Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE – It’s hard to believe, but two weeks from now we’ll be on the third day of the NFL Draft.
Yes, the big event is closing in, and it should be a blast.
Speaking of a blast, let’s get this mailbag off the ground …
Joseph Dezine from North Miami, Florida
Question: Hi Jim.My question is probably so last season, but what do you think about the management kicking the tires on Suh? I think he’s still got gas left in the tank. I also feel he’s got something to prove, especially coming off a Super Bowl L. And it’ll make for a great reunion w/Cameron Wake you know. Also, lastly I was big-time Rishard Matthews fan I still am. I think he could pick up where he left in 2016-2017 if he ever came back.
Jim: Hey Joseph. The thing about Suh is the team really doesn’t need to kick the tires on him again. They spent time with him last offseason, so they kind of know what they’d be getting. And d-line coach Terrell Williams has a great relationship with him from their days together in Miami. Right now, I suspect the focus is on the talent available in the draft, and it’s solid on the d-line. If things don’t pan out there, well, who knows? I talked to Suh at the Super Bowl and he was complimentary of the Titans. Don’t get your hopes on Matthews — that ship has sailed. Heck, the chances of me taking the field in uniform are probably better.
Jared Clark from Leakesville Mississippi
Question: Hey there Jim!!! First-time writer but spent years following you guys. Been a Titans fans since I was young watching Steve AIR McNair run around lol. But I have a question: Does Jeffery Simmons slide with the ACL tear? Could be a steal in the second rd with added patience I could see him and Casey being dynamic together on the line.
Jim: Hey Jared. I actually wrote about Simmons this week. He’ll slide from where he was initially projected to go, but there’s no way he’s sliding to the Titans in the second round. Personally, I think he could be in play at 19. I asked NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah about him, and this is what he said: “I think there’s a good chance he’s there at 19. And I think if you can be patient, history would look pretty kindly upon that pick because he is a top five talent.”
Terrell Gaston from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. How’s life treating you? I have only one quick question about the draft: Is there a way that the Titans Organization can setup some type of virtual dialog between the staff and the fans during the draft days so that the staff can see who the fans would like them to draft (whether the staff chooses to draft them or not)? Perhaps having Titans Facebook live during the whole draft process?
Jim: Hey Terrell. I cant complain. Hope all is well with you. Trying to butter me up to get to the GM, huh? Sorry, but no way Jon Robinson is going for this. But you can send your draft requests here and I’m sure he’ll see it. Word is he checks out the mailbag every Tuesday and Saturday morning before heading into the War Room.
Justen Abney from Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina
Question: I think we should take WR Hollywood Brown with the 19th pick. Marcus could us a deep threat type of WR and he would also keep the defense from loading the box to stop Henry. How do you feel about that pick? #TitanUp
Jim: Hey Justen. On one hand, the thought of taking Brown intrigues me. He’s fast, and he would stretch the field. On the other hand, he’s not very big, and that scares me. I’m torn, and then I think of some of the other guys who could be on the board, I’m not so sure.
Jack Smith from Bossier City, Louisiana
Question: Hey Jim, I’m a long-time reader of yours and really enjoy your takes on everything. So I read the mailbag from 4/7 and saw someone ask about the fumble rule and wanted to give my opinion on why it’s the right rule. A few months ago Gene Steratore did an interview and explained it in a way I had never heard that really allowed it to make sense to me. He basically explains how the end zone is considered “hallow ground.” It’s your job as a team to defend your end zone and any time a live ball goes out of bounds through the end zone, rather by a punt, kick, field goal, or fumble then it’s a touchback. The football is like the holy grail, if in your possession you give it up in the enemy territory then its theirs, rather its recovered or not. Yeah it seems like a severe penalty when taken at face value, but when considering the concept it makes perfect sense. The worst thing you can do is give the ball to the opponent, and to give up the ball in the most important time of the game deserves the biggest penalty. You don’t drop your stuff in enemy territory and expect to get it back. Gene Steratore does a lot better job explaining it. I do have a question for ya: I’m in school to become a psychologist and was curious as to if NFL teams hire their own psychologists or if the NFL employs them? Where would one go to gather more information on positions that may become available with the Titans? Thanks Jim, keep up the greatness!
Jim: Hey Jack. Appreciate it. Thanks for the feedback on the fumble rule. The team does have its own doctors on staff, with different specialties. Here’s a link to the career opportunities page for the team: HERE. Good luck.
Jabari Jackson from Merced, California
Question: Mr. Wyatt. I hope all is well with you and yours. I haven’t written in a while so please forgive the multiple questions. Any insight into who is going to be calling plays on offense this season? I respect the players and coaches who swear by Coach Smith, but I’m not sure if having a 1st year OC calling plays is going to help MM8’s game get to the next level. Also, if Mariota gets injured (knock on wood) and Ryan Tannehill plays well, do we still extend MM8? I love everything about Mariota, from his skill set to the way he carries himself off the field, but he gets hurt every year. Is there any scenario in which the team moves on from Mariota? Don’t get me wrong I’d love to see a healthy Mariota with the team for years to come, but as they say the best ability is availability and Mariota needs to be on the field.
Jim: Hey Jabari. Let’s go rapid fire answering these.
-OC Arthur Smith will call the plays.
-The Mariota contract question is above my pay grade, but my take: His chances of getting a long-term deal would obviously be reduced if he suffered an injury that kept him out a significant amount of time. He needs to prove he can stay healthy.
-Not going to deal with hypotheticals about moving on.
Jeremy Neal from Selma, Texas
Question: As I look at our team, the need for a red zone threat is there. What about a receiver like Miles Boykin or how about the sleeper of the WR class in Jazz Ferguson from Northwestern State?
Jim: Hey Jeremy. Two intriguing receivers that you mentioned. I think the Titans will draft a receiver, but I can’t say when. It’s not that I’m withholding info, I just don’t know how things are going to play out with the receivers on the board early. Get one early and maybe you don’t need a sleeper late…
Blaine Fentress from Elizabethtown, Kentucky
Question: I’m sorry is it just me or do you see it also? If we can’t beat Andrew Luck we are not going anywhere. So top priority has to be rushing the passer and tight man on man coverage. What do you think it will take to get past Indianapolis?
Jim: More points. Getting a big and nasty d-lineman and more help in the edge would certainly help the cause on D.
Kevin D from Honolulu, Hawaii
Question: Howzit Jim! I’m from Hawaii, so am of course a huge Mariota fan and I hope he has the season everyone says he needs (although I disagree with all the “experts” that say he needs to prove himself). I have been following all of the Marcus coverage I can get my hands on, and not once does he declare himself “healthy.” He actually says that he is “looking forward” to getting healthy or getting to 100%. Should we be concerned that it’s already April and he is not fully recovered yet? Thanks Jim, and appreciate the opportunity.
Jim: Aloha Kevin. If August was creeping up on us, maybe there would be reason for concern. The team – and doctors – have just given him time to heal. No one wants to push it in January-February-March. I do know Marcus back in town, and he threw with receivers the past few days. Read the story on that: HERE. He’ll be good to go for the offseason work, and the season. We’ll hear more from him on Monday when players start the offseason program.
James Honeycutt from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Jim, Thanks for taking the time with us obnoxious fans. For all the fans that want to sign the biggest name players, remember the coach and the general manager have said,” we don’t have to have the best player, just the best player for our team”. Another observation: When the team was winning 2 and 3 games a season our attendance went way down. Some games had more fans from the visiting team. For the last 2 years our home record has been 6-2. The attendance has improved but it could still be better. I have had season tickets since they played at Vanderbilt. The last 2 years have had some very exciting home games. I hope this year more fans will attend the games and see some very good football.
Jim: Hey James. It’s all good. I enjoy the feedback — and being able to allow fans to vent. There’s no question things are on the upswing. The team is winning at home, has put together three straight winning seasons for the first time in franchise history, and the leadership is good. But I understand fans want to make the playoffs, and they want playoff wins, too. Believe me, so does everyone in the building. It needs to happen. Two playoff wins since the 2003 season doesn’t cut it.
Allister Banasiak from Clarksville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! I noticed that there are still many good wide receivers that are still unsigned. Ex: Michael Crabtree, and Kelvin Benjamin. Do you think the Titans will bring one of in on a 1 or 2 year deal like we did with Decker? Pairing one of them with Corey Davis, Adam Humpheries, and Taiwan Taylor will give us a good corps of receivers. They would also be able to teach our young receivers and even if we draft one they could learn from them as well.
Jim: Hey Allister. It wouldn’t shock me if a vet is signed at some point. But I suspect the GM wants to see how things play out in the draft first. If you remember, Decker didn’t sign until after the June camp. So there’s not necessarily a sense of urgency. A lot of times the personnel guys and coaches want to see how the younger guys perform in the offseason before bringing someone in. The idea is they want to give the youngsters as many reps as they can to gauge their progress. Stay tuned here.
Brian Edwards from Tullahoma, Tennessee
Question: So my question may be a little greedy but nonetheless, I saw the latest mock draft which had the Titans taking Garrett Bradbury. While I think this would be a useful pick I don’t see it being worth a first rounder. My theory is this: The Titans should take a premier player if available i.e. DK Metcalf/ Marquise Brown, and if not available trade the pick to get more a little later in the draft. Does this philosophy make sense? I feel like we have a lot to prove this year.
Jim: I hear ya. The question as it relates to Bradbury and other guys probably comes down to who else is on the board when pick No.19 rolls around. Who has the best value at that point? If the decision makers love Bradbury and some other potential targets are gone by then, maybe you pull the trigger. But if someone else is too tempting, maybe you consider snagging that guy (A d-lineman? An edge rusher? A receiver? A tight end?) and get o-line help later.
Maria Dano from Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Question: Hi Mr.Wyatt. This is my first time in the mailbag so I’m crossing my fingers you get this. There are many fans that want to see Mariota gone and others like myself that see his greatness. I was one of the few people that said we should’ve drafted OL Quinton Nelson last year because I thought our O-line was overrated. To make a long story short, everyone is saying this is the make or break season for Mariota, which I think is unfair due to the OC and HC changes and O-line weakness. If this would be the case: 1. Do you think it’s only right to draft an OG in the first round to give Marcus a fair last chance? My second question is: If we don’t draft an OG and Marcus gets hurt again, who would be to blame, Vrabel, Jon, O-line?
Jim: Hi Maria. The o-line is still being repaired, and a good part of that reason is to protect Marcus better. He got hit way too much last season. What if coaches think Kevin Pamphile is a better option at guard than a rookie, though? Or some of the other o-linemen in the roster are just as capable? If Marcus gets hurt again, I don’t think anyone is going to be trying to figure out who’s to blame, though. When Marcus fractured his fibula at Jacksonville while rolling out of the pocket and getting tackled from behind by a 300-pound man a few years ago, who would you pin that one on? And does it really matter?
Sammy Tesimu from Chicago, Illinois
Question: Big fan Jim. I’m originally from Solomon Islands now resides in Chicago. I know we do have a back-up QB. Is there a chance there will be a surprise late in the draft for QB like last year? If so what do you think about Jordan Ta’amu from Ole Miss/transfer from New Mexico Military Institute? Similar styles of play like Mariota and yes a great character also. Thank you for your time.
Jim: Hey Sammy. Thanks for jumping in. Sure you saw where the team signed quarterback Logan Woodside this week, and he makes 3 behind Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill. I saw Ta’amu play this year, and he is an intriguing guy. I’ll just say this: I don’t think the addition of Woodside guarantees another guy won’t be added.