one of 10 finalists in the contributor category for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Centennial class, but he didn't make it. Personally, I think he's very deserving, too. And we're not alone. I've heard too many folks say you can't write the history of the NFL without Bud Adams, and it's the truth. Hopefully he'll get inducted at some point. As for the time frame on Henry, the deadline to get a long-term deal done by is July 15. After that, he'd have to play the year on the franchise tag.
Will Bloodworth from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Just out of curiosity, do you have any idea if Titans Caravan will be happening this year? It would certainly be unfortunate if COVID kept it from happening this year, but it would be understandable if the franchise decided not to do it this year. The priority obviously has to be on the protection of the players and the fans!
On that same note, do you know if training camp will be at all open to the public this year? I'm guessing that all of this stuff is very tentative right now, so I totally don't understand if you have much of an answer!
Jim: Hi Will. Unfortunately, there won't be a Caravan this year. It usually takes place the week after the draft, and because of the coronavirus pandemic, it didn't happen. Players have now gone their separate ways until training camp, and they're not scheduled to report until late in July. You're right that a lot remains in the "to be determined" category. Two factors, however, have me thinking the team won't have fans at training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. The Titans are not just dealing with question marks related to the pandemic -- the team's practice facility is also undergoing major renovations, with a huge addition. There's construction, and the sideline that used to be the area where a lot of fans watched practice is no more. We'll have to wait and see about a potential open practice at Nissan Stadium, but I'd brace myself for a training camp unlike those we've seen since the team moved to town 20 years ago.
John Hutcherson from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: What game will you observe Veterans Day?
Jim: Hi John. The Salute to Service game is scheduled for the November 8 game vs. the Bears.
Andy Stabene from Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Question: Hello Jim. First time writer! Been a Oilers-Titans fan since 1971. Saw some lean years and some great years. Some good trades and horrible ones. Didn't like the release of my main man Marcus but I understand, ditto for Logan Ryan and Jack Conklin! With some wiggle-room will the Titans sign Newton? I think he'd be awesome if/when Tannehill goes down. I've heard everyone is high on Woodside but having a one-time MVP makes me sleep better.
Jim: Hi Andy. Well, you're at least the fourth person to inquire about Cam in the last few weeks. I haven't asked anyone in-house about Cam specifically, so I'll continue to go with my gut here. And my answer remains: I wouldn't bet on it. Not only do I question if Cam is a good fit, I also think Cam's probably thinking he could find a better opportunity elsewhere. My thinking on the Titans QB situation as it stands right now: Behind Ryan Tannehill, Logan Woodside and Cole McDonald will get a chance to win the No.2 job. If the season is creeping closer and neither has established himself, then the team could go looking for a veteran at the position to back up Tannehill. Kind of doubting it would be Cam, though.
Mike Frahm from Correctionville, Iowa
Question: Hi Jim. I'd like to go to watch the Titans play in Minneapolis since it's only 5 hours away from me and it's not a late season game for once. Do you know if they are going to sell tickets in hopes they will have fans in attendance or wait until they decide that?
Jim: Hey Mike. That's probably a question for the Vikings – not sure how they're handling tickets. As of right now, though, no one knows for sure whether fans will be allowed at stadiums or not. Everyone is hoping that will be the case, but it's still too early to say. Hope to see you there.
Marge Barrows from Paris, Tennessee
Question: With all that is going on with protests and what should be accepted, I propose all teams let their players display their thoughts, beliefs either in the locker room or the tunnel, and no team come out until the national anthem is over. I do not want to see the fans have to endure any displays, regardless of what side they are on. I would like to know if you think this is a solution to all the players, fans, owners and the NFL? Thank you!
Jim: Hi Marge. Thanks for your input. These decisions will be made above my pay grade …
Carl McClanahan from Shelbyville, Tennessee
Question: Since the league thinks all attendees as well as all TV watchers should happily be exposed to the proclivities of those who disrespect the Flag. Apologists say they are not disrespecting the Flag but protesting the treatment of minorities. This begs the question, then: Why do they only kneel when the National Anthem is being played? If the teams wish to prevent a fan boycott, then don't play the National Anthem!
Jim: Hi Carl. I can't envision a scenario where the anthem isn't played…
Jeffrey Martin from Soddy Daisy, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim, this is my first time sending in a question, but I've been a big fan of your work for many years.
I know a lot of Titans fans have their hearts set on Clowney, but I think fans are forgetting that there are other good players still available that could help the Titans. Everson Griffen and Markus Golden are two players I believe would be great fits on the Titans. Is there any indication from JRob or Vrabel that they're considering signing either of those two or someone similar to help the defense?
Jim: Hi Jeffrey. Thanks for the kind words. The GM keeps a lot of guys on the radar. It's no secret the team remains interested in Clowney, and everyone is waiting on him right now. If he ends up elsewhere, that's when Plan B would go into play.
Joan Dutton from Cerritos, California
Question: Hi Jim. Thanks for all you do! Nearing the start of the 2020 season, my concern is more injuries to the players. I know many have been working out individually and some with a few teammates, but it is just not the same as organized team workouts. What are your thoughts on this subject?
Jim: Hi Joan. It's a very good question, and it's undoubtedly a very big concern. Every year coaches and trainers worry about players, and how they'll prepare themselves for the season in the weeks after the final minicamp breaks (usually around June 15) up until the time they report for the start of camp (usually around July 28). Guys are own their own for 5-6 weeks, and it's up to them to show up in shape to avoid injuries. Well, the players haven't had any offseason program this year. Instead of working with strength and conditioning coach Frank Piraino at the facility, they've been on their own since players departed the Monday following the AFC Championship Game in January. While everyone is hopeful guys will show up in shape and ready to go, there's no doubt there will be some nervousness surrounding the health and conditioning of players across the league as they report.
Have a great weekend everyone and stay safe!