Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – What a comeback.
And what a short week.
The Titans rallied to beat the Jets on Sunday, which probably saved the season. But it’s going to take more wins to keep things interesting, and next up is a game against the Jaguars on Thursday night.
But first, let’s hit the mailbag….
Jeff Schwartz from Fort Loramie, Ohio
Question: Hi Jim, I’m a huge Titans/Oilers fan dating back to the late 1970’s. My question is about the Thursday night game. I feel the players/coaches don’t like Thursday night games because players aren’t physically ready to be at their best and the visitors are at a disadvantage traveling on a short week. My suggestion would be starting week 5 to week 13 is to schedule teams coming off their bye week to play on Thursday. Weeks 2, 3, 4, 14, and 15 to play an AFC/NFC matchup instead of playing a very important conference or divisional game on short rest. What are your thoughts? Thanks Jim.
Jim: Hey Jeff. It’s tough. Guys are beat up, especially this time of the year. The Titans have 11 guys on their initial injury report this week, and some of those players probably wouldn’t be on there in a normal week. I think you make a good suggestion. It would certainly allow for players to be fresher the Thursday games.
Jacqueline Dougherty from West Orange, New Jersey
Question: How is Tim Shaw doing? Is he still able to attend the home games?
Jim: Hey Jacqueline. I just saw Tim on Sunday. He does make a lot of games, and he’s been at the facility regularly as well. He comes in a few times a week and sits in on special teams meetings. Tim’s a remarkable guy. I covered him during his playing career, and he was a tough player. I was at the press conference when he announced publicly he’d been diagnosed with ALS, and at the time he was barely showing some of the symptoms. I was in the team meeting when GM Jon Robinson and then-head coach Mike Mularkey told Tim and the team they were making him a “Titan for Life.” It’s been hard to see the disease take a toll on his body, but he doesn’t want sympathy. He’s proven to be a fighter, and he’s an inspiration for everyone. On many doorways at Saint Thomas Sports Park, you’ll find Tim Shaw “quotes” — words for current players to live by.
Micah Layne from Coalmont, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. Great comeback win and for anyone wondering about the fight this team has just look at the second half effort. Love the aggressive play calling in the second half also. Also Jim was it just the coaches seeing bad play and changing the o-line lineup? If so do you see it staying this way? Thanks and LETS MAKE A RUN TITANS!!
Jim: Well, Micah, we’re about to find out. As you know, Coach Vrabel elected to go with Corey Levin at center, and Ben Jones at left guard in the second half. It moved Quinton Spain out of the lineup. Vrabel was asked about what happens from here, and he was vague. I suspect he’s not going to show his hand until gameday. The move was clearly made as the team tries to improve things on the o-line. The group hasn’t been consistent. Keep an eye on the starting five on Thursday night.
Jesse Beach from Dayton, Kentucky
Question: Hey first of, you’re the most savage person ever, keep it up! So I just seen some roster updates, how do you feel about them, and will Mariota be playing this Thursday.
Jim: Thanks Jesse. I think? The injury report is tough to gauge on a short week. Monday’s report was an estimate, based on a walkthrough. I guess you saw Marcus on there, listed as limited with a right hand injury. We’ll know more on Tuesday afternoon, when the team practices for the first time. Marcus didn’t mention the injury after the game, although Blaine Gabbert did take the last snap, as you might’ve seen. I suspect he’s good to go, but pay attention to Tuesday’s injury report.…
Jordan Brummer from Bridgeport, Illinois
Question: Hey Jim. My question is that now with Kareem Hunt being released from the Chiefs I think the titans should go after him on waivers after everything is sorted out with his situation because he is a very dynamic playmaker he can run and he can catch passes out of the back field and the Titans could really utilize from his speed.
Jim: Hey Jordan. Kareem Hunt officially cleared waivers on Monday. Not one of the other 31 teams claimed him, and frankly, I’m not surprised.
Nicolas Delamare from Laval, France
Question: Hey Jim. My question is simple…We have drafted him with an high pick ’cause everybody know that he was the best tackle on his draft…I want to speak about Jack Conklin…Jack wasn’t with the team at OTA’s, training camp, preseason games and the start of the season because his ACL injury was a tough process for being healthy…. Do you think, Jim, all the missed training, playing are the reason why Jack is maybe less competitive this year? All Titans’ fans know that Jack will be on top next year. Thanks Jim….#TitanUp two tone blue world
Jim: Hey Nicolas. Jack spoke to reporters last week, and acknowledged he needs to play better. He hasn’t played at the same level as he did before the injury. I think everyone would agree with that. I can’t help but think the injury has bothered him, and impacted his play. He’s also dealing with a scheme change during an offseason when he couldn’t practice. I don’t think he’s forgotten how to play the position. I expect him to get things fixed in time – hopefully sooner rather than later – and return to form.
Wes White from Bozeman, Montana
Question: Hi Jim. First, thanks for addressing my first ever question to “Ask Jim” a few weeks back and acknowledging us out here in Montana, where our boy Marc Mariani hails from. I appreciate all the work you do for us Titans fans out here.
So my last question was..why can’t we give the ball to Henry more. You answered, he needs to prove himself and earn touches. Man, I am a devoted Titans fan for life, but the blatant misuse of a talent like his is inexcusable. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve yelled, “GIVE THE BALL TO HENRY!!”(and I bet my wife wishes she had 2 to my 1). At least 2 occasions this season when it could have made a game changing outcome at the goal line he was overlooked and we lost both of those games. It seems that every week someone on this forum is saying the exact same thing. I understand we are trying to build a long term game out of Mariota (definitely not sold on that yet either!), but we have a weapon that no one else in the NFL has. A 250lb, 6’3” back that can make big things happen. Dion Lewis..1 TD..Derrick Henry..4Td’s. Touches don’t win games, TD’s do. How can you build a guys confidence by rewarding his TD efforts by letting him watch other guys do the work he wants and needs to be doing? Even the announcers mention it at least once a game. Not sure what the rationale is, but for his sake and his career’s sake I hope they figure it out.
Jim: Hey Wes. Derrick is getting more opportunities as the weeks go on. And he’s performed well. If you’re expecting him to get 20-25 carries a week, you’re going to be disappointed. The offense has changed. But I do think he’s been a different player since the bye week, and coach Vrabel praised him on Monday.
Alberto Armando Tellez Salcedo from Durango, Mexico
Question: Jim por que no mandan al banquillo a jugadores como Butler, Conklin y Kline y ponen de titulares a Sims, Kelly y Levin. Lo anyerior para que sepan que hay competencia interna y traten de dar todo en cada juego. Gracias Jim y saludos.
Jim: Hola Albert. El entrenador Vrabel ha demostrado que no tiene miedo de hacer cambios. Lo vimos el domingo cuando insertó a Levin y sacó a España. Él está atrapado con Butler y ha jugado bien últimamente, hizo dos jugadas grandes contra los Jets. El tiempo dirá si vemos a Kelly en algún momento, pero, una vez más, Vrabel no tiene miedo de hacer cambios. ¡Que tengas un gran día!
Luis Velazquez from Twin Falls, Idaho
Question: Jim I’m a big fan of your work I really appreciate all your content you put out as a member of the U.S. Army for the past 17 years you have helped me follow the Titans no matter where my country has needed me thank you! My question for you is our offensive line has really struggled this year particularly Conklin. Is he 100% recovered from his injury or has he just taken a couple of steps back from his all pro rookie year?
Jim: Hey Luis. I appreciate the question. It makes me happy to hear this – I’m glad I can be a service to someone who is in the service, and doing a much tougher job than I have. Thank you for your service, and for reading. As I mentioned to Nicolas, I think Jack will continue to improve. Frankly, I’ve been surprised with his struggles. He worked his butt off to get ready, losing weight while adding strength. He’s working through some things, but he makes no excuses. I’ll also say this: It’s not all on Jack. I think all of those guys up front would share the blame for the sacks, and lack of consistency. Stay safe.
Paul Newton from Santa Fe, New Mexico
Question: Jim. Loved to get this win, but we still have some issues. # 1 in my opinion is the interior line. I know we wont address this in the first round, but do you see anyone in FA we could pick up or someone in the 2nd or third round we could pick up? I think the center Jenkins from Mississippi State would be a great young addition. Your thoughts?
Jim: Hey Paul. Have to be honest: I haven’t looked closely at the draft prospects yet. Once the season ends, and the juniors declare, I’ll dive in more. I go to the Senior Bowl and Combine every year, so I’ll get a better idea then. I can’t help but think interior o-line will be looked at, but whether it’s in the draft or not hinges on free agency, too, of course.
Kellie Cain from Tennessee
Question: What’s good Jim got all love and respect for you!
1. Great win over the Jets. Crazy thing is we have been that same team before. Get a lead and squander it. Can’t score touchdowns but plenty FGs. Penalties and beating yourself.
2. I believe we need to call more designed runs for Mariota. I understand that he has not played a full season and you want a QB that can operate from the pocket. But the O-line is not playing up to par. We gave up another 3 sacks. Do we gave a game with no sacks given up? Still even if they were preforming like in 2016 Marcus is too dangerous of a runner to not give him at least 3-5 design runs a game. What do you that about that?
3. We had two drives before the GW drive and we did not run the ball at all. Did you see that or not? Just seemed like we lost balance a lil. Thanks Jim much love!
Jim: Hi Kellie. Thank you.
1- You’re right. Good to be on the flip side of that one.
2- I like Mariota’s ability to run, but the team definitely needs to pick its spots. Don’t want him to take a bunch of shots. He took some more big hits on Sunday.
3- You are right. All pass on those two. I just think the time left in the game – and the deficit – led to that. What the team needs to do this week is get a lead, which would lead to them being less predictable.
Thomas Denomme from Rhode Island
Question: More of a thought than a question. The Titans have their franchise quarterback. I love a guy who wins football games and fights. Marcus Mariota is that guy. How many teams struggle to find a quarterback now a days, especially drafted qb’s. You know what you have in this kid already, and he is only 25! Give him some consistency with a coach and coordinator. He is finally getting a groove going with Corey Davis, and he will be getting Delanie back next year, or hopefully sooner. Most super bowl winning quarterbacks are with their team for an extended period of time (with the rare exceptions like last year) and have consistency in the coaching staff. I can not stand the fantasy football junkies who think he is not good because he doesn’t give them points on their fantasy team. Find another qb to have 3 head coaches, multiple offensive coordinators and schemes, and virtually one weapon his first 3 seasons who has won a playoff game (on the road in one of the toughest places to play might I add). Extend him, 5-6 years 100 million. I do not want to watch another 4-8 year rebuild. Mettenberger, Whitehurst, Locker, Hasselbeck, Fitzpatrick, Kerry Collins. I am not ready for years of that again. Only playoff win since 2003, Marcus Mariota.
Jim: Hey Thomas. Thanks for taking the time. I must say, you make some very good points…
Reeve Muller from Dickeyville, Wisconsin
Question: Do you think the Titans will win out?
Jim: Time will tell. But they’ll have to beat Jacksonville first.
Have a great week everyone!