Mailbag: Malik Willis usage, the return games and the Titans' best OL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Before the Titans kick off their third and final preseason game Saturday evening against the Cardinals, I wanted to check in with some of what’s on your mind regarding the team.

It's one of eight games around the NFL today. You can check out Arizona sportsbook promo codes before the Week 3 game.

Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry

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On to your top questions. 

Ryan Slone Think the Titans will use Malik in Wildcat packages this year?

I think he’ll come into games as part of special packages to run RPOs and attack defenses with runs. But it’s not Wildcat if a quarterback is taking the snap. It’s the most compelling reason for him to be part of the active roster on game days, as his presence can put a strain on a defense, and the thought/threat of him can put pressure on a defense as it prepares for the Titans.

But it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to put him on the field along with Ryan Tannehill very often if at all.

Dustin Songer Do you think the kick/punt return teams will improve this year? Felt very lackluster last year. Not as bad as Pacman or Adoree Jackson but any signs of improvement?

Pacman Jones at the start was very good.

Kyle Philips looked terrific last week and I think he’s certain to be the punt returner. On five returns he’s averaged 18.6 yards, which is great. He’s shown a really good feel for it in the chances he’d had, though he struggled this week fielding some punts from Ryan Stonehouse with no coverage coming at him.

On kick return, it’d be an accomplishment if the Titans can get teams to accept the touchback rather than kicking short to force them to return it.

Teams draft and start quality rookies all the time, Shovik, and a lot of those guys are drafted in the first three rounds.

I’d be far more concerned with pass protection from Nicholas Petit-Frere than with run blocking. Not that the third-rounder will be error-free trying to pave paths for Derrick Henry and other backs, but the Titans generally have offensive linemen with run-blocking skill sets and mentalities.

It’s the sacks and hits and hurries for Ryan Tannehill that are the bigger worries.

Bryan Harris I’d love to hear your thoughts on how much real game experience, albeit preseason, is needed for Tannehill and the new WRs to be successful week 1.

They can be fine without any.

Ryan Tannehill threw to his new targets for two days against the Buccaneers and for a bit against the Cardinals. He’s worked a ton with Philips and Austin Hooper and a bit less with Robert Woods who’s not been as available during team periods as the Titans work him back from the torn ACL that cut his 2021 season short.

Bret Wallace How much does the QB2 help on the sidelines? Are they over with the starter, QB coach etc talking through looks and plays that worked /didn't work on the tablets, or are they just sitting waiting for an emergency? Woodside obviously knows the playbook better than Willis so would he be more of a plus (however little he provides) on the sidelines giving them another reason to go Woodside >Willis?

It certainly varies from guy to guy, but Logan Woodside certainly has a relationship with Tannehill, Todd Downing, Pat O’Hara and now Tim Kelly. I’m sure he’s a sounding board in at least some small fashion. Not so large a fashion that it would be a big factor in preserving his status as the No. 2.

Zero. What’s the uniqueness of the situation? It’s two guys competing for one spot. There is no reason to keep two players at a position where you only play one.

It’s decision time. The Titans will have to make one.

Buffalo now has a big question at punter with rookie Matt Araiza accused of being involved in a gang rape. Brett Kern is from Buffalo and Ryan Stonehouse has the kind of big leg that would be helpful in the winds of Orchard Park. N.Y. The loser of the Titans’ competition could be destined to become a Bill.

If Kern wins the job and no one signs Stonehouse, then perhaps they sign Stonehouse to the practice squad as insurance against an injury and with an eye on next year.

I don’t think the best line includes Dillon Radunz. Aaron Brewer seems pretty locked in at left guard to me. Radunz as a swing guy is the best scenario now it would seem, and that’s because they don’t have a very good veteran swing guy.

The best line is Taylor Lewan, Aaron Brewer, Ben Jones, Nate Davis and Nicholas Petit-Frere.

I think they want him to let it rip because a quarterback playing in an NFL game is required to throw the ball and as a quarterback on an NFL roster he could be called into action. If he’s called into action, he’d need to throw the ball.

You’re looking a little hard for stuff beyond the obvious, I think.

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