NASHVILLE – It's almost time to kick off the stretch run of the season.
The Titans have six regular season games left, starting with Sunday's game against the Jaguars. If all goes well, things will get very interesting in late December as the team pushes for a playoff spot.
But the team needs to take care of business, which is what I'm doing here.
It's time for the latest Titans mailbag…
Dustin Smith from Bridgewater, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim. What are the chances the Titans get long term deals done with players such as Derrick Henry and Logan Ryan before they have competition in the offseason? Thanks
Jim: Hey Dustin. This has become a very popular question in here. Let me start off by saying the GM keeps his plans on these things close to the vest. Would it be nice to get those guys locked up long-term? Sure. But consider a few things. One, it's a two-way street and some players might rather hit the market, and see their value. Another thought: If the Titans extended those guys, what would some of the other guys scheduled to hit free agency think? Again, this is just me thinking, but if the team worked something out with Logan Ryan, Derrick Henry might say, 'Hey, what about me?' Teams don't want distractions in December, and that's what comes with contract talks. Again, it would be great development to sign either or both of these guys. But the best time for business is at the end of the season.
Cliff Cushman from Spring, Texas
Question: Season's greetings, Jim! Two quick hitters for you. Does David Long, Jr. remind you of anyone on the Titans roster? After the Chiefs game it hit me. He reminds me of Wesley Woodyard. Not only do they play the same position but have those intangibles that, in my opinion, don't show at the combine or weight room but man can those guys play football. Assuming the Titans finish at .500 or higher, do you figure mgmt addresses Edge and OL early on in the draft to plug holes and keep this thing going w/ #17 or move up and draft a qb basically rebuilding the team?
Jim: Hey Cliff. Not a bad comparison. Long is today's NFL ILB – he can run, and he's instinctive. I've really liked what I have seen from him in the last few weeks. As for the offseason questions, way too early for me to start speculating on that. I'll be ready to talk about the draft when the season ends.
Russell Alexander from LaVerge, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. My question is the draft. Last year, we took Jeffrey Simmons who was injured, but he was the best player available when we picked. He would have been long gone otherwise. This year, do you see us doing something similar? Knowing we need to develop a young QB, do you think the Titans might take Tua from Alabama knowing that he would have been gone long before our pick if not injured? Simmons worked out.....looks like another good gamble for Robinson assuming he likes Tua. He could sit behind a veteran for a year and ease his way into the starting role. What are your thoughts? #TitanUp
Jim: Hey Russell. Like I mentioned to Cliff, it's way too early to start the draft talk as far as I'm concerned – especially with Tua. Heck, the guy just had surgery a few days ago. He has a number of options, including returning to Alabama to prove himself. So much hinges on his health, and right now no one knows where he'll be in April from a medical standpoint. And … we have no idea where the Titans will be picking in the draft.
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: Hello Jim. Malcolm Butler is out for the season but does that just mean the regular season or playoff season as well? If the Titans go to the playoffs could he possibly come back to play in the playoffs? My recollection is that Butler broke his wrist 2 weeks ago plus there are 6 more games to go in regular season. If that's correct and if am IR player can't play again for 8 weeks Butler will have completed his required 8 weeks off the field when the regular season ends. So if the Titans go to the playoffs wouldn't Butler be eligible to return for the playoffs? I've been reading that broken wrists can sometime heal within 6 weeks, depending on how much damage is done to the wrist.
Jim: Hey Jimmy. Malcolm is done for the year. Teams are allowed to activate two guys from Injured Reserve, and the team used the two on Ryan Succop and Joshua Kalu.
Patrick Phillips from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: I know the Titans have a strong offense and have been doing their job that past few week but do you think the Titans have any interest in an wide receiver like Antonio Brown he would be an awesome plus to the Titans offense?
Jim: I really think the focus is on Dez Bryant right now. (Just kidding).
Ed Knox from Lebanon, Oregon
Question: I was watching ESPN coverage of the NFL, & the trading/draft possibilities. ESPN said that the Titans would be looking to trade both Mariota & Tannehill after this season. ... Has the Titans organization made such a statement?
Jim: Hey Ed. The trading deadline has passed, and both QBs have an expiring contract. Trading them is not an option.
Cason (The Fifth Grader) Romero from Thompsons Station, Tennessee
Question: Hey Mr. Jim. Wow was I surprised you mentioned me in last weekend's Titans Mailbag. Thank you!!! It'd be super cool to meet Carson Flanagan from Brentwood! I'm super pumped to be back in Nissan Stadium this weekend to watch our Titans beat the Jags!
Have a couple of questions for you:
Besides today (Thursday, 11.21.19), have you ever seen any other Titans team have all 63 players on the practice field at the same time during a regular season?
Since this is Ryan Tannehill's first game playing against an AFC South Division Rival as a Tennessee Titan, do you think he'll be ready against Jacksonville's defense?
Hoping to see you this Sunday at the game.
Thank you so much and TITAN UP!
Jim: Hey Cason! Good to hear from you again! Hopefully you can meet Carson and you can discuss the Titans and how close you guys are to having the same first name. 😊
Well, I hope I didn't jinx it with the all 63 on the field tweet, because the next day two guys didn't practice (Rodger Saffold and Kevin Pamphile) and one was limited (Delanie Walker) and doubtful for Sunday. But the overall health of the team is good, and that's easier said than done in November. Heck, I've been battling a painful bout of diverticulitis all week myself 🤕, but you're too young to know what that is and I hope you never have to deal with it when you get to be my age (29). 😉 For the record, I didn't miss a practice because of it!
As for Tannehill, I think he'll be ready. He's 3-0 at Nissan Stadium since taking over as the starter, and he's in a good groove right now.
Mike Turner from Shelbyville, Tennessee
Question: Thanks for all your insights. Super impressive effort from the boys to scratch the W against the Chiefs. Hopefully we can take that momentum into the final stretch of the next 6 weeks. It's going to be tough. My question is in regards to our pass defense. Our man to man coverage in my opinion has been good overall. But my concerns are in the zone defense. It seems that opposing quarterbacks are apt at finding the soft spots and grabbing up 20-yard gains too often. Is that a specific focus area for our coaches to address and can you tell me what they intend to do differently in the near future as we have a few gunslingers coming to town soon— Brees, Watson, Foles, etc. Looking forward to 6 straight wins!
Jim: Hey Mike. I think you'll definitely see DC Dean Pees continue mix coverages, and find ways to improve. He said this week his top areas of focus are on eliminating big plays, and doing better on third down. The team is expecting to see a large dose of Leonard Fournette on Sunday.
Clay Batts from Rock Hill, South Carolina
Question: Hello to the OTP! Always enjoy getting to hear you guys discuss the games each week. I grew up in Nashville and moved away after college but have been faithful Titans fan since the 1999 season! Mike Keith may not remember it, but I was shadowing Arch Kennedy (meteorologist) during high school on Fox and I remember Mike coming in to do a segment. I asked him to do the TOUCHDOWN TITANS voice to which he declined haha! It was still great to meet him.
Anyways my question is about the kicking game...there is no question field goals win games. We have seen it time and time again with Al del Greco, Joe Nedney, Rob Bironas, Ryan Succop to name a few. Obviously we had to release Santos and bring on Parkey while Succop was out. I know Succop only has a couple games under his belt, but his leg is not what it was. Will the Titans consider bringing Parkey back and releasing Succop? You hate to see someone who has been such a clutch player struggle after an injury, but also understand it's a business.
Jim: Hey Clay. Good to hear from you. I'll point this email out to Mike! For now, and hopefully for the rest of the season, it's Succop's job. I think the extra week with the bye helped him in his recovery, and leg strength. I expect him to keep getting better and the expectation is he'll return to form. I thought he had a good week of practice, and he'll be the kicker on Sunday.
Greg Moore from Jackson, Tennessee
Question: Can you pass this along? The old man that drives his crew in from Jackson each game is fired up. I am ready to pancake Calais Campbell. Hope the Titans feel the flame.
Jim: Will let the guys know, Greg. Calais better keep his head on a swivel! Safe travels!
Have a great weekend everyone!