NASHVILLE – We've reached the middle of May and facilities remain quiet across the NFL.
While players are preparing for the NFL season, they're doing so in Zoom meetings and in more private settings.
Fingers remain crossed things will continue to improve with the coronavirus pandemic, and we'll have football in the fall.
Meanwhile, questions keep pouring into the Titans mailbag.
Let's dive into this weekend's edition …
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Peyton Steed from Fairhope, Alabama
Question: Hey Jim, I love reading the mailbag. I was excited to see us pick up Kristian Fulton in the second round, as I thought he could have gotten picked in the first. After drafting Fulton and signing Johnathan Joseph how do you think the Titans cornerback position will look this next season?
Jim: Hi Peyton. Thanks for reading. As for the cornerback position, well, there's still a lot of promise despite the departure of Logan Ryan. Malcolm Butler and Adoree' Jackson return, and Joseph is a capable vet. Fulton is a promising youngster who should fit in well, and Tye Smith adds to the depth. So it's safe to say the cupboard isn't bare, and I'm not ruling out the possibility of the secondary being better than it was at the end of last season, when it limped to the finish and was exposed a bit against the Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
Chris Boncoski from Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Question: Longtime Oilers/Titans fan here. Thank you for devoting so much of your time to help the fans understand the workings of our beloved Titans. If Clowney signs elsewhere, what are your thoughts on a back-up plan?
Jim: Hey Chris. The way I see it is Clowney would be a luxury, and a good get, if the Titans can land him. But I've never looked at him as "Plan A." The team hasn't geared its entire offseason around signing him. I think he'd be on the roster by now if that had been Plan A. If Clowney ends up somewhere else, the Titans have still done some things to add to the pass rush this offseason, namely signing edge rusher Vic Beasley.
Khristian Ross from Springfield, Tennessee
Question: What's up Jim? I was wondering: I've seen a ton of 2021 NFL mock drafts already that say that the Titans are going to draft a tight end. I personally love Jonnu Smith and I think that he has a legit chance to be a breakout player for the Titans next year. I know he is a free agent next year and I'm kind of scared that he's going to breakout and demand a lot of money. Do you think that he is going to be a breakout player next year, and if so do you think that there is a chance that we give him an extension before the season starts?
Jim: Oh man, Kristian, I wouldn't put any stock into mock drafts for 2021 right now. But I'll say this about the tight end position: Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firkser and MyCole Pruitt all head into contract years this fall, so something has to give. If Jonnu keeps playing well, which I expect him to do, I think the team will sign him to a long-term deal. He might be the head coach's favorite player on the team. And yes, I'm expecting even bigger things for him this fall.
Jackson Steed from Birmingham, Alabama
Question: Hey Jim, always love reading the mailbag every week thanks for putting in the time to do it. My question pertains to Jeffery Simmons. I have high hopes for him coming out of his rookie season. Definitely saw some flashes from him once he got healthy last year, and I can't wait to see how he performs coming into next season fully healthy. So, I just wanted to get your take on what we should expect to see from him next year. Thanks.
Jim: Hey Jackson. Are you related to Peyton? This might be the first time we've ever had two Steeds in the same mailbag. I'm expecting Simmons to make a big leap this fall. I thought he played well as a rookie, coming off knee surgery. With an offseason to get the knee even heathier – he's been working out at the facility with trainers – he should be even better. In my mind, part of the reason the Titans felt they could say goodbye to Jurrell Casey was based on the front office and the coaches feeling Simmons is ready to step up and be that kind of difference-maker. You're going to see that even more this fall.
Charlton Hilliard from Jacksonville, Florida
Question: Hey Mr. Wyatt, I just wanted to say that very grateful as a Titans fan for the past 2 years. I have been growing my Titans gear collection from a 1 hat and 1 shirt to a big navy blue, Titans blanket and many more hats and shirts. But enough about me, my question is: What do you think the Titans need on our team to make the team even greater than it already is?
Jim: Impressive Charlton. Well, it needs to stay healthy, and it needs some guys to rise to the occasion. There's no doubt the Titans have lost some leaders this offseason. But the NFL is all about having guys rise to the occasion when it's their time. I think I could name the 11 starters on offense right now. In the fall, with Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry and a talented group of pass catchers, I think the team is going to be able to move the ball, and score. My biggest questions are on the defensive side of the ball. How things play out there will determine if the Titans can be a contender once again.
Dave Bettlach from Chesterfield, Missouri
Question: Hey Jim. Will JRob be looking to add a vet TE and a backup QB that has played in the NFL? Depth at these positions seems rather questionable.
Jim: Hey Dave. Wouldn't surprise me if a veteran TE is added to the mix at some point. As for the QB position, I get the sense Logan Woodside and Cole McDonald are going to get the opportunity to win the No.2 job. I also get the sense if neither is convincing in camp, then a veteran could be added before the season.
Mike Hawk from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Do you expect Ryan Tannehill to emerge as a top 10 QB this year?
Jim: Hey Mike. I guess it depends on who is ranking the QBs. In 2019, Tannehill was the NFL's No.1 rated QB as far as passer ratings go. And he was one of the quarterbacks at the Pro Bowl.
David Siler from Thousand Oaks, California
Question: Hi Jim, hope you are doing well. I was curious, maybe I have already missed this information in all the other goings on, but have the Titans come close to hiring a new defensive coordinator?
Jim: Hey David. I think it's safe to say the DC is already on the staff…
Michael Oxmuhl from Boise, Idaho
Question: Hi Jim… what an absolute fantastic...stupendous...sensational offseason we are having. I can't tell you how excited I am for us to be 9-7 again. We all loved the run last year it was simply amazing and somewhat of a miracle... but when you dig into our offseason I challenge you or anyone else to tell me where we got better.... what position group got better??? At best we stayed the same and in some areas we are definitely weaker. So lets recap... not only did we purge our locker room of just about every single fantastic leader we have had over the past few years, we also let key players walk away and got NOTHING for them..... Casey is a great example. We lose a pro bowler, leader and great individual and got absolutely nothing... you cant tell me the 7th rounders of this draft will have any impact. I realize this was a financial decision... if you wanted to move him because he was declining why not replace him with a first rounder…. No instead we bring in somewhat of a project at RT...The guy is huge but can he pass block? Most say it will really take work. To add insult to injury we did not even go after a pass rusher.... our pass rush was dismal last year and you can't tell me Beasley is the answer...if he was the answer he would not have gotten a one year prove it to me plan. JRobs track record has been excellent in drafts but outside of Fulton in the 2nd round it was pretty uninspiring... This is not me talking I stopped couniting at 6 different publications having us at the bottom of the draft class ratings. Most folks gave us a C for replacing some needs. We were all excited we signed Tanny and Henry, but we have not even come close to closing the gap on KC.... If we are not looking to the Super Bowl than what are doing? Many predicters don't even having us winning the division (Colts are the fav). Please, please, please tell me how this is not a 9-7 team...… I am well aware our record was better when Tanny took over, but can we honestly say he will lead the league in passing again? Our defense is actually weaker if you compare the additions to the losses..... we still wont stop anyone's passing game with Toast Butler on the outside. Sorry Jim and I know I am in the minority here, but it is very hard for me to think we can come close to last year.....Heavy sigh.... Here come the Tennessee nine-an-sevens!!!
Jim: Hey Michael. Well, you almost lost me at hello. I hear your sarcasm, but I think we can agree a 9-7 season is nothing to scoff at when the season ended up one win short of a Super Bowl appearance. Would you rather go 14-2 like the Ravens and bow out in the first round of the playoffs? Sure, I get making it to the AFC Championship Game isn't the goal, but it wasn't a bad season either. As for where the Titans got better, I'll start with OLB because of the addition of Vic Beasley. At RB, Darrynton Evans will be an upgrade over Dion Lewis. Sure, this team has some questions marks, and it lost some good players, and leaders. There's no doubt about it. But plenty remains to be seen at a lot of positions, and I think there's a chance several position groups could end up being better when all is said and done. First, I'd like to watch a practice or two before projecting W-L records based on what's on paper. Here's to good health.
Have a great weekend everyone and stay safe.