Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC South [Print without images]

Saturday, July 10, 2010
Mailbag: On skill players, MJD's show

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Andrew from Indy writes: With Chris Johnson, Andre Johnson, and Peyton Manning in the AFC South, is it safe to say that the league's best RB, QB, and WR all play in the same division? With Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark, the AFC South might have the highest concentration of elite skill position players in the league.

Paul Kuharsky: It’s a loaded skill-position division, for sure.

I’d say those are the three top guys at their positions heading into 2010. And I’d put Manning, Johnson and Johnson up against any divisional quarterback, receiver, running back trio in the league.


Periwinkle J from Houston writes: Do you think the Texans will use more than normal three wide receiver looks now that Kevin Walter is returning and Jacoby Jones showed signs of better play last season? Or will Gary Kubiak be too busy trying to set up the play action? Speaking of which, how did the Texans have so much success with the play action last season with the mediocre run game?

Paul Kuharsky: Maybe a bit more three-wide. They will look to get five best threats on the field as much as possible. If that includes three wides at times, so be it. I’m not totally sold on all this Jacoby Jones hype quite yet.

As for play-action, I hit on it when I was with the Texans in June: See here.


Brian Myers from Murfreesboro, TN writes: If Chris Johnson and the Titans come to a compromise on this year’s earnings, are we just setting up ourselves for the same thing next year with him wanting more money or/and longer contract? Or is his third year the most likely choice when the Titans would offer him a longer extension anyways?

Paul Kuharsky: If CJ gets the boost this year, it does nothing to address years three, four or five of his deal. So of course he’ll be asking for more money after this season. The team knows and expects that. And should be ready to pay then.


Kevin C. in Cape Girardeau, MO writes: Who will be the starting running back for the Texans? Can we even say starter or are they thinking committee down there? They’re counting on a lot of kids.

Paul Kuharsky: It’ll be fluid. For the start of camp they’ll look to Arian Foster first. I think we’ll see a combo of Steve Slaton, Foster and Ben Tate until someone distinguishes himself.

Ultimately, they’d like Tate to lead and Slaton to be third-down type, I believe.


Joey Marchy from Jacksonville writes: Paul, what's your take on the Maurice Jones-Drew fantasy football show. Two hours of radio every week requires a pretty good level of preparation. You do radio, do you think getting ready for the show will be in the back of Maurice's mind as he goes throughout the week?

Paul Kuharsky: I can’t believe this issue has taken on such a life. MJD is a veteran, mature guy.

Say you’ve got a great day job but you also play in a band on Friday nights. You love playing in the band, it’s fun and you look forward to it each week. Should I automatically assume that because of that interest, you have less-than-quality focus at your day job? Not if you are a conscientious person and worker.

He is.

We really think he’s going to not pay attention in meetings or focus less as he runs practice plays because he’s thinking about his fantasy football show?


Brian in Indy writes: PK, How much pressure does Peyton Manning have from the player's assoc. to sign for as much as he can to set a precedent for future deals? It seems easy to say that he can take a cut or a below market deal to allow the team to retain its best players but it's not that simple, is it?

Paul Kuharsky: None, I think.

Jim Irsay’s said he will be highest paid. What more could the PA want for him? And he’s not beholden to the PA. Vice versa.

Taking less to allow for spending elsewhere isn’t really necessary cap-wise any more, even if/when a cap returns.


Dustin in Stanford CA writes: Hey Paul, I was wondering if you could give us some idea of the best case and worse case scenarios for the Titans defensive line. Many of the players have been in Jim Washburn's system for a long time now. Any chance they are dominant once again?

Paul Kuharsky: Best scenario is Derrick Morgan doesn’t play like a rookie, Sen’Derrick Marks is much improved, Jason Jones is tougher, Jacob Ford is durable, William Hayes picks up where he left off, and Jovan Haye is way better than last year.

If all that happens, they can be really good on the D-line. That’s a lot to ask to happen all at once.


Andy in Texas writes: How is the secondary doing so far this offseason? If Kareem Jackson pans out and Glover Quin continues his quick development it's conceivable the Texans could have a very good young cornerback tandem with Brice McCain at nickel. Also what's the word on Troy Nolan? Could he eventually take the place of the subpar Eugene Wilson? Thanks.

Paul Kuharsky: Very good? Two young, raw kids against Manning twice? I think very good is expecting a lot, especially with a less than stellar free safety as you mention. They better get a good rush on a regular basis.

Too early to say on Nolan. They liked him in OTAs and since they didn’t bring anyone in, how could they not?