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Weekend Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans


NASHVILLE – The end of the 2021 season for the Tennessee Titans is now a week old.

Yep, that happened a week ago today.

The questions and comments continue to roll into the mailbag, however, so we're going to continue to tackle them in here.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE

Walter Clemons from Smithfield, Virginia
Good Evening Jim. I hope this email finds you well. Thanks for all that you do and for allowing such a forum. I have never reached out to you before and would not normally comment, but as a life-long VA resident who has been a long-suffering Oilers/Titans (1975) fan, I decided to take this opportunity that has been provided. I have watched many devastating losses from the "Luv Ya Blue" AFC championship games between Houston and Pittsburgh, the Super Bowl loss to the Rams and the tumultuous loss to the Ravens the following year after the Super Bowl appearance, as I truly believe that Tennessee had the best team in the NFL that year. However, the blocked field goal and the interception off of Eddie George into the hands of Ray Lewis sealed the team's fate. Having said that, I think that this recent loss to the Bengals was the worst one of all because I believe that Tennessee was the better team. It is true that the best team does not always win, but I think that teams need to develop game plans that give them the best opportunity to do so, and it is clearly evident that this was not the case on this past Saturday. Now, for a few of my observations regarding the game or questions to consider.
1 Why not put the defense out on the field first so you can have the ball at the start of the second half? I understand the hype around the return of King Henry, but from a strategic standpoint was a poor decision or very questionable at best. We saw how that turned out with Tannehill making a very poor throw on the first play of the game, taking the life right out of the awesome crowd on play one. As it turned out, the Bengals scored on the first drive of the second half to go up 10, therefore putting Tennessee in catchup mode.
2 Why take points off the scoreboard and go for two when the extra point would have given Tennessee the lead? Conventional wisdom when going for two reflects situations when you need two to tie the game, or you are down one and roll the dice to win. This was neither the case and after the slow start, was another huge play as it took the momentum away from the team after scoring the touchdown. It was not needed and totally uncalled for. You never know how the game will play out. However, that one point we see would have resulted in the Titans being up one instead of tied, which would have provided for an opportunity maybe to run the clock out at the game's end. We know hindsight is 20/20, but you can't make those calls in a league where so many teams now are evenly matched, and one bad call can decide a game.
3 Why call a pass play when you have a first and goal at the nine yard line after the long run by Foreman? With the way Foreman had been running in the absence of Henry, and with Henry back, that was one of the worst calls that I have seen. While not as catastrophic as the Seattle Seahawks blunder in the Super Bowl against the Patriots by not running Lynch when they were at the goal line, that interception was unacceptable and the play uncalled for as it took a golden scoring opportunity away in a tight ball game. Also, the offensive scheme throughout the game showed no creativity at all. They could have played Henry and Foreman in some fashion at the same time, which would really have shaken things up.
4 Horrible play design and quarterback decision making on the third and 1 and the fourth and 1, and not planning to attempt a field goal. No excuse for that with both Henry and Foreman on your roster, and another blown opportunity for putting points on the board.
5 Poor clock management on the last drive and one of the worst interceptions that I have seen. Hard to watch. After watching the entire game and all the Titan mishaps, the fact that they were tied (due to the defense) and had a chance to win at the game's end speaks to the team's resilience. This is when you need your coaching staff to put you in the best position to win. They clearly didn't and I will never understand why Tannehill would throw the ball in that traffic, when it was clear to see that the receiver was not remotely open. When you have a game manager at quarterback, you expect him to do just that and not lose the game. I have been a supporter of Tannehill, but it is clearly evident over the last two years that he makes crucial mistakes in the biggest moments. One thing I remember about Trent Dilfer when the Ravens had that dominant defense and won the Super Bowl, he did not make the critical mistakes costing the team victory. That is what the Titans needed from Tannehill on Saturday, and he came up woefully short.
Now having said all of this, I will still be a Titans fan. I really feel bad for the native Texans and Tennesseans who have watched this misery play out when they are legitimate contenders. In this year, they have beaten both teams in the NFC championship game (Rams & 49ers) as well as the Bills and Chiefs. However, in a repeat of all of the letdowns over the years, they find a way to lose a game on the biggest stage that they were more than capable of winning and really should have won. Lots of questions need to be answered about the quarterback, offensive coordinator, play calling and decision making. I also like Vrabel, but the same message of "we need to play better and coach better" gets old after continuous under-performance over the years in the biggest games. Until then, we await again for next year and I will always root for the Titans, even though I doubt things will be any better, especially with the same philosophy. I was really hoping that this year was going to be the year that we could all say "Remember The Titans", but I would truly like to forget what happened on Saturday.
In closing, thanks for your time and please feel free to add to the mailbag. Have a great evening!

Jim: Hello Walter. Thanks for writing in.
There's a lot here. I'm going to tackle these one by one the best I can.
1- For starters, I've wondered myself if things might have played out differently from the start if the Titans defense had been on the field first, and stopped the Bengals with a few sacks of Joe Burrow instead of the INT right out of the gate thrown by Ryan Tannehill. It would have ignited the crowd instead of deflating it. But keep in mind the Titans didn't have a choice here – the Bengals won the toss and elected to defer. That's why the Titans started on offense.
2- A lot of folks have chimed in on this. I'll admit I probably would've kicked it myself. But let's be honest – if the Titans had gotten the two and gone up 8-6, folks would've been amped. It's up for debate because it didn't work. And hey, the Titans should be able to get one yard, but they didn't three times in the game.
3 – This is another popular question, and I understand why. That's all I have to say about this…
4 - How about a sneak there?
5 - I suspect Vrabel was worried the Titans would've given the Bengals time to drive and score in the event they were stopped. The reality is if Tannehill had connected with Firkser and the Titans got a first down on that third down play instead of the INT, they would've needed about 15 yards in 20 seconds to get into field goal range for the game-winning kick, which was doable.
All valid questions, Walter, and topics fans seem to be frustrated about.

Sharon Lesain Edwards from Clarksville, Tennessee
Jim, do you think it was too early for King Henry to play more than one quarter?
I'm a new season ticket holder, my first year extremely excited about the Titans. Sadden by the end of 2021 season. However trilled they were AFC South Champs and AFC #1 seed. Looking forward to the 2022 season. #TitanUp!

Jim: Hi Sharon. While I don't think Derrick was back to form vs the Bengals, I don't think the Titans overworked him. And I think he would've just kept getting better during a playoff run. Unfortunately, we won't get to find out. Good to have you on board, Sharon.

Harry Prentiss from Sunbury Pennsylvania
As a boy of 8 in 1965 I saw my first Houston Oilers game. George Blanda was the quarterback and I have followed them since. There was the infamous fan annoyed at the camera on him giving ABC the finger as Don Meredith said look Howard he's telling you you're #1. There were the 1-13 seasons then Luv ya Blue with Bum, Dante and Earl. Jerry Granville restored some swagger after a couple rough years then the run and shoot with Pardee and Warren Moon. After the move to Tennessee she me good years a fall and under Vrabel an identity as a hard working tough team that is never out of a game due to the work ethic. They ain't always pretty but after all these years and a location change no matter the highs and lows I truly love ya Blue and I still look forward to seeing this franchise hoist the Lombardi Trophy. But one thing guys I'm getting old so please hurry. Thank you Jim for in depth and insightful reporting. Luv Ya Blue. Titan 🆙

Jim: Good to hear from you, Harry. Hang in there.

Don Gossett from Pensacola, Florida
Saturday was hard on Titan Nation. We went 12 great games and 5 hard to swallow games, The organization did some impossible things with this group. But what really bites my ass is the NFL really came down on the AFC' number 1 seat Titans, They bad mouth and slung mud on us. The NFC number 1 seat Green Bay Got positive phrases and had them picked to win it all.. But what happened. Oops the got knockout by 49er. Yes game time Ryan Tannehill played like High School QB. Our Defense stood strong as they showed out. But at the end we all walked disappointed. Tennessee Titans will Never got the respect they deserve until WE WIN THE SUPER BOWL.

Jim: I hear ya, Don. But no No.1 seed deserves praise for going one and done in the postseason. The 2021 Titans failed to capitalize on a great opportunity, there's no way around it.

Michael Newsome from Drexel, North Carolina
After McNair left, it took us almost 15 years to find anything that resembled post-season success. That only lasted 1 year, though. I'm 35-years-old, do you believe I'll see another playoff run before I turn 50? Or should Tennessee Titans fans get used to the AFC South championship being our Super Bowl, and accept the fact we will never get quality quarterback play in January?

Jim: Yes. In 2022.

Dennis Wallace from Crofton, Kentucky
Comment: Hi Jim. I have been an Oilers/Titans fan since 1979. Through thick and thin. I am disappointed in the loss. I felt it was our year. I felt the Titans had a great year and I am proud of them. The defense did a great job, nine sacks, wow. Plus holding the Bengals high flying offense to one touchdown is incredible. The offense played well also. Tannehill only got sacked one time and the run game did fairly well. I have always been a fan of Tannehill. I believe he has some great qualities. I just am not convinced he is a quarterback that can lead the Titans to win the Superbowl. There are some really good young quarterbacks in the league. Our defense has held them very well. We just have to get our offense to play better and score more regularly. I have read some comments that the Offensive Coordinator called a bad game. I have no idea on that. I look forward to next year in hopes it will be our year. Maybe we can keep most of the players and will be able to improve our game.

Jim: Thanks for taking the time, Dennis.

Brian Holley from Antioch, Tennessee
Hey Jim first time writing long time reader Well Jim first off thank you for all you do secondly wow what a loss well any way I'm not going to moan and grip here I just want to say how proud of the team I am the whole season they played their hearts out with everything they had to deal with injury wise to finish the season 12 - 5 then to lose in the home playoff game. Yes there was good games played great games played and yes brutally bad games played including the playoff game but enough of that I'm still proud of the team. I think we could get over the hump if we a a rec that could stretch the field and a shutdown corner I know we are a run first team but I think with those two things we would be a lot better in the passing game on off and def and do you think Ryan is the QB to get us to the Super Bowl what do you think about what I have said here so this is so long but just had to give my two cents worth thank you again

Jim: Appreciate the feedback, Brian. Believe me, I've seen and heard all the hot takes this week about Ryan Tannehill. A lot of the same folks who this time last week believed Ryan could take the team to a Super Bowl are now convinced he can't because of what happened last Saturday. Hey, if you doubted him before, then you have every right to puff your chest out now and say, "Hey, I told you so." But those who've now completely flipped after Saturday, why should I listen to your hot take now because you're admitting you were wrong previously? I guess you're not the QB evaluator you'd pretended to be, huh? There's no doubt Ryan let the team down vs the Bengals. He picked a bad day to have a bad day. But I do think Ryan Tannehill is capable of guiding the Titans to a Super Bowl, in part because he's more talented than some other QBs who have done it. But he can't have games like he did last Saturday in the postseason. On another note, here's a pro tip: A period can be your friend. 😊

Drayden Rupe from Clinton, Utah
Can you please tell Vrabel and Downing to stop being so predictable? That is why we lost and had the 2nd interception, NO FLAGS FILM youtube host showed plays of the Titans using that same bubble screen all season not gaining very many yards funny thing is they tired the same exact play earlier in the game and it was almost intercepted then to try it again after running down the field 66 yards is just dumb. You are at the 9 yard line run the damn ball and make Cinci prove they can stop it!!!! Foreman needed more carries he wasn't hesitating to hit holes and it showed Henry was hesitant all game they should have limited him to 10-15 snaps or hell even held him out the whole game using just Foreman and Hillard moved us into the AFC Championship game.

Jim: Will pass this along, Drayden.

Alberto Armando Téllez Salcedo from Durango, Mexico
Hola Jim agradezco que siempre nos tienes informados.
Y tengo dos preguntas? La primera irán a utilizar el jersey rojo está temporada que viene? Y la otra irán a utilizar el uniforme retro de Houston Oilers soy fan de la franquicia desde 1978 y seguiré con el equipo por todo lo que me reste de vida.
Titán Up y ojalá se diera la oportunidad de que jueguen en México en las próximas temporadas.
Seguimos como siempre en el barco.

Jim: Hola Alberto. No verás a los Titans usar uniformes rojos en 2022: el equipo no tiene uniformes rojos. Ahora podrías ver a los Titans usando los retrocesos de los Oilers en algún momento, pero no hasta 2023 como muy pronto. ¡Y me encantaría jugar un partido en México!

João Schutze from Brazil
Oi Jim. How are you?
I was angry, sad, furious and now I'm just waiting for the next season, especially after this round.
Here in Brazil when something unexpected happens, we say: deu zebra. This round was nothing but zebras. Only the unexpected happened. Do you agree?
By the way, you're welcome to spend your vacation here. Take care

Jim: Deu Zebra!
Hey, Brazil sounds like a great vacation spot to me! I'm on the way!

Bob Galasso from Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Hi Jim! I wanted to try something different and lets accent the positives of the 2021 Titans team! Yes we are all bitter and heartbroken by the early exit from the playoffs after having such high expectations as the AFC's #1 seed. Some people will even say that unless the Titans win the Super Bowl everything else is a disappointment... I would agree with both those points, however...
The titans have made the playoffs three years straight... These Titans, despite playing without King Henry and a lot of their marquee players, captured the AFC South and beat many of the teams that were in the playoffs this year! There were alot of people understandably upset with Tannehill's play but he wasn't the only one that played poorly throughout. The offensive line couldn't control Reader at all and it was hard for Henry to get any momentum while he was getting stuffed at the line or in the backfield. - Other than AJ Brown and a couple key catches by Julio the receiving corps left alot to be desired. Two of Tannehill's passes were tipped resulting in INTs. BUT despite this Ryan showed up all year and was the one consistent cog on the offense, many times being directly responsible for the wins they got. The Defense was really good and when healthy our pass rushers showed what a force they can be - 9 sacks - a franchise record! So we didn't get to the Super Bowl... Time to move on. We have a great core of skill players on both sides of the ball - Can we improve? Certainly. BUT how many other fans in the NFL wish they had the competitive team that we have in Nashville? So suck it up Titan Fans its time to move on and TITAN-UP. Be forward we have the team that we do and look forward to what 2022 will bring! Jim thanks to you for doing your best throughout the year to keep us informed, updated and motivated. It would be great to see Amy give you the honor to be the 12th man during the upcoming season for all you do year round!!!

Jim: Appreciate you taking the time, Bob.

Shawn Thomas from Atlanta, Georgia
Do you think the trade for Julio Jones was worthless or a good trade since the season is over?

Jim: Hey Shawn. Did Julio have a great year in Tennessee? No. But I do think he was in a position to help the Titans on a Super Bowl run. Unfortunately, it didn't happen.

David Irish from Birmingham, Alabama
Hi Jim! I hope all is well. I honestly can't even be mad at the loss. It was a great season where we seen the guys overcome a lot of adversity. Even with poor play against Cincinnati they played down to the wire. Excited to see what the team fully healthy can do this upcoming season. I just hope the guys come back stronger than ever and ready to take it all the way. Knowing JRob, the off-season will be very interesting. What are your thoughts on the direction of the team following this season?

Jim: Hey David. There's a lot to be determined this offseason, starting with what happens to a lot of the team's own free agents. That will help determine the direction the team goes at a number of positions. But for starters, I think the team still needs more playmakers on offense, at tight end and receiver.

Edward Leake from Holly Springs, North Carolina
Hi Jim, like many Titans fans, I saw the season come to an unexpected end. There were good things that happened in the game against the Bengals: AJ Brown, the nine sacks from the defensive line, and the secondary that kept Joe Burrow from throwing a TD, which many believed he would. But there were many things wrong which made the difference in the outcome. My question is on the running game. Was Foreman hurt during the game? He looked really good running the ball but only had four carries. I'm just wondering why we went away from what was working. Thanks!

Jim: Foreman was not hurt, the team just elected to use Derrick Henry a lot more. But Foreman did a nice job when he got the chance for sure. He really gave the team a lift in 2021.

Ken Johnson from Fremont, California
Man that was tough, I know Tannehill is getting a lot heat for the loss. I am a big Tannehill fan, but the team played a good but not great Bengals team with home-field advantage. Now I know we would of have to play a KC or Bills team to get there. But we didn't even have an opportunity to host the AFC championship game. The problem I see with Tannehill is he is inconsistent in playoff games. My hope this year was this would have been the year for him play better and he didn't. Coach can say it's not all Ryan fault but when you look at the tape. Ryan and Todd let them down. The down side is we can't move on from Ryan because off the dead money. So next year we can only hope he gets better but I don't have faith that Ryan will get any better. He s great in regular season but playoffs I think the stage is too big for him. Thanks for listening Jim. Have a good week

Jim: Thanks, Ken. Take it easy.

Roland Ferdinand from Nuremberg, Germany
Hi, Jim! I'm a first time writer and longtime reader from Germany. I've been rooting for the Titans for nearly twenty years and my question is: Can you conceive any scenario that brings Deshaun Watson to Music City as QB, barring his conviction or suspension by the NFL?
I appreciate your reply. Thanks!

Jim: No.

Cliff Cushman from Spring, Texas
Hey, there J.W.! One thing you will never read from me is a question/comment during a game. That must be annoying and distracting, Hello, I'm trying to watch the game. Do they expect you to stop and publish a mailbag during the Titans game? Sorry, didn't plan on venting about that. Anyway, this loss hurts because self inflicted wounds are the worst kind. We had home field, healthy players, blah blah, the stage was set for carpe diem. Then the first int. By the way, I think the first 2 were definitely Tannyboy's fault. When they watch the game film they are going to be sick. I counted about 12 plays, 9 on offense 3 defense we would like to have back. If you told me Burrow would get sacked 9 times and not throw a TD I would say we routed the Bengals. I will apologize in advance for all the torches and pitchfork carrying fans screaming for Vrabel and Tannehill because they didn't like the outcome. I don't either.. in spite of how bad the offense was, we nearly pulled it out.. Here, finally is the question. Do you think the organization trusts Tannehill to open up the offense, because with our defense, the only thing holding us back is making the offense more dynamic. I thought we were too predictable before Henry got hurt. We have the players, when healthy, to have the most explosive offense since the franchise joined the NFL. One additional question, given Tannehill's age, can we expect him to continue to develop his game? Qbs with his experience manipulate the defense with their eyes but it seems he stares down receivers at times. I'm already looking forward to next year. Let's pay Landry, grab a TE and G/RT in the draft and go get a superbowl ring next season!

Jim: Good to hear from you again, Cliff. I know it might sound silly to talk about coaches trusting Tannehill after what happened last week, but they clearly did this time last week. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been in that position. And here's what Vrabel said about Tannehill on Monday: "He has elite toughness. We have to be great around him. He has shown signs of accuracy, of decision making, the ability to extend plays and to scramble and leadership. Those are all things that you look for in a quarterback and Ryan has shown us that. Unfortunate that we turned the ball over on Saturday."

Brendan Marsh from Clifton Park, New York
Long time reader, first time writer here. To start I want to thank you Jim for all that you do to keep Titans fans all over the globe informed on everything about our favorite team, as well as allowing us to have a platform to vent and ask questions. No question coming here however, as this is more of a vent session. I had to let a few days go by so that I could fully process this loss, one that I consider to be the most frustrating and gut-wrenching loss in franchise history. I thought having the extra week off to rest and recover gave this team a tremendous opportunity to make a run to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, just like the two previous times that this organization was in this same exact position, they could not take advantage of it. Ryan Tannehill has played a major role in taking this team from mediocrity to playoff contender the last few years, but there is no doubt he needs to take better care of the football and make better decisions (specifically in the red zone). Big Jeff and the rest of the Titans defense sacked Joe Burrow nine times, that is far too dominant of a collective performance to come up short. However, we cannot pin this loss on one specific player or coach, as the saying goes "you win and lose as a team." Bottom line is the play calling, and more importantly the execution of those plays was simply not good enough for the Titans to pick up the win. To spin it positive the job that Ms. Amy Adams Strunk, Jon Robinson, Mike Vrabel, and the rest of this organization has done to turn this team into a consistent contender is certainly appreciated. Now as a fan base I know the majority of us are losing patience because we are no longer satisfied with just being a consistent contender, we want to be consistent Super Bowl contenders (and hopefully eventually Super Bowl Champions). I truly believe this team can achieve that ultimate goal. As is always the case next year's team will look different than the previous team did. But if we can keep the majority of this defense intact, I think they have the chance to be a top 5 unit in the league next season. Combine that with adding more offensive line depth and playmakers around Tannehill, assuming J-Rob doesn't pull a play out of the Rams playbook and trade the farm for Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson (if they're even available this offseason), I believe this team can compete with the best of them throughout the entire league. Heck they proved that this past regular season with a roster that was constantly rotating players in and out of the lineup on gamedays! Key words in that last sentence being "regular season", this team needs to prove that it can rise to the occasion once the postseason tournament begins. Apologies for the long-winded rant here Jim, just a fan still trying to come to grips with the crushing result and the finality of this season. Hang in there fellow Titans fans, I still believe better days are ahead! TITANUP!!

Jim: Way to close us out Brendan!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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