NASHVILLE – Welcome to the last Titans mailbag of June.
Next time I bang one of these out we'll be into July, and training camp will be closing in.
But first things first. Let's close out June in style …
Allen Dayan from Spring Hill, Florida
Question: Hi Jim. I noticed that all 4 of our top receivers do their best work from the slot. Our only WR who is a downfield threat has been inconsistent on his routes and catching the ball. Shouldn't we sign a true wide receiver instead of all slot receivers? We can only play one in the slot but up to 3 at wideout. What are the Titans thinking on this?
Jim: Versatility is what's most important. Yeah, the team has a lot of guys who can play in the slot, but all those guys play multiple positions, from Corey Davis to Adam Humphries to Taywan Taylor to Tajae Sharpe to A.J. Brown. And you'll see them all line up in other places, inside and out.
Eli Decko from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Question: Hi Jim. Hoping things are good for ya man. Since it is obvious a strong running game keeps QBs upright as well as other factors such as blocking and play calling etc, could we see Derrick Henry run the ball 20+ times a game? He's one of the few backs that could actually handle it. Look at what Zeke does for Dak and what Edgerrin James did for Manning and Ingram for Brees and LT for Rivers and yes, Bell did for Ben. To see an offense like that with our receivers could be even more helpful for Marcus cuz offenses would have to play a much more honest and straight forward defense, giving the advantage to our offense. I believe DH could easily lead the league in all rushing categories, like he did at Bama. Thanks for reading and #TitanUp
Jim: Hey Eli. Hope all is well. Derrick is definitely going to get his chances, but I can't commit to 20 carries a game. His number of carries will be determined by how the games are going (Winning? Losing? Close? Blowout?), and how he performs. Heck, in the game he went off in vs Jacksonville in December, he only carried the ball 17 times, so 20 doesn't have to be a magic number. Ideally he'll roll like he did in December, when he had great success. But looking back at last year, he only had 20-plus carries in two games all year, so I'm skeptical that's his average in 2019, especially with more weapons around him.
De'Angelo Richards from Virginia Beach, Virginia
Question: Hello Mr. Wyatt. I just wanted to get your opinion on Chris Simms of "Pro Football Talk". He has Baker Mayfield ranked 17th ahead of MM8 (29th) out of his Top 40 QBs. Do you agree? Lastly Chris Simms also said this about Marcus Mariota- "He's an athlete that plays quarterback, instead of a quarterback that's an athlete." Do you agree? #titanup #goodtogreat
Jim: Hey D'Angelo. I like Chris Simms. Got to know him when he was with the Titans, and I've seen him around a lot since. His dad is a great guy. Didn't agree with a lot of his QB rankings, though. Had Mariota too low on his list imo. Keep in mind he also had Tom Brady at No.9. So someone has a bigger beef than Marcus …
Bill Holton from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim a big thanks for keeping all of us Titans fans in the know. I was watching highlights and saw Taylor Lewan's touchdown catch and it reminded me of going to practice a couple of years ago and thinking how he moves better than all the other linemen; more like a TE. He's a different breed. Coach Vrabel is kind of that way; he caught lots of TDs. You're around all the guys and wanted to know if there's anyone in camp that's not a skill position guy (props KB and Dane) that has the athletic ability to be one of these 2-way guys in special circumstances. I think Simmons could fit that mold once healthy but am curious about the guys practicing now. Thanks for your insight. I look forward to an incredible season. TITAN UP!!!
Jim: Hey Bill. I'm going to open this up to skill position guys as well as the entire defense. I've seen defensive players provide a spark on offense in the past – Pacman Jones and Adoree' Jackson come to mind. Those guys were sometimes used on offense, however, because the team was lacking playmakers on the offensive side of the ball at the time. My take: The offense has plenty of playmakers now, so they don't need to recruit a guy from the defense. Could Adoree' do it again? Sure. Now could Simmons be a Refrigerator Perry-type guy in time? Now that would be cool. And Jurrell has kidded he'd like to get a crack at running the ball near the goal-line as well. It's fun to think about, but I don't get the sense that's in the works.
Paul Franchina from West Valley City, Utah
Question: Hey Jim. I hope all is well. My question is do you see Mariota possibly taking a discount and even possibly some other players like Byard, Henry, Davis, Jackson, Smith to be able to build a contender together to put team first?
Mike "Titan" Worden from Gulfport, Florida
Question: Still have faith that Marcus can be our franchise QB. Hopefully he and his teammates will fare so well that they get a great trade late in the season for Tannehill. Thats my hope.
As you know the O Line and D Line shape the game and will have the biggest impact on the success of our offensive weapons. Imagine Marcus having time to read and react. Imagine Henry with actual holes to run thru.
I believe there are two wild cards to the upcoming season. The first is with our new strength and conditioning coach Frank Piraino. I have liked what I have read so far about the hire and hope that he will make a difference on the sustainability of our players. It would be nice to have a healthy team going into the playoffs. The second wild card is our new OC Arthur Smith. I love the hire. Looking forward to seeing what he does with his take on moving us forward. Whats your thoughts Jim on these two wild cards? Are they the keys to going from good to great?
Jim: Hey Mike. I wouldn't bank on a Tannehill trade even if Marcus lights it up. He signed a one-year deal, so everyone knows he'll be a free agent next year. As for Piraino, I like what I've seen and heard about him. Players have been very complimentary of him so far as well. The expectation is he'll be able put players in an even better position to be successful, but like health, good fortune will be needed as well. As for Arthur, I'm with you. He's smart, and well-respected. I know this from being around him since 2011. And I think he'll put the offense in a great position to be successful.
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: I guess we are not going to add a stud DT. Given the cap limits and the cost of re-signing our best veterans in 2020 we cannot afford to bring in another stud DT. The cap has still been a blessing for the Titans because the team has been able to build a good roster because of the cap limits. Without the cap limits other owners would surely have offered more money to some of the players the Titans have been able to pick up. It is unfortunate the one weak area on the team is the defensive line. Everyone says games are won and lost in the trenches. That having been said, 3 of last years losses were very close right up until the end - (9/9/18) Miami, (10/7/18) Bills, (10/21/18) Charges. If any one of those 3 games had gone the Titans way the Titans would have won the division and gone to the playoffs. The Bills game in particular was totally winnable. Nick Williams made an unforgivable drop, which decided the fate of the 2018 post-season fate. The team has had drops issues for some time now and was without sure-handed Delanie Walker all season. The return of Delanie Walker plus the additions of A. J. Brown and Adam Humphrey would have taken the 2018 Titans to the playoffs so maybe they can do it in 2019. Still, It would be great if Jeffery Simmons could heal soon. My questions - is he running yet? How far along is he in the healing process? Do team doctors have any positive news regarding his recovery. If he has to redshirt this year I understand that but if he gets a couple weeks practice in before the December 1 game against the Colts and play in that game that would truly be great.
Jim: Hey Jimmy Dee. The stud DT was added in the draft (Jeffery Simmons), and now he has to get healthy. In the meantime, everyone else is going to need to play well, and the team has talent on the d-line, guys who are capable. Heck, the team has one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL in Jurrell Casey. Back to Simmons – they're being patient with him in rehab. He has a ways to go. He said a few weeks ago he's not even jogging. Right now, it's way to early to project if he'll play this year. I won't be surprised if he doesn't, but again he's just over four months in on what's usually a 7-9 month recovery time.
Keith Dove from Washington, D.C.
Question: WASSUP JIM I HAVE A VERY SHORT AMD SIMPLE QUESTION HOW HAVE THE CB's LOOK THUS FAR MAINLY ADOREE ...has he looked sharp i need a big year out of him???
Jim: Hey Keith. Adoree' spent most of the offseason recovering. He worked a lot on the side fields running, or in the sand pit. I'm thinking he should be good to go for training camp, though. As for the other corners, it's a solid group, led by Logan Ryan, Malcolm Butler and Adoree'. I thought two other guys – LeShaun Sims and Tye Smith – had really solid offseasons as well.
Have a great weekend everyone!