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Saturday, May 22, 2010
Mailbag: On corners, criteria and CJ

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Jason in Indianapolis writes: Are there any interesting cornerbacks that were "cut" from their team (in which case they wouldn’t qualify as an unrestricted free agent under the CBA) still out there on the market? After losing their third-rounder to a season-ending injury, the Colts are quite thin at CB now and I was wondering what some of their options might be.

Paul Kuharsky: Define “interesting.”

I would think one of the unknowns they have in house has as good a chance to help as any one available to them on the open market right now.


Mark Froehlich in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Wow Paul, Jacksonville didn't qualify? Raleigh did? lol I didn't think you were a hater. Definitely will color my take on your writing in the future.

Paul Kuharsky: Mark, you might want to take another look at the item in question.
a) I was pointing people to a link to someone else’s work/ratings

b) I spelled out that by HIS criteria, you had to have three major league teams or two and a major college program within an hour’s drive to qualify.

Thus Jacksonville didn’t qualify.


Henry Milton from parts unknown writes: This is on an item from your chat, which I missed. OK, so you get 1 point for suggesting that Vince Young should hire Tom Condon. But you lose 2 points for predicting that Vince Young would be beaten out by Patrick Ramsey. You lose 2 more for claiming that the Titans should stick with Kerry Collins no matter what, and the only reason to play Young was to let him fail spectacularly and silence his supporters. You lose 2 more for your steady drumbeat of "Vince Young will be released after the season, if not sooner" articles and op-eds. You lose 1 more for your incredulous article ripping Mack Brown for not joining the "trash Vince Young" bandwagon despite knowing full well that college coaches NEVER publicly turn on their former players for anything other than breaking the law. And you lose 3 more for your all but crowning the Colts Super Bowl champions based on Peyton Manning's transcendent greatness, especially when compared to Drew Brees. So, where does that leave you?

Paul Kuharsky: I said he could have been beaten out by Ramsey, which was true in the eyes of the decision-makers at the time. I said they would stick with Collins because I knew their coach wanted to before he was overruled by his boss. I certainly came back and wrote extensively about Young’s success during the Titans' 8-2 run. The Mack Brown thing was a bigger deal to you than anyone else I’ve crossed paths with, though I believe he tends to turn out immature starts primed for struggles in the NFL. And boy was I out on a limb thinking Manning’s Colts would beat Brees’ Saints in the Super Bowl.

I think I regularly fess up when I’ve been wrong in the blog. I think the Vince Young verdict is far from in. And I think I appreciate that you are keeping such an “accurate” score.


Arne Wilson from parts unknown writes: Your fascination with the Atlanta Falcons - whom you picked to make the NFC title game last year and mentioned as a Super Bowl contender in the chat today - is unfounded. The Falcons have a mediocre secondary, no pass rush, and a LB corps that needs their #1 pick to pan out to rate as average. On offense, their OL is pedestrian, and they have no one catching the ball that scares anyone other than Roddy White (Tony Gonzalez can't get down the field like he used to). But they have Matt Ryan, right? Well Ryan is a 59.7% passer, and you have to wonder how much a guy who spent 4 years in a pro-style offense for a major, winning college program is going to improve on that, because there isn't a whole lot of room for things that influence his accuracy like his footwork and mechanics to get better. Pick another dark horse.

Paul Kuharsky: Fascination is a bit strong. I thought they’d make a jump last year, and I think it again. (I picked the Saints to go to the Super Bowl two years ago. Should have stuck with them twice, no?) I like their coach and their quarterback, and those are two big ingredients. I do think we’ll see Ryan improve. I also think the Saints dip, the Bucs still stink and Carolina is overrated.


Ida Clark from parts unknown writes: Why is Jeff Fisher taking a much harder line with Kenny Britt's conditioning and work ethic than he ever did with LenDale White? Leaning on White to get into shape so that he would be more explosive, durable and average more than 3.5 yards per carry would have really helped the Titans in 2007, when they had nothing but third-stringers and practice squad players at receiver. I can't help but thinking that Fisher was mindful of how he lobbied for White when Floyd Reese wanted Pro Bowler Devin Hester instead, had a stake in White panning out, so he didn't want to create a controversy. I agree with what Fisher is doing with Britt; I am just wondering why he didn't do the same with White, the guy that he lobbied hard to get, back when the Titans badly needed better production out of him.

Paul Kuharsky: Different strokes for different folks, to a degree. Fisher figures out which buttons to push for which guys. Britt’s hardly the first guy to get a hard time in public at OTAs. It used to be an annual occurrence and hit not only a bad player like Jason Layman, but Eddie George and Samari Rolle too.

But I give you credit for raising an interesting point. LenDale casts a long, wide, shadow. Gone, but still a topic.

Why do you love the Devin Hester idea? The Titans had just drafted Pacman Jones and had Bobby Wade. The return jobs were filled, no?


Nick in Indianapolis writes: Hey Paul, keep up the good work. Your coverage on the Cushing ordeal was great. If -- big if -- Bob Sanders can remain healthy, is defensive coordinator Larry Coyer looking to utilize Sanders' speed and burst in various blitz packages? When Sanders has been healthy (before Coyer) he was mostly in 2-deep coverage or sagging in the box for run support. Wouldn't dialing up blitzes for Sanders help improve the pass-rush and overall success in 3rd-and-long situations? (Of course considering that means Bethea is on his own covering the deep zones, something he should be capable of, right?)

Paul Kuharsky: Coyer had them blitz a lot more than they did (never) under Ron Meeks. So with an impact guy like Sanders at his disposal, I would certainly think he would be sent after the quarterback once in a while. It should be something to see.


Ryan Johnson in Brownstown, Jamaica writes: Hey PK, I am a big fan. You do a great job with the blog. I have been in the Peace Corps for nearly two years and counted on your blog to keep me updated on the Texans and VY. ESPN doesn’t always do the best job of being unbiased but I cannot say the same about your articles. They are always well written and your mailbag responses are usually funny. It is a pleasure to read your stuff. From reading your article on Chris Johnson; I understand that CJ is the man and he will be back at some point, but why would they not bring in a veteran like Brian Westbrook to speed this process up. It sounds like the power is already in organizations hand but why would they not pressure CJ back by bringing in someone who may take 3rd down snaps away or something?

Paul Kuharsky: Thanks for the kind words, Ryan.

Westbrook would be no threat to Johnson, so signing him would do nothing to the situation. And Westbrook is a great pass-catcher, and the Titans are a team that doesn’t screen much, or well. If he was a Titan, there is zero chance he’d get any third-down snaps over CJ if CJ is healthy.

Not a fit to me.

If they decide they need better depth that Javon Ringer and LeGarrette Blount, they’ll shop later for a better fit.


Contract Match in Indianapolis writes: How much of that did you write yourself? The transitions from "This person said this" to "That person said that". You are worthless, how do you still have a job. I feel like my girl in High School can write a more exploratorative piece with the same information.

Paul Kuharsky: Please leave your email address next time so I can write you back and see if I can’t get some tips from her!


Pink Slip from Nashville, Tenn., writes: I have come calling. How do you still have a job? That MJD article is worthless. As are most of your articles, is it apathy or sloth?

Paul Kuharsky: It’s slothpathy. Or apasloth. You seem like a nice fellow. You choose.