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Saturday, June 25, 2011
Mailbag: Garrard support, CJ trade potential

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Sam from parts unknown writes: On teams where QBs are the clear issue, players will usually make reference to that fact, though they usually stop short of throwing a guy under the bus (See comments on Alex Smith or Jake Delhomme). As some people have been saying for a long time, [David] Garrard is not the problem in Jacksonville. I think the opinions of offensive players are more valuable than the opinions of sportswriters. Besides, Gene Smith and Del Rio support Garrard and have maintained that support for three years. They drafted a QB because he is getting old, he takes too much punishment every year, and they needed a guy who could become the face of the franchise down the road. Blaine Gabbert could be a great player. I remember it being a surprise to many prognosticators who had QB down on the list of needs and pegged a DE in the 16th spot. Why create controversy?

Paul Kuharsky: You think (the defensive) Maurice Jones-Drew’s defense/support of Garrard is related to them being long-time teammates and friends or is a true, detached assessment?

I say the latter.

I’m guessing you like Smith.

If he thinks that it’s worth it to basically spend his first- and second-round picks on Gabbert, that means, unquestionably, than he doesn’t see Garrard as the quarterback who’s leading the Jaguars to where they hope to go.

Drafting a first-round quarterback speaks a lot louder than talking of “support” for the incumbent. Such “support” amounts to roster, personality and ego management.

The days of spending the 10th pick in the draft for someone who “could” be the face of the franchise “down the road” are pretty far behind us -- unless “down the road” is six games in when you’ve lost two straight.

Jim from Greenville, SC writes: Let me preface this by saying I'm a huge Titans fan. I also trade in the stock market. I try my best to sell high and buy low. Regarding Chris Johnson and his upside, no one who has rushed for 2,000 yards before has ever done it again. Although he did it earlier than any other, you can only expect him to run until he is 30 years old. Let's say they appease him for one more year. Do you sign and trade him then? Do you pay him the real big bucks that he wants? Could you get a Ricky Williams-like trade for him?

Paul Kuharsky: Yeah, this trade idea seems to be gathering a lot of steam. Trade him and see Britt suspended and you’re like the Browns -- with no proven playmakers.

There have been no Ricky Williams trades since the Ricky Williams trade because it was a boneheaded move by Mike Ditka. No one is giving up the farm for even the league‘s best running back considering you can find Arian Foster undrafted. Running back is complicated that way.

Sign and trade is a NBA thing, not an NFL thing. In the NFL you might allow a trade partner to negotiate a new deal before you swap. But I just don’t see a trade scenario. What he can do for the Titans is bigger than what he can get them in a deal.

Give him the ball. Run him as much as you can or you like. Pay him knowing that some of the guaranteed money is probably going to qualify more as repayment for being under market for the last couple years than for the fifth and sixth year of this deal.

Carl Follmer from Iowa City, IA writes: It is no secret that teams with veteran offensive players and stable quarterback situations will have an advantage if the preseason is cut short, but how might that shape up in the first week's slate of games (assuming they actually occur)? As a Colt's fan, I worry about Peyton Manning facing a Wade Philips 3-4 defense in Houston in week 1 without the benefit of preseason tape to study. On the other hand, the Texans D would probably still be working out the kinks from the switch from 4-3 to 3-4. What do you think?

Paul Kuharsky: I expect the Texans will show very little on tape in the preseason that would help Manning. Or that for everything they show that’s important, they will show at least one thing that’s not to offset it.

I think the lockout effect on it all will be a wash, though the Colts offense is far more likely to be near midseason form than the Texans defense is, as a result of the continuity versus newness.

Peter Nickel (@madhschemist) asks if Nnamdi Asomugha could really help the Texans “when Manning can throw anywhere else?”

Paul Kuharsky: Well the Texans split with the Colts last year without Asomugha. Given a choice between taking away one receiver or half the field with one cover guy or not, any team would prefer to do so. I do think they could get him if they offered enough, but will they stand toe-to-toe with teams we are hearing mentioned like the Eagles and Cowboys?

While they may pursue him, I don’t expect the Texans to win. And while Manning and the Colts are the primary target, the Texans have to improve in a lot of ways in order to beat more than just the Colts.

They need safety and corner help in free agency. There will other options who are good players who can help Houston improve and won’t cost as much as Asomugha will.