From fantasy football to the real deal, this week’s mailbag has it all. To kick it off, let’s take a look at the best choice for No. 1 overall in your fantasy draft this season.
James F writes:
“Everyone and their mother knows Butch is on the hot seat. With Butch wanting to save his job and get a contract extension, what is the bare minimum Butch needs to accomplish this season to not get fired and receive the extension?”
My personal opinion is that anything better than 7-5 will guarantee Butch Jones a raise and some type of extension. After that, every game won after eight will likely lengthen the extension and raise the amount of money Tennessee will give him.
Jimmy Sexton, Butch’s new agent, will be sure of that.
The funny number is 7-5. Seven wins would be a step backwards in a very important year for Jones, and I’m just not sure what Athletic Director John Currie would choose to do in that situation. All 7-5 seasons are not created equally, and without knowing how the season unfolded on a game-by-game basis it’s impossible to predict.
I do believe there is a possibility that 7-5 could be enough to earn Jones a raise and extension if all of the losses came in competitive games, the team showed considerable improvement over the course of the season, younger players developed and fans were left with an extremely high level of optimism entering the 2018 season.
I don’t know how likely it would be that all of these boxes could be checked in a 7-5 season, but I do think it is at least a possibility.
The wild card in this entire conversation is John Currie. If John Currie wants to make his mark and has a replacement coach lined up, then there may be no scenario in which Butch Jones is retained with a record of 7-5 or worse.
The ideal scenario is that Butch Jones wins and wins big, so let’s just hope for that.
– Houston Kress
Daniel R. writes:
“I’ll keep it simple, which position group is the biggest concern for the Vols on defense for this season?”
I have found that you’ll get a lot of different responses for this question. And that’s because there is no correct answer. Based on Tennessee’s defense at the end of last season, every position group should concern you. The entire defense was rough to watch.
A lot of people will say the defensive line due to the lack of depth for the group. Strictly based on recruiting rankings this is the best unit on the entire team. The inordinate amount of injuries this unit suffered along with the key departures in Derek Barnett and Corey Vereen make me wary. But I personally believe the combination of Brady Hoke and Rock Gullickson will work wonders for this group.
I have concern about the corner and safety position, but not as much concern as I do for the linebacker unit.
Tennessee usually only has two linebackers on the field at a time since they primarily use a nickel package. The lack of production from this unit last year was abysmal. Darrin Kirkland Jr. is by far the best player for this unit when healthy. So hopefully he will be able to find a groove early on. That’d help him get back to the level of quality play we saw before his injuries added up. Other than Kirkland we have seen a decent amount of game reps for Colton Jumper, Cortez McDowell, and Elliot Berry.
– Davey Hudson
Alexander A. writes:
“Who is the most electric athlete you’ve ever watched? Not just good, but electric. Past or present.”
I’m going to go a little outside the box here and say Dante Hall. The Human Joystick was an absolutely monster to try to cover on kickoff returns. Some of the moves he made were simply inhumane. He was a threat to score every single time he touched the ball. Obviously I wasn’t able to ever see him live, but YouTube is a wonderful place.
Present day, I’d say Tyreek Hill offers a lot of similarities to Dante Hall. They both play in Kansas City, both can give a team a jolt of life with a huge kickoff return. The difference for me is that Hill has shown that he can go the distance rushing the ball, catching the ball, or returning the ball. Heck, if you put him opposite Marcus Peters he’d probably score that way too. From a purely on the field standpoint, he’s one of my favorite players to watch in the NFL going forward.
– Jake Tidwell