Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Overdo for a dive into the mailbag, so here you go. Titans followers, please pay careful attention to item No. 2 from Eric in Seattle.
Want to be part of the next mailbag entry? Send comments, questions, complaints or savings bonds here.
Kevin in Portland, OR writes: Paul- I understand that the AP offensive player of the year award is usually going to go to a quarterback, but is there any logical reason that Andre Johnson didn't receive a single vote? He onlt averaged 98.4 yards per game and lead the league in both receptions and yards, on the third best (by yardage) offense in the NFL. If a quarterback from an 8-8 team can win the award, why the snub for the best receiver in the NFL, even if his club is 8-8?
Paul Kuharsky: That is a great question, Kevin, and I don't have an explanation for you. A QB is going to trump a receiver virtually every time. But Johnson had a great case for at least getting a couple votes. My understanding is that there is a voter from each NFL market, though I don't believe there is one in Nashville. I wonder what the Houston voter did.
Eric in Seattle writes: What does ESPN have against the Titans? Don't give me the run around answer either. I mean seriously though, how can a team have the best record in the league and get so little press. Even the pages today there isn't one spotlight story on the Titans. Did stepping on the horrible ugly yellow towels do it. And yes I'm also a Seahawk fan that knows we got robbed by the refs in XL super bowl. What gives?
Paul Kuharsky: Attention Titans supporters: Here is the blanket answer on the disrespect angle. You are certainly welcome to continue to flood the mailbag with messages like Eric's. But in the interest of doing a good job writing about the very team you are complaining gets no attention, I hereby will stop spending time answering the individual notes.
Why not enjoy your team's success instead of worrying about what you see as some sort of disrespect? Why is perceived attention so important? If an analyst thinks Baltimore is going to win, should he lie and say otherwise to appease you? I work for ESPN and write about the Titans constantly, so do we really think I am the right guy to harp on this with.
Duane from North Hills writes: I did some research on Manning for you and here it is. In his postseason losses he's averaged 13.9 points a game. He put up 18 points or less in 7 of his 8 losses. He's had only 4 multiple TD games and half of his TDs came from 3 of his 15 games. That means he's averaged less than 1 TD per game for his remaining 11 games. He's never had more than two good consecutive games in the postseason. He's a VERY BIG reason why the Colts continue to fail in the postseason.
Paul Kuharsky: I don't disagree that he is a big reason, though I would say it's their offense in its entirety and not Manning exclusively that has produced the limited points. I don't think Manning is in the top five reasons why the Colts lost this time.
Chris in Martinsville, VA writes: >Titans are the #1 seed in the AFC >NYGiants are the #1 seed in the NFC >Miami and Minnesota get in the playoffs by winning their divisions >Indy, Baltimore, and Philly make the playoffs as wildcards... >Kurt Warner is the QB of a NFC WEST team in the playoffs >Kerry Collins is having a resurgent year for a #1 seed team after largely being written off >The Ravens, led by Ray Lewis, win their opening round game and head to Nashville to face the #1 seed Titans >The Colts lose their opening round game, in overtime, by a score of 23-17 sound famililar? all these things happened in 2000-01! Not saying history is gonna repeat itself, but you got to admit that some of those coincidences are creepy in a Kennedy/Lincoln kind of way... -jcs
Paul Kuharsky: Some of that isn't relevant to the Titans or Ravens now, and wasn't then (Warner QBing an NFC West team?), but, yeah, the main similarities are striking and, for Tennessee, worrisome.
Scott Parsell from Indianapolis writes: Well, you were correct that Ron Winter's crew would have an impact on the game. All 7 penalties (Low Block, Tripping, Offensive Holding twice, Defensive Holding twice, Facemask) called during the 4th Qtr & OT went against the Colts. In the two Colts games officiated by Winters' crew of overzealous zebras, the Colts were flagged 21 times for 184 yards (plus 3 penalties were declined). That's an average of 10.5 penalties for 92 yards. In the Colts other 15 games, they averaged 5 penalties for 34 yards.
Paul Kuharsky: Scott was referring to this post from early in the Colts-Chargers game.
The issue of Clint Session grabbing a facemask is way bigger than what crew was assigned to the game. Have the Colts ever lost a game outright? Based on much of the e-mail I get, they might be undefeated for the past 10 years but for the officials being against them.
Ron in Pittsburgh writes: mvp vote after season, what if a qb like ryan takes his team to super bowl????
Paul Kuharsky: Then he can win Super Bowl MVP. MVP is a regular-season award and a 16-game regular season is worthy of its own honor.
Mujir in Toronto writes: I dont think Mannings performance requires any qualification. He threw for 300 yards and no picks, and didnt even get a shot in overtime. He was on the road. What more could fans realistically expect, short of a superhuman performance? If anyone deserves blame, its the league for having a ridiculous playoff structure that rewards the mere fortune of being in a horrendous division.
Paul Kuharsky: Well said, Mujir. I am not as up in arms about a division winner with a poor record getting a home game, or the playoff format, for that matter, but I understand the arguments on both.
Chris from parts unknown writes: Based on the current media outlet from ESPN, it seems as though this weekend's game in Nashville has already been played, and the Ravens have already won. I mean, the Ravens D played very well this past weekend, I'm not going to take anything away from what they did, but it wasn't like Miami was a huge offensive output team like Arizona, New Orleans, or Colts. They stopped a young team, who is fairly new to winning, and the Ravens D got tired in the 3rd and 4th quarters and just capitalized on a demoralized miami offense and HUGE blunder by ted ginn jr on a misdirection. The titans aren't going to fake you out or do anything crazy like the miami offense... but can they stop smash mouth football for 4 quarters? They didn't last time. The ravens seem to capitalize on trick plays gone bad, and that won't be a factor next weekend. But I will ask, Do you think Heimerdinger will put together a different game plan for KC in the sense that he takes a 2-3 step drop and then hit a WR or TE on a slant to catch a high blitz DEF on their heels? I've seen how that neutralizes some other defenses who constantly blitz, and the offense consistently gets a 2nd and 3, 2nd and 4, vs
trying to run it up the gut for a 1 yard gain/ or loss like what happened against the bears and ravens last year on 1st and 2nd downs. ps. as much as jax fans say that you're a homer.. you're not. You just happen to have a home in Nashville and if you lived in Indy or Jax, i'm sure some titans fans would think the same thing they do. I think you've been very objective this year on all the AFC South teams, keep up the good/hard work* hard |härd| -adj- of HAVING to watch football all weekend and then write about it.
Paul Kuharsky: I appreciate the kind words, Chris.
Are some people forgetting the Titans have an excellent defense too? Sure. But the Ravens played last week and the Titans didn't, and Baltimore clobbered a playoff team. That's the way things work this week.
Yes, I think Dinger does stuff to counter blitzes. And I think the Ravens look for such things. And so the Titans counter that expectation and on and on.
Ford Sanders from Ottawa writes: I don't disagree with Peyton getting the MVP. but its was just the convenient pick. Its the easy way out. And you could make the case for manning every year. But in my opinion we are too focused on the offensive side of the ball. Ed Reed should have won or at least be considered for it. Maybe even Troy Polomalu. Without these guys their teams wouldn't be half of what they are. And the people who make the selections should look at both sides of the ball not just one with the poster boy for the nfl.
Paul Kuharsky: I agree, Manning was both deserving and the easy way out. For a good while, I was a lone wolf shouting Michael Turner, but to no avail. But once it was decided -- I didn't have a vote -- I could not really argue with Manning.
We may never see a defender win MVP again. Whether we like it or not, defensive player of the year amounts to defensive MVP now.
Dave from Canada writes: Hi Paul, When you were blogging from the San Diego game you referred to something that was said on the NBC broadcast. This brings up 2 questions: 1. Do you get to watch the TV broadcast with audio while in the press box? 2. Can you change the channel during a bad game (thanksgiving in Detroit)?
Paul Kuharsky: Hey Dave, nice of you to check in.
Press boxes all have TVs with the game broadcast scattered around. The audio is a different story.
I invested before the season in a little TV from Radio Shack, which handles both analog and digital signals, so it will be still be good after the big changeover in February. Reception is tough in some places -- the antenna hates the Lucas Oil Stadium and Reliant Stadium press boxes -- and in others I can get the audio but not the video. That's fine, because it's all I am really looking for, though I will take replays right in front of me if I can have the luxury. Having a feel for the telecast that most people are watching has helped me.
And, no, I don't change the channel. Though many of my colleagues at a game have the combination of DirecTV at home and a Slingbox on their laptops -- allowing them to monitor multiple games at a time -- I find I do better work if I stay mostly locked in on the game I am at. I do track scores and developments elsewhere some on the laptop.
More than you wanted to know, I am sure.