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Saturday, March 6, 2010
Mailbag: How we operate

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Robert in Los Angeles writes: Hey PK, I typically enjoy your stuff and even when you say negative things about the Colts, I don’t have a problem with it. I mean it’s your job, you call it like you see it. However, there is one article you wrote about that irked me. Calling out Bill Polian and Jim Caldwell when not wanting to discuss what happened in Super Bowl 44. You say (paraphrasing here) "if past is prologue then you must talk about it." Well I’ll counter that with a phrase Tony Dungy coined during his tenure as head coach of the Colts: "The only way to erase disappointment is to move forward.”

Paul Kuharsky: I appreciate the note.

I think you miss my point on “past is prologue.” Polian uses that as his rationale for not talking about the past. Prologue means preface or introduction, so if the past is the introduction to the future, than how can you not use it to talk about what you are introducing? He needs a new crutch quote.

The Colts played 19 games. For 18 they talked about them after the game and then after watching film. There is a big difference between saying after the game “we botched the onside kick, they got us there, hats off to them” and saying after watching film of the game why and how they botched the onsides kick.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that second conversation. What would you think if on a regular-season Monday, Caldwell took the podium and said “That game is in the past, I’m not going to field any questions on it.” Would be weird, no?

All I am saying is that after No. 19, they should do the same as they did after No. 1-18. I’m not eager to talk about the Super Bowl now – it’s ancient history. But if you hide Caldwell until a month after the game and he never has to answer for the questionable decisions he made in the Super Bowl simply because time has passed, is that fair to fans who are still tortured by the loss?

Do you get to not answer tough questions at work by using stall tactics?

Dungy is a reasonable man, and I’m sure he would say that while moving forward quickly is healthy, you also need to put the past to bed in order to do so. The Colts, in my eyes, could have done a far better job of that. I think even the most staunch fan of the organization who trusts in everything Polian does has to admit his PR year wasn’t good with the way he handled speaking of the unimportance of an undefeated season and the way he conducted himself at his season-ending press conference. At least he had one. It’s disappointing Caldwell did not.

Finally, in a real world context: If you had a bad day at work, how would it fly if you just told your coworkers and the people who were responsible for funding a big piece of your business, “Never mind that, let’s not look back, I’m moving forward? The only way to erase disappointment is to move forward.” We both know the answer to that one.

Chase from Chandler, Ariz., writes: Your disinterest and overall stature is annoying to the point I can't check your link. You should, A) Go get your "Dream job" at the New York Times if they have a desire for an individual with the equivalency of child’s writing skills, or B) Find a new field. I find it humorous that you're asked to do a chat every Thursday, yet your answers consist of nothing more than "NOOOOOOOOOOOO" or my favorite "why?” I thought as a blogger your objective is to give valuable insight that answers your reader's questions with thoroughness, why do you not understand that concept?

Paul Kuharsky: I love my job, I assure you.

In chats and mailbags, I can play to the lowest common denominator or the highest. I prefer the highest. It helps encourage a semi-sophisticated and more fun dialogue and it keeps my smartest, cleverest readers coming back. Without them you should see what things can devolve to.

When people ask me questions I don’t really get, “why” seems a completely appropriate response. And often they cannot answer it.

“The Colts should let their running backs and receivers throw more on trick plays?” Why? You don’t prefer why to “That’s an incredibly foolish thing to suggest as they have one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time back there to throw." Is B better? “The Titans should switch to a 4-3.” After four or five times explaining how drastic a shift that is and how they do not have the personnel or philosophy to fit it, “Why?” becomes a good answer again.

I understand the concept and I hope if you read the blog for a day or a week you’ll find quite a bit of the valuable insight and thoroughness you seek.

And good questions produce blog posts, mailbag answers and chat responses. The more the better for me, honestly. Some of the bad ones have to be answered too. But many of my readers appreciate that we don’t spend a great deal of time on silly or nonsensical stuff and I don’t see that changing.

My personality is a major ingredient in the blog, and I’m not super patient. Sorry that’s not your preferred style or method.

Jacob in Pittsburgh writes: Hey Paul, I liked your analysis of where Tim Tebow might land, but I had one question. In the Texans portion, you stated that the strengths of the backup quarterback should match the strengths of the starter. But then in the Titans section you argued that they should get a traditional pocket passer to be the backup for Vince Young. Why wouldn't they want to acquire a backup that can perform all the bootlegs, options, and designed QB runs that they have for Young?

Paul Kuharsky: I contradicted myself there, didn’t I? Here’s why.

I’m a pocket passer guy. So if you’ve got a good pocket passer, like Matt Schaub, I’m all for his backup being in his image.

Vince Young is, at least, capable of being other worldly when it comes to being a running quarterback. The guy behind him, even if it was Tebow, isn’t going to match VY’s physical gifts. In the Titans’ case, I’d rather see them developing a young guy who is a more conventional drop back guy as an alternative to VY.

You’d like No. 2 to match the strengths of No. 1. But when No. 1’s strength is being unlike anyone else, it doesn’t really work.

Kevin Fitzpatrick in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., writes: Paul, if the Jaguars don’t re-sign Clint Ingram they are going to be extremely thin at linebacker. Also with them not being big spenders in free agency I’m not sure who is out there that would meet their price. From what I’ve read over the last week on jaguars.com it almost makes me believe they will select the linebacker from Alabama, Rolando McClain, but then if they do that we'll be short on the defensive line. I just don’t know how they are going to have any depth at linebacker or end this year. What would you suggest?

Paul Kuharsky: I appreciate your consistent readership and participation.

Ingram got his tender and I’d expect him to be back. They need depth at backer and even more at end. I’d like to see them re-sign Reggie Hayward, draft an end and find a guy with upside like they did with Atiyyah Ellison at tackle last year.

Jim in Memphis writes: I always enjoy the blog and check it regularly. Although Kyle Vanden Bosch says he doesn't feel snubbed by the Titans, do you believe him? Do you think this affects other free agents' view of the Titans? If so, how? I'd like to see Jeff Fisher take a page out of Jim Schwartz's book! Chances of that? About as much as Tiger doing an interview with Barbara Walters.

Paul Kuharsky: I believe him. He understands the ways of the league. It’s not a big loyalty business. The Titans should have communicated with him better, earlier.

But what good does it do them to come out and say “We think he’s not worth the money he’s expecting?”

Let him hit the market. If it’s dry, two months from now, if you’ve not filled the hole, maybe all a sudden there is a chance to reunite. There won’t be if you killed it by being brutally honest about him eight weeks earlier.

Here’s what will impact other free agents with regard to the Titans: How much money do they offer?

No, I don’t see Fisher scouting out a free agent at hit family home at 12:01.

Mike in Philadelphia writes: I am a huge Titans fan, but do you think there is any truth about us considering Kirk Morrison?

Paul Kuharsky: C’mon now. You have to differentiate speculation and discussion from reporting. I wrote a post about potential RFA fits and mentioned Morrision and the Titans. You can’t make the jump to them being interested until someone reports that they are.