TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt tackles your questions in his latest installment of “Ask Jim.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Well, I hope you enjoyed the Titans new uniform bash.
It was a blast.
Now it’s back to football – almost. We do have three uniform-related questions/comments in this mailbag.
The Titans report for the start of the offseason program on Monday, so things are about to get ramped up.
But first, let’s hit this mailbag…
Donnie Hicks III from Statesboro, Georgia
Question: Has it been set in stone if our defense will be staying in 3-4 or shifting to a 4-3 this year? I would also like to commend the online staff for always providing great coverage.
Jim: Hey Donnie. I appreciate the question, and kind words. Will pass along to everyone else. New defensive coordinator Dean Pees has been a 3-4 guy during his career, and I expect the Titans will line up that way most of the time. But I also expect different looks as well. Going back to coach Mike Vrabel’s first press conference, he said the defense will be known for “front multiplicity and coverage consistency,” and to me that indicates there will be some flexibility. The team has some versatile players who can line up in both the 3-4 and the 4-3.
Billy Kealoha from Honolulu, Hawaii
Question: Aloha Jim, my first question is a general one based on the recent owners meeting where officials will be penalizing players when they lower their head before contact as it is considered being used as a weapon. The problem with this rule being enforced is what do they do when an offensive player such as a running back or receivers lowers their helmet before contact? Or what about during situational play such as goal line stands where both side of the ball is trying to get lower than the other, lowering their helmet is almost guaranteed. We would have penalties almost every goal line stand. Is this a one sided rule only for players on defense? It would be an unfair advantage for the offensive player. My next question is more relevant to our Titans. There has been a lot of talk about our O-line needing an upgrade particularly at guards who are more athletic. I love Jack Conklin but if I remember correctly, his weakness was not being that athletic. He is more of a battler but lacking in movement which a knee that is not fully recovered would diminish his athleticism even more, but I haven’t heard any concerns about his fit in the new blocking scheme not even considering how much time he will be behind recovering from knee surgery. What is your take on his fit in this new blocking scheme and how much time missed will hurt him.
Jim: Aloha Billy. This is going to be an interesting one, and I’m anxious to learn more about it myself. Right now, there are so many questions out there about this change, and how it will be enforced. The league is planning to travel to visit all 32 teams to shed some more light on this. It’s my understanding this is a rule for defensive players. I’m sure we’ll find out more in the coming months, and I plan to ask coach Vrabel about it on Monday when he talks to reporters at the start of the team’s offseason program. As for Conklin, he is athletic enough to be a good fit. He just needs to get healthy coming off the knee injury. It sounds like he’ll be back at some point in training camp, but it remains to be seen when. Obviously this isn’t the ideal scenario. I know he’d love to be out there for the offseason work, and the team would love to have him out there, too. Mahalo for the questions.
Jarrett Alan from Crossville, Tennessee
Question: If Titans went quarterback in the draft who is the best fit as a backup for Marcus Mariota?
Jim: Hey Jarrett. I’m not expecting the Titans to go QB in the draft, not after signing Blaine Gabbert last month. You go there in the draft – especially early – then you’re pretty much committing yourself to keeping three on the roster in the fall, and not sure I can envision that one.
Chris Chapman from Hermitage, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim!!! I wasn’t able to get downtown to watch the unveiling of our new uniforms, but I did watch it live and wanted to jump on here and hopefully give a 100% thumbs up!!! The new digs are AWESOME!!! A VERY BIG SHOUT OUT TO AMY!!! Of course there’s gonna be some criticism from folks who by all accounts should prob just not watch us anymore… Lol!!! Amy and everyone who helped design ‘em did a great job in making sure the new look strikes fear into all opponents. We have needed this new look for some time now and there’s no better time than right after hiring a bulldog for a new HC, winning a playoff game for the 1st time in a very long time, and celebrating 20 yrs in this great state! Amy was most definitely right about 1 thing its long past time for our Titans to bring a Lombardi trophy home to Tennessee and I believe we have most if not all the right pcs in place to do it! I would like to ask you for 1 favor: Please dont post any comments from ppl with negative views on our new uniforms, its not worth your time to type em nor is worth any of our time to read that negativity! Thanks for all you do my bro!!! TITAN UP!!!
Jim: Hey Chris. It was a fun night. And I like the uniforms as well. It’s a fresh look, and I love the tribute to the state of Tennessee – along with the tie to Greek mythology – in each one. I’m a fan of the navy blue helmets. The players really love them. I’m not going to muzzle the fans that aren’t fans of the uniforms, though. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Just like anything in life, not everyone is going to agree.
Ryan Mumaw from Northwest, Ohio
Question: So, been a huge fan my whole life, all the way back to the oilers.. stood by this team through thick and thin; and will continue to do so.. However I absolutely do not like the new uniforms. There was so much more that could have been done with this opportunity, and we completely blew it!! The helmet literally ONLY looks good with the all dark blue uni, other than that it is as bad as the rams unmatching,, thrown together look.. and at least some change to the thumbtack would have sufficed.. the random awkward sideways grey ‘stripes’ on the pants are hideous as well and very arena league -esque .. a four year old could literally match our colors better than these, and when did we decide red is no longer part of our colors, would have liked to seen a new rendition of those jerseys at least.. I love this team, and love what the organization has been doing the past couple years, am and always will be a die hard fan..but we blew this one worse than Jacksonville’s two tone fiasco.. guess it’s just another reason for people to laugh and make jokes even as our play finally becomes relevant again .. smh
Jim: See Chris, I’m giving Ryan his chance here. Not sure if you realize it, but that’s a “sword-sheath” inspired design on the stripe of the pants, angled much like a sheath would hang. Some other subtle parts of the uniform feature a sword-look on the shoulder, and the top of the helmet. As for the red, it’s never been a big part of the uniform like you make it sound. The team has never worn a red jersey – so there’s no “new rendition of those jerseys” to be made. It’s always been a small accent color. And it’s a part of these uniforms. But the primary colors remain two-toned blue, with silver and gray. As for people laughing and making jokes, I don’t think any team in the league is immune to that. On social media, I see as many Patriots jokes out there as any, even as they’ve dominated the league the last decade or so. Most of the buzz I’ve heard – and seen – about the Titans unis has been positive. Like I told Chris, just like anything in life, not everyone is going to agree. The owner said herself leading up to the reveal: “I know there’s going to be some, “I love them” and some “What was she thinking? I think fans will like them.”
Grant Teckmeyer from Lincoln, Nebraska
Question: Jim. As always, appreciate and love your work. I had to write in to talk about those sweet new uniforms. I think Amy did a tremendous job. I was watching the live stream online all the way from Nebraska, and those uniforms looked excellent!! I love the navy helmet even though it’ll take some getting used to since I really liked the white helmets. In my opinion, the smartest thing the Titans did was keep the fireball logo – I love that logo and I think it is one of the best logos in the NFL. The organization made the most of a great opportunity! I have one question: was a baby blue helmet ever considered? I ask just out of curiosity. Thanks again and congrats to you and the entire franchise. I’m already excited for the 2018 season. Let’s make it a special one. #TitanUp
Jim: Hey Grant. Appreciate the feedback. I know there were some other options for the helmet, but don’t think baby blue was a serious contender. Controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk said a matte helmet and gloss helmet were under consideration, but she liked the navy blue with the sword in the middle, instead of a stripe.
Llewellyn Roux from Santa Barbara, California
Question: Hi. Jim! Thanks to you, Mike, and Amie, for adding the Official Titans Podcast to Titans Online. I heard it was Amie’s idea to initiate the OTP, and seems like the three of you enjoy sharing your thoughts and feedback to your listeners, such as interviewing the media from the AFC South, and Mike Vrabel as the Titans Head Coach, not a rookie head coach, in the NFL meetings this week. Is there any chance later this year, the OTP could be simulcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Titans Online.com, and be on location such as The NFL Draft, and Titans road games? Will the OTP also be archived on Titans Online like your ‘Ask Jim’ social media online link? I am also just concerned both as a listener and fan preparing and presenting the OTP is not an extra burden of work and time on a weekly basis, but seems the three of you are dedicated, and the content of each podcast is very interesting, timely, and even entertaining. I, and the rest of the Titans and NFL fans look forward to listening each upcoming OTP. Thanks.
Jim: Hi Llewellyn. Glad you like the OTP. I’m glad they let me be a part of it – you’re right, it was Amie’s idea. Amie and Mike make it run! Have you heard this week’s OTP with the owner? You should check it out. We do post them on Titans Online, and the app. And I know one will be done draft week, exactly when remains to be seen. And it is archived on Titans Online. Scroll down and look to the right where it says “More podcasts.” Thanks for your interest!