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Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Mailbag: On Colts' speed at receiver

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Head here for a Jaguars-only mailbag.


Jake Large from Singapore writes:
Dear PK, As a Colt fan I have some concerns about this season (not a surprise). Rather than ask you about the left tackle (too obvious), I'll ask instead about the receivers. In particular, if Austin Collie is starting in the slot and Gonzalez on the outside along with Wayne, I can't help but think we have one of the slowest WR corps in the league. Will this lack of explosiveness be a major source of weakness for my team this year? It's weird to feel really good about the D but really nervous about the O for the first time in a decade! Jake

Paul Kuharsky:
A door prize, please, for a guy who’s traveled furthest to ask his question. Great to hear from you, Jake.

I think that's where some of Garcon's value is, in his speed.

But it's not so much about running away from people as it is about getting open, and we know Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez, and let's include Dallas Clark, can get open. So while it might not be ideal, I don't think it'll be deadly. Now if the run game returns to decent form and people get sucked up by play-action, that can go a long way toward making everyone in the receiving corps seem faster, wouldn't you agree? I don’t know that it’s a big issue, and I’m more convinced after consulting with Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson.

Here’s what Williamson said on the subject:

"I wouldn't say it is a weakness though at all. Collie is probably the slowest of the bunch and yes, I would say that Garcon is the fastest, but he is more of a build-up guy than Wayne and Gonzo, who go 0 to 60 quite abruptly. Don't sleep on Gonzo's flat out speed. He can really run. As can Wayne of course. I wouldn't say that any of these guys has the blow-past-you-speed that Marvin Harrison did in his prime though. Still, not a weakness."

"Also, Dallas Clark is as much WR as he is TE and is amongst the fastest TEs in the league."


Kurt from Vancouver, B.C., writes: I have Chris Johnson as a keeper on my fantasy football team but he's done "nothing" this pre-season to impress. Since you cover them and get to see them more so than I do, is there anything going on to be concerned with or do you think that once Mawae returns and they start game planning for their opponents that things will come together for the running game? I could only keep 2 RBs and opted for Steven Jackson and CJ, but I had to throw Jacobs back. This will really suck if the Titans run the ball as poorly in '09 as they have done so far! Thanks, Kurt


Paul Kuharsky:
I think you'd be crazy to make any moves regarding a top-flight player from a team that's going to be good based on anything he did or didn't do in the preseason. I have no doubt, barring major injury, that the Titans will run the ball well over the course of the season. That said, with those three, there are going to be weeks where you'll regret making the choice you did.


Kevin Cunningham from Portland, Ore., writes: Paul-A few weeks ago when we signed Jeff Zgonina I emailed you saying I thought it was an indictment of our poor D-line play, not an camp body due to injuries as the Texans brass said. With today's trade of Travis Johnson, what does this say about the Texans D-Line? Do you read it as an endorsement of Okam, Cody and Robinson? Could TJ have been just the odd man out, and we figured we'd get something for him? Was he that deep in the Kubiak doghouse? What is your take?


Paul Kuharsky:
An unimpressive performance by the group again Monday night. I am surprised at the lack of progress under Bill Kollar, though obviously they could come out and be great against the Jets on opening day.

He’s a vet who knows what he’s doing for sure, but I would think they can find a better final piece in cuts than Zgonina, though, no? I think Johnson must have been that deep in the doghouse and that Kollar was not excited about him.


Glenn Gruber from Cumberland, R.I., writes: I realize this is the time of year that all GMs will be scouring the waiver wire. With the lack of depth at CB, do you see the Titans trying to scoop up a veteran like Ron Hood fill the gap and provide stability? Glenn


Paul Kuharsky:
Well, Hood’s already been scooped up by Chicago.

Ryan Mouton is in the mix once he’s healthy. The Titans finished with four corners and five safeties last year. If they went that route now, it'd be Cortland Finnegan, Nick Harper, Mouton and TBD with Michael Griffin, Chris Hope, Vincent Fuller, Donnie Nickey and a wild card (Tuff Harris, Nick Schommer). I think they could keep Jason McCourty as the TBD corner and then be in the market for a ninth DB expecting an upgrade on DeMarcus Faggins, Cary Williams, Harris or Schommer.


Eric from Denver, Colo., writes: PK! I'd like your take on why teams don't try moving underperforming players to other positions. As a Titans fan, I've watched Chris Henry struggle as an RB. He just isn't instinctive. Why not try him out at LB or SS? Appreciate your thoughts, Eric


Paul Kuharsky:
I don't understand why so many people are fascinated with this idea.

If a guy can't be an effective player at the spot he was drafted to play, the spot where he likely played his entire college career, then why should a team think he will play a different position better than guys who've spent their football lives playing that other position? Do you want Chris Henry as a linebacker who’s not close to game-ready or someone like Stanford Keglar or Colin Allred? Give me Keglar or Allred, please.


Byron from Knoxville, Tenn., writes: Just reading the chat transcript and you said that the better McRath looks the less chance of Bulluck staying. I was thinking about how much it would cost to keep him. If Nashville were a larger market team then I believe that Keith would get more coverage thus more pro bowls and more recognition as one of the key players on a perennial top defensive squad. My question is, does market size and coverage affect the going price for solid players who enter free agency? Would Keith be looking at a much better payday if he had the exact same career but been in Dallas or Pitt? (I realize that a lot of small market players get paid: AH, Laboy, Odem, and the like, but what would be the difference in them and a larger market player). Thanks


Paul Kuharsky:
Does it impact the price for some guys? Yes. Should it? No.

Teams should be putting a value on a guy based on their evaluations of his play, and once the ball is kicked off, the market size of a guy's team has no bearing on how he performs or doesn't perform.


Sean from Arlington, Va., writes: Music tip (based on your other tastes): Mic Harrison and the High Score (based in Knoxville). Mic was formerly of the V-Roys and Superdrag. Good rootsy, rockin alt country. Check out "The Right Side of the Grass" or "Push Me On Home."Best songs:"Hey Driver""Never Gonna Drink Again""He Gets High""Long Time"


Paul Kuharsky:
Loved the V-Roys (find “Just Add Ice,”) love Scott Miller (find “Amtrak Crescent.”) Didn't like what I heard of Harrison after the breakup, but I will circle back.