Tennessee Titans Music City Mailbag: June Edition

Jun 13, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) passes during OTA at St Thomas Sports Park Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) passes during OTA at St Thomas Sports Park Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s time for the first monthly installment of the Music City Mailbag, your chance to get Tennessee Titans questions answered by a member of the Titan Sized team! To submit a question for the next edition, Tweet your question to @Titan_Sized with #TSMailbag, or message us on Facebook.

Due to the fact that the team’s roster was pathetic for so many years, the Tennessee Titans haven’t made a shocking roster cut in a good while. Notable final cuts in recent years have included Tim Shaw, Patrick Bailey, and Dexter McCluster, but none of those moves really qualified as shocking or surprising.

Instead of making surprising cuts, the Titans should really be known for how good a job they do at turning other teams’ August scraps into valuable players. Guard Josh Kline and kicker Ryan Succop are examples of this, and both of those players contributed a good bit to the Titans’ turnaround in 2016.

It may not be exciting or surprising, but a notable cut the Titans will likely be forced to make in August is WR/KR Eric Weems. Weems was signed very early in free agency to contribute as both a kick returner and special teamer, but will be buried in the depth chart come Training Camp thanks to the additions of players like Adoree’ Jackson and Khalfani Muhammad.

Jackson is a very nifty punt returner, and Muhammed has ability to both return and cover kickoffs. Add that to the fact that the Titans also gave contracts to Daren Bates and Brynden Trawick, and Jon Robinson likely won’t be able to justify sacrificing a roster spot for an aging special teamer. Weems also provides little to no value on offense; that won’t help his case at all.

Very little. It’s possible that another Andre Johnson situation happens right before the start of camp at corner or safety, but very doubtful for two reasons.

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First, the Titans seem very content with their group of defensive backs, both at safety and corner. Aside from Adoree’ Jackson in the first round, Jon Robinson did not add a single DB in the 2017 NFL Draft. Considering how poorly that unit played in 2016, it’s clear that Robinson is comfortable with Logan Ryan and Jackson as starters, Brice McCain as the nickel, and 2016 draft picks LeShaun Sims and Kalan Reed as depth options.

Second, there aren’t really any viable options out there, barring a shocking roster cut or salary dump. The best cornerbacks currently without a team are Alterraun Verner, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Flowers, Tramon Williams, and Sam Shields. The best of those options is probably Shields, who hasn’t been very productive in recent years due to numerous injuries. All of them were cut or left unsigned for a reason, and the Titans don’t have a desperate enough need for veteran leadership in the secondary to warrant signing one of them.

This question is almost impossible to answer, mostly due to the fact that nobody has any idea how much longer LeBeau is willing to coach. If he were to suddenly retire after the 2017 season, his replacement likely would not come from within the Titans’ organization.

A potential defensive coordinator candidate for all teams in 2018 is Rex Ryan, who is currently employed by ESPN as an NFL analyst. The downfall of Ryan’s head coaching careers in New York and Buffalo was his inability to get consistent production out of quarterbacks, and his distracting antics on the sidelines and in the media.

Ryan’s defenses, however, have always been feared. He runs an aggressive 3-4 scheme that centers itself around pressuring opposing quarterbacks and making them both confused and uncomfortable. His style is very similar to LeBeau’s, though I doubt this organization, which recently has prided itself on being clean cut and professional, would want a knucklehead like that.

As I stated in my answer to Peyton’s question, Jon Robinson is clearly very comfortable with the situation his secondary is in. It seems, however, that most fans do not share his confidence. It is most certainly a reasonable worry to have, considering that the secondary in 2016 was so putrid.

The Titans are in a good situation with their secondary. They have a nice mix of veterans and youngsters, and they have good depth everywhere. It is incredibly unlikely that they will be anywhere near as bad as they were last season, so they definitely won’t be a liability. However, they probably won’t be a strength either.

It’s hard to feel good about a rookie being asked to do a lot, and that’s precisely the situation Adoree’ Jackson will find himself in this year. He will have some tough match-ups and be forced to cover some of the league’s best receivers, especially the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, T.Y. Hilton, and Allen Robinson, who all play in the AFC South. If he responds well to the challenges he is given and doesn’t flounder in his first year, the Titans could have one of the best overall defenses in the NFL.

Also, Kevin Byard needs to take a step forward in 2017. He was very good as a rookie, but he didn’t record an interception and made very few plays on the ball. That will need to change for him to take the next step.

After years of mediocrity, the 2017 Tennessee Titans may feature the best collection of offensive skill position players in franchise history. At each position, they have at least one veteran who has had immense success throughout their careers (Eric Decker, DeMarco Murray, & Delanie Walker) and at least one young player with the tools to have a very high upside (Corey Davis, Derrick Henry, & Jonnu Smith).

All three of those positions are very solid on the Titans roster, so picking which one will be the weakest is a challenge. But, if any of the positions does have a disappointing season, it would most likely be the tight ends. Delanie Walker will look to earn a third straight trip to the Pro Bowl, but at the age of 32 it’s fair to wonder how many productive years he has left in him.

Jonnu Smith is very athletic and has the size/will needed to be a reliable inline blocker, but he is raw and it will take time for him to learn the nuances of the position. You also have Phillip Supernaw, but he has rarely done anything on offense other than block, granted that’s all he’s really been asked to do. It certainly won’t be a weakness, but the great depth and talent at receiver and running back could make the tight end group, collectively, the least productive of the three.