Randy Phillips in Mt.Vernon, Ill., writes: Am I the only Titans fan that realizes the Titans will be better this year? I guess many do not get the point of addition by subtraction. Jevon Kearse and Kyle Vanden Bosch had more penalties than sacks last year. I think Jacob Ford and William Hayes paired with Tony Brown and Jason Jones will be the starting front four, and Titans will probably add a stud DE with 16th pick. Would like Jason Pierre-Pail, but he will probably be gone. Carlos Dunlap could be a great steal at 16. What do you think about that, and who do think starts beside Finnegan this year?
Paul Kuharsky: Kearse hardly played and Hayes and Ford have not shown they can handle a full load of snaps. They’ll be younger, that’s for sure. JPP and Dunlap are both intriguing, but I don’t know how you can guarantee they are good out of the gate. I like the first four, but they need more than four.
I hope Finnegan’s counterpart is not on the roster yet. Best current option is now Rod Hood. They’ll hope for jumps from Jason McCourty and Ryan Mouton, and may look at a restricted free agent and will certainly draft one.
Carl from Iowa City, Iowa, writes: Hey Paul, I can't tell you how good it is to have a daily connection to football during the off-season. In terms of the Colts, since Tony Dungy's departure, Jim Caldwell began installing beefier defensive linemen, and it now appears he's looking to do the same on the O-line. Will this affect the high level of protection Manning has come to expect? Also, it seems that since the Super Bowl, the tone from the Colts as an organization is that of a grumpy neighbor. I really think the Colts are still shocked that they lost the Super Bowl, and recovering from losses is not something they're used to dealing with. Do you really think the Colts are past the big loss, or is this something that will linger to the point of being harmful next season?
Paul Kuharsky: Peyton Manning gets rid of the ball so quick, he created a large degree of his own protection. Since that’s the case, they seem to be thinking, "We can find bigger guys who can pass block and also help us when we need a tough 2 yards on the ground."
Recovering from big losses is not something they’re used to dealing with? They’ve suffered big losses in the playoffs every year but one.
I think they’ll always have regrets but have moved on and it’ll have minimal bearing on next season, except serving as some of the inspiration for changes they are making.
Scott Ota in Austin, Texas, writes: With all these veteran free agent running backs on the market, why haven't the Texans shown interest? I know they made mistakes with Ahman Green in the past, but someone who can help develop our youth would be huge -- Arian Foster and Steve Slaton. With a terrific passing game, bringing someone in like Brian Westbrook would create matchup nightmares all over the field, and limit his carries and increase his durability. Or, possibly putting Westbrook and Slaton on the field at the same time is another exciting thought. Anyways, I think if we had those three backs exchanging carries, we could have a much more potent, balanced offense. Your thoughts? And I am also excited about our young defense. I am proud to say that we have drafted well, and next year gives us more opportunities. For my draft, I see us taking safety and cornerback in the first two rounds.
Paul Kuharsky: Thanks, Scott.
I think Thomas Jones would have been a nice fit. Pay Westbrook and he gets a concussion and is that much closer to done. I can understand their determination to go younger. It’s clear they will be drafting the back, and that Slaton will still have a significant role -- I did this column on that recently.
Huge mistake in my opinion to expect much from Foster. That was a very small sampling we got of him, and I don’t think he’s someone they can rely on for much.
I’d love to see a safety in the first -- Earl Thomas would be great. Figure in first three they need FS, CB, RB in some order.
LQ from parts unknown writes: Do you think the Jaguars will add another defensive end or defensive tackle from free agency? Who would be a good fit for their defense? And what of the future of the Quentin Groves and Derrick Harvey?
Paul Kuharsky: Maybe, but not anyone of note. Aaron Kampman and Kassim Osgood are the two big additions. I think they will be mostly focused on the draft from here unless they try to lure an inexpensive unrestricted free agent -- and he probably wouldn’t be a lineman.
Harvey is locked in as the second starting end and is better than people think, just not a great rusher. Groves has a lot of questions to answer.
Jeff Piercey in Goodlettsville, Tenn., writes: Paul, I listen to The Wake Up Zone every morning, and always look forward to when you will be the guest. Your insight to the program is invaluable. My question is this, what do the NFL owners think of LenDale White? It must not be very much. I thought a club would jump at giving a second-round pick for him. How come no club has made him an offer?
Paul Kuharsky: Owners don’t decide the value, their GMs do. Restricted free agency hasn’t really gotten started. I suspect it will pick up after compensatory draft selections are awarded, so teams know exactly what they have.
I don’t know why you would think teams would jump at giving up a second for him. Seconds are considered super-valuable. I know at least one team still has character concerns left from its draft review. A lot of teams are two-deep at running back. Combine all that, and the possible match list is slim, no?