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Saturday, February 11, 2012
Mailbag: The things on your minds

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Carl from Iowa writes: I still don't understand why Miami still seems to be a favorite to land Peyton. Why would he choose to play against Tom Brady twice, Rex twice, and at least one hellishly cold game in Buffalo every season? The AFC East already has two legitimate teams, and I think if he chooses Miami he's headed straight for irrelevance (as much as Peyton could be irrelevant).

Paul Kuharsky: I don’t know that Miami will be the favorite for Peyton Manning if he’s free.

I guess New England is a sure thing to be good, but you really think Manning is fearing Rex Ryan? Or anyone?

If I am him, I’m not putting a lot of weight into what division I’m playing in. It’s not about the other guys, it’s about you and your guys.

And things change so dramatically year to year, what’s to say he goes to a “softer” division, say to Arizona in the NFC West, only to see the Seahawks emerge as a big breakout team to go along with the 49ers next season? There are surprises every year -- good teams getting bad and vice versa.


Marty from Jacksonville writes: You say you like Gene Smith but then you go on to say "it would take quite an effort to be worse" for the Jaguars in 2012. Are you saying you like Gene Smith personally but you think he's incompetent?

Paul Kuharsky: That’s quite a leap you made there. That’s not what I am saying at all.

I like him and he’s found some very good players. The defensive additions last season were excellent.

His quarterback of choice played too soon and was horrible. It doesn’t mean Blaine Gabbert is going to be horrible for life.

Good people who are good at their jobs are part of bad seasons all the time. It doesn’t make them incompetent.


Matt from Miami Fla., writes: "Independent of that, I’ve fished around to see if I should allow the idea of Tennessee pursuing Manning to breathe or do my part to snuff it out. And all indications have been that wise reporting would be to do the latter." Why don't you just report on what's happening regardless of what you consider wise? If it's happening and affecting people on your beat, report it. You won't go wrong that way.

Paul Kuharsky: I wasn't saying what move would be wise, I was saying what would be wise to report. My desire there was to be transparent. I’d gotten indications they weren't interested in Manning that I was not ready to report. Then general manager Ruston Webster said what he said, and that changed the environment and made what I had appropriate to share as a supplement to his public comments.


Jason Peters from Los Angeles writes: If we, the Titans, need a new potential free agent to lust over, it should be Mario Williams. In his prime and within the division? That's a rare opportunity. Plus we have plenty of cash to spend.”

Paul Kuharsky: Don’t get carried away with the “plenty of cash” concept. Between $30-35 million available, but a good share of that money has to fund Cortland Finnegan or a replacement, two starting safeties (Michael Griffin, Chris Hope, and Jordan Babineaux are gone or need to be re-signed), a starting guard (Jake Scott’s gone) and a defensive linemen (either Jason Jones or his replacement). If that lineman is Williams, that’s a big chunk of that money.

Yes, they can afford him. But Williams will be overpaid. And the Titans don’t generally say, “We’re willing to overpay in order to get Player X.” They generally go find Player Y instead.


Aaron M from Houston writes: Paul, first off love your blog man always have an interesting way of looking at things. My comment is has to deal with the recent celebration of Justin Tuck at the Super Bowl, where he does the Namaste bow after a sack. And as anyone that has a TV knows Arian Foster has done this almost every week since he has been in the league. Normally I wouldn’t have a problem with something like this but the fact that he went on the Fallon show and coined it as "Tucking" had me at a loss for words. Just wanted to see what your thoughts were and if someone should call him out for his sticky fingers. Have at it.

Paul Kuharsky: I think it would be pretty hard to claim a copyright on the move, which happens all over the place all the time. Tuck, not Foster, is the one who got to do it on the big stage, so he gets to claim it/ name it/ whatever. But who’s going to jump on board and call bowing like that "Tucking" when it’s been called bowing forever?


Brutus from Houston: I know everyone is clamoring for the Texans to take a receiver with their first pick, but is it conceivable that they could take another cornerback or outside linebacker with that pick due to the depth at the receiver position?

Paul Kuharsky: We have to see who goes (and comes) in free agency before we know their top needs. Sure they could take another corner, though I’d hope Brandon Harris will be ready to be more of a contributor. If Mario Williams is gone, they certainly need a better third option to take some snaps off the plate of Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed and provide depth at outside linebacker.

I also don’t think the Texans think themselves as receiver-needy as many outsiders do. But they should add at least one weapon.