NASHVILLE – Another week is in the books in February, and now we're just days away from the start of the NFL Combine.
Before making the trip to Indianapolis, let's knock out some more questions in this weekend's mailbag.
Nicolas Bourgogne from France
Question: Hi Jim. Nicolas here. Born and raised in France, I became a Titans fan watching Superbowl XXXIV, at a time when I knew nothing about "American Football" (I grew up in soccer and rugby and handball country!). Been bleeding blue ever since! Thanks for taking the time to answer the fans as you do, and being our eyes and ears in the facility, your perspective is really appreciated. I have a question regarding the O Line. In most of the reports I'm reading, the analysts seem to consider our O Line a strength, and mention resigning Conklin as a priority. While I agree they've been good in the running game, I find pass protection really deficient, with opposing teams consistently being able to bring pressure with only 4 or 5-man fronts - something we definitely aren't able to do consistently ourselves. I don't have a particular gripe over Conklin, but I certainly don't see him as a must-sign. How do you reckon the team should handle this off-season in order to improve our pass-protection without harming our run-blocking? Anyway, can't wait for September!! Cheers, Nico.
Jim: Cheers, Nico. Appreciate it. It's not going to be easy to re-sign Conklin. He's regarded as one of the best tackles set to become a free agent, he has an experienced agent (Drew Rosenhaus), and he's coming off a solid year. I do think Jack genuinely wants to stay – he said it himself on the day the players cleaned out lockers. Personally, I think he should be considered a priority because I think he's really good, and I think he'd be tough to replace. But again, it's going to be a challenge considering the team has so many free agents, and I'm sure Drew thinks there's going to be a big market for him. And I think we disagree on the success of the o-line protecting the QB. Tannehill was sacked 36 times in 15 games (counting playoffs), and I felt like he was protected well for the most part. I'm interested to see what happens here, and keep in mind Dennis Kelly is scheduled to become a free agent, too.
Mike Sorey from Medical Lake, Washington
Question: Hey Jim, I think the playoff loss has worn off by now and people are ready for next year already. One thing I can't get away from is why Derrick Henry disappeared in the second half against KC? Coming out of the half and down 4. We get the stop we need. We throw like we're down 14. I think I even saw Lewis in there on a second down play. What gives? It only takes Henry one play to break a long one. What's your take? Thanks for the time!
Jim: Hey Mike. I get it's still eating at you, but it's time to put it behind you. There's nothing anyone can do about it now. The running game wasn't as dominant against the Chiefs as it was in other playoff games. Credit the Chiefs. If you want to kick yourself over that game, the end of the first half is what changed everything. Going three-and-out and then allowing KC to score late, that unfortunately changed the complexion of the game…
Brandon Horne from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! I always enjoy your articles and I appreciate your answers to fans' questions, as wild as some of the questions are. My question to you is: What was your most memorable Titans moment of 2019?
Jim: Hey Brandon. This is a tough call, because there were so many great moments. The regular season's most memorable moment? The comeback win over the Chiefs. In the playoffs, walking out of Foxborough with a win over the Patriots was pretty sweet, but that Baltimore win was a real highlight, too. And let's not forget about the jersey retirement ceremony for Eddie George and Steve McNair. A lot of cool moments in 2019 ...
Josh Foster from Kentucky
Question: Ryan Tannehill should get a chance to start season and you should pick up Teddy Bridgewater because he's been undervalued as a back up and continue with that run game and build a good defense in the draft. Joe Burrow in the first round and give him a bit to develop before throwing him out there. Then load on defense and wr and ol. The other was should get you some WR or OL help too.
Jim: So, let me get this straight Joe: Bring back Tannehill, sign Bridgewater and then draft Burrow to give him time to develop? Not interested in adding Brady, Rivers and rolling the dice with Tua, too?
Christopher Harris from College Station, Texas
Question: Howdy Jim. Could you do me a favor and this along to Arthur Smith and Mike Vrabel? Our play action pass offense was the most exciting Titan football in a long time. Some misdirection/counter plays might help open lanes for Henry. Not advice, just a suggestion. Titan Up!
Jim: Will let them know Christopher…
Robert Conlon from Baltimore, Maryland
Question: Hey Jim, what a great season. My question is was it beneficial in any way for J Rob to declare they weren't picking up Jack Conklin's option for 2020 even before the 2019 season? Couldn't he have waited, and now is he wishing they would have picked up his 5th year option? Or would it still be un-capfriendly?
Jim: Hey Robert. If only GMs could wait until the end of the season … Unfortunately they have to deal with deadlines, and the deadline on that decision was May 3, 2019…
Warren Forseth from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: I read your response about Marcus Mariota and I believe you're right. However, what if Tannehill does move on? Is there anything stopping Mariota from competing for another starting quarterback position and contract (in Tennessee). Or does everyone on the coaching staff not like him.
Jim: Hey Warren. Marcus has an expiring contract. He's a great guy. He had a good run in Tennessee. But he'll be playing elsewhere in 2020. And here's hoping he does well.
Richard Gamboa from Austin, Texas
Question: Dear Jim. This is more of a statement then a question, I would like to take the time to thank all of you guys and gals, yourself, Mike Keith, Amie Wells and Dave McGinnis and everyone for all the hard work that is put in to keep us the fans well informed. I'm from Austin, Tx and became a Fan in 1978 and for all the fans out there if you know what happen that year then you are a true fan. I rely heavily on the information all of you put out there and being from Texas it's hard to get info this Cowboy/Texans Country but you may not believe it but there is a large Titans fan bash here. I could go on and on but I need to get back to work, keep up the great work and tell everyone the eye of Texas is still strong for the TITANS. Thank you
Jim: Hey Richard. Really appreciate you taking the time. I think I can speak for all of us by saying we love what we do and are happy to do it!
Have a great weekend everyone!