- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Rick Shortt from Virginia Beach writes: Again I say, let’s quit jumping on the Texan bandwagon. It will not be long before they crash out at the bottom again. How long did it take them to get this far? GO COLTS.
Paul Kuharsky: I’m not on a bandwagon. I write about what’s going on.
What’s going on is the Texans are one of two undefeated teams left in the whole league. Would you like me to pretend they aren’t winning now because you think it’ll tail off?
Mike W from Jacksonville Beach writes: In reference to your weekly what you think the Jags are thinking. This is what a 5 year Jag's season ticket holder is thinking: It could be argued the three most important positions for all 32 NFL teams are GM, Coach and QB. If you had their peers rank Gene Smith, Mike Mularkey, and Blaine Gabbert against others in the league, there is no way that anyone would rank them above a 27 or 28. Until any or all of these individuals are removed, you realistically cannot be successful. I've had (or heard) countless discussions with others, on sports radio, and from local media, but isn't that really their problem in a nutshell? Other comments are deflections and distractions from the root cause of why the Jags continue to lose.
Paul Kuharsky: I certainly understand your frustrations. But the guys that you’d rank in the top five at those spots were once nobodies who ranked 28th, don’t you think?
Maybe not at QB, but certainly with coaches and GMs.
Where did Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith of the Texans, for example, rank on your coaches and GMs lists three years ago? Where do they rank now? I’d suspect substantially higher. Their owner was patient with them and is now collecting dividends.
Also important: who are the guys you you want replacing Smith, who’s at least had some time, and Mularkey, who’s FOUR GAMES into his tenure with the Jaguars, and Gabbert, who’s played in all of 18 games?
Marcus in Winter Park, FL writes: I was the person who was annoyed with the lack of an upgrade at the CB spot during the Texans' off season, my username being eramthgin007. I just wanted to admit that I was wrong about Kareem Jackson's ability to improve. He impressed me long before he got that pick-6 against the Titans yesterday. I am now cautiously optimistic, for I am still not going to put all of my chips on KJ because Hasselbeck was the QB yesterday. I want him to do well against Rodgers and Flacco and Brady, then I will trust in his abilities more. But I admit to being wrong, and I look forward to seeing KJ improve even more. Oh, and I really enjoy your posts, especially your humor. Sarcasm is possibly the greatest thing to ever happen, ever. Not really but you get the point.
Paul Kuharsky: Wow. Score one for reader accountability. Rare. Dogs and cats living together.
I much appreciate the feedback.
Jackson is definitely better, but he’d still be the guy I’d go after based on how strong they are elsewhere.
Saeed Fakhruddin from Brentwood, TN writes: I am a season ticket and PSL holder of the Titans. Why does this team ignore glaring needs and go after players in the draft that don't address those needs. We ranked almost dead last in sacks last year and had almost no pass rush. We get Kendall Wright and pass on SEC defensive players in a year where there was a bumper crop of linebackers and defensive linemen. We once again have no pass rush and J.J. Watt’s has more sacks than the entire Titans defense. Mike Reinfeldt and Ruston Webster are always looking to outsmart the league. They are idiots. Why are they always trying to save Bud Adams’ money. We consistently pass on free agents that could fill holes and let go of good players who are leaders in the locker room while getting no draft picks in return. We were an elite team in the years we had a dominating pass rush with Albert Haynesworth. The Giants won the Super Bowl with a fearsome D-line. The blueprint is there but it appears the brilliant minds in the Titans front office had other ideas. They are stale and have almost no pressure to show results because the Nashville media is way too polite. Bud Adams has been out to lunch for a while. I won't even elaborate on the need to reinvigorate the O-line. Leroy Harris is a liability. David Castro would have been worth moving up in the draft. Thank you.
Paul Kuharsky: No, thank you. You’ve given me great fodder.
They’ve missed on a lot of players, for sure.
But they didn’t miss on leting Haynesworth walk -- did you see what he did after he got that giant contract? Would you somehow feel better if they’d wasted $40 million guaranteed on a guy who was going to mail it in from there just to prove to you a willingness to spend? And they got a third-round compensatory pick for losing him.
They didn’t do enough at defensive end, but didn’t do nothing. Kamerion Wimbley was an expensive free agency.
They passed on J.J. Watt because they had to have a quarterback. We won't know if they picked the right one for a while. But they were hardly alone in not jumping on Watt.
I don’t know what they would have had to do to draft David Castro, but they wouldn’t have had to move up for David DeCastro. They passed on him and he went four spots later. I would have liked to have seen them make that pick too. But of course if they took him, you’d be complaining about not having enough depth behind Kenny Britt at receiver or still ranting about defensive end. (The guy the Titans may really regret passing on is DE Chandler Jones.)
Drafting strictly for position of need has proven to be a bad strategy. You draft players, not positions. Last year were you bemoaning the selections of Jurrell Casey and Colin McCarthy and Karl Klug?
If you want to crush the Titans, crush them. They deserve it. I’ve been doing it. But how about you crush them accurately?
Rick in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL writes: Two questions: 1. Do you think Jack Del Rio kept a tight leash on Dirk Koetter's offense in Jacksonville? With David Garrard and Blaine Gabbert, the Jaguars were (and still are) a 3-yards and a cloud of dust offense. Koetter goes to Atlanta and the Falcons light up the scoreboard. He has better offensive players in Atlanta, but still the Jags were so predictable. 2. Have you ever been to Roberts Western World on Broadway in Nashville? Do locals go there?
Paul Kuharsky: 1) Yes. Koetter didn’t have a lot of talent to work with and I don’t think Del Rio let Koetter do everything he would have liked.
2) Yes. Once at the end of a late night. Good spot. Mix of locals and tourists. But downtown is not where most of locals go. Try Midtown
LX from El Chuco, TX writes: Now that the Texan's are 4-0, the media/public praise almost make me forget the 10 previous seasons of inconsistency and frustration. Honestly, I expected them to win by less than a TD vs. the Titans and lose by 10+ to Peyton Manning's Broncos. Still the early success bothers me. Against Manning, as usual, the Texans folded in the fourth quarter; Peyton would have won if he had the level of familiarity with his WRs/TE in DEN as he did in IND. The Manning hex has not been lifted because the Texans have yet to win at IND; besides, they usually struggle with rookie QBs and Andrew Luck will be well experienced by Week 17. Speaking of insurmountable hurdles, the Texans have never beet two of the three teams they will face before the bye: NYJ and BAL!!! I know you love the Texans when they win, but their success remains unproven. I hope they DO lose at least one game in the next three weeks so that they can focus on reaching the SB and not fall into the Pursuit-of-Perfection BS that killed the Patriots when they went 18-1.
Paul Kuharsky: You write: “Still, the early success bothers me.” So after the 10 years you complain about, they are finally good, they are crushing people, and you are bothered by success? What do they need to do to make you happy?
Teams win all the time with some sort of statistical or personnel deficiencies. Trust me here, right now the Texans don’t have much of either. They gave up a big lead in the fourth quarter in Denver -- and still won. They beat Manning where and when they were scheduled to play him. Did you want them to petition to relocate the game to Indy?
Your team is playing great but your choice is to fret about their Week 17 matchup on the road against Andrew Luck?
I think you’re right. They probably will lose that game. Because it probably will mean nothing to them in terms of playoff positioning. How in the world will you deal with such a catatrophe?!?
I wouldn’t worry about a perfect record. They’ll lose more than one game. But if you like them, you don’t have to be compelled to root for it. Just let it happen.
Jake from Tennessee writes: How did your lover boy Matt Hasselback do for you Sunday? I bet you were devastated that he sucked and CJ performed. You might be the worst blogger, due to your always biased opinions, in ESPN history!
Paul Kuharsky: You are confused.
This will help you understand what you see as “bias.”
Did you think Chris Johnson was good in the first three games? Should I have raved about him?
Craig Adams from Lubbock, Texas writes: I've never done the fantasy thing before until this year. For some reason all your bad mouthing of MJD, who I've never really followed, stood out to me as the season approached. As of late I have looked for comments by you seeing if you had given him any kudos as of late but have not seen any? Do you have a pride issue?
Paul Kuharsky: Maurice Jones-Drew’s been everything we’ve come to expect of him. But I haven’t had any real cause to write about him. I said during his holdout that they could go 5-11 just as easily with him or without him. And they look to be on track to do it with him, again.
Also, I don’t believe I said he wouldn’t play well when he played. I never questioned his talent. He’s very talented. I said he didn’t deserve a new contact. What he’s done since he returned hasn’t really swayed my thinking on the contract or changed my reaction to how he handled things.
Romeo Hughes from Starkville, MS writes: When it comes to Tennessee Titans defense, is horrible coaching by Jerry Gray or are they just don't have the talent? They are missing way too many tackles, the safeties are lined up way too far deep, the line gets no pressure, and they don't use Akeem Ayers like they should. Thank you for your time and I enjoy reading your columns.
Paul Kuharsky: It’s a combination of both, plus a third ingredient: They’ve played four pretty good teams.