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Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The overdue and quite lengthy mailbag entry

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Larry from parts unknown: Hey PK. You have spoken (or included links to articles, i cant remember which) about the colts needing to re-sign Dominic Rhodes. With Edge asking for his release from the Cards and the seeming lack of available places for him to go, do you think it is possible that he could return to Indy on the cheap (comparable to what it would take to bring back Rhodes)? I'm not sold at all on Mike Hart (probably because i just dont like U of Michigan. Thanks. -Larry

Paul Kuharsky: That's an interesting question. Possible, but unlikely. Rhodes is old, but Edge is older and has more wear and tear. Going and re-signing Rhodes was a kind of rare circumstance for the Colts. Never say never standard disclaimer, but a return for James seems unlikely to me. And I think they like Hart much more than you do.


Martin in SLC writes: Do the Titans even have Hayward-Bay on their radar or does the loss of Albert place more need for defense in the draft? I know they drafted Jones last year and Tony Brown had a good seaon, but knowing the Titans, I have a feeling that isn't good enough up front. Look forward to see what you think.

Paul Kuharsky: Sure, Darrius Heyward-Bey is on their radar. I think he will be gone before 30, but I think they will look closely at him, Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt.

I don't think defensive line is the concern -- I didn't think so even before they signed Jovan Haye. They've got no corners under contract beyond Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper (and nickel Vincent Fuller), so right now I see them leaning cornerback and waiting on receiver.


Dennis from parts unknown writes: couldn't the colts add two big d tackles and still be qick evrywhere else

Paul Kuharsky: How about one? They could have one real big and one bigger than the rest, but still they'd need them to be able, at least, to move quickly laterally.


Matthew in Washington, D.C., writes: Do you think that Maurice jones-Drew can handle being the main running back? I think if he gets a bit more work he can continue to be effective, but that he will benefit from being paired with another guy who's got some of the skills Taylor had...

Paul Kuharsky: I think he can. But I think they need a better guy to work with him than Greg Jones. That's two power runners. MJD benefited big-time from having a creative guy like Fred Taylor as the counter, and I think the Jaguars would benefit from attempting to pair Jones-Drew with someone Taylor-like.


Unknown from Clarksville writes: You know if nothing else TN Titans have always been known for our stiff defense. I am a huge TN fan, but at no time can I ever say we have had a great receiver. Even the talent Derrick Mason brought, was short lived because we utilized him in so many other different situations, punt return, kick off return, you get the message. I would for once like to be able to say we have a receiver that if, traded would be somebody elses number 1 guy. Don't get me wrong, we have had some great tight ends, running backs, etc. Wide receiver ? One can only hope, that someday we will be able to throw that long ball, and dream of that receiver that goes up, and comes down with the ball... You know Tom Landry was a great Coach, but the dynamics of the game changed but he did'nt.... Let's hope Jeff Fisher does'nt fall into that same situation. You know, one thing as a fan, we hear Coaches, Players, Owners then they use the world loyalty.. There is no such thing. From a fans perspective, just one time I would love to hear of a player like Albert Haynsworth, being offered millions, only to say, thanks, but no thanks. I love my fans who have supported me in the good and the bad.... Thanks, Tony

Paul Kuharsky: You suggest Tom Landry let the game pass him by. I'd argue, fine sir, that you have too, if you think a player with a short span of time to pocket as much money as he can is going to pass on several million or even $10 million in order to show his fan appreciation.


Johnny in Indy writes: i think the colts should pick james laurinitias at 27, try to trade up in the second round and draft ziggy hood out of missouri, the colts are thin at lb too, your thoughts?

Paul Kuharsky: I think that's asking a lot -- for them to use their first two picks on defense, while moving up in the second. I'll be surprised if one of the first two picks isn't a receiver. They are going to address linebacker and defensive tackle at some point. But we know Bill Polian isn't going to force something that's not there, and even if they are set at, let's say safety, and he sees a safety as the best player for the Colts at one of those spots, he'll take him. (There is no such safety, I don't think.)


Jackson from parts unknown: First off, love your articles paul deffinately missing you at the tennessean... think you could give those guys a few pointers.. but my question is wat do u think of trading lendale to arizona or cincy for ocho or anquan? lendale is coming into a contract year and is slimming down and is definatly going to want to get paid next year

Paul Kuharsky: Those guys at my old paper continue to do great work, but thanks very much. C'mon, you really think LenDale and Ocho or LenDale and Anquan are of similar value skill-wise? The Titans aren't touching Chad -- too much trouble. LenDale plus a first and a second might not be enough for Boldin.


Unknown in Houston writes: In reference to 3rd year for a quarterback and the Collins versus Young debate. I wish someone would just come out and tell the truth on this whole mess. They say Young is not accurate but Collins has no time in his career had a completion percentage as high as Young had last year. If the Titans don't want him I wish they would just come out and say it. The fans are left with unnamed sources saying this and that but nothing on the record.

Paul Kuharsky: I'm missing what's been kept a giant secret. They aren't going to come right out with public criticism of a guy they want to support and have to pay.

But what's happened is clear: He did not progress as a quarterback and his immaturity issues -- as much personality-wise as football-wise -- became cumbersome. They had a team capable of posting the league's best regula- season record and had to deal with him asking out of a game. They decided they were better off playing the professional and letting Young watch him, and all indications are he wasn't real good about that, either.

Jeff Fisher has said, on the record, they expect nothing less than a full commitment from him this offseason. Ball seems to be in VY's court unless they re-sign Chris Simms and decide to give up on Young. I don't see the second part of that scenario happening, at least not yet.


Misplaced Colt in Texas writes: Why is no one talking about Marvin Harrison still being on the market? He is not the Marvin of 2002 but could really be a huge bargain for any team with a need for WR (say Seattle, Philly, or Detroit). Any news to where he may end up?

Paul Kuharsky: They aren't talking because a lot of people think he's done or not worth the sort of money he could want. If he resurfaces, I won't be surprised if it's not until camps are under way.

Here's something I wrote last week on it.


Daryl in Alberta writes: Jacob Ford very quietly finished second on the Titans with 7 sacks. With Jevon Kearse looking about spent and Vandenbosch having a lengthy injury history, what are the chances we see Ford grab a starting spot? Is he a rising star or what?

Paul Kuharsky: He did very well with his role. Vanden Bosch is coming off a year pretty much lost to a groin injury, but I don't get how his knee injuries from way back in Arizona have any bearing on their plans for him. Ford should be the third or fourth end in 2009 -- he could be on the field in more pass-rushing situations, ahead of Kearse perhaps -- and could move up a notch a year later presuming the Titans are finished with Kearse then.


Jordan in Nashville writes: What are your thoughts on the titans first round pick? I see a lot of mocks that have us picking a DE. Wouldn't a CB or LB make more sense if we wanted to go with defense? Or if Haynesworth does go elsewhere, then DT... Also, What do you think about the Titans actually picking a WR for once and which ones will be left on the board?

Paul Kuharsky: I think people see them as a D-line oriented team and figure with Haynesworth gone and Kearse getting up there that an end would make sense. I think they want very much to be in best player available mode -- this could be akin to the draft that landed them Bulluck when they didn't need a linebacker. But I believe they will be inclined to lean cornerback. Eric King is gone and Chris Carr might be.


Unknown in Nashville writes: Hey Paul, love reading your blog and listening to you blast Frank, excuse me, 89 on 104.5 in the mornings. Just wanted to get your take on the inability for the Titans to groom a #1 wide receiver. Is this a coaching flaw, scouting flaw, or what? Ever since D-mase left we have not had a legit #1 threat. Thanks for reading! Keep up the good work!

Paul Kuharsky: I appreciate the kind words...

It's a combination of all those things, and a general philosophical belief that they don't need a true No. 1 to win. I'd like to see them address it more. But their 13-3 record suggests they might be right.


Marc in Clarksville, Tenn., writes: Hey Paul, Love the blog, etc. I'm having a hard time wrapping my thoughts around this Haynesworth contract. 7 for 100 million. Then everyone says it's really something like 4 for 48. I understand the poison pill stipulation and the reality that he'll probably never earn the full length. So why sign it? Is it really that important for these athletes to "on paper", sign a 100 million dollar deal, even when common sense and everything else says you won't get that money? I mean, is being able to say you're the richest mean as much as actually getting the money? I don't get the logic. They're not paying him that 29 million sum. And if he's really getting 4/48, why not actually sign a contract worth 4/48? That's all he's probably going to get. I mean, the Titans could have afforded 4/48. I have a very basic understanding of contact negotiations, but I'd rather sign 4/50 with all 50 guaranteed than 7/100 with 40 guaranteed. Please explain this to the layperson!

Paul Kuharsky: He gets the best of both worlds: to hear everyone talk about the $100 million and to pocket the $48 million. The real money is still a lot more than he was being offered in Tennessee, where the yearly average would have been more like $9 million than $12 million.


Unknown from Crossville, TN writes: Paul, Why in the world did we not lock Albert up last year? Is this a typical Titan screwup?

Paul Kuharsky: They messed this up last year, or decided they weren't interested in his price beyond '08 even in a second franchise tag, which would have been over $9 mil.

What's the long list of these 'typical screwups?' (Outside of playoff losses to Baltimore in years when the Titans earn the No. 1 seed in the regular season?)

There is a misperception they don't keep people, get people or pay people. Here is something from earlier Wednesday about that.