Chat with Paul Kuharsky
Kuharsky joined ESPN.com in 2008 after 12 years covering the Oilers/Titans and the NFL for The (Nashville) Tennessean. The New Jersey native and Columbia graduate lives in Nashville with his wife.
Send your questions for Kuharsky now and join him on Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Paul Kuharsky (2:59 PM)
Greetings AFC Southies. Good to be with you again. Looking forward to your questions and one-liners and always interested to see just who might "show up" in here. Hope you've seen or will look for today's column on Chuck Cecil. And away we go...
Thoughts on the Colts bringing back Ed Johnson? I was pretty shocked no one else (the Bengals for obvious reasons)picked him up last year after the Colts dropped him
Paul Kuharsky (3:00 PM)
I was surprised. I think it's a bit mislabeled as a second chance -- seems more like a third. They didn't do it out of desperation, which is good, and if he messes up, he'll be gone again in a second, I would think. Am interested to see what he's able to make of the opportunity. It certainly says something about him than no one else appeared to even give him a thought.
Hi Paul, thanks for all your hard work! With the pension issues arising, how will this affect team result? Looking at the Colts, they may essentially be losing the coaching equivalent to Jeff Saturday and Reggie Wayne. They still are clearly a talented team, but will such large changes mean a complete overhaul in expectations? How can the Colts (and other franchises) fix this?
Paul Kuharsky (3:02 PM)
I think the Colts, other teams and the league need to address it, or we could see an exodus of coaches wanting the lump sum and then looking to return in a year. I doubt Mudd and Moore, who are among the oldest assistants in the league, will return if they gone for good this year. I think it's a major jolt to the program, for sure.
Stephen (Hendersonville, TN)
I have heard a couple of reports that suggest Vince finally "gets it". You have been rather emphatic about Vince won't "get it", which I agree with. What have you seen from Vince lately that makes you feel he will not progress to where he needs to be?
Paul Kuharsky (3:04 PM)
A couple reports? I'd like to see those... He had a reasonably good session with the press yesterday. That's along way from "he-gets-it" to me. I think he gets that he won't be starting, and maybe that's a start. Look at the blog entry with OT A observations from Wednesday. He threw one amazing pass and two bad picks. Progress?
Chase - Atlanta, GA
Hi Paul, I was kind of puzzled when the Texans drafted two TEs. Do you know the purpose of this and how it will affect Owen Daniels?
Paul Kuharsky (3:05 PM)
The purpose is they thought both guys were excellent values where they got them, and they want to be about getting excellent values in the draft. Neither of those guys are going to hurt Daniels, who I expect gets a long term deal.
Tucker from Santa Fe, NM
Your recent article about Lendale White was intriguing, but do you think he can be a changed man? He seems to have many of the same problems, attitude-wise, that Vince Young has. He gets plenty of TD's on the goal line, but I honestly think Hall or Johnson could have picked up 90% of those. Do you think White will be back for 2010? If he is replaced, will it be Ganther, Henry, Little or Ringer?
Paul Kuharsky (3:07 PM)
Decision certainly hasn't been made and this year's performance and production will be a factor. But the Titans have a value on that role, and if he can do better elsewhere, I'd say he'll be gone. I think Ringer is the prime candidate to be White in 2010. I don't think Henry can play and don't expect he will t make the roster this year. Ganther is a versatile guy but not good enough for those kind of carries, I don't think. And Little is good, but he's in the CJ mold, not the big, inside type.
Brett Favre (Minnesota)
Hey Paul. When I take the Vikes to the Superbowl this year, are we going to be playing against an AFC South team? What odds do you give the aging Colts or even the young Texans?
Paul Kuharsky (3:08 PM)
Brett the comedian! I don't give either of them odds as good as the Titans, but I don't give the Titans odds as good as New England or Pittsburgh.
Not a NFC South question but a football one in general. Just read the nice piece on Hochuli by Elizabeth Merrill. I have coached and officiated at the Pop Warner level and was curious as to whether you have had exposure to NFL officials (Hochuli specifically) and could offer insight into their general disposition and how players\coaches perceive them? A thankless job but the comment in the article noting officiating as a means to keep the "integrity of the game" was a perspective we often fail to appreciate in our myopic view as fans.
Paul Kuharsky (3:11 PM)
They interact very little with the press during the season -- which makes Liz's piece an impressive one that I need to read ASAP. From what I've seen they are good-natured. They make the rounds in camp to work practices and do a presentation on rules changes to the press. Very informative and good humored and you get a sense of how well they work together as a team.
The Colts aren't a team that signs big names and makes a lot of ruckus in the offseason, but this year we've done more than usual. We've added an unheard of amount of depth on the defensive side of the ball through the draft and resigning former starters for pennies. With the re-signing of Big Ed Johnson does the Indy D get back to it's '06 Playoff form?
Paul Kuharsky (3:11 PM)
Maybe. But with Mudd and Moore heading out and no clear cut third receiver, there could be more issues on offense for Peyton than usual.
Dustin, Stanford CA
Hey Paul, Love the blog/chat. Care to offer any predictions on the Titans depth chart at CB for the upcoming season? Will V Fuller retain his role at Nickle since they resigned him during the offseason?
Paul Kuharsky (3:12 PM)
Fuller is the nickel, no doubt. As for third and fourth guy outside, I can't pretend to predict. Spent time with Chuck Cecil yesterday and he doesn't know yet and probably won't for a while.
Any chance that Edge goes back to the Colts?
Paul Kuharsky (3:13 PM)
Not after they drafted Brown.
Alex - Cookeville, TN
Hey Paul Let's take a look into the future: Kerry Collins plays great this year and is slated to be the starting QB for the 2nd year of his contract. VY has showed some maturity throughout the year and has shown improvment in his preparation and attitude. Here's the question, if the situation played out like this, would the Titans keep VY with hopes of him starting at the end of Kerry's contract, or do the Titans drop him for a QB to groom from the draft? If they drop him, what kind of QB do you think they look for? Thanks Paul, I look forward to reading and participating in the rest of the chat!
Paul Kuharsky (3:14 PM)
Even if he's in line to start, with the money they already have sunk into Young, I cannot see them paying him a $4.5 roster bonus and taking a $14 million cap hit for him next year. I cannot see him back under his original deal.
I keep reading Articles on how VY is "working" on his maturity. I think once he stops talking about being mature and actually grows up he will be ok. I just feel he is trying to become mature in a immature way (if that makes sense) and he will never fully "get it". Agree or disagree?
Paul Kuharsky (3:15 PM)
Agree, good doctor.
Bret: (Los Angeles, CA)
Why in the world did Houston sign big Dan from Detroit to such a lucrative deal? Please help me understand...
Paul Kuharsky (3:15 PM)
He had other suitors, but backup QBs all over the league should be thanking him for boosting their price tags.
I will keep asking the question (laughs), will Mike Hart play a role at all this year at RB.
Paul Kuharsky (3:16 PM)
He could, sure. Third guy potentially, spot work, bigger role if Addai or Brown get dinged.
Jesse in Nashville
PK - are you going to win Eric Yutzy's bowling tournament? It looks like quite a lineup of NFL'ers, former and current. I would expect you to beat Wycheck at the very least. STRIKE!
Paul Kuharsky (3:16 PM)
I'm just looking to stay out of the gutters. I want to try the two handed style that revolutionary pro bowler is using.
Paul, with Fuller really developing as a solid nickelback, is there any chance he could take over as the #2 corner after Harper hangs it up? He's quick and has the speed I would think. That's a big step up coverage-wise though
Paul Kuharsky (3:17 PM)
No. Fuller is not an outside guy. Different skill sets for those two spots. They need one of the young guys to grow into it, or they could shop free agency or draft again next year if they need to.
Paul, is promoting the next guy in line the best thing for the Colts to do if Mudd and Moore retire? Shouldn't they look around to see if new blood might help? I'm sure there are plenty of coaches who would jump at the chance to work with Peyton and Co.
Paul Kuharsky (3:19 PM)
Well, if this happened during 'coaching free agency,' maybe there are outsiders to consider. But it's not like prime assistants are jobless and waiting for calls now that staffs have been assembled around the league.
Hey Paul, I can play on the outside!
Paul Kuharsky (3:19 PM)
That should be a fun backyard game to watch!
David Garrard Jacksonville
My O-line is vastly improved, I should have better recievers and MJD is a beast. If I dont perform this year should I be worried about my job going fwd?
Paul Kuharsky (3:20 PM)
Yup. One good year, one bad year, and one prove yourself year, I think.
Cliff in Ann Arbor
PK - Give me your best educated guess. Who will be running punts and kicks back for the Titans on opening day?
Paul Kuharsky (3:20 PM)
I like Rafael Little for kickoffs, though I've not seen him do it yet so it's based on what I've heard about him. Punts? I can't pick.
How can you typo AFC South!! My apologies. There is a buzz around 1 Stadium Place here in the Cellar of the South regarding Rashad Jennings and Monroe. As much as you can get out of players w\o pads the thinking is Monroe will start day 1 and Jennings may find himself as the #3 back. Cox impressed as well. Are you hearing differently and is there reason to think last year was an anomaly?
Paul Kuharsky (3:22 PM)
I've heard the same, though I am sure the team did all it could to spin Cox as well as it could. You draft a LT at No. 8, he should start opening day, that's my thinking, especially when the vet in front of him, Thomas, is not a sterling run blocker. I need to do some digging on why Jennings lasted so long.
Cory (American Fork, UT)
Paul, first off enjoy your work on a daily basis. Second, how are the colts a weaker team on the field than they were last year? It is a given that the coaching staff has taken its hits, hopefully the latest news does not come to fruition. But as you compare the individual players how can you not say that they are better off now than they were last year?
Paul Kuharsky (3:24 PM)
Well by that reasoning, EVERY team is better. Every team has added players to weak spots. I think it's a little much to say Dungy's loss won't be felt, I think they have no proven third WR for an offense that needs one, and now I think the losses of Moore and Mudd will really hurt. I said they are a Super Bowl caliber team and I believe they can be. But if I am a Colts fan, I can find reasons to worry.
Assuming 2010 is an uncapped year, but something gets worked out between now and 2011 to reinstate a cap by then, how are the big spending teams going to be forced back under the cap after going hog wild for a year?
Paul Kuharsky (3:26 PM)
I think once the cap is gone, owners will have a hard time getting it back -- that's the incentive for not letting it get away. But this idea that spending will go out of control in an uncapped year is misguided. There are mechanisms to help offset it -- you need six years instead of four to be an unrestricted free agent. Teams get an additional franchise tag. The best teams have limits on how many guys they can sign. There will be a handful of guys who have things line up to hit the jackpot, but I don't expect it to change the landscape of the league.
TJ (Columbus, OH)
PK- Everything I've read about Britt in the OTA's so far has been nothing but stellar reviews. Fisher even went as far to say that he's "what's been missing in our passing game". Do the Titans finally go away from not using rookie receivers often and call his number frequently?
Paul Kuharsky (3:27 PM)
He was visible to the press for 90 minutes at one practice where the QB was Alex Mortensen. How many reviews can you have heard? He's got the potential to be a missing ingredient, and they certainly will try to use him.
Mark Jones at BSP, Nashville TN
Don't you think I get first crack at returning punts and KOs for the Titans? Isn't that what they signed me for? I've only fumbled twice in my career, and that was back in 2005...
Paul Kuharsky (3:28 PM)
Hooray, a return man who won't fumble! Sorry, my expectations are a touch higher than that. I wasn't asked who gets first crack, I was asked who I liked for the jobs, right?
I would work with Manning if they called... i'd like to be able to cheer his touchdowns for a change....
Paul Kuharsky (3:29 PM)
As an assistant? I think you might want to reconsider what you said there.
Peyton Manning 56th street
So who will be my third receiver? I like Taj Smith but Austin Collie has the height I have been looking for in the Red Zone.
Paul Kuharsky (3:30 PM)
Should be a good competition between Hall, Garcon, Collie and the rest.
Do you thi0nk the jags jumped the gun on signing tra thomas? how do you see the O-line rotation playing out by years end in Jacksonville?
Paul Kuharsky (3:31 PM)
Can't hurt to have veteran insurance, especially after last year. I would think we'll see Britton early too, at RT or G.
Jack Del Rio
So is this my last season as Jaguars head coach?
Paul Kuharsky (3:31 PM)
I think if you get the team moving in the right direction you can survive.
Titans gonna keep all 4 TEs? If so, how many receivers do you think will make the team?
Paul Kuharsky (3:33 PM)
Keep four TEs no problem, and then one in question to me is Crumpler, maybe. Receivers: Gage, Washington, Britt, Hawkins, Edison. Those are the only ones I think as of today have to be part of the 2009 Titans. They finished last year with six.
Scott Corpus Christi TX
Will the Texans have the best defense in the AFC south or is Tennessee still holding that spot?
Paul Kuharsky (3:34 PM)
The Texans have a long way to defensive respectability, better yet second in points per game allowed and top 10 in the ratings.
Re: Colts true offensive coordinator. Peyton Manning has been calling his plays on the field for a decade. Sure Moore is the official coordinator, but even he doesn't dictate which direction the Colts offense takes once they step onto the field. Moore's likely replacement is Clyde Christianson, the WR for the past 8 years or so, who should provide as smoothe a transition as Dungy to Caldwell or Mudd to Metzelaars. Don't you think there's something to be said about hand picked successors who have spent significant time with the team preparing themselves within the system?
Paul Kuharsky (3:35 PM)
Sure there is. Do you think it's ideal for three of them to move into their new roles simultaneously? I sure don't. Do you really think Manning doesn't rely on opinions and assessments from Moore?
Do you think this is a "must year" for DE Derrick Harvey And Quinton Groves?
Paul Kuharsky (3:36 PM)
Must how? Like if they have bad years they'll be cut? No. Must they be a lot better for the Jags to have some success? Yes.
Do people ever get on you for being a bit of a homer from Nashville? I think you do a good job of impartiality in the AFC South, but I see your links to the Titans creep up every now and again.
Paul Kuharsky (3:39 PM)
I live in Nashville, there is no getting around that. A homer roots, and I would think if you read my stuff you'd see I am pretty hard on the Titans, even after 13-3. If I've covered someone for 12 years, I don't think I should pretend I don't know him well in order to level things out as I work to get to know people with the Colts, Jags and Texans in similar ways. I think you and most people understand the dynamic there and trust that I continue to work to be divided into fourths.
Grant (Gibson City IL)
Out of the rookie recievers the Jags took in this years draft, who do you think has the best chance of making an immediate impact: Thomas, Dillard, or Underwood?
Paul Kuharsky (3:40 PM)
I've heard a ton of good things about Dillard. I visit the Jags in early June. How about we revisit then?
Star studded afternoon in the Kuharsky chat, you really bring some big names to the table, keep up the good work.
Paul Kuharsky (3:40 PM)
You could have helped by being Jim Kelly.
Brandon (Jackson, TN)
I just read where you said you give the Titans a better chance at the Superbowl than you do the Colts. Your reasoning behind it is sort of flawed. Because the loss two assistant coaches and no real third receiver. So the titans losing Haynesworth and Swartz, having an old qb thats never had put two good seasons back to back and average receivers looks better to you than. Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Addai, Brown, a healthy O-line and a much bigger D-line. Im just going to need a better explanation that what you gave.
Paul Kuharsky (3:45 PM)
Titans have capable guys to replace Haynesworth -- they've been preparing for it. They have a coordinator they've groomed to take over and their head coach is on that side of the ball. They've never had good receivers, and they ask their QB to manage a game and hand off a lot. They didn't lose their head coach, a coordinator and a very important position coach plus an all-time great on whom the most important player on their team relied on for years. I think letting Harrison go was the right move. But do you feel there is a sure answer at No. 3 receiver? So in short -- yes, I think Dungy, Moore, Mudd and Harrison combine to be a lot more than Haynesworth and Schwartz.
Plaxico Burress (Totowa)
PK - I hear the AFC south is the heat. What are the odds I find myself there this season?
Paul Kuharsky (3:45 PM)
Dwight Schrute (scranton,pa)
How do you think the Houston players/coaches will deal with the preseason hype? I have a feeling a lot of the media are gonna pick them to win or be a sleeper this year...
Paul Kuharsky (3:47 PM)
If they read what people say about them on paper (Dunder Mifflin paper, I am sure), that would be disappointing.
Ideal? No. Devastating? Also no. I think Manning has spent so much time with Moore, there's only so much he would be able to squeeze out of him if he stayed on. The key is that Peyton's worked with Christianson for nearly as long so nothing in the scheme will change. The bigger issue could be that Mudd is an irreplaceable diamond cutter who takes undrafted FA's and turns them into Pro Bowlers. Christianson can keep advising Manning on the plays he wants called, but can Metzelaars mold late round draft picks into the fortress Manning has had to the past 8 years?
Paul Kuharsky (3:47 PM)
A very good summation and question.
Tim Graham (AFC East)
Jim Kelly comes to MY chat Paul. Stop trying to steal my guys! Ok, gotta go, gotta get back to my D & D game.
Paul Kuharsky (3:48 PM)
I wish I knew more about D&D so I could mock you more. I shall see Graham in person in about 10 days. Perhaps we shall duel!
rick, st louis
Paul I have to admit I'm a little disappointed. Your first frame of reference regarding Vince's maturity dealt with his dealings with the press afterwords. Possible bias for not being given an exclusive story? Second you said yesterday that one of his INTS wasn't on him but say both were horrible today. BTW you failed to mention how many Collins threw. Kind regards
Paul Kuharsky (3:52 PM)
Bias because he didn't give me an exclusive? Please. I can comment on VY based only on what I see and what I hear him say and what those in the know say about him. When he speaks publicly, it's to media. I listen and when people ask me about him, what he said and how he said it is part of the equation. Collins isn't competing for a roster spot or a backup role, he's the entrenched starter. If you want the right frame of reference for comparison in this instance, it's Ramsey. And I believe I said he wasn't particularly impressive. Also I raved about one throw from Young.
So what's to stop the Colts from re-hiring Mudd and/or Moore as "consultants" after retirement? As long as they're not making calls on or down to the field, can they still make their presence known in practices and schemes? Tom Moore looks like he needs to keep off his feet anyways.
Paul Kuharsky (3:53 PM)
We'll find out, I guess. All this stuff is being sorted out.
Perez Hilton (Bed)
Paul, you silly goose! Quit all of this sporty crazy talk and come back to bed.
Paul Kuharsky (3:54 PM)
Happily married and accounted for, killer. And Graham is tied up with D&D.
Guy (Round Rock, TX)
What's with Dunta? Texans keep him on after injury, rehab him, and then get him back on track. Now he is sitting out due to contract issues. It just seems to me that many of these agents cause problems trying to get every penny out of a team. 9 + Mil franchise seems pretty decent to me.
Paul Kuharsky (3:55 PM)
And he will sign it eventually. He's sitting out lifts and conditioning sessions right now. Not ideal, but not that big a deal.
About your statement on who will be a third receiver for the Colts. What do you think of making Clark the third option and having one of the other two tight ends to take his place as the starting tight end?
Paul Kuharsky (3:57 PM)
I don't think they'd ever "make him a receiver." But I would think more two TE is coming, especially if none of those WRs step forward in a big way.
PK, since we're all ripping you today, what's up w/the horrible pic you took of LenDale? Couldn't wait for him to open his eyes? Come on, man...
Paul Kuharsky (3:58 PM)
Sad but true. I took four and that was the best one. I'll get better, I promise.
I see you'll be in Jacksonville early June. Would love to buy you a beer at Culhane's or Lynch's Irish Pub and pick your brain. On another note, saw a band called The Black Kids at Freebird Live this past weekend. Not straight forward rock like Kings but still a nice sound. Did you get a chance to listen to The Walkmen?
Paul Kuharsky (3:59 PM)
Adding them to the list. Overdue to visit iTunes. Appreciate the suggestions.
What is the likelihood of the Titans restructuring Vince's contract to avoid cutting him in 2010?
Paul Kuharsky (4:00 PM)
"Restructuring" technically means moving money around with none lost for the player. They'd have to redo it, with him agreeing to a huge cut. Would he prefer that to forcing a move and seeing what other options there are for him? He has to show them more before they worry about such a thing.
rick, st louis
I'm not trying to sound contentious; just speculating. You are still my favorite sports writer. How many picks did Collins throw though?
Paul Kuharsky (4:01 PM)
I don't know for sure. As none caught my eye or made my notes, I am thinking none or one.
The AFC South usually puts at least two teams into the playoffs and sometimes a third team. And it has been brought up before to seed the playoffs based solely on record and not division winners. How can the NFL really stomach the argument that an 8-8 San Diego should be rewarded with a home game against a 12-4 Indy? How is this not an obvious change?
Paul Kuharsky (4:02 PM)
The premium is on winning divisions and I don't have a huge problem with that. Once in a while it comes out uneven.
Will the Colts carry three QBs for the first time in years or is sorgi on his way out.
Paul Kuharsky (4:03 PM)
Polian has said Sorgi isn't going anywhere. The question is do they need to carry Painter or can they hold on to him on the practice squad?
Paul, my friend, another great chat. Very well done. get on out of here. You've put your work in. Have a good day!
Paul Kuharsky (4:05 PM)
Well, my first chat dismissal! Fantastic and thanks You guys were great, these get better and better. Please keep clicking on the blog and sending thoughts/ideas/questions/criticisms to the mailbag. I'll always do my best to answer. Have a great weekend, see you here next week.
So who's the bigger disappointment? Leinart or Young?
Paul Kuharsky (4:05 PM)
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