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Saturday, November 17, 2012
Mailbag: Everyone is heard

By Paul Kuharsky

Shawn from Honolulu writes: We know several teams in the league (especially my Jaguars) will most likely be seeking new general managers after the season. Supposing the Jaguars do clean house, can you provide three GM candidates and three head coach candidates who you believe could make a difference in Jacksonville?

Paul Kuharsky: I hear good things about two potential first-time GMs -- George Paton from Minnesota and Omar Khan from Pittsburgh. I won’t delve into coaches, as I think they need to hire a GM and let him make the hire. But I’d certainly be curious about Chip Kelly -- he would adapt to an NFL situation, not try to shoehorn his current Oregon offense into a pro setting if he wasn’t equipped to do so. Odds are he can get a more attractive NFL job if he wants one.




LX from Chuco, TX writes: When asked if Whitney Mercilus should be started you said (in the latest chat):"You want to sit Brooks Reed or Connor Barwin? Seriously?" If Barwin and Reed have solidified the position, why draft Mercilus?...why use a high pick on him? Did Hou never intend to pay Barwin; and lose a big defensive name for the second consecutive year? Is this a season-long audition to find Barwin a new team? Yes, the salary cap is tricky and maybe they just need insurance, but why so early and why at such a high draft pick? Was Hou anticipating the #1 draft pick to "Kareem-Jackson" for three years before finally losing his Bambi legs and becoming an OK starter????

Paul Kuharsky: For the same reason they drafted Reed when they already had Barwin and Mario Williams. There is no rule against using a high pick on a good player at a position of strength that’s an important position in your scheme (and in the league). It’s how it becomes a position of strength. You are allowed to have good players as depth and role players. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons the team broke through in 2011.

Yes, if Barwin leaves, they are covered. But they didn’t determine back in April when they drafted Mercilus they wouldn’t re-sign Barwin. They were negotiating with Barwin in the preseason and were unable to strike a deal.

Ideally, Mercilus continues to get some playing time so Barwin and Reed don’t have to overextend the way they did in 2011 after Williams went down.

Should Barwin move on, they’ve got his replacement. But they’d probably wind up drafting yet another OLB. Pass rush dictates everything, and OLB in a 3-4 is a position where wise teams have good numbers.

Also, Jackson is better than OK now.




Chris Walker from Jacksonville writes: Paul, it's been great to get an in-depth take from a non-local guy, if only to convince myself that the local guys aren't overreacting (or echoing talking points from the organization). The content is great and getting better, too. For the longest time, I didn't bother with the RTC posts, but your "to which I say" portions changed that completely. My question is: if we get a new GM, will the house-cleaning extend to all the scouts? Should it?

Paul Kuharsky: Thanks for the kind words.

If the Jaguars get a new GM, he would expect to hire an entire scouting staff. He’d interview some current guys, I would expect, but holdover would be minimal, I suspect. I think a new executive needs to be surrounding himself with his own people.




Drew from Fort Bragg, NC writes: I've been a fan of the Colts since I was 7 years old, and with that I've become a fan of you and your AFC South blog. I saw the season that brought Peyton Manning to our team. Of course I missed a great portion of last season because I was deployed overseas, defending our freedoms and what-not, but was overjoyed when we drafted Luck and cleaned house at Indy. I'm having great enjoyment watching this new team breathe life into what I thought was a stagnant franchise. There is a new dawn in Indy... I couldn't really think of any Luck-based analogies that weren't hackneyed. The thing is that I don't want you to screw that up. My argument is that Bruce Arians is a great coach and one definitely worthy of being a head coach. Colts fans acknowledge this ... but you don't have to. You can sweep this under the rug, and not mention it as you have. There are going to be several head coaching positions available at the end of the season and we really don't need them looking to snag our OC away from us. If they look, they look, and Bruce has done a fantastic job. I'm just saying, you know, as a veteran of a foreign war, you might just do us a solid and calm down those coach talks from your end. You know, for the veterans. The veterans who support the Colts. Like me. I'm a veteran. I support the Colts. I don't want to see BA leave. I would never try to make an emotional appeal to jeopardize your journalistic integrity, but yeah. Seriously. Shhhh.

Paul Kuharsky: We so appreciate your service on our behalfs. Thanks.

Arians is no secret around the league. He’s doing a fantasic job filling in for Chuck Pagano.

Here are two things that might put you and Colts’ fans at ease, however.

While lots of teams will be looking for coaches who can oversee the development of young, new quarterbacks, they are generally looking for young guys. Arians is 60, so he might fall outside the area where most owners will be looking. Also, he’d done great work in Pittsburgh as Ben Roethlisberger’s coordinator and potential head coaching jobs didn’t arrive for him.

Should he leave, it would hurt Luck for sure. But Luck’s head coach at Stanford, Jim Harbaugh, left for the 49ers before Luck’s senior year, and Luck managed to survive and advance with an altered staff.




Jonathan from Kempner, TX writes: First, let me thank you for your informative writings. I read your blog daily and eagerly await another post. I was hoping you could clear up a "rules" question I have concerning the hit on Jay Cutler by Tim Dobbins. I thought that once a QB became a runner, all hits were fair game. Just as if he were a running back. If Cutler had crossed the line of scrimmage causing an illegal forward pass, then why was the hit illegal? Wouldn't he become a runner at that point? Thanks for your time, ignore the haters, and keep doing what you’re doing.

Paul Kuharsky: I have gotten several versions of this question and should have done better answering it in the blog before now.

My understanding is, if Cutler is still in the throwing motion and has not clearly passed the line of scrimmage and become a runner, he’s still afforded the protections of a quarterback. That’s certainly the way it was interpreted in this situation.

Thanks for reading and taking the time to write.




Brian S. from Clarksville, TN writes: In reading your evaluation of the Titans during the bye week you say CJ still needs to prove himself in order to be on the team next season, using his bonus due in March as justification of why the organization would release him. My thing is, even if he only ends up like 10th or so statistically, who exactly would the titans replace CJ with? I don't think Jamie Harper or Darius Reynaud are going to make the pro-bowl as full time starters. Draft a RB hoping to find the next CJ or Muscle Hampster? It seems like too much of a risk to let CJ go, who I think has proven he still has the speed and quickness when he spots a hole to be a legit threat. I'd much rather see the titans "overpay" for CJ than to risk turning the RB position to unproven guys. Unless you're telling me the titans are on the brink of Salary Cap jail, there's no reason to "save" CJ's bonus money on some lame principle that his stats don't "justify" the money. In my opinion he may not be in the top 3, but he's still most likely going to be better than anyone else they could get. Of course if they renegotiate the bonus then kudos for them, but unless he goes out and starts committing felonies, cutting CJ shouldn't even be a thought.

Paul Kuharsky: They won’t make the decision based on what else they have or don’t have, they’ll make it based on if they think he’s worth it. The CBA will require them to spend, so I can see them saying, ‘We need to spend anyway and he was good.” But if they decide that’s too pricey, they will have plenty of time to find a back/ combination of backs who can carry the load.

One issue is: He clearly let up after he got big money the first time. Do you guarantee him more and not worry about seeing that happen a second time?




Trip from Jacksonville writes: Did Shad Khan change the primary Jags color from Teal to Black so that the fans are more appropriately dressed for their home game funerals on Sunday?

Paul Kuharsky: Home games certainly have that feel now, don’t they?