Mailbag: Donald Brown's development

Jon in Charlottesville, Va., writes: I keep reading Donald Brown will get more playing time if he could learn how to pass protect/block. Two questions from this: 1) Why hasn't he been sufficiently taught this in a year+ of training? 2) If the kid knows this is what keeps him from getting more touches and hasn't gotten it done yet, does he "want it" enough to succeed in this league?

Paul Kuharsky: It’s not so simple as “learning it”; you can’t say, “Go here and do this.” You have to develop a real feel for things. There are many different ways things can change on the fly and you have to process it and get in the way of the most dangerous guy, all very quickly. If you mess up and Peyton Manning absorbs some big shot and suffers an injury as a result, the consequences could be quite grave.

And Addai is fantastic at this part of the job.

I think Brown is developing, but that part of things is hardly second nature to him at this point. And it’s not for most second-year backs. I have zero reason to question his desire.

He had a career high in carries and yards last week, so they used him quite a bit. And Addai was very good in front of him. So it’s an odd time to complain about Brown not getting more action.

Eric from Denver writes to applaud the exchange in this week’s chat about the Titans offensive line not “defending” Vince Young after the body slam sack. “I just wanted to ping you to let you know I really appreciated the answer to the question. You were able to provide insight which fans would never have access to on our own.”

Paul Kuharsky: I really appreciate that you took the time to write me on that. Thank you. Hope I provide that sort of insight on a regular basis for you and all my readers.

Chris S. in Knoxville, Tenn., writes: Do you think there’s an issue with refereeing in the NFL when a fine comes down on a play where no flag was thrown? I've seen this countless times, and I'm sure you have seen it more. I know not every play is called perfectly, but isn’t it an issue when it’s egregious enough a play to warrant stripping a player of cash, but not 5-15 yards? Especially, when a week before the Vince Young body slam, Derrick Morgan was flagged for falling into Jason Campbell. I just ask for a little consistency, is that too much?

Paul Kuharsky: I think it’s good they are willing to acknowledge after the fact that they botched a call or interpretation and can make up for it at least a little with a fine. They are not going to get everything right all the time. You want consistency, I want consistency, they want consistency. They do the best they can, review it after and try to do it better the next time. I’m not sure what more they can do.

Bill Barton in Hendersonville, Tenn.,a writes: Since the new divisional alignment the Titans' record the week after the Steelers is: 2002 -- loss in season, loss in playoffs; 2003 -- loss; 2005 -- win; 2008 -- loss; 2009 -- loss; 2010 - ? There is a LOT more than the week after the Steelers involved but it is an interesting statistic. Given the physical nature of the games against the Steelers could there be a "morning after" effect going on?

Paul Kuharsky: I think they are usually pretty beat up after a game against the Steelers and certainly would agree that there is at least a bit of a morning-after effect.

Stephen in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Because of the possibility of a lock-out and no NFL football next year, might we see a reduced number of underclassmen enter the draft?

Paul Kuharsky: Also the very top guys could be in line for lesser contracts if a pay scale for early picks is part of a new agreement. It’s going to be strange, potentially getting drafted to be locked out. I’d stay in school.

Kevin Cunningham in Portland, Ore., writes: In regards to the Texans pass defense, I see a striking similarity with last year’s run defense. During the first three games of the season, the Texans had the worst run defense in the NFL last year. Then they turned it around, and from what I can find, had a top 10 (possibly top five) run defense for the last half of the year. Could this year’s pass defense be a similar thing? I tend to think that D. Coordinator [Frank Bush] is still figuring things out, it is only his second year. Am I just wearing the rose colored glasses?

Paul Kuharsky: Well last year they injected Bernard Pollard into the defense, and he altered things for the run defense. There is no such magic bullet coming for the pass defense, I don’t expect. It’s a unit they surely expect to get better as Kareem Jackson grows up and the defensive backs jell. Here’s the best countermeasure, I think: Throw it more and better than the opponent, something they can do with what they have on offense.

Todd from parts unknown writes: I think you either forgot about or snubbed Antoine Bethea from your '06 re-ranking. I would hope you think he's a better player than a Matt Leinart or A.J. Hawk to name a few.

Paul Kuharsky: I re-ranked the 30 players that were available in the feature. Bethea, who I think is a great player, was not one of them.

Ryan from Denton, Texas, writes: I for one, as a columnist as well, find your obvious bias absolutely vomit-worthy. Make it seem a little less obvious you praise the ground your Titans walk on.

Paul Kuharsky: Who are you a columnist for? I’d like to add you to my RSS feed and read your work.

Yeah, I love me some Titans. I thought they were fantastic against the Steelers.