NASHVILLE - The bye week has arrived for the Tennessee Titans.
Now, the team needs to rest up, and heal up, for the stretch run.
The Titans are in a pretty good spot with five games to go in the regular season - up two games over the Colts, plus the tiebreaker.
But there's no time to let up.
Let's dive into another mailbag, which is filled with plenty of reaction after Sunday's loss to the Patriots.
Here's the link to ask questions: CLICK HERE.
Benji Fanikos from Knoxville, Tennessee
Question: Jim, I'm not mad, just disappointed. I don't expect the Titans to be playing at the most elite level in the NFL, but I do expect them to be competitive. And yes, the King, AJ Brown, and Julio (though I don't think it matters that he's out) are all injured, but this team has a penchant for getting banged up every year. I do have to admit that the Patriots are my second favorite team, but I still bleed blue (Titan blue, that is). Regardless of the roster, we have to be able to master fundamentals like ball security and no pre-snap penalties (like those two on that great punt by Kern) if we want to be contenders and not a perennial playoff loser. I love Tannehill's attitude and positivity, but he needs to start playing like the face of the franchise. Pocket awareness, recognition of pre-snap movements of the defense, and appropriate air under the ball are all must-haves that aren't there at the moment. I would also like to add that the offensive play call on 4th and goal when we were only two touchdowns down would be an incompletion/interception 100 times out of 100. The only time I have seen a roll out pass work in my life have been when the quarterback throws back to the opposite side of the field, like how the Titans beat the Saints in overtime in 2015. Thanks for putting up with my griping :)
Jim: Hey Benji. Let's face it: Every NFL team deals with injuries. The Titans are just dealing with them at a record pace this season. It has changed the look of the team, and it's impacted how the team has played. But I disagree with your take that the team hasn't been competitive, even of late. The Patriots game was 16-13 at the half, and the Titans were on the verge of making it 26-20 early in the 4th Quarter before Tannehill's INT in the end zone. It was all downhill from there. I think we all agree the turnovers and mistakes need to stop. And while Tannehill hasn't played well of late, keep in mind the team has been playing without its top 3 receivers, and a pretty good running back.
Gabriel Erb from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Hi Jim, can you help me understand something? When players go on IR is it three GAMES they MUST miss, or is just three WEEKS? In other words, does the bye week count, allowing someone on IR to only miss two games?
Jim: THREE GAMES. THREE GAMES. THREE GAMES.
Robert Thomas from Chattanooga, Tennessee
Question: Would it be possible for the fans to get an update on the progress of King Henry's rehab?? Only because it would be nice to know how he is doing and not because of any rush to get him back on the field. He must be allowed to take whatever time is needed to heal properly, no matter if we don't get to see him on the field again this season. It just would be nice to know he's OK and taking care of himself. We are praying for him to have a full recovery.
Jim: Derrick is recovering. He had surgery earlier this month, and there is no timetable for his return. It's too early to know if, or when, he could be back this season. This is what Mike Vrabel said about Derrick on Monday: "He is on an injured reserve program, so he comes in after - there is a lot of guys and we only have so many tables or so much room in there, so those guys are spaced out. When the team meeting starts those guys usually come in and start their treatment and then guys filter through as we have breaks. I don't see much of as reason to have those guys in meetings right now. Usually about a week out or what we think might be a week out, we start to put them in meetings based on each and every player. He is around, he is around the guys. I see him in the training room and working hard to do everything he can to get back."
Omar Parker from Bay Area, California
Question: Just wanted to write to admit I was wrong. Earlier in the season I wrote to complain about our coaching and more specifically both coordinator positions. I owe the coaching staff a huge apology as I don't think any other staff could do much better than they have done. Yes we suffered a disappointing loss to New England but it was the team's own mistakes that cost us the game. I am actually impressed with the way all the players have been stepping up (next man up always) but we just couldn't overcome our own blunders. With that being said, what a solid team we have overall. Can't wait to get some of our injured players back and see what we can cook up the rest of the season and into the playoffs. All fans should be proud of what these guys have done. Titan Up!
Jim: Hey Omar. All kind of emotions from fans in this mailbag, as you will see. I've admitted, I didn't have a good feeling about the Patriots game heading in, and it was there for the taking. But four turnovers killed the team's chances. ... The Titans have looked like a different team the past two games, because they have been a different team. The bye week should help, and hopefully the team will get some guys back after the bye - and they stay healthy.
Jeff Brown from Cedar Bluff, Virgina
Question: I like many others have been a fan since early Oiler days. I've seen a lot of ups and downs unfortunately
My question is coming into a bye do you think Jones and Brown will be back in two weeks? And of course is it true that Henry will be back by the playoffs?
Jim: Julio will be eligible to come back, but it depends on his health and where he is with the hamstring. A.J. can't return until after the Pittsburgh game. He has to sit out three games. And, no one has said Henry will be back for the playoffs.
John Clark from Hampton, Virginia
Question: Hey Jim and My Tennessee Titans family! I expected us to lose this game vs the Patriots with the amount of injuries we had but it's how we loss that bothered me. The kicker issue is still a major concern then the sloppy play calling and ball handling it's only so many excuses you can come up with. We really need our starters this team that's on the field offensively is horrible and the defensive pressure is starting to fall apart. This bye week came right on time.
Jim: No doubt, the bye week came at the right time. The Titans are a shell of themselves right now.
Leon McCrary Jr. from Plainview, Texas
Question: Hello Jim. I just want to say that was a great game against the New England Patriots. I know a lot of people saying it was a sloppy game and we got beat bad but the game was a lot closer than what people are saying. I now am excited to see the next game after what the running backs done against the Patriots. We do need to hang onto the football and the outcome of the game could have been very different. I do want to say that I like AMANI HOOKER but he had a long day. He seems to be guessing to much right now because of the circumstances. Within the next two weeks I think we will be on top again just watch. Anyways thanks Jim. Titan fans keep believing, we are not the only team to lose 2 in a row. TITAN UP!!!
Jim: Appreciate the email, Leon. The Titans made too many mistakes, which killed their chances. I thought they'd need to play a clean game, and it was far from clean.
Drayden Rupe from Clinton, Tennessee
Question: Is Keyshawn Johnson a prophet? Since his show saying the Titans aren't a real 8-2 team we have lost 2 straight. This team should just mail it and come back next year!!! Let's face it we aren't going anywhere when the playoffs come we are so inconsistent. What a pathetic performance by our entire team!! Injuries or not we were in the game at half time 19-13. Can't put it in the endzone ridiculous!!!
Jim: The 8-2 team Keyshawn was talking about isn't the same team that took the field in Foxborough. Mail it in? Let's not forget the Titans are 8-4, and leading the Colts by two games (with the tiebreaker) in the race for the AFC South. This team is going to win the division. But it sounds to me like you're jumping off the bandwagon, Drayden.
Ross Allwein from Orangevale, California
Question: Hello Jim, thank you for always digging through the ol' mail bag to keep the fans voices heard, it means a lot! First off, I will always love this team, whether they go 0-17, or 17-0. The coaching is great, and I hope Vrabel still gets many COTY votes. Elephant in the room though, is the QB play of Mr. Tannehill. He seems like an awesome guy, and solid teammate, but his play on the field, not so much. What is his contract situation for next year? Is there any wiggle room to maybe snag up another solid vet? To me, with their run heavy attack, even an Andy Dalton, or Ryan Fitzpatrick would be a better fit for far less $. Geez, the RB's ran for 240 yards, and they still got beat soundly. Happy holidays Jim, and same to all you Titans fans out there.
Jim: Hey Ross. I get a lot of folks aren't too happy with Tannehill. And yes, he's turning the ball over way too much. But he's not going anywhere. What he needs is to get some of the team's starting receivers back. And when that happens, he's going to need to play better.
Allan Stewart from Brookins, Oregon
Question: Wondering what the status is of Medford, Oregon player Brady Breeze. Don't see his name mentioned. We in southern Oregon have few players that we see reach the level of the NFL. PS, it was an ugly game on Sunday. Why bring in your back up quarter back to do hand offs! Maybe to keep Tannehill from getting hurt? The bye is timely so we can get well and TITAN UP!
Jim: Hey Allan. Brady is logging his snaps on special teams right now - he played 12 snaps on special teams vs the Patriots, and none on defense. Kevin Hogan, the back-up QB you mentioned, came in to do exactly what you said - hand the ball off. The team pulled all of its starters at the end on Sunday.
Josh Harper from Billings, Montana
Question: Stop me if this sounds familiar, questionable play calling on both sides of the ball, questionable execution of plays from some players, boneheaded turnovers and poor pass defense. Also, injuries or not, we're going to need a little more from our QB than 93 yards and a few scrambles. If this keeps up, we will not be watching the Titans past January 9th this season. Hopefully the bye week will give us some players back and some problems fixed. I still have faith and I will not miss 1 play as usual, but come on, this crap has to stop. Let's go fellas! Titanup!
Jim: I hear ya, Josh.
Markieth W from Memphis, Tennessee
Question: We really need this bye week. Man do we miss Henry. 2 missed fg, multiple penalty, miss potential td pass, 2 killer fumble, whole lot of arm tackling, an interception. Pats couldn't stop the run all game, why not run the ball 4 straight times. Our offensive play calling makes you shaking your head.
When will we play a complete game without Henry?
Jim: Definitely need a bye...
Kimberly Spicer from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: Message to the entire Titan team: When it's your ball, keep your eyes on the ball. Always know where the ball is, thereby you may possibly steal the ball. HEADS UP
Jim: Good info, Kimberly. I'll let the fellas know.
Jim Williams from Lubbock, Texas
Question: The Good: back on 1 September 2021, if someone had said that going into the bye week, the T-men would be 8-4 and leading the AFC South by two full games, most Titans fans would have jumped for joy. So don't be down about the the last two games. With The Colts remaining schedule, I think the best record they can end up with is 9-8. That means the Titans only need one more victory to lock up the division. It's just the drive to get the highest seed possible that matters at this point.
It was great to see Cody Hollister make that first catch and fight though two NE defenders for a couple of extra yards. Since AJ went down, I've gotten used to seeing Titan receivers drop to the ground as soon as they catch the ball. Yards after catch has been almost non-existent in the last two games.
Despite his low QB ratings, Ryan Tannehill continues to show that he is capable of taking this team as far as it can go. He executes the game plan and is quite accurate at throwing the ball into tight windows. For most of the year, he has been throwing to inexperienced receivers who are only in the NFL because of all the injuries. But the biggest asset that Tanny brings is that he is always out there! He's taken some huge hits this year, but he keeps playing and doing his job. He is about the only offensive starter that hasn't missed time this year. Tanny stays positive and his teammates believe in him. I hope that Titans management understands just what he means to this team.
The Bad: the pass that was intercepted in the end zone on Sunday was due more to the design of the play. It seemed to require a quick release to one of two receivers who had to set up fast. But both WRs got bumped by the DB and weren't at the proper place. When Tanny did throw the pass, it looked like two Titans WRs were standing side by side in the back of the end zone. A better play choice would have been a fade pattern to Cody Hollister in the left corner of the end zone. He could have used his 6'4" height advantage to take a jump ball away from the much shorter defender.
Clearly, the Patriots coaching staff made much better adjustments at half time than did the Titans staff.
While the running game did much better, the fumbles negated all the good work done by the runners and the blockers. They need to guard against having the ball punched out. New England is famous for doing that.
The return game continues to put the offense in the hole. At least they stopped trying to take out kickoffs into the end zone in the second half. It just seems like every kickoff return ends with the offense starting at the 13 yard line. The punt return game isn't good and a fair catch without a fumble is the best result we can hope for.
The Ugly: JJ has been a bust this year. So has Bud Dupree. Signing free agents to large contracts without considering their injury history is clearly a bad policy. Both players take up a lot of cap space without noticeable results.
Josh Reynolds would be the # 1 wide receiver if he were still here. The last time he was seen was on Thanksgiving Day when he got behind the Bears secondary and caught a 39-yard touchdown pass for the Lions. His speed and experience would sure look good in a Tennessee uniform right now.
Summary: let's keep our fingers crossed that the T-Men return healthy after the break and come out like a house afire when Jacksonville comes to town. And let's really hope that King Henry is able to return either late in the regular season or maybe for the playoffs.
Jim: Some fair points in here, Jim. I'm not going to call Bud a bust, though. It's not fair, and it's not accurate. Bud tore his ACL last December, had surgery, and he didn't have a lot of time to get right. In fact, he admitted he came back too soon because he wanted to make a good impression on his new team. He's helped, and he's going to help when he comes back, which will hopefully be soon. Julio has had bad luck with the hammy. If he's able to heal up and help, maybe folks will view him differently when the season is over. Time will tell.
Jordan Newbury from Cushing, Texas
Question: I remember a handful of years ago the Pats came to Nissan and took a beat down at the hands of our Titans. I also remember the very last game of that NFL season saw Tom Brady hoisting up yet another Lombardi Trophy. It's easy to lose heart after two ugly loses. It is no doubt extremely frustrating as a fan to have such high hopes after reeling off win after win against playoff caliber teams, only to enter the bye on a two game skid. But as crazy as it sounds, for some reason, I have a feeling we're going to come out of this bye week with a sense of confident urgency. This team has the goods, and that includes our depth players who are getting valuable reps and in game experience. Coach Vrabel and Co. will have this team ready to go win the AFC South and surge into the playoffs like a team possessed! Heck, even in Patriots game, as beat up and short handed as we were, a couple plays here and there may have changed the outcome, or at the very least made it a closer game. I'm excited about the final stretch! Have a blessed day Jim! TitanUp
Jim: It should be an interesting end of the season, Jordan.
Have a great week everyone!