Sunday, April 15, 2012
Mailbag: On the Jaguars' failure to flash
By Paul Kuharsky
Darrick Seymore from Jacksonville, Fla., writes: The way our new owner, Mr. Khan, rolled into Jacksonville, I was expecting some really flashing things to be happening by now. Not sure if this is the quiet before the storm or something else. What's your take in the apparent lack of activity here in J-Ville?
Paul Kuharsky: Shad Khan is not about flashing things, so far, and that’s fine. Certainly he’s got a general manager and a coach who are not flashy.
Teams who are about flashing, or flashy things, generally don’t fare well. Who’s the last team that won the offseason and the Super Bowl? (That said, Khan could have tempered the big talk about being "all in." It made agents expect that GM Gene Smith was going to be out there with rolls of money, shopping.)
The Jaguars could have done better in free agency, but they retained their key people, added a receiver they like in Laurent Robinson, got a backup/alternative quarterback in Chad Henne and hope for a big draft.
I don’t know what storm you can still anticipate this long after the top free agents are gone.
Graham from Montreal writes: With Koppen re-signing with the Patriots, what's the Titans' potential opportunities to improve at center in free agency? Is it more likely that we'll see a middle-round pick being used to try to develop a center and maybe also to be used as a long-snapper?
Paul Kuharsky: There was never any evidence the Titans had any interest in Dan Koppen after they lost out on Chris Myers, Scott Wells and even Jeff Saturday.
I think your scenario is the likely one now. It’s quite possible the Titans will go forward with Eugene Amano still in place, or with a rookie or Fernando Velasco; Kevin Matthews could even fight his way into the lineup.
Jonathan from Fort Wayne, Ind., writes: Find it interesting you question why Irsay would want to be coy with the Luck pick. While I agree it's obvious based on what I've read/heard that the Colts will select Luck, Irsay not sharing has incentive - it keeps the Colts in the spotlight for a little bit longer. After the draft, the Colts will quickly fall from a team that garnered a ton of press the past few years to another struggling team with a promising future. For the first game or two the Colts will once again be thrust in the spotlight as people judge Luck. So, the team needs as much press as possible right now. I think it is mostly a PR move to keep analysts (even if they are 99.99% sure) to at least discuss the decision and the team. Even more so now with the CBA because the team won't need extra time to negotiate the contract. After this draft the Colts won't be talked about very much for awhile based on a roster that should struggle, even with a possible once-in-a-generation quarterback.
Paul Kuharsky: As I’ve written, the team isn’t obligated to reveal anything and can milk it if it likes.
The Colts aren't getting any huge public-relations advantage leading up to the draft that they wouldn’t be getting if the verdict was made public early that they are taking Andrew Luck. When Bill Polian is out there saying it's who team owner Jim Irsay wants, Irsay being coy doesn't really work.
Either way, I would have written this piece that was published Friday, for example. They didn't gain anything from mystery there. And there really is no mystery.
April 26 -- the first day of the NFL draft -- is going to wind up being more about who goes third and what happens with Ryan Tannehill than it will be about Luck or Robert Griffin III, because there is no mystery about them.
Interest in Luck will last all season, no matter how bad the Colts are.
Matt from Berkeley, Calif., writes: What do you think of Jags fullback Greg Jones? He's been a low-profile player at a low-profile position, but I've only ever read positive things about him - especially from opposing defensive coordinators. Today, I realized he'll be remembered (if people really remember fullbacks) for blocking for both Fred Taylor and MJD. Taylor arguably had a HoF career - at least by the numbers, and MJD is on pace to make an argument as well. What other positions in football have silent contributors stalwartly working to help their team week after week? We as fans often miss such players between the highlights.
Paul Kuharsky: He’s a good player, but Jack Del Rio’s love of him was overboard and he’s been dinged a lot in his career.
The difference between an average fullback and a really good fullback – which Jones is usually rated as being – is not that extreme or significant to me or to most. While the AFC South is now a division with four fullback teams, I prefer teams that have more versatile tight ends serve as the extra blockers.
I wouldn’t exactly call fullback an under-recognized spot, either. When a back has a big season like Maurice Jones-Drew did, the fullback typically gets his accolades. Vonta Leach certainly reaped huge benefits (in a big free-agent contract from Baltimore) after Arian Foster broke through in Houston.
There are a ton of offensive linemen and interior defensive lineman who do dirty work on all or most of the snaps – as compared to the typical third of the snaps of a fullback – with even less notoriety.
Bobby from Buffalo, N.Y., writes: Just a general NFL question here. If a team with no first-round picks signs a player with a first-round tender such as Mike Wallace, what do they give up or is it even allowed?
Paul Kuharsky: You have to have your original first-round pick to give up. You can’t sign a guy with a first-round tender to an offer sheet unless you have it or make a deal to get it back.