AFC South: Chad Ocho Cinco

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Larry from parts unknown: Hey PK. You have spoken (or included links to articles, i cant remember which) about the colts needing to re-sign Dominic Rhodes. With Edge asking for his release from the Cards and the seeming lack of available places for him to go, do you think it is possible that he could return to Indy on the cheap (comparable to what it would take to bring back Rhodes)? I'm not sold at all on Mike Hart (probably because i just dont like U of Michigan. Thanks. -Larry

Paul Kuharsky: That's an interesting question. Possible, but unlikely. Rhodes is old, but Edge is older and has more wear and tear. Going and re-signing Rhodes was a kind of rare circumstance for the Colts. Never say never standard disclaimer, but a return for James seems unlikely to me. And I think they like Hart much more than you do.


Martin in SLC writes: Do the Titans even have Hayward-Bay on their radar or does the loss of Albert place more need for defense in the draft? I know they drafted Jones last year and Tony Brown had a good seaon, but knowing the Titans, I have a feeling that isn't good enough up front. Look forward to see what you think.

Paul Kuharsky: Sure, Darrius Heyward-Bey is on their radar. I think he will be gone before 30, but I think they will look closely at him, Hakeem Nicks and Kenny Britt.

I don't think defensive line is the concern -- I didn't think so even before they signed Jovan Haye. They've got no corners under contract beyond Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper (and nickel Vincent Fuller), so right now I see them leaning cornerback and waiting on receiver.


Dennis from parts unknown writes: couldn't the colts add two big d tackles and still be qick evrywhere else

Paul Kuharsky: How about one? They could have one real big and one bigger than the rest, but still they'd need them to be able, at least, to move quickly laterally.


Matthew in Washington, D.C., writes: Do you think that Maurice jones-Drew can handle being the main running back? I think if he gets a bit more work he can continue to be effective, but that he will benefit from being paired with another guy who's got some of the skills Taylor had...

Paul Kuharsky: I think he can. But I think they need a better guy to work with him than Greg Jones. That's two power runners. MJD benefited big-time from having a creative guy like Fred Taylor as the counter, and I think the Jaguars would benefit from attempting to pair Jones-Drew with someone Taylor-like.

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Andre Johnson's got the giant numbers, his 629 yards trail only Green Bay's Greg Jennings. But the Packers have played one more game than Johnson's Texans.

Walter

Last year when Johnson was hurt, it was Kevin Walter who stepped forward, quietly leading the team in receptions and yardage. He's not been called on as much with the team's best player all the way back, but Walter still leads the team in receiving touchdowns with three.

Sunday, Walter goes up against the team that he first played with. While he was drafted out of Eastern Michigan by the Giants in the seventh round in 2003, he wound up with Cincinnati in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

"Kev has got to be the hardest-working receiver in football," Chad Ocho Cinco said. "Kev has really taken the skills he learned here, with all of the toughness and pizzazz he already has as a receiver. It's no surprise he'd be a starter on any team he was on, opposite of whoever their No. 1 is."

Here's a look at Walter from Chris Duncan.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Houston's cornerbacks are coming off a game with a terrible busted play where Demarcus Faggins let Calvin Johnson get behind him for a late, 96-yard touchdown catch. It made what should have been an easy win a bit of a nail-biter.

Now Cincinnati's Chad Ocho Cinco -- he of 27 catches, a 9.9-yard average and two touchdowns -- busted on the Houston corners during a conference call with the Houston media leading up to Sunday's Bengals-Texans fracas.

Here, for entertainment purposes only, is the relevant piece from the transcript provided by the Texans:

Ocho Cinco asks: What are the two starting corners' last names?

[The Houston Chronicle's] Megan Manfull answers: "Jacques Reeves and Demarcus Faggins and then Dunta Robinson came back last week."

[on if he remembers CB Dunta Robinson]: "Yeah, I see Dunta in the offseason also. Tell Dunta I said be careful and congrats on getting back from that injury. And tell (CB) Jacques Reeves and Jacques Cousteau or whatever his name is... what's the other guy's name, Finnegan? Faggins. Tell them I said hello and it's on."

No immediate reaction from those corners. But if some comes my way, I will tack it on here as an update.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chad Ocho Cinco thinks Cortland Finnegan needs just one thing to be regarded as a top-flight cornerback: self-promotion.

Finnegan

Finnegan was the AFC's Defensive Player of the Week after two interceptions in the Titans' win over the Jaguars, the first of which showed him to be the Titans' best player on offense or defense at going up and snatching a throw out of the air.

"Open his mouth, just one time," Ocho Cinco advised. "Just say, 'I'm going to shut down whoever.' Just say it. Out of a 16-week schedule, he can probably lock down everybody he plays. Seriously. I'm going off of what I see on film and he's above average as a corner.

How about a chart where he tracked the receiver he expected to face week-by-week, like Ocho Cinco put up a few seasons ago?

"That would take him to No. 1 in the NFL," Ocho Cinco said, clearly pleased with the thought of someone copying his concept. "You don't want to add fuel to my fire, though."

While Finnegan has a reputation for chirping at opponents on the field, he's a low-key, down-to-earth soft-spoken type in the locker room. He's likely to laugh when he hears Ocho Cinco's comments. But it would take a Jekyll-and-Hyde transformation for him to become the guy Ocho Cinco is asking about. I wrote about him as a breakout star candidate in the division not long ago.

More Ocho Cinco on Finnegan:

"He's fast, for one. And then what separates corners in the NFL is when you're able to run, and not just being able to run, but being able to stop and transition. It's very, very hard. That's what separates Champ Bailey and the rest of the greats from the rest because you're able to run at full tilt and transition with receivers at a high rate of speed. Like last week, he was able to beat receivers off of the break twice. Maybe more than that because he had two picks. So that's what makes him special and I'm really looking forward to that challenge again."

He was reluctant to compare Finnegan to Adam Jones, saying they are "two different types of animals altogether." But he did invoke a hallowed sports name while discussing Finnegan.

"Cortland is sort of your Michael Jordan -- he's very, very good and he's not going to be nasty to you, but he's going to smile at you and then kill you at the same time."

UPDATE at 4:23 p.m.

Talked to Finnegan after Titans practice.

"I'm humbled by it. You're talking about an elite receiver in the NFL, and for him to say something good, you take that," he said. "At the same time, you try not to let him butter you up, because on Sunday it's going down, baby."

As for the advice:

"No list," Finnegan said. "...Not my style. I appreciate him, but that's not my style. That's his style and I can appreciate him."

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE -- Keith Bulluck doesn't mind stirring the pot, and he grabbed a big spoon Monday as the Titans began to turn their attention to Sunday's trip to Cincinnati.

Asked his feelings on Chad Johnson changing his name to Chad Ocho Cinco, the Titans linebacker put his own touch on the name.

"Oucho? I like Oucho," Bulluck said to laughter at the Titans' press conference. "Oucho Cinco. That's great. He's Oucho right now, I saw him with that shoulder brace on the sideline looking real dejected yesterday. Baltimore took it to those guys. We'll just see how that shoulder is. Tell him to get his shoulder right. Oucho Cinco."

Last year Tennessee was on the wrong side of a 35-6 score in Cincinnati. Johnson followed up a TD catch by jumping on a TV camera platform and taking over the controls.

"He's going to be on camera all day Sunday," Bulluck said. "With his shoulder I don't expect him to run too many shallow crosses. I'm putting it out there for him to bite it and I know he will. We're definitely ready just for the simple fact we kind of got embarrassed last year up there. It helped them forget they weren't having a great season."

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