Mail: On a better-record-but-no-playoffs scenario, Jonnu Smith, my 2020 QB-RB plan and much more

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings as we prepare for Week 16.

I'm here to hit you with a podcast, a Periscope and a mailbag all at once. 

(We got a little jumbled on some of the playoff-scenario talk. You can easily sort it out right here. And the Colts remain a factor.)

All of this is open to all this week, as is this brilliant idea: A membership to PaulKuharsky.com as a gift for the Titans' fan in your life. It's currently 25 percent off for a full year. A steal for everything I write, private Periscope/Facebook Live broadcasts, scouting previews and reviews from Blake Beddingfield, podcasts, a spot in our private Facebook community and a five percent discount at Tennessee Tickets.

Head here to sign up, I can change an email address and/or a member name at any time.


Onto mail.

PK: If they go 10-6, even if without the playoffs, it’s a step forward. It’s not the one they were looking for, but it’s a step forward for sure. I think while fans could be upset over the failure to get into the post-season and can reasonably say the team did not advance from good-to-great as it pledged throughout the offseason there was still progress in a season of transition at quarterback.


JSmithIntroPK: Jonnu Smith has played at least 73 percent of the snaps for the Titans offense since Ryan Tannehill took over as the Titans’ quarterback in Week 7. So, I presume this and every question I get about Smith being a “TE1” is really about his fantasy production, not about his role on the Titans.

On the Titans, he’s pretty clearly been the No. 1 tight end whenever Delanie Walker has not been available. And Walker won't be on this team next year. Smith IS TE1 right now. Last year it took him a good while to settle into that role. For six games after Walker went down in the opener, he had four catches for 32 yards.

In six games after that, he caught 17 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns.

I get your point about the sorts of plays he’s made this year, but catches are catches and yards are yards and he’s got 32 and 447 of those. He’s not Walker or Frank Wycheck as far as a central figure in the offense, but he’s a heck of an athlete who’s a key contributor.

It’s OK they are throwing more to A.J. Brown now.

PK: Ryan Tannehill as my No. 1 quarterback, probably on a three- or four-year deal that wouldn’t leave me with big dead money after two years and certainly not after three. Maybe I’d draft a guy in the second or third round if someone I really like falls in my lap but I wouldn’t force it. That could be Jacob Eason or Jordan Love. 

Otherwise, I’d sort through A.J. McCarron, Chase Daniel, Case Keenum and Colt McCoy. Nothing great. But all conceivably serviceable for a couple of games if needed.

I’d put a transition tag on Derrick Henry, which will be worth about $10 million. Someone else can sign him to an offer sheet, but I can match it, so we will see how crazy anyone else goes and I can judge my line of demarcation on value and length. (I really don’t believe in paying running backs, but he’s such a central piece for this team there is kind of no choice right now.)HenrySwords

My second back is a mid-round pick who’s got three-down potential. A smaller, quicker guy who’s a natural receiver and an eager and experienced pass protector. He's going to be my featured guy eventually. I’m not well-versed in college prospects at this point.

And I reserve the right to alter this plan. It’s my plan on Dec. 20, 2019.

PK: I think they both would have liked to have gotten an upgrade. They might have gone back to Cody Parkey earlier but he became somewhat mysteriously unavailable, But Greg Joseph has been out there and they’ve not gone and gotten him until now. Why the delay? I don’t know. Why the satisfaction with and loyalty to the struggling Ryan Succop, particularly if they believe him to be injured? No idea.

That’s why I’ve been so frustrated by Vrabel’s unwillingness to answer anything pertaining to the kicking situation.

They’ve really butchered the whole deal this season, all the way back to summer, just over-estimating Succop’s recovery. 

PK: He played winning football against Houston after some bad passes early.

For one, wins are not a quarterback stat. Also, they will judge him on his full sample, not on his most recent two or three games. I think two bad games here wouldn’t change the fact that he’s played some really excellent quarterback for them this year and they’d be wise to secure him to be their quarterback next year, and perhaps beyond.

They’ve got things to sort out, but with both franchise and transition tags available to them, they’ve got tools at their disposal to ensure they can do that.

I’d be comfortable with him as their quarterback beyond 2020.

DavisIntroEaglesPK: Corey Davis is under contract for 2020 and I’d be very surprised if he’s not with the Titans next season. I do not expect that they will exercise his fifth-year option for 2021 this coming spring.

Tajae Sharpe is a free agent after this season. He’s not a bad fourth receiver. I could see it going either way for him. It would be really good for the Titans to add a true speed guy to their arsenal, in which case not bring Sharpe back would be fine.

But if they choose not to do much at receiver because they have so many other areas to address, Sharpe’s not going to be an expensive guy to get back and he can make some key catches for them over the course of a season.

PK: Let’s say the Texans win Saturday. And the Titans go ahead and rest Henry and Adoree’ Jackson as per your question, and they lose to the Saints in part because of a poor run game and poor coverage.

Then the Steelers lose Sunday at the Jets and then lose at Baltimore on the 29th while the Titans also lose on the 29th at Houston. Meanwhile, the Colts win Week 16 against the Panthers and again Week 17 at the Jaguars. 

Wouldn’t you feel awful that the 8-8 Titans lose out on the final playoff spot in that scenario when, had they just beaten the Saints, they would have gotten in?

Long way of saying, no they shouldn’t be resting people. They need to do anything possible to win any game that could be a factor in any playoff scenario.

PK: That’s pretty much how fandom works. Unless you’re a frontrunner and serve as treasurer Nashville's Patriots fan club.

PK: Yes, there are a ton of guys waiting for opportunities. It doesn’t mean many of them are up for the task.

I’m no college football expert. But I see a lot of bad kicking in college. Where they are kicking at wider posts with lesser consequences.

The Patriots have had incredible stability at kicker for their long reign. They are signing out of desperation now and hoping for the best. Just like the Titans.

By your logic, there should also be no lack of good quarterbacks. I mean, there are a ton of guys waiting for a spot to come open, right?

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