Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE – OTAs are now in the rear-view mirror, and a three-day minicamp is next up for the Titans.
But first, let’s get rolling with another Titans mailbag.
Jacoby Covington from Reno, Nevada
Question: Hi Jim. Hope all is well your way. You have been blessed to have inside access to the team during OTA’S. With your observations, what 3 players have kind of caught your attention during OTA’S? I know the players are not in pads, but I’m curious as to who is balling during practice.
Jim: My three: Adam Humphries, Rashaan Evans and Delanie Walker – all for different reasons. Humphries is new, so I’ve kept an eye on him from the start. He’s been really good in practices, and it’s clear he’s going to make a difference. Evans returns, and I was looking forward to seeing him make the second year jump. He hasn’t disappointed. He’s been flying around, looking good. And while I’ve seen Delanie look better, he’s surprised me with just how much he’s done in OTAs coming off the ankle injury. Delanie said himself he’s 85 percent, so he still has a ways to go, but he’s had a good offseason. I could name several more, but will hold it for a post at the end of the offseason.
Larry Ford from Evansville, Indiana
Question: Hey him how’s it going? I sure am ready for football to start back up and I’m sure you are as well! I’d like to know how I could get autographs from the team? I live three hours away but have family that live in Nashville. That is wear I’m actually from. But I don’t know how to get autographs and would love to!
Jim: Hi Larry. Best bet for autographs is by coming to a training camp practice, especially the Saturday practice at Nissan Stadium early in training camp. More details on that to come in the coming weeks.
Joni Daniels from Antioch, Tennessee
Question: I am a huge Marcus Mariota fan. An article read on the NFL website has eluded to Marcus playing for his job this upcoming season. Taking under consideration the fact that he has had to work with a number of head coaches and offensive coordinators, is this a fair assessment of his situation? I am a PSL and season ticket holder. If he is gone then so am I! I have seen him play through pain and injury and listen to criticism that was unfair. Get people around him that will adequately protect him and he could probably stay healthy!!
Jim: Hey Joni. Let’s face it: He is playing for his future. Of course everyone is going to have to play better around him, but Marcus is going to have to do his part, too, which requires staying healthy and playing at a high level. Now I’m not saying 2019 is absolutely “make or break.” The team will still have the franchise tag as an option for 2020 no matter what happens. But he needs to play well and make the decision to keep him a no-brainer for management. If he gets hurt early and misses a long stretch or doesn’t play well then it’s going cloud his future in Tennessee.
Llewellyn Roux from Lompoc, California
Question: Hi, Jim! I’m glad the 2019 NFL Draft was held successfully and the fans who attended participated both in the local events and generated revenue in the local economy in Nashville back in late April. What are the chances of the city Of Nashville hosting a Super Bowl? Such an event would only be the second -ever Super Bowl played outdoors since Super Bowl XLVIII played at New Jersey back in February 2014. I figure there would have to also be major upgrades to Nissan Stadium to be ready for a Super Bowl and also be approved by the NFL. Thanks
Jim: Hey Llewellyn. I’ve answered this question several times since the draft, and my answer remains the same. I’m skeptical about the city’s chances without a new stadium. Just being realistic here. The league is looking for warmer weather or indoor venues and Nashville in February comes with no guarantees. Believe me, as a Nashville native, I’d love it. But I’m not getting my hopes up, I’ll say that.
David Gornto from Alcoa, Tennessee
Question: Just read your article on Kevin Pamphile, great read as always, and was curious as to how the O-line is shaping up both health wise and who you think will be the starting five when the season kicks off. Thank you for always bringing us the inside look at the Titans.
Jim: Hi David. Appreciate it. A whole lot still TBD on the o-line, and things change when the pads come on. On the left side of center Ben Jones, you’ll see left guard Rodger Saffold and left tackle Taylor Lewan. Pamphile is definitely a top contender at right guard, and could win the job. Rookie Nate Davis, Corey Levin, Aaron Stinnie and Jamil Douglas are competing there as well. There have been a lot of questions about Jack Conklin moving from tackle to guard, but I’ll believe it when I see it. He hasn’t worked all offseason as he recovers from an injury, so his first step will be to get back on the field. And his absence has opened the door for Dennis Kelly, who is well regarded and a potential starter at right tackle himself.
Allister Banasiak from Clarksville, Tennessee
Question: If I want to mail in a Mariota or a Byard football card to the Titans training facility addressed to the player to ask them for their autograph and include a return envelope already stamped and addressed do you think Mariota or Byard would sign it and mail it back? If so, what address should I send it too?
Jim: Hi Allister. Hey, it’s worth a shot. No promises, but …
Send it to:
Attention: Kevin Byard/Marcus Mariota
460 Great Circle Road
Julian Concepcion from Woodbridge, Virginia
Question: Hi Jim. First and foremost, I want to say thanks for all the mailbags that you do. I search all the sports websites to find as much Titans news every day and I can always count on your mailbags having some great content in it. Thanks for keeping me informed!
My question is, do you think the Titans would lose a lot of fans if Mariota doesn’t pan out and is replaced with a new QB? I, for one, have been a huge Marcus Mariota fan ever since he has been drafted by TN and would hate to see him go. I can’t imagine seeing TN Titans playing on the field without Mariota being our starting QB. I would keep watching the games, but I would feel as though a huge part of the team is not there. If the Titans do go with a new QB and that new QB performs better than Mariota, I think I would still feel the same way. Would it be awkward to you not seeing Marcus Mariota as the starting QB for the Titans? How do you think majority of the Titans players would feel if Mariota wasn’t on the team as their starting QB any longer?
Thanks again for the mailbag and #TITANUP!! Cant wait for the season to start!
P.S. Big shout out to You, Amie, and Mike Keith for the OTP. I watch every single episode of it and I wish y’all could have it every day! lol.
Jim: Thanks for the kind words, Julian, and for reading the mailbag. Well, it sounds like the team would lose Joni as a fan, and probably more. I know a lot of folks who send me questions here or follow me on Twitter are from Hawaii and Oregon, and I’m betting most are fans because of Marcus. But I also think it’s safe to say Marcus is universally well-liked and respected. With that said, I realize the opinions are split on him in the fan base. I hear it, and see it. I’ve also been around long enough to know it’s a business. Steve McNair, Eddie George, Derrick Mason, Samari Rolle – all those guys were adored as Titans. But they all finished their careers elsewhere. I could name dozens more. So as I look forward, of course the team wants to see Marcus do well, and put himself in a position to be here long-term. If that doesn’t happen, then yeah, I’m sure the team would lose some fans. But the NFL is all about change, whether it’s at head coach, GM, QB, RB or LB. Personally, I’d love to see things work out where Marcus is here, as the franchise quarterback, for years to come. I like him as a person, and a player. But from covering the team since 1999, I’m used to change. We’ll have to see how this one plays out.
Chris Chapman from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim! I hope all is well with you and your family. I will get right to it so that other folks can get their questions in. I was just reading your article about us signing Frank Herron after him being released from the Patriots practice squad. This is an off the wall question, but I’m curious: When a team wins the Superbowl do the practice squad players get rings just like the rest of the 53 players? I don’t know much about Frank Herrod except he’s a BIG DUDE! I like the fact that he’s former Memphis boy who’s being given a shot here. I personally have no probs with any of our off-season acquisitions. I’m good with everybody, JRob knows exactly what he’s doing cos he’s proved since the day he was hired. I’m fired up about Jeffery Simmons! I don’t think he should play at all this season, but I know a lot of fans and coaches alike wanna see what we have in him. He’s taken his 2nd chance and ran with it so I believe he should learn all of our playbook and not rush his body; his time will come! What do you think? As MM8 just said “LET IT RIDE!!! Thanks for all you do Jim! I wanna give Frank Herron a big welcome! TITAN UP!!!
Jim: Hey Chris. Family is good. Thanks. The Super Bowl ring question: It’s really up to ownership, but practice squad players have regularly been awarded a Super Bowl ring. As for Herron, he’s competing with a lot of other guys. Turning the subject to Simmons, the team won’t play him until he’s good to go in the eyes of doctors and trainers, and I know the team won’t rush him.