Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Well, training camp is up and running
Two practices down, and another one coming up Saturday.
Let’s knock out some questions in the mailbag before the horn sounds and it’s go time …
Jeremy Raymer from New Brunswick, Canada
Question: Jim, what a great start to training camp so far! It was great to hear the team got Taylor Lewan’s deal done as well as Delanie Walker’s. I think both were deserving both on the field and off. I was especially glad to see Delanie getting the extension as it wasn’t that long ago that he was one of only a few bright spots during some especially lean years. I remember being amazed that no matter how devastating the loss or irritating answering the same questions could be week in week out on those teams – he always stuck around after practice/games (when others bolted) and did his best to be accountable to the media when things seemed to unravel as the seasons dragged on. There’s only so many answers one can give during the difficult times, but we could always count on 82 to stick it out and give his best regardless (both games and interviews).
My question is this: With the team drastically improved and Marcus finally equipped with a multitude of offensive weapons (other than Walker) and a new playbook – how do you feel this will affect how others gauge the success of Delanie this season seeing as how the ball being (presumably) spread around more, likely dipping into his team leading stats we’ve grown accustomed to seeing? I know he’s said in the past he’d rather be a part of a winning team than the best player on a losing team, but I’m curious what metrics you think would be fair given this team’s make up. Stoked for this year – Titan up!
Jim: Hey Jeremy. Yes, those were two great developments with Lewan and Walker. Delanie is incredible, and you’re spot on with his professionalism and accountability. To be getting another contract extension heading into Year 13 is a great reward for his durability, commitment and performance. He’s now under contract through 2020, and he’s still playing at a high level. I expect Delanie to be a big factor once again, and I think the weapons around him – Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis at running back – and a player with huge potential at receiver in Corey Davis, should allow him to make a lot of big plays. Delanie has been double-teamed a ton over the years. I suspect he’ll be able to catch ball with not as many guys around him, and that could lead to plays with more yards after catch.
Joseph Tadlock from Malden, Missouri
Question: Now that training camp has started, how are Harold Landry and Akrum Wadley doing?
Jim: Hey Joseph. Well, it’s early. And we’ll see a lot more on Saturday when the pads come on. Landry has looked good to me. He’s explosive, and he has a great attitude. He’s learning. Wadley has flashed, but he’s third in line at running back behind Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis and David Fluellen. But he has a chance to make a move with the pads on. We’ll find out more soon.
Mojo Kanoa from Mililani, Hawaii
Question: Aloha Jim! I’ve been a Titans fan since Eddie George. I was even lucky enough to get Eddie to sign my Titans helmet and jersey at one of the Pro Bowl practices, when he made it to the Pro Bowl here in Hawai‘i back in 2000. Also, I’ve even proposed to my wife on the plane heading to Nashville to watch the game between the Titans and Packers back in 2016. By the way, which was the best game the Titans ever did play, with Marcus Mariota being under center. My question is, do you think Marcus Mariota will be utilized better this season, with better play calling? I’m hoping with all the changes and restructuring, he will lead the Titans to a Super Bowl title!
Jim: Aloha Mojo! Man, some big moments there. Good sign for the marriage with that performance vs. the Packers! I do think the new offense will suit Marcus well. He’ll be able to do more, and I think he’ll become more of a threat outside the pocket. But his receivers are going to have to make plays for him. It’s a young receiving corps. I thought Friday’s practice was a great one for the offense, and potentially another good sign of things to come.
Gilbert Moore from Pasadena, California
Question: Hey Jim I’m a diehard Titans fan from out West we have a group on Facebook called California Titans. My question is that Jayon Brown had a good year in a reduced role and was able to take snaps away from Avery Williamson, who just got paid a whole lot of money. If Brown could get better with stopping the run that would make him a pretty good three down linebacker so the training camp battle I can’t wait to see is Jayon Brown as Rashaan Evans. So my question is from what you have seen does Brown have a legitimate chance to win that battle?
Jim: Hey Gilbert. Was to represent from the West Coast! Jayon was one of the stars of the offseason, and he’s picked up where he left off. He made a great play while intercepting a pass on Friday. He looks fast, and more confident. He was good as a rookie, and I think he’s going to be even better in Year 2. All these backers are going to have a role. I see Evans competing with Will Compton for a starting spot alongside Wesley Woodyard, but look for Brown to play in a lot of packages. And expect him to make plays.
Jaime Leyva from Midland, Texas
Question: Hi Mr. Wyatt, I wanted to know how Kalan Reed is coming along? Is he still with the Titans? It seemed to me that when he got playing time he looked like a promising young corner…..only thing is his health as far as trying to stay on the field…..if I missed his release or if he left via free agency please forgive me, but always thought that kid could help our secondary. Thanks in advance.
Jim: Hey Jamie. I like Kalan, and he’s still on the roster, competing. He has value because he can play in a few spots. A few years ago, he even helped out by playing as a scout team receiver in practices. The problem he has is the fact the position has improved around him. There’s a ton of depth in the secondary, and he’s battling behind guys with more experience. He’s flashed, but he’s going to need to make plays to stick.
Simon Aston from Leeds, England
Question: Hey Jim. Greetings from England!! I’ll be seeing the Titans twice this year, at the London game v Chargers, but before that, in Nashville v Texans – can’t wait!! My question is why don’t kickers get more press than they do? They always seem to be mentioned as an afterthought following the offense & defense. I’ve just read a national US preview magazine & there’s all sorts of stats for QB’s, WR’s, LB’s ect, but none on the special teams, especially the kickers. When a kicker is responsible for a good percentage of the points, it’s vital to have a good one – we have one of the best. Here’s to the coming season!! Cheers
Jim: Well, Simon, I’ll ask Brett Kern and Ryan Succop about this one! In reality, it just goes with the position. But Kern is coming off a Pro Bowl season, and the team and fans know his value. The same goes for Succop, who has been clutch. There’s no question these guys are valuable members of the team, even if they don’t get as much pub as some others. And I’m going to mention long snapper Beau Brinkley in this answer as well. He’s definitely an under-the-radar guy who has done a really nice job without getting much attention.
James Gordon from Spring Hill, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim, what will the FB position look like this year? I was really impressed with Jalston Fowler. He has so many skills and was under-utilized and then replaced completely. Why did that happen and what has become of Fowler and will we have any play sets that involve a FB and who might that be? Thanks for the mail bag – it’s always enjoyable reading opinions and questions from other fans.
Jim: Hey James. Appreciate you taking the time. Well, the fullback position has kind of faded away in recent years, and that’s why Fowler was released. It’s still used on occasion, but moving forward look for guys who are capable of playing tight end and fullback. Luke Stocker is one of those guys. And he has extra value because he can do both.
Derrick Pirtle from New York, New York
Question: How can I send my favorite Titan fan mail?
Jim: Hey Derrick. Send it to:
460 Great Circle Road
Nashville TN 37228
c/o players name