Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The countdown is on until training camp.
It’s late June, so we have a ways to go.
Let’s pass the time with another Titans mailbag …
Eric King from New Albany, Mississippi
Question: Hi Jim. How is Jack Conklin coming along with his knee injury and do you think he’ll be ready by the start of the season?
Jim: Hey Eric. Well, he’s making progress. Jack didn’t take part in the offseason work – he missed all the OTAs and minicamp. But he was on the field watching, and he looked good walking around. Titans coach Mike Vrabel said at his final minicamp presser he expects everyone to be ready for camp, with Conklin being the only exception. He mentioned PUP as a possibility. So I’m not necessarily expecting him at the start of camp on July 26. As for the start of the season, well, it’s too early for me to say about that quite yet.
Tyler Kuppler from Sullivan, Indiana
Question: Jim, I just finished Bruce Matthews autobiography, and it got me thinking. While Tommy Smith was in charge, I feel like he burned some serious bridges with Bruce and Mike Munchak. Do you think in the future, Amy Adams Strunk will smooth things over with these two all-time Titans greats? Thanks Jim, btw I just order your Tales from the Titans sideline book really excited to read it!
Jim: Hey Tyler. Well, I can tell you Amy Adams Strunk has been great to the Oilers. She was behind an Oilers reunion in Houston earlier this offseason, and she’s done a lot of things behind the scenes to show them she’s interested. I thought the Titans were fair to Munchak – let’s not forget, as a head coach he was offered a contract extension and a pay raise before the two sides went their separate ways because he wouldn’t make specific changes to his staff. Bruce was caught up in the middle of all that, of course. That can’t be undone. But Amy has opened herself up to all the Oilers, so that’s a positive step. Hope you enjoy Tales from the Titans sideline. Glad to hear those things are still in circulation!
Larise Avery from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. I’m new to Nashville and also a new Titans season ticket member. My question to you is what can I expect from my Titans this year and what type of atmosphere does Nashville have when it comes to gameday?
Jim: Hey Larise. Welcome to town, and welcome aboard! You’re here during an exciting time. Before games you’ll see a ton of pregame activities surrounding the stadium, and the atmosphere should be great inside as well. It’s a great home schedule, including both of last year’s Super Bowl participants. Stay tuned to http://www.titansonline.com leading up to games for game day info, and follow me on Twitter @jwyattsports for info leading up to each game on the National Anthem singer, giveaway, halftime performer, etc. See ya at Nissan Stadium!
Alex McCormack from Madison Alabama
Question: I looked at the Titans schedule for 2018 season. Do the Titans have the players and the strength to beat the division rivals Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars. And can the Titans beat all 4 of the NFC east teams Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, and the Washington Redskins this upcoming season.
Jim: Well, that’s the plan.
Dave Bettlach from Chesterfield, Missouri
Question: Hey Jim, do you think we’ll keep 4 RB’s & 3 TE’s…4 of each…or 4 TE’s & 3 RB’s? Fluellen with his ST value would be hard to cut while it seems Supernaw is having a tough time getting back from his injury. Thanks!
Jim: Hey Dave. Hard to say right now. Four running backs would mean Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis, David Fluellen and Akrum Wadley, and four tight ends would mean Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith, Luke Stocker and Phillip Supernaw at this point. Not sure if the team could go heavy at either position or both, considering I’m thinking three QBs are on the 53 this fall in Marcus Mariota, Blaine Gabbert and Luke Falk. But if a guy like Wadley proves to be too valuable to let go, it’s not out of the question. In the OTAs, he looked like a guy who might be tough to discard. A lot can change between now and then of course.
Paul Bennett from Lebanon, Tennessee
Question: Do the players seem comfortable with the new schemes on offense? How has the offensive line looked so far?
Jim: _Hey Paul. Well, I think the defense won in a lot of practices, but that’s not a huge surprise considering the biggest changes in scheme came on the offensive side of the football. I think the offense is a work in progress, and keep in mind some key guys have been out for all the offseason work or for long stretches, including Rishard Matthews, Jack Conklin and Taylor Lewan. Corey Davis and Michael Campanaro saw their work scaled back at the end. But Marcus Mariota made improvements during the offseason, and Dion Lewis has been fun to watch. Overall, I think the offense has the potential to really be exciting. _
Pavlo Palamarik from Stromgsville, Ohio
Question: Hey Jim. How much has Mariota’s technique changed from the minicamp, and the OTA’s. He changed his stance and base. Exactly how much has that changed. Also I am very excited for the next season. When OC Matt Lafluer was taking about more explosive plays. How much more explosive do you think he meant. A lot of explosive plays or just a decent amount to not get carried away with the game.
Jim: _Hey Pavlo. There have been several occasions when I’ve seen Marcus do what he set out to improve this offseason – widen his base to help him deliver the ball quicker, and with more accuracy. He’s also looked faster, having ditched the brace he wore previously. I’m anxious to see more when the pads come on. As for the explosive plays, the team has players that can make them. Rishard Matthews has a reputation for making big YAC plays, and Corey Davis looked like a game-changer in practices throughout the offseason. Lewis is exciting, and I think his presence will open things up for Derrick Henry. Delanie Walker will benefit from the weapons around him. I think there’s a lot of potential for explosive plays, even when some aren’t by design. The team has playmakers who can make them when the ball is in their hands in space. _
Jalone Rothchild from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Question: Something I’ve wondered since the new uniforms were unveiled – are the new dark blue helmets hotter for the players than the old white ones? Have you asked any of the players about it? Thanks
Jim: _Hey Jalone. I haven’t asked, but I imagine the helmets are going to heat up on hot days probably the same. The venting is what’s important, and they’re well designed in that regard. _
Cody Buchanan from Olive Branch, Mississippi
Question: Hey Jim, I time-to-time come read your mailbag from various people across the globe. My question would be, how has Kevin Dodd fared so far during a short week with the team? Any idea how might Dean Pees and/or Mike Vrabel could transition him into a more natural edge rusher? Also, what news could you have gathered from the ordeal with Corey Davis being limited this (in minicamp)? Is it a potential issue, or just precautionary measures?
Jim: Hey Cody. Dodd was around for two days. I thought he made some good plays, and some bad one. On one two-play sequence his first day back, he jumped offside one play, and then busted through the line to make a stop on a running back the next play. He was held out of some drills on Day 2. He’s going to need to show up ready to go when camp starts. I think the guy has talent, and he has some extra value because he can play with his hand in the dirt as well. As for Davis, that was hardly an ordeal. He looked great during the OTAs, had his work scaled back at the end of the offseason, in minicamp. He should be ready to go when training camp starts.