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Weekend Mailbag: Jim Wyatt Answers Questions From Titans Fans


NASHVILLE – Titans training camp is under way.

We're two days in, and the team will hit the field again Saturday.

I came in from the heat to bang out a quick mailbag.

Let's go…

Here's the link to submit questions: CLICK HERE

Will Barge from Nashville, Tennessee
Hey Jim! Hope you are enjoying the start of camp. I wanted to ask a quick question about the inside linebacker group we have, as I feel that this does not get talked about enough. This seems like a very untested group, and we are placing a lot of faith in guys who haven't played much NFL football. Al-Shaair has been a starter before, but also did not see a lot of starter action last year due to being hurt and playing behind one of the best ILB duos in the NFL (reminds me of Andre Dillard in Philly, in a way). Monty Rice has been with us for 2 years but remains unproven, mostly due to injuries. Niemann has been a spot starter in his career, and Gifford has been mostly a special teamer. Gibbens and Campbell are young with little (Gibbens) or no (Campbell) film to speak of.
The front office and Vrabel (a defensive guy) obviously must have felt comfortable enough with this group going into camp, but from the outside in it feels like a gamble, and I feel like I am missing something here. What have you seen from this group that gives you some confidence that they can hold the middle for a front 7 that has the DT, DE and OLB group to be a top-tier defense? Thanks for all you do and Titan up!

Jim: Hey Will. Azeez Al-Shaair is a guy the team is very familiar with, especially GM Ran Carthon. Ran was with Azeez in San Francisco. The team believes in him, and thinks he'll make a big jump with more opportunities. He's off to a good start. I've been impressed with him so far. Rice is still developing, has made some plays, but he still can get better. The coaches love Jack Gibbens because of his smarts, and he's a guy who has continued his positive momentum from a year ago. Chance Campbell is bigger, stronger, and back in the mix after being injured a year ago. I thought he showed up on Friday. But in a lot of ways, you're correct – a lot of these guys have a lot to prove, and the team is counting on them stepping up, some into bigger roles than they've ever had.

Joe Levickis from Joelton, Tennessee
Hey Jim! Looking at our defense, I'm curious to know what our depth on our front is going to look like. I loved the contributions guys like Mario Edwards Jr and DeMarcus Walker have brought to our team and am hoping we have a few new faces step up to help fill their roles. Who do you see as the most likely to contribute with interior pass rush help alongside our starters like Big Jeff, Teair Tart, and Denico Autry?

Jim: Man, Joe, I was expecting this to be an o-line question. I'll touch on a few guys here. Naquan Jones has a good reputation, and some experience. Jayden Peevy has made strides, improved a lot. Tyler Shelvin has lost weight, and showed up in great shape. He stood out in the OTAs, but he did leave practice early on Friday so stay tuned there. Not sure what was up with that. Jaleel Johnson has flashed potential. It'll be fun to watch the big men battle.

Benny Blanco from Bronx, New York
I know it's still early in camp but what are your first impressions on some of the rookies so far in camp? Are there any that stand out to you?

Jim: You're right, Benny. It's early. Only seen two practices. But Peter Skoronski has been solid, Tyjae Spears has been fun to watch, and I liked what I saw from Colton Dowell in the offseason as well. No sign of TE Josh Whyle so far in camp. Check back in a few weeks for an update.

Jamie Gallagher from Sydney, Australia
Hi Jim. To mark the return of the Houston Oilers throwback uniforms, do you think we can start a campaign for the offense to come out in the Run N Shoot for the first play from scrimmage?

Jim: I like the sound of this, Jamie. I'll pass this to the head coach.

Luke F from Hendersonville, Tennessee
Hey Jim! I've been hearing a lot of good things regarding Malik Willis this off season. Assuming you have been to a few practices, what is your take?

Jim: Been to every practice, from OTAs to minicamp to two practices in training camp. As I've said in here multiple times, and as Mike Vrabel said the other day, he's made strides. But the competition is just heating up. What happens now is more important than what happened in May or June, for Willis and everyone else.

Chuy Cano from Corpus Christi, Texas
Chuy here Mr. Jim from South Texas. Saw that they r bringing back the Oilers uniforms! We're abt 3 hours from Houston....originally a Oilers fan. This is one of those things where ur past that catches up with a great thing! Seeing the King wearing the uniform and that badass helmet....with that iconic logo..."derrick" henry....haha..u like that Jim? Can't wait to see them out there on the field. Getting some more apparel already! There's just something abt the Oilers logo that just makes me proud to live n Texas....probably cuz I work in the refinery business...haha. People r gonna go crazy when they see them wearing these uniforms...thx Jim

Jim: Folks sure are fired up about this, Chuy!

Lazarus Morris from Louisville, Kentucky
: Hey Jim, I was wondering what our situation at kicker is looking like and who is competing for the spot? I appreciate the work you do as well. Thanks.

Jim: Hey Lazarus. Right now, the competition is between Caleb Shudak and Trey Wolff. The team wants one of them wins the job. So far, Wolff is a perfect 14-of-14 in camp, and Shudak is 6-of-6.

Brenton Burney from San Antonio, Texas
Hey Jim. I saw in your article the other day that you noted the Oiler throwbacks (which are great by the way!) will take the place of the Titans light blue alternates this year. I was just curious if there was any talk of that being a permanent change, or if we'll be seeing the light blue alternates return next year?

Jim: That's definitely the case for this year. Not sure about next year yet.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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