Mailbag: On waivers, receivers and tarps

Eric Cox in Madison, Wis., writes: How does the waiver wire work for a team that wants to pick someone up off of it. Is there a pecking order? Is there a limit to the number of players you can pick up in a season? Is it first come, first served?

Paul Kuharsky: Vested veterans (guys with four years) don’t go on waivers if cut, they become free agents automatically. Younger guys go on waivers when cut. Currently the waiver order is based on last season’s finish. So the worst teams have the first chance, the Saints the last chance. The worst team to claim a guy is awarded him and his contract. If he’s unclaimed, he becomes a free agent. Later, after some games, the order gets set based on current records instead of relying on last season.

Ida Clark from Nashville writes: Disagree on the Jeff Fisher WRs thing. The Titans haven't won a playoff game since 2002 when the rules changes favoring the passing game went in. Because of that, you can't win games with ball control, defense and special teams if the opponent has a good passing game. In today's game, if you are going to consistently make and advance in the playoffs, you need a WR that forces defenses to scheme to stop him. Not just Fisher. The same is also true of Andy Reid. The difference between the 2008 NFC championship game was one team's having Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston and the other team's having rookie DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis and Hank Baskett. Also, Chris Johnson is not a power back like Eddie George. The Titans need better play from their pass catchers, and had better hope that Kenny Britt, Damian Williams, Marc Mariani, Lavelle Hawkins and Jared Cook provide it.

Paul Kuharsky: I never said the Titans don’t need better play from their receivers. I said it’s possible to win without an 800-yard receiver.

Last year, Atlanta, the Giants and Seattle had two players with more than 800 yards receiving. Buffalo, Carolina, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Oakland, San Francisco, Tampa Bay and Washington each had one.

That’s 41 percent of the league who had what you believe is necessary to win. Know what else they all had? As many games in the playoff as the Titans did: None.

You’re correct, Chris Johnson isn’t a power back like Eddie George. It’s better that he’s not. Johnson provides the sort of explosive plays the Titans have too often lacked, and that today’s league pretty much mandates for success. They finally get some and you complain about what position they come from.

You left out the Titans' starting receivers -- Nate Washington and Justin Gage.

Also, the Titans won a playoff game on Jan. 3, 2004 in Baltimore.

Josh in Neptune Beach, Fla., writes: Maurice Jones-Drew has publicly criticized the national media for their constant indifference and general disrespect for the Jaguars. It seems every day, another article is being written about the Jaguars moving to Los Angeles. What about Tampa Bay, who has less season tickets sold than we do? Or the Chargers, who despite being a top team in the AFC, are struggling to fill their stadium as well. As a member of said media yourself, what is your take on this?

Paul Kuharsky: Tampa Bay has a longer history, some tradition, a Super Bowl trophy and a relatively new stadium (which rates as fantastic in my ratings).

I think too many national media do pick up on things without checking them out – like EverBank Field's tarps. It’s unreasonable to me to expect Jacksonville to fill a stadium with a tarp-less capacity bigger than Soldier Field. I also wonder about fans from elsewhere who just revel in the Jaguars’ issues. I’m not sure why that’s so much fun.

But if the market supported the team better, it could make many of these things a non-issue as they are for a vast majority of the league.

I think disrespect is the most overplayed card in the league. The Jaguars are improving. But they are a last-place team that is reasonably projected to finish last again. It’s not disrespectful to say so.

Jason Cornett and Jason Dodson ask, via Facebook where I will be for Week 1:

Paul Kuharsky: Colts at Texans is an easy choice as the AFC South’s game of the week for me.

Eliah from Brown County, Ind., writes: Hey Paul. I agree with most of your thoughts on the repositioning of the umpire, but I think you're missing one key point. Because the umpire is in the backfield, to spot the ball he'll now have to do a roundtrip between his position 6-7 yards behind the previous line to the new spot. That means on any gain of 3-5 yards, the umpire will have to cover 12-14 more yards before the ball can be snapped than under the old rules. Even on plays for no gain, he'll have to travel farther. Throw in the likelihood that all this extra running will tire him out, and it's hard to believe offenses won't lose some ability to prevent substitutions and challenges, or that the rule won't result in fewer plays per game. Not that I'm a mathemagician or anything.

Paul Kuharsky: A very good point that I kick myself for failing to think of. Mailbag entry of the week.

Eric in Denver writes: Is it me, or are the Titans just asking for trouble by relying on rookies for return duty AGAIN this year? I believe I recall Fisher stating that he made a mistake by using Mouton in the return game last year. What's the difference this year with Williams and Mariani?

Paul Kuharsky: Valid thinking, and if these guys don’t work out Fisher will get crushed for that.

But Mouton never returned a lot or well in college. Williams and Mariani did.

And it’s not like Josh Cribbs or Devin Hester was out there to grab.