NASHVILLE – Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.
We're about to find out how happy New Year's Day is going to be.
The Titans have a mammoth game this Sunday in Houston, and it can't get here fast enough.
Let's pass the time in another Titans mailbag.
Rick Pinkerton from Terryville, Connecticut
Question: MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR. I thought Mike V. was brilliant, holding out Derrick in a game that had nothing to do with the playoffs. Did he hold out Jefferey Simmons for the same reason or is he hurt more? One question: With the replay of K. Raymond's catch and fumble, how could the refs not seen the hit to the head? Because they were looking at a fumble or no catch could they still rule on a hit on a defenseless receiver and throw a late flag for that or not? It would seem if safety comes first, which may have changed the outcome of the game. Your thoughts?
Jim: Hey Rick. Looks like they were resting both. Simmons is listed with a knee on injury report, but he was a full participant in practices this week as is good to go. I talked to him this week and he said he feels good. As for Raymond, I said this in Tuesday's mailbag: The officials blew that call, and it should've been ruled a hit on a defenseless receiver. It's a shame it happened. Kalif hasn't practiced all week and has been ruled out for Sunday's game because of the concussion.
Luis Medina from Dayton, Ohio
Question: Hi Jim. Happy Holidays. My question is about Logan Ryan and the CPOY award. I know he is eligible for this award because he did break his Fibula week 15 last season. I want to know if there's any way we can know he's being considered for the award? He's having an outstanding season it's undeniable, I would hate for him to miss the Pro Bowl and not even be considered for the CPOY.
Jim: Hey Luis. Well, Logan has definitely been a baller this season. His stats speak for themselves – 117 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles. He's also a tone-setter and a leader on defense. While he should be a candidate, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill should be a strong candidate as well, even if his return is not injury related. After being traded, a lot of folks wrote him off. He's made a great comeback. I have to think around the league guys like 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Rams receiver Cooper Kupp will get a lot of push as well.
Micah Hotz from Sterling, Virginia
Question: Hey, Jim. Considering how Houston was able to shred us with 3 talented WR's, why hasn't J-Rob brought anyone else in? All things considered, With Adoree and Malcom Butler out we are severely understaffed and we didn't do much to slow down their passing attack last time with the players we have. I'm just curious was to what the front office is doing to give us a fighting chance for a playoff push. Same question applies to our pass rush personnel. Thank you for answering! Merry Christmas! #TitanUp
Jim: Hey Micah. Just being honest: Not many Pro Bowlers are on the streets right now, out of work. Yeah, I know Janoris Jenkins was available recently, but the team passed for one reason or another. The GM or HC hasn't said why, but I have my suspicions and it's why other teams didn't jump either. The team was fortunate to get a player like Tramaine Brock earlier this month, and I think he's played pretty well. Meanwhile, LeShaun Sims is back and healthy, even though Adoree Jackson is not. Let's face it – the Titans are going to have to ride with what they've got, and guys are going to have to play well with Logan Ryan and Tye Smith and others around them. And, as you mentioned, the pass rush could make things easier on those guys.
Bradford Bailiff from Raleigh, North Carolina
Question: Hey Jim. I thought last week Derick Roberson was a revelation with 2 sacks. I kept tabs on him during the previous draft when he visited the Titans. Do you believe he could develop in a starter across from Landry, who is playing like beast, or will the pass rush need to be addressed in the off-season? Side note I'm really proud of the way the team, specifically the offense has improved this year. Kudos to all the staff and players. Titan up baby!!!
Jim: Hey Bradford. Well, Roberson's big impact vs the Saints was at least a big step in the right direction. I'm not going to sit here and project him as a potential starter after one big game, however. I need to see more. I think he has potential, but he needs to keep developing, and he needs to keep getting stronger.
Travis Monroe from Depoe Bay, Oregon
Question: What do I love about this Titans team? Great quarterback play. Great running game. Great punting. Great defense up front. Very decent special teams. Multi-threat above average receivers (no Rice, TO or Moss) but an interesting group of young receivers and yup AJ seems to be the proverbial "diamond in the rough." So what is missing? Not much; a dependable kicker, a shutdown secondary, and a bit more stoutness on the O line, that's about it. OK Jim, what have I missed? It's not the perfect storm yet, but all the pieces are swirling around Nissan on the Cumberland. Jim, is it my imagination or has Arthur Smith even started to show a little creative magic in play calling? I see good times in the future! Titan Up! P.S. This team can certainly beat the Texans, it's simply time to do it. Merry Christmas and thank you for your good work.
Jim: Hey Travis. Definitely plenty of reasons to be optimistic moving forward, no matter what happens on Sunday. But right now, the team needs to find a way to win on Sunday. We'll worry about upgrading in other areas after the season, because things aren't perfect. Perfect teams don't lose 7 of their first 15 games. So work still needs to be done. As for Arthur, he's definitely showed a lot of imagination, and he's proven himself to be a good OC. The team is scoring a lot of points, and the offense is fun to watch.
David Siler from Thousand Oaks, California
Question: The past couple years watching Marcus under center I realized how important it is to have a starting caliber backup QB. Never did I dream that Ryan would get his chance the way he did but he has been absolutely lights out since then. My question is what are the odds that the Titans will keep MM8 next year in a backup capacity? He's a proven leader that knows the system. I would much rather have him coming off the bench than a Matt Cassell or Blaine Gabbert.
Jim: Hey David. Hope all is well. I'm not giving odds on the chances of Marcus returning. I'll just say what I've said in the past: Marcus is a competitor, and I'm sure he's interested in finding a place where he could compete for a starting spot. I feel pretty safe in saying that's not going to be in Tennessee.
David Hernandez from Monterrey Mexico
Question: Hola Jim. I'm gone a travel from Monterey to Houston (10 hours driving) to be on the game so we (my son and I) are very excited! To be on the game supporting our Titans. I was wondering if there are a possibility to meet with you and the players after the game? Feliz Navidad.
Jim: Hey David. Feliz Navidad. If you see me, give me a shout. But your best bet for players is well before the game – near the tunnel where the team comes out for warmups after the gates open (2 hours beforehand). Making no promises here, but some players will stop and sign autographs and maybe take a picture if they have time. Others will have headphones on and won't hear you. Again, no promises, but I think it's your best shot. After the game it's more hit-and-miss because players have to get back to the locker room and get ready to catch a flight back home.
Conway Tabor from Crossville, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim! I don't really have a question right now. I just want to say that I know we truly have the team to take this the full distance. There is nothing that I want more than for us to take this play by play and game by game sticking together and believing with full support from all of us as fans. I truly believe we can do it. Somehow I want each and every person on the football team to know and feel the same thing that I am. Not just for a play here and there, but everyday in practice on every snap, and from whistle to whistle. We can do this!!!!! Get Titan'd up and fired up!!! It can't end any time soon. We need every player each time to feel like a robot every time they step on the field. Robots get the job done, trust me, I am an electrical engineer ... Seriously, no one believe's in the Titans more than I do.
Jim: Appreciate you taking the time, Conway!
Have a great weekend everyone!