Insider Mailing: Post-Draft Edition

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    “How much can a Titans/Vols fan REALLY cheer for Henry?” – Blake Richmond 

    Daniel: One-hundred percent if you’re an equal fan of both teams. I get if you’re a casual Titans fan and huge Vol fan that you might not be all-in on Henry being successful. But if you’re truly a Titans fan, you can’t let college background affect who you cheer for on the roster.

    Nathanael: As someone who’s had to root for players from opposing colleges because they play for the Cowboys, I totally agree with Daniel. If you’re a true Titans fan, it won’t matter to you even if you’re a big Vol fan. It may take some getting used to and you may never fully pull for him, but as soon as he does something well for the Titans, it’ll become a little easier to root for him.

    John: If you were a Titans fan, I don’t see why you wouldn’t root for Henry. But then again,  I’ve never had a problem separating my admiration for certain players, yet rooting against them and the team they play for. A recent example is Todd Gurley. One of my favorite players in the entire SEC. But that didn’t mean I was chasing his stats and hoping for him to have big games week after week. Instead, it just meant that I thought the kid was a really good player. And I guess I’m one of those guys who is able to appreciate the greatness in any player — not just those who play for UT. In fact, most of my favorite athletes of all time have come from the SEC. I’m kinda regional like that. So while I’m not the biggest Bama fan in the world, I’ve always “liked” and admired Henry. I hope he does well for the Titans.

    “What roles are Tyler Byrd and Nigel Warrior Going To Play This Year?” – @JustinPaidNFull

    Daniel: Tyler Byrd is going to begin at wide receiver and I think he has a great chance to be in the rotation. Virtually nothing is a given after Josh Malone, Josh Smith, Preston Williams and Jauan Jennings and I think Byrd has as much raw talent and athleticism as any other option they have and they’re going to play more than four receivers. I’ll be eager to see what he can do in camp. And I think Nigel Warrior is squarely in the competition at safety, but that got tougher this spring with Rashaan Gaulden having a good couple months and Micah Abernathy stepping up. That’ll be a competitive position. I think both Byrd and Warrior can help on special teams from Day 1 regardless.

    Nathanael: We’re finally past the days of the Vols having to ask freshmen to come in and contribute right away. For Butch’s first few years, he had to have guys like Jalen Hurd, Derek Barnett, Josh Malone, etc. come in and start and play significant snaps immediately as true freshman. Byrd and Warrior won’t have to do that, but they have the talent to force Butch’s hand and make him insert them into the rotation. I think Byrd could snag the fifth or sixth receiver spot, and Warrior will give Gaulden a run for his money. And as Daniel said, both should contribute on special teams right away.

    “Please compare Vols players to Marvel characters” – @Leland_Brew

    Nathanael: Bless you for asking this, Leland. I can count on you for Marvel/Star Wars/nerdy questions. But if I had to pick a few, I’d say Josh Dobbs is Professor X from the X-Men just based on his intellect and bald head alone. Jalen Hurd is probably Juggernaut, also from the X-Men universe, and Kahlil McKenzie is the Hulk not only for his large size, but I would not want to make Kahlil angry. I could also see Evan Berry as Quicksilver.

    “How do you feel about Randolph’s comments about UT not “helping” him get drafted, any merit to this?” – Kamara’s Nose Ring 

    Nathanael: It was a shock to me. Randolph, by all accounts, was kinda the poster boy for the Vols in his five years there. He was always who they’d send out to talk to the media because they trusted him to be “Tennessee personified,” and he always was. I think his comments are being a little blown out of proportion, but the fact that he made them at all is very surprising to me.

    John: I’m with Nathanael. It was a real shock to me. On Monday’s installment of RTI Radio, Erik brought up Arian Foster and some of the curious things he said (even before Taco-gate) as it pertained to possible resentment for UT and any role the coaches may have played in him going undrafted. But Arian’s statements made sense to me given the acrimonious relationship Foster seemed to have with the coaching staff toward the end of his career. Brian Randolph on the other hand always seemed to be perfectly content. So, to me, it was out of left field. I’m chalking it up to youth and frustration and getting on with it. That said, I didn’t love his comment.

    “Is the talk going from confident to cocky with our players and coaches? I actually like it, to a point. Kongbo, Shoop…”  – @IB4UT2

    Daniel: Maybe a touch, but I think it’s a good thing, and I think it comes from the top. The coaches truly think they have the horses to win big this year. Florida, Oklahoma and Alabama were all more confident when it came down to the wire in games against UT last year. I think expecting to win will go a long way in helping the Vols finish off games like that next year, so if their talk comes from a place of genuine confidence, it’s a good thing for now.

    Nathanael: I liked it at first, especially from Kongbo. I welcome confidence, and I think that kind of trash talking has been lacking from UT’s roster for too long. But Kongbo’s recent comments, especially where he essentially guaranteed an undefeated season, have started to rub me the wrong way a little. I think he needs to cool it just a little. I mean he hasn’t even played a single down for Tennessee yet.

    John: I’m gonna focus on Kongbo here. One of my favorite quotes is Your actions speak so loud I can barely hear a word you’re saying. Given that, I’m just paying much attention to Kongbo’s statements. You gotta love confidence. It’s mandatory if you’re going to win on any level. And I actually like some good smack talk here and there as well. But smack talk is not mandatory if you’re going to win. In fact, I’d argue the order should go confidence, winning, then smack talk. So, to me, Kongbo’s put the cart before the horse. Particularly given the fact that kid hasn’t even played a down wearing Orange yet. Play dominant and win. Then say whatever you want.

    “Rank in order of importance – eye discipline, gas mask discipline, text message discipline” – @R0cky_T0P

    “Have any of you ever taken a gas mask bong hit?” – @RockyTop10EC 

    Daniel: They’re all critical if you want to be a top NFL draft pick, apparently, and no, can’t say that I have.

    Nathanael: It’s critical to have all three. Each and every individual needs to remember the Power of One and give a good 63 effort at all times of the day. It’s a pride of who I am that I have not taken a gas mask bong hit.

    John: DL and NR are wusses for not ranking the order of importance. It’s clearly:

    1. Gas mask
    2. Eye
    3. Text

    Because if you have good gas mask discipline, it means you’re NOT WEARING ONE WHILE TAKING BONG HITS. Which means your eyesight is better, because, let’s face it, it’s hard to see through a gas mask filled with Indo smoke, which naturally means you’ll be able to text better. So it all stems from the gas mask discipline. Best question of the week!

    “How good is Shoop really? Will we see a significant increase in defensive efficiency from last year, when we weren’t bad?” – Jordan Duncan 

    Daniel: He puts together top defenses everywhere he goes, so I think it’s fair to expect him to improve a Tennessee defense that was good at times last year, but definitely not elite, and definitely not clutch.

    “Minimum acceptable 2016 wins?” – @NealFischer 

    Daniel: Assuming no insane injury rash, I think nine (regular season) is probably minimum in my book with that schedule and the talent that UT has. My early prediction is 10, but can’t see many scenarios where less than nine would be acceptable.

    Nathanael: Nine wins is the absolute minimum. And even that is questionable depending on who the Vols beat in those nine games. If the Vols lose to Floridan and Bama and only have nine wins, it will be a disappointing season. I think nine will be disappointing if they do manage to beat one of them and only get nine, but it’s certainly not a fireable offense, and a nine-win SEC East team could easily win the division.

    John: Nine.

    “Will Dillion Bates and Andrew Butcher contribute this year or get lost in the shuffle?” – Cory Varner 

    Daniel: I don’t see either being a huge contributor – maybe Bates if there are injuries at linebacker or on special teams. Butcher is coming off a major injury and has a stacked depth chart ahead of him. Difficult to see him being in the rotation regularly at this point until 2017, but both still have a lot of time left. Both need to stay healthy going forward as well.

    Nathanael: I think Butcher has a better chance of doing something, but no, I don’t think either makes a large contribution this season.

    “How am I supposed to get through this summer? This offseason feels eternal.” – Andrew Fisher 

    Nathanael: I think we’ve had a question like this almost every week for about a month now. All I got for you is to watch Netflix, watch Vols hype vidoes/highlights, and pray.

    John: If I were you and (still) lived where you live? I’d book a couple two or three night backpacking trips somewhere on the Olympic peninsula.