Mailbag: Surfing the division
September, 19, 2009
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Richard in Ann Arbor, MI writes: The shadows at the old Cowboys Stadium were at least as annoying as the shadows as Lucas Oil field. This should fall under the Jerry Jones rule: If it's ok for the Cowboys to do something, it's ok for any team to do it. The Colts have nothing to apologize for.
Paul Kuharsky: I didn't suggest they had anything to apologize for. I am sure they'd like for their games to look good on TV for the fans who are not at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Matt in Murray, KY writes: In response to "Further Review: MJD's 2-pt try," The Wildcat is a great change of pace set, but why would you run it at such a critical junction of the game? Had they just handed the ball off, there was a high percentage chance that he gets in. They could have run the EXACT same play they ran on the touchdown (which by the way was a beautiful display of patience by MJD) and as a Colts fan I can say, I feel like they would have gotten in. Fortunately for myself, they did not. But had the Jaguars pulled even with 11 minutes to go, the whole dynamic of how the Colts handled their next possessions would have been different. Did the Jaguars really think that the Colts would be more concerned with Nate Hughes (who?) than Jones-Drew who just burned them on a simple outside give?
Paul Kuharsky: I agree all around. It wasn't the best play-calling moment of the game.
Jahon in San Diego, CA writes: Let's just say that Dunta's shoe stunt and his comments afterwards have ticked off most if not all of the Texan fans. Speaking for myself, it makes me worried about what type of mentality is in the locker room. Instead of the other players laughing about his stunt and his comments, someone should have gotten in his face and told him to be professional and it is not all about him, this is a team. A team is supposed to be there to win.
Paul Kuharsky: Yes, I agree that a leader should have worked to set things straight. Maybe one did so behind the scenes. But once Robinson said what he did about it, someone else should have worked to drown it out with some volume.
Greg in Houston, TX writes: I was getting rather ill with the Dunta Robinson contractual issues and his hold out to prove his point. When he returned, I, like many others, thought that he would put his love of the game above everything else when the season started. His words and his preparation to return caused me to give him the benefit of a doubt. But now with the "Pay Me Rick" message written on his shoe causes me to believe that he can't get past this. I was wondering what possibilities were out there for trade considerations. What is his trade value for a draft pick? Is there another team that is need for a starting corner, such as DR, and would it be a player/player trade or a draft pick trade?
Paul Kuharsky: No one.
No one is trading anything for a guy whose contract worth nearly $10 million is guaranteed and who’s not under contract beyond this year.
I understand a lot of people are upset with him, but you'll have to come to terms that he’s going to be around. He can't be dealt or cut with that price. Also, more importantly he still rates as their best defensive back.
Roger in Nashville writes: Paul, Why is it that the Titans are soooo cheap. We were hoping they will go after Torry Holt or Hank Baskett but they rather settle for Paul Williams and Edison. We know is not a matter of money since they have the cap space but they just keep trying to get by with less. Have somebody explained to Bud Adams that these are his last years to get to a Super Bowl ring and that it is worth the investment.
Paul Kuharsky: I think you are wrong to assume it's about cost. They liked Holt a little bit at a certain value. The Jags liked him much more and at a higher value. I can't see that he'd rank ahead of Justin Gage, Nate Washington or Kenny Britt right now. They spent big dollars, by the way, on Washington, and a valuable first-round pick on Britt and a first-round contract on him.
With those three and Scaife and Cook, I don't believe they feel like they need Baskett and I tend to agree.
If they didn't play Edison in the opener even with Washington limited and if Paul Williams is on the practice squad, not on the 53-man roster, I'm not sure I understand the complaint about having them around. Edison is promising, and they should continue to try to develop young guys despite their failures doing so with receivers. Williams' time is up, in my opinion. But at least he is not taking up a roster spot any longer.
Also what makes you certain Baskett is getting any sort of significant money? It's a one-year deal, likely for the minimum, maybe with some incentives. The Colts were looking for a guy who could fill in as high on the depth chart as second, the Titans weren't. So what makes you certain Baskett would have preferred Nashville to Indy, anyway?
Fred Scheppele in Colorado Springs, Colorado writes: Who do you think would play more effectively for the Colts, or provide more game day value: 1) a veteran signed three days before the game that does not know the play book and has not practiced much with the QB (Hank Baskett), or 2) a rookie who was not talented enough to make the final 53 man roster, but was on the practice squad, knows the playbook, and went through the preseason working with the QB (Taj Smith or maybe John Matthews).
Paul Kuharsky: I think you're missing a third option, where they lean more heavily on Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Jacob Tamme and Hank Baskett maybe plays only in specific situations -- maybe in the red zone. Then his role can increase as he gets up to speed.
I think that's what they are doing. Bill Polian doesn't look outside often, so when he does I think it tells us where they stand on in-house alternatives -- in this case Smith and Matthews.
Peter in Nashville writes: Hey Paul, So my roommate and I were talking and had a question so I decided I would forward it to you. We both seem to remember there being some reason why LP Field is not eligible to hold the Super Bowl but neither of us could remember why. It is certainly big enough as it hold more than Tampa's field so I just wanted to see if I could steal from your bank of knowledge. Thanks.
Paul Kuharsky: Because it's cold and potentially wet in Nashville in January and February. Warm-weather cities or indoor venues only for the Super Bowl.
Weller Ross in Knoxville, TN writes: Hey Paul, I was just wondering if you know of anywhere out there where I can find the statistics for number of times a receiver was targeted. I've read multiple times now that Reggie Wayne was targeted 14 times, and I was curious as to how that compared to other receivers in the league. Thanks.
Paul Kuharsky: Click on a score at NFL.com to get to the Game Center page. from there, look for the red link to the official "game book." That's the stat package from the game, and if you find the section that details catches, it starts with "targets." (Click here for the game book from Jaguars-Colts. Scroll to "Final Individual Stats" on the second page.)