Mailbag: Darts and laurels

December, 5, 2009
12/05/09
11:49
AM ET
Greg Francati from parts unknown writes: With six wins and a meaningful game in December, is this season already a success for the Jaguars?

Paul Kuharsky: I think so. A terrible finish could change that. But if they play as they have, even with the inconsistency, it looks as if they will finish well beyond expectations. I think they’ve squeezed more out of a deficient roster than could have been reasonably expected. They have a lot of reasons to feel good about their direction, but a lot of work to do.


Chris Mohammadi in Indy writes: Paul, I’m getting upset of the continuing talk of the Colts secondary. Every time they are mentioned it is said that three-fourths of our starting secondary is out/injured. I would like to argue (or just vent) that Jerraud Powers, Jacob Lacey, Antoine Bethea, and Melvin Bullitt are the starting secondary. They have been getting it done all year. Bob Sanders has done nothing for this team all year. Marlin Jackson didn't start a single game (played nickel). Kelvin Hayden has appeared in only four and has exited early in a couple of those. The guys playing are our starting secondary and think it's time they were allowed out of the shadow of players we have barely seen this year. Thanks for the release Paul. Paul Kuharsky: I know how healthy venting can be, so I hope that helped.

I see your point and almost agree. I think the “loss” of Sanders has been overblown and Bullitt’s a largely unknown commodity for most people but an excellent player. I’d agree about rating Bullitt and Powers as starters. I think Lacey’s done well, but think they’ll be in better shape with Hayden back as least as the nickel or maybe eventually ahead of Lacey. That would bump Jennings back to dime.

And you have to be talking about five defensive backs, not four, because nickel is so important.


Matt in Dallas, TX: Fine, fine, fine, I'll be your Texans respondent. Texans thoughts/questions for you to blog: percent chance you think Dunta Robinson collects a Houston paycheck next season. What running backs do you think Houston might/should target for the draft? Chris Brown's just not cutting it and I don't know what to do with Steve Slaton. Bernard Pollard's been great in the secondary. Can you talk about what's going on at the other safety spot -- besides, ya know, musical chairs? Thanks for all you do. I generally don't like much about ESPN, but I think you do a fantastic job. Paul Kuharsky: Thanks for the compliments and stepping up with some questions.

I’ll go only 20 percent on Robinson being back, though that’s my gut not from anything I’ve been told. It just seems to me he’s not lived up to the financial demands this year. He hasn’t been an elite corner, has he?

I don’t know about college backs. I wonder what it would be like if they had a backfield of LenDale White and Slaton splitting duties. I also wonder about taking Antoine Bethea away as a free agent and pairing him with Pollard.

Barring big free agent moves, I think the Texans should focus on running back, cornerback and free safety in the draft and show a willingness to move on at those two spots in the secondary.


Will from Franklin, TN writes: Do the Titans have a chance at making the playoffs if they beat the Indianapolis Colts? Paul Kuharsky: Sure they do. More certain, they don’t have a chance if they don’t beat the Colts.


Chris Kirk in Indianapolis, IN writes: Could you look into how many touchbacks on kickoffs the Colts have been getting since inserting Pat McAfee as a kickoff specialist? It seems like he's really pounding the ball. I almost expect a touchback every time. Do you think this drop in the number of returns against our special teams and improved field position have played into our resurgence on kickoff coverage (relatively speaking) and stiffened defense, if at all?

Paul Kuharsky: McAfee has 14 touchbacks already. Adam Vinatieri had eight all of last season. It’s definitely a factor in improved coverage.


Cliff Butner from parts unknown writes: Well, you seem to have taken your time, listened to your beloved talking heads, and decided it might be possible that VY is a good quarterback. Way to go, Chief! You know, you could step out on a limb once in your life, and pick the improbable to happen, and not wait for others. Be a leader for once in your life. You can do it! You're smarter than us hicks from TN, heck, you're Columbia educated. Now, go show us some leadership. Paul Kuharsky: I’ll take that under advisement, Cliff.


Peter in Nashville writes: Hey Paul, two questions regarding your "Primary Complaint." To be honest, neither are football related. Paul, I couldn't help but notice that the main framed poster behind you has been different every time. What is up with that? Second, I noticed a reflection in the aforementioned frame. What were you watching on TV? Paul Kuharsky: In my office, I’ve got a collection of framed Hatch Show Prints from concerts at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Yes, I’ve been switching them up. Pete Yorn is usually in that spot and will return, but in recent weeks I’ve put Bruce Springsteen there (when he played Nashville), Kings of Leon and this week it was Mark Knopfler. Just messing around.

The TV should be off during video production. Pretty sure my background noise, muted for that, was SportsNation.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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