TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt tackles your questions in his latest installment of “Ask Jim.”
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – It’s also been a big week for the Tennessee Titans.
Head coach Mike Vrabel hired all three of his coordinators, and he’s starting to round out his first coaching staff.
Meanwhile, I’m ready to roll out another mailbag. This is a quick one, and we’ll beef it up again next week.
Let’s do this…
Jon Kerlikowske from Franklin, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim. My question is about the health/recovery of Tajae Sharpe. You read analysts talking about how the Titans need more weapons. When healthy, Tajae can fit that bill. How is he doing?
Jim: Hey Jon. Tajae has been a popular subject in here. Tajae spent the 2017 on Injured Reserve, but he’s recovered and will be good to go for offseason work. I saw him around plenty during the course of the season and he’s champing at the bit. I like his chances, too. And I mentioned this last week: Vrabel talked about the receivers moving forward in a national interview recently, and he mentioned Sharpe. So I took that as a good sign for him.
Gary Thomas from Sacramento, California
Question: Hi Jim. Long-time Titans fan from Northern California. Went to my first game in person this past season in Santa Clara. Now I’m planning a trip to Nashville next season. Is downtown Nashville within walking distance from the stadium for postgame fun? And are there any recommended hotels nearby? Planning to come out a couple days early to take in the sights.
Jim: Hey Gary. You’re in for a Nashville treat. The downtown experience is awesome, with tons of action. And the stadium is easily walking distance, just over one of the bridges over the mighty Cumberland River. You’ll find great restaurants and bars downtown, and some nice hotels. The Hilton, Renaissance, Omni and Westin are all nice, and there’s a J.W. Marriott that’s in the process of being built, too. But you’ll find a lot of options. I must warn you, though: Downtown hotels aren’t cheap. Nashville is a destination city, and hotel prices offer proof. Have fun!
Robbert van Giffen from Boise, Idaho
Question: Hey Jim, I’m really excited about the new coaching hires including our new O.C. and D.C. and of course Mike Vrabel. Can you tell us which assistant/positional coaching spots have been filled and which ones we still need to fill? Thanks!
Jim: Hey Robert. Well, here’s the rundown as of today: Matt LaFleur (Offensive coordinator), Dean Pees (Defensive coordinator), Craig Aukerman (Special Teams coordinator), Arthur Smith (Tight ends), Pat O’Hara (Quarterbacks), Kerry Coombs (Secondary), Shane Bowen (Outside Linebackers), Tyrone McKenzie (Inside Linebackers) and Rob Moore (Wide Receivers). But more to come.
Tim Hammond from Seymour, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim. I am very pumped for next season and we don’t even have our (full) coaching staff in place. I like the HC hire a lot and think he’s the right guy to lead this team to the promised land. I heard Vrabel mention not running into 8 and 9 man fronts which is great. And also working in some quick easy throws for Marcus. I think Mularkey and TRobiskie were very stubborn at times trying to run into a brick wall. My question is, do you think it is a scheme issue like I do, or a player issue on both sides. The Patriots attacked the LBs and exposed them in coverage, and offensively it seemed nothing came easy all year.
Jim: Well, I think things will look better in 2018 with some new ideas, and a new approach, and I think GM Jon Robinson will identify areas of need upgrade the talent on the roster. I, too, am anxious to see what some of it will look like. But there will be turnover on the team personnel wise, and things will look different from an attack standpoint as well.
Grant Teckmeyer from Lincoln, Nebraska
Question: Jim, hope all is well! Just a quick question for you in relation to logos and uniforms. It seems to me that some people are not a fan of the Titans fireball logo. Personally, I think it’s a classy and recognizable logo, and I’ve always loved it. What are your thoughts?? I’m excited to see what they are going to do with the uniforms, and I really hope they keep the 2-tone blue in style; it’s one of the best looks in the NFL. Thanks again Jim!
Jim: Hey Grant. Hope all is well. I like the fireball logo myself. But I also like the sword. One thing I know for sure is I can tell fans are fired up to find out what’s in store. Early April we’ll all find out.
Alan Brantley from Goodlettsville, Tennessee
Question: Do you think that Marcus Mariota will work with anyone during the offseason to improve his mechanics and ability to read defenses?
Jim: Hey Alan. Good question. I asked Marcus about this yesterday. He’s headed to Los Angeles for a month, and he’ll work with some guys there. I’ll have more on this later. He’ll be back in the building in April working with the team’s new coaching staff, and the good news surrounding Mariota this offseason is he’ll be able to concentrate on football and his conditioning rather than recovering from an injury. I think that’s going to definitely help him.