NASHVILLE – Preseason game No.1 is in the books for the Titans.
There was some good, some not-so-good.
Now it's back to the practice field.
But first, let's look into the mailbag and check the pulse of the fan base.
Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE
Adrien Lopez from Fresno, California
Question: Hello Jim, I'm a long-time reader and a huge Titans fan. After watching the pre-season game against the Ravens Malik Willis seems to be the better backup quarterback. I was wondering if he continues to outplay Logan Woodside will he be put as our number 2 quarterback? Thank you.
Jim: Hey Adrien. Well, there's no mistaking Malik outperformed Logan in Baltimore. But the coaches and the GM won't make a decision based off a half of preseason football, with back-ups on the field on both sides of the football. The reality is Malik is very much a work in progress. I think everyone knows this, including Malik. Let's see how things play out. Malik had his moments on Thursday night, good and bad. Woodside had an off night. But it's early. I do think it was a good start by Malik, though. He's gotten the fewest reps of all the QBs in camp, and he was fun to watch.
Jimmy Dee from Battle Ground, Washington
Question: Jim, Treylon Burks didn't make much noise versus the Ravens, did he?
Jim: Pretty quiet. He played 30 snaps, and he was targeted once on a ball I thought he might come down with in the end zone. He also had one carry for four yards. Coach Vrabel said he was inconsistent, and that he needs to carry over what he's been doing on the practice field into games. For the most part, he's been solid in practices. He's been a little quieter in recent sessions compared to the start of camp, however. Keep in mind he only has 10 full practices under his belt.
Malcolm Sell from Louisville, Kentucky
Question: More of a statement, but wow did we lose in the trenches. It's a little hard to do evaluations of where anyone else besides the O-line is at when it's that porous. I though Willis did as well as I expected. He did remind me a bit of McNair at times, but still way to raw. His mechanics and decision making are not yet at the speed of the NFL. That first pass looked like nerves, but after that I can't tell how much was fully Willis and how much was him running for his life. I did see some flashes of both good and bad, but for someone that is projected as a 2-3 year project there are tools that can be worked if there aren't 3 guys chasing him down every snap.
Jim: Oh man, Malcolm, you're a tough Sell. (Buck Reising would love this #Dadjoke). But I agree, there were some issues up front. That's not saying everything was bad, because I saw some positives as well. I think your take on Malik is fair as well. He is raw, and he has a lot of room for improvement. But everyone knows this. Well, not everyone. I've seen some folks on social media who want to make him the starter after seeing him play 30 snaps. Let's pump the brakes on this and give him time.
Roger Piccirillo from Bridgeport, Connecticut
Question: Hey Jim here's hoping everything is fine with you and yours I don't have a question as much as a statement of sorts. Boy are they and they being mainstream media going out of their way sell the narrative that Malik Willis is a star in the making. I think part of it is their dislike for Ryan Tannehill and that's shameful. And I get it he has a skill set that fan and media like to watch they want a guy to run around make a highlight play but the problem with that is none of these dual threat qb have one a super bowl. Because in big games you're playing against better defenses and there not going to allow you to play like that for 60 minutes. Just look at the quarterbacks who have super bowl wins I wouldn't consider Tom Brady or Matthew Stafford and such dual threat quarterbacks. It seems as though teams would rather see their franchise quarterbacks show up on highlight reels on ESPN and the NFL Network in a losing effort than win the game with a traditional drop back stand tall pocket passer. There is nothing prettier than a quarterback standing tall in the pocket delivering a ball down field on time and accurate where the receiver doesn't have to break stride. What say you Jim. Thanks for your time.
Jim: Roger, Roger. I was just touching on this with Malcolm. I tend to agree. I like Malik. It's going to be fun watching him develop over the years. But like I said previously, he's going to need more time and coaching.
John Myers from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Have my tickets for the season opener. First game with my sons. We love the Vols here in Knoxville. What are the chances of Josh Malone making the team? Would it be between him and Dez Fitpatrick?
Jim: Hey John. Hope you have a great trip to Nashville with your sons for the opener. As for Josh, it's going to be close, and the fact he was playing so late in Thursday's game probably isn't a great sign. I have these five receivers making the team: Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Treylon Burks, Racey McMath and Kyle Philips. That means Malone and Fitzpatrick are among those battling for the 6th spot, assuming there is one on the initial 53. Malone hasn't played a lot of special teams, and that could work against him when decisions are made. But we'll have to see what happens. We're still a few weeks away from those decisions, so he'll continue to get chances on practices and games. Hopefully injuries won't come in to play when decisions are made. And, keep in mind, the practice squad remains an option.
Joe Hertz from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Mr Jim. Are you buying or selling the Colts taking the division from us? Do you feel our offense can improve from last year? What do you think needs to be different to avoid the negative yard plays? Excited for the season! Titan up.
Jim: Hey Joe. I don't pay any attention to the preseason chatter, and prediction. This is how much it matters:
And yes, I think the offense can be improved. But, if a few things go wrong and guys don't develop/key starters get hurt/key players underperform, it could also be worse.
Randy Porter from Hendersonville, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. All through training camp you have responded to questions about every group and individual player on the team. You've addressed fan concerns, as well as preseason optimism, with cautious insight and a recurring theme - "needs work". Like many long time, faithful followers of Mailbag, I know to read between the lines at times, especially when the same message is stressed. Well, your observations were on full display against the Ravens. Of course it was just the first preseason game, typically used for evaluation of newer players and to shake off some early rust. We all know that. While there were glimpses of things to be happy with, there were a lot more that left concerns. That said, there was one thing that stood out the entire game, and it's an unwelcome visitor from last year - pass protection. To some, Willis "showcased his legs", to others, he ran for his life. I saw the latter. And yes, his inexperience was very obvious. Sadly, both QBs suffered the same lack of protection that Tannehill endured all last season. If this is to continue, it will limit pass plays to short routes and screens, restrict the run game and get our QBs hurt. So, before we can truly judge Henry's return, our receivers, or our QBs, we have to give them an O-line. Tannehill didn't have that last year, yet managed to take us to the playoffs. We should never forget that. Still, it seems that a priority has been placed on every group except the O-line and this first game reminded us of that fact. If we are going to rebound from A.J.'s departure, Derrick's injury, and a missed opportunity last year, we better support Tannehill and fix the protection issue fast. I won't join the extreme knee-jerkers after just one game, but I will say Jim is right - "There's a lot of work that needs to be done". Sure, I "hope" our starters look better going forward, but as we learned last season, it may not matter how the starters look, they may not be on the field. So here's hoping the team heeds your words Jim, they need work. - Thanks Jim and Titan Up!
Jim: Another dandy, Randy.
Have a great weekend everyone!