NASHVILLE – Well, we've almost made it.
Kickoff Weekend is officially here. One NFL game in 2020 is officially in the books, and the Titans are just a couple of days away for the season opener against the Broncos.
Thanks to all those who've kept the conversation going during the long, unprecedented offseason.
We haven't always agreed on everything, but I think we can all agree on this: Let's play some football!
But first, let's roll out another Titans mailbag. And this one is packed ….
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Manuel Walket from Dover, Kent, United Kingdom
Question: Hi Jim. I just wanted to know, after such a good season last season all the hype that's being built up about us for this season, what has coach Vrabel said to the squad to make sure they stay level-headed and ease the pressure? P.S> TitanUp.
Jim: Hey Manuel. Well, his message is actually pretty simple: Last year means nothing now. This year's Titans are 0-0. He's been preaching it daily.
Steve Garrison from White House, Tennessee
Question: When will the Titans arrive in Denver for Monday night's game?
Jim: Hey Steve. The Titans are scheduled to fly to Denver on Sunday, the same routine as previous years. The only difference is the team will leave, and arrive, a little later than normal.
Hunter Foley from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, I think I'm speaking for all Titans fans when I say thank goodness we were able to sign Jadeveon Clowney and keep him away from other teams (for at least this season). With that being said, do you think the Titans will keep him mostly at OLB or will they rotate him in and out throughout the season at the DE position as well? I like the fact of having Vic Beasley, Harold Landry, Jadeveon Clowney and Jeff Simmons all 4 on the field together at the same time as much as possible. Titan Up!
Jim: Hey Hunter. You familiar with 'Where's Waldo?' I suspect the Titans will use Clowney in a number of ways, and spots. I think you'll see him standing up on the outside as an OLB/DE, and with his hand in the dirt. I think you'll see him roaming a lot of places, ready to pounce. The thing that makes him so valuable is his versatility, and I think the Titans will use him all over because it's something he's had success doing during the course of his career.
Ben Avery from Belton, Missouri
Question: Jim I agree with your comments about the players. I appreciate their comments. That is why us veterans risk life and limb for freedom to voice your values and concerns. As an American I respect everyone's right to speak out. This particular group of the Titans are great individuals that seem to be thoughtful and kind. And they were all sons and now father's adults and from what I see just great individuals. Thank you sir for speaking truth to this matter. We can't change the past but we can change the future thru one kind act at a time. I pray that we start showing this as a nation. Thanks sir.
Jim: I'm with ya, Ben. Thanks for taking the time.
Chris Coles from Odenton, Maryland
Question: Can you guys put the "C" on the jerseys this season?
Jim: Hey Chris. I asked coach Vrabel about this on Friday. To sum up his answer: Everybody knows who the captains are. The Titans play as a team and he doesn't feel need to bring attention to it with patch. So no C patch.
Here's the exact quote from Vrabel: "I think everybody knows who the captains are. We've announced them and so we'll go on and play the game with the 48 guys and not have to designate. We don't put RB on Derrick Henry's jersey, everybody knows he's a running back. Rashaan Evans won't have LB on his jersey, but everybody knows he's a linebacker. So that's just kind of what we did, what we decided to do."
If you need a reminder, the five captains are: Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill, Kevin Byard, DaQuan Jones, Brett Kern.
Jason Wilson from Denver, North Carolina
Question: Hi Jim! I'm really excited for the season to start soon! I really like Kalif Raymond and I feel like he brings a lot to the team. Any chance he would be our 3rd wideout this year? I also know he does kickoff returns, any chance he will do punt returns too? Thanks!
Jim: Hey Jason. Kalif will be in the mix at receiver, and he'll be a weapon. Looks like the top three will be A.J. Brown, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries, but Kalif will be a factor and he'll play as well. And the plan is for him to handle punts and kickoffs.
Mike Messick from Manchester, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. First time in mail bag. I'm a true blue Titans fan but with all the political stuff the players are putting themselves in I have no choice but to not watch football this season. I had mad respect for Tannehill but with the statement he made in his post I lost just about all respect for him I'm sorry but this is the way I feel I don't think politics belong in sports just my opinion you probably want put this in the mailbag but I didn't say anything wrong I don't think. So, I wish the Titans well this year and thanks for all the good work you do.
Jim: Appreciate you sharing your feelings in here, Mike. Everyone has a right to his/her opinion. You've got to do you. Appreciate the well-wishes.
David Dodson from Crossville, Tennessee
Question: Hello Jim. I have been a fan of the Titans team and organization since they first moved to Tennessee. I just cannot understand why the owners, coaches, and players believe that kneeling during the National Anthem brings healing and social justice to our Nation? I believe players have the right to protest if they want to. Let them come to the field 2 hours before and stay 2 hours after and kneel or speak any way they want. When they kneel during the displaying of our National Flag it infuriates a majority of people in the country! I keep hearing that the kneeling has nothing to do with the flag? Then why are they only kneeling during the displaying of the Flag? Knowing that there will be more protests on the field this year than ever before leads me to believe that the sport of professional football is about to be a thing of the past. I am going to wait until the first game of the season to decide whether or not to continue being a fan. Football players can protest and so can every other American. Thank you.
Jim: You're welcome to your opinion, too, David. I'm not going to speculate on what the Titans may or may not do at the National Anthem. I'll just say this: Personally, I support the players and their right to peacefully bring awareness to social injustice.
Troy Rogers from Hendersonville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, I'm charter member season ticket holder and long time Jim Wyatt fan (way back to Tennessean days). Love how you give it to us like it is and your handling of the Titans fans as they jump off the Titans bandwagon because our coaches and players stand up against social injustice. Our nation was built on the basic concept of equality in the pursuit of freedom, liberty and happiness for all people. They have the freedom to not support our team but if you think it is alright for the police to kill a Black man on the streets of our cities you have a problem bigger than football. I'm proud of Ryan and Kevin for standing up and telling it like it really is out there. So remember to "Tuck and Roll" as you jump of the Titans bandwagon but when the Super Bowl parade is rolling down Broadway you don't have a seat. TITAN UP!!!!
Jim: Appreciate it, Troy. And thanks for the kind words, too.
Landon Good from Toledo, Ohio
Question: Love that football is back. Also not surprised the ratings were the lowest in years on opening night. Can we please start making football about football instead of another political stage? Obviously, people don't want to watch that. What is it going to take for these sports organizations to realize what they are doing is causing more harm than good, as all they are doing is dividing people more? No problem with the message, but their execution and show is brutal.
Jim: Thanks for weighing in, Landon.
Richard Bonomini from La Mesa, California
Question: Please stop that pathetic TITAN UP! Slogan. It's pathetic and who ever thought of it should have their head used to open the door after they are fired.
Here's the new team slogan for 2020 TNT
TNT! TNT! TNT! 3 , 2 , 1 BOOM!
TNT = TENNESSEE NASHVILLE TITANS
No more Titan up!
Jim: Hmmm…. I prefer Titan Up.
Scott Saling from Bowling Green, Kentucky
Question: Hello Jim! Just wanted to write in to share my voice and thoughts. I see some people write in and remark that they are done with the Titans and NFL due to the racial issues facing our country today. I just want to say as a 40-year old white male from the South I fully support all the players as well as the NFL using their platform to bring this topic and issue to the front line. All of us as Americans no matter the color of our skin need to rise to this challenge and eliminate racial injustice. After all we are all Americans and this world would be a better place if everyone would come together for a change that is much needed and long overdue. Sorry for the rant just wanted to get this out there. Now to football I have and always will be the biggest Titan supporter as well as the whole NFL and I am so glad it's time for some football!!! Very excited to see King Henry to run wild all season!! And A.J. Brown to make a big leap in his 2nd year. Think the sky is the limit for this team this year.
Jim: Good take, Scott.
Scotty Holden from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, thank you for everything you and the entire Titans organization does for us. It's terrible to still see the divide between the stance the players and NFL has taken (which I fully support). I know so many people that still think that this whole situation is about the players disrespecting our troops and the ground we walk, but it's not that at all. It's about how we, as Americans, still undergo unnecessary racism spanning the country and police brutality being a significant negative side-effect from it. We need LOVE, COMPASSION, and UNITY for every individual for this blessed country (and others). Again, thank you, everyone, for reaching out and delivering your message.
My question for you Jim: Do you think we will see a lot of 4-3 action with Beasley and Clowney running both sides this season? It will be glorious to have a d-line with those to with Simmons and Jones in the interior.
Jim: Another good take, Scotty. Thanks. I think a lot remains to be seen here, and a lot hinges on Beasley's ability to get healthy, and up to speed. He's dealing with a knee injury. In time. I think the Titans would love to show a bunch of different looks with these guys to take advantage of their skill-sets. But I think it's going to depend on availability, and conditioning. The good news for the Titans is they have personnel versatile enough to do a lot of different things, and that will allow the use of different formations. Some really good pieces for sure.
Justin Cynor from Sheldon, Wisconsin
Question: We landed Clowney yay! Why he take 99 tho? 97 was open, 90? Ask DaQuan.
Jim: Hey Justin. Well, DaQuan Jones earned the No.90 – he's a captain who's been here seven years now. He deserves to keep it because he's worn it well, And 97 wasn't open – it's Isaiah Mack's number. Why not take 99? It's a cool number left by a guy who was one of the organization's all-time greats. I'm betting Jurrell Casey would be honored he picked it.
Steven Galvan from Dallas, Texas
Question: Hey Jim. It's been awhile since I've written, but I've kept up with the mailbag and all things Titans this offseason. First off, I want to applaud you for how you have dealt with the difficult fans who write in voicing their opinions on matters that are inconvenient to them. But now, looking at this Titans team, I have a few thoughts and questions. I love that the Clowney situation is over and glad he's coming to Nashville. I am really excited to see the development of AJ Brown and Jonnu Smith as they take more prominent roles in the offense. I haven't had much time to follow Gostkowski, but how has he looked in practice? I know the kicking situation last year left some to be desired, so I'm hoping that we can get a boost from a proven player. Last question, what has the difference in mentality been like among the players on this team compared to last year? I feel like last year it was about realizing potential and proving to themselves and the world that they were a force to be reckoned with. I know Vrabel likes to take the approach of not picking up where you left off from last season but is there a feeling in the locker room that this team still has yet to hit its ceiling and is eager to elevate to the next level? Thank you for your time, Jim. I love reading your mailbags. I love this team. I love this organization. Titan Up!!
Jim: Appreciate it, Steven. Gostkowski has looked good. His leg strength looks good, and he's been accurate. As for the mentality, I think it's good. Guys have confidence, and they know they're capable of doing special things. A lot of these guys were on the AFC Championship team. But these guys are also grounded because they remember the 16-0 loss to Denver last year, they remember the 2-4 start, and they know it took winning in the final week of the regular season last year to get in the playoffs. And they know they didn't win the division, and the organization hasn't done that in a long time. So while guys are ready to take it to the next level, there are no guarantees based off the previous year's success. They also know a good regular season guarantees you nothing in the postseason. Just ask the Ravens from a year ago, or the 2000 or 2008 Titans for that matter. The quest to take it to the next level starts on Monday night in Denver, but it's a week-by-week season where if you don't play well, you're going to take the L.
Jake Mackey from Frisco, Texas
Question: Hey Jim. We met for a split-second at an Alabama-Arkansas game down by the field. Who do you think will be the most impactful rookie for the Titans? Also, who do you think will be the biggest surprise from our group of veterans? I'll hang up and listen. Titan up.
Jim: Hey Jake! I remember this. My daughter goes to the University of Alabama, so I try to make it down there for games a few times a year. Most impactful rookie? I'm going with running back Darrynton Evans, but patience may be needed at the start because he missed a lot of time in camp and is just catching up. I'm also expecting cornerback Kristian Fulton to make a big impact, too, but he's making up for missed time, too. In time these guys are going to be good ones.
Frank Fitzpatrick from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: I love the Clowney deal. I think we even have a more money we can spend. But doesn't he play the same position as our other free agent deal, Vic Beasley. Do you think The Titans will try the 2-5 defense with 5 linebackers on the field? Clowney could play with his hand down I guess.
Jim: Hey Frank. As I mentioned earlier, Clowney is capable of doing a lot of things. And I think you'll see both of these guys on the field at the same time in different packages.
Brandon Green from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim- Has anyone said anything about us signing Clowney yet?
But seriously- I'm going to plant the flag and say that the Titans have the talent to be the best defense in the NFL this year. Period. There's a perfect storm of classic disrespect from national media (CBS Sports just ranked us at 17th in their power rankings behind the Derwin-less Chargers!? I mean c'mon!?) that gives us our extra chip on our shoulder. We're setting ourselves up to be the most underrated team in the NFL by a long shot. (AFC runners-up getting 13-1 odds of winning the AFC this year? You'd think we lost our half our starting lineup in the offseason). We're going to shock the world this year! Titan UP!
Jim: Yes, it's finally a done deal Brandon. Sounds like you're excited. And now it's almost time for the Titans to show what they've got – in 2020.
Have a great weekend everyone!