NASHVILLE – Welcome to April, and to another edition of the Titans mailbag.
March was a rough month, from the devastating tornados in Nashville to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In Titan land, fans said goodbye to popular players like Delanie Walker, Jurrell Casey and Marcus Mariota, among others.
But let's not forget the positives either.
Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry are back in the fold, and the team has a new toy on the defensive side of the football in pass rusher Vic Beasley, who is among several new editions.
And we're all still here for this weekend's Titans mailbag.
So, let's get some hop in that step and do this …
Russell Sicard from Lockport, New York
Question: Hey Jim. I've heard it said that kickers are a dime a dozen. That may be true, but good kickers are not. Any news on the Titans search for a new kicker now that Ryan Succop is gone?
Jim: Hey Russell. It's crazy. The Titans had so many years when they never had to worry about a kicker, from Al Del Greco (except for 2000 season's playoff game vs Baltimore) to Joe Nedney to Gary Anderson to Rob Bironas to Ryan Succop. And then 2019 happened. It was a mess, but I thought Greg Joseph finished the year on a high note, even though he was mainly kicking extra points. Greg is still under contract, but he's going to have competition for the job. I was on a conference call with GM Jon Robinson this week, and here's what he said when asked about the status of the team's kicking situation: "Yeah, it was a whirlwind last year. (Ryan) Succop went on IR, and then we brought Cairo (Santos) in, and he did a nice job, and then he missed some, and then we brought (Cody) Parkey in, and then (Ryan) Succop was back, and then he wasn't back. We were able to find Greg (Joseph), and I thought Greg did a nice job kind of steadying the rudder for us. Finished strong. We'll obviously add some competition there at that position, just like we will any other position. Same thing at inside linebacker, and corner, and D-line, O-line. We're going to add competition at all the positions, because I think that's what makes players better, is competition. That's kind of where we're at right now. We're looking at some guys that are out there in free agency, as well as kind of working through these draft guys. We'll pull the trigger on one of those guys to get in here and make that position as competitive as possible." Hope this helps…
Alex Spencer from Adamsville, Tennessee
Question: Hi there Jim. With edge rusher being a need for the Titans, could you see the team going after someone like Everson Griffin to fill that need, instead of someone like Jadeveon Clowney that will cost a huge amount of money?
Jim: Hey Alex. We'll have to see how this one plays out. I've heard Griffin's name mentioned in Seattle. Sounds like he'd like to play for Pete Carroll, who coached him at USC. But that probably won't happen if Clowney returns to Seattle, and right now no one knows what he is going to do. On the same conference call I referred to earlier, Robinson acknowledged the Titans have been in contact with Clowney's agent, and the team has interest. But at what cost? I saw where Clowney has lowered his asking price from $20 million a year to around $17-$18 million a year. Is he worth that much? That's obviously not for me to decide, but I'm skeptical about the team paying that kind of dough …
David Stalder from Albuquerque, New Mexico
Question: Hey, Jim. This may sound like a reach, but I think the Titans should go pick up Josh Gordon on a one year deal. I know, he can be toxic to the locker room and to a team's public persona, but I think the Titan's locker room, especially on the offensive side, can handle him, can handle his drama. They don't need him. If anything, the strength of returning 10 out of 11 starters on offense means they can allow Gordon to compete in a system that doesn't really need him, let him grow up, relax. Any team that can get Josh Gordon focused and clean and productive would thrive in the passing game. I think Vrabel and the current offensive players, all set, can keep him humble and motivated for the team. He's a monster when he's on. What do you think?
Jim: Hey David. I think I'd explore other options in the draft. Especially since the cupboard isn't exactly empty at the position with receivers A.J. Brown, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries. Cam Batson and Kalif Raymond are two more guys who can run, but yeah, I do expect more to be added. As for Gordon being "a monster when he's on," well, you're talking 2013, when he had 87 catches for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns. Sure, he was good in 11 games with the Patriots in 2018, when he had 40 catches for 720 yards and 3 TDs. But let's face it, he's been off more than he's been on in his career.
Joan Dutton from Cerritos, California
Question: Hi Jim. Such crazy times hope all is well at your end! My question is about Derrick Henry. Since the Titans put a franchise tag on Henry I haven't heard much about if he is happy or disappointed on the decision by the Titans. Would you please shed some light on the subject? Thanks and please stay well!
Jim: Hi Joan. Hanging in there, thanks for asking. You asked a fair question. I'm sure Derrick headed into the offseason hoping a long-term deal could be worked out by March, just like it transpired for Ryan Tannehill. It hasn't yet happened, of course. But the communication between the two sides has been good, and the GM has made it clear this week the team wants to sign Derrick to a long-term contract at some point this offseason. And the fact Derrick signed his franchise tender this week should be viewed as a good sign. It showed his commitment to the team, and I think it means he'll be around instead of holding out like some players. Hopefully something gets worked out before the 2020 season. If not, I guess $10.2 million isn't a bad consolation prize for one year.
Mark Sanderson from Burlington, North Carolina
Question: Is there a disadvantage to signing a free agent to an option year? If players like Vic Beasley rebounds with a strong year, it seems like an additional year would be a safety net against losing them the very next season. Just wondering as over the years the Titans have had that very scenario happen.
Jim: Hey Mark. An option year might be great for a team, but players see things differently. If Beasley breaks out and has another year like 2016 when he had 15.5 sacks, well, he's going to be due a bigger payday.
Joseph Dezine from North Miami, Florida
Question: Hey Jim, hope you're home stay safe my friend! I had a question I wanted to bounce off you for a second. But first I want to say thank you Marcus Mariota for all the memories, excitement, and wins he brought to our team. He's truly a class act and the embodiment of a leader, he truly has the heart of a champion. And over here he's apart of the Titan's Ohana to me! (Also I'm glad we drafted him and not Jameis lol)
But now to my question I'm so happy Tannehill has tapped into that potential that made him a star in College Station and a first round pick in the league, but truth be told this the first time in his career that it's all come together and given the track record of what happens when you give a guy that big payday ala Albert Haynesworth it's a little risky. And not to mention the injuries that sidelined him in Miami that's why I think Mike and J-Rob should be checking out some QB's because we clearly have a #1 but no #2 preferably someone with similar skills to him and Marcus because I was at the Dolphins game in 2017 when Matt Cassel had to start and it shut us down and that was a game were supposed to win. In perfect world we would get Jalen Hurts, but what do you think of Kelly Bryant, Shea Patterson, Tyler Huntley, James Morgan, Quentin Harris, or Bryce Perkins. Perkins would be great anyone would be a great pickup. Well alright Jim. I hope you and all the Titans family stay home, stay strong, and stay safe! One Love!
Jim: Hey Joseph. Appreciate it. I do agree the team needs to identify someone who is capable of stepping in and playing well in the event something happens to Tannehill. Coach Mike Vrabel has raved about Logan Woodside at least twice this offseason, and I expect him to be given a shot. But there's no doubt someone else is going to be in the mix. Frankly, I'm very interested to see who it ends up being myself. Plenty of intriguing guys are in the draft, and I know a few veterans are out there, too.
Travis Henry from Jasper, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim, love the mailbag! Hope all is well. My question to you is, was Tennessee ever really a potential landing spot for Tom Brady? Or was it just rumors and nothing more? And just one final question, who do you think will be Ryan's backup this year now that Marcus is gone? Stay safe and well and may God Bless.
Jim: Thanks Travis. The team wanted Tannehill, not Brady. The rest was a lot of rumor mill stuff. As for the No.2, see my answer just above to Joseph.
Micah Layne from Coalmont, Tennessee
Question: I'd like to start by saying thank you for keeping the fans informed on everything Titans. I'm sure with the social distancing due to the Covid-19 virus, stories are a lot harder to come by. My question is since the teams can't meet draft prospect in person is our GM, HC, or scouts able to watch streamed workout from players of interest? It seems that with the technology these days it would be simple to call up a player and set up a time to live stream. Thanks and TITAN UP!!!
Jim: Thanks Micah. Happy to do it. Hope all is well. I know the GM, scouts and coaches are watching more film than ever, but I can't say I've heard of many streamed workouts. The reality is the college tape is going to mean more this year than ever before, which I personally think is a good thing. And another good thing is two of the biggest pre-draft events – the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine – went off as scheduled, so it's not like there's a lack of info on the prospects. The players who will be impacted the most leading up to this year's draft are the ones who are coming off an injury, or the ones who really wanted to blow scouts out of the water at pro day and private workouts. Unfortunately, they won't get a chance.
Keanu Caldwell from Clarksville, Tennessee
Question: Who is going to be our punter if Tannehill does not make it on the third down?
Jim: Hey Keanu. His name is Brett Kern, and he's been to the Pro Bowl three years in a row. Google him.
Bill Parton from Lexington, Kentucky
Question: With the cancelation of pro days eliminating in person scouting, I am sure that JRob, the coaches and scouts are watching a lot of film and talking to a lot of coaches. As Kentucky fan, I can pass on that the Cats had a very good DE/DT Calvin Taylor, who I have not seen on any of the rankings/draft lists. His Bio lists him at 6'9 and 310, and as garnering 2019 All-SEC DT honors. He started all 13 games as a Sr., he had 26 Tackles, 9.5 TFL, 8.5 Sacks (tied for 2d in the SEC), 4 PBU's, 2 QB hurries and 3 FF. He, or someone like him, would be a great late round addition and help the depth issue on the DL. I don't know if the Titan's brass would welcome suggestions from fans, but maybe it wouldn't hurt.
Jim: Appreciate it. Looking for a finder's fee? 😊
Have a great weekend everyone!