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Your trusty Saturday mailbag

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Justin in Austin, Texas writes: Mitch (Houston): “Which is the real Steve Slaton -- the dynamic 2008 version, the unimpressive 2009 version, or somewhere in between?” Paul Kuharsky (3:44 PM): “Between. Where, by the way, are all the people who insisted he had to be in the debate when I went CJ vs. MJD with Matt Williamson this summer?”

Pretty funny how on every other question you say can we wait til Week 12 etc, it’s only Week 3 but on this you act like people who thought SS deserved to be in the debate of MJD vs CJ are wrong after 3 weeks. Typical. Especially when you consider SS has 54 less yards after 3 games than he had this time last year (when he had more rushing yards than MJD and CJ and more total yards from scrimmage than EVERYONE in the AFC) and he doesn’t get to play the Texans D like MJD and CJ have already... neither one of them have had a 100 yard or multi TD game except for their games against the Texans this year... So ya, can we wait a few weeks on this like you tell people to do in every other situation?

Paul Kuharsky: Sure, we can wait. I feel confident however it stacks up, Slaton's going to rate as the division's third-best back in my eyes. If it's a very good running back division, that doesn't qualify as an insult or slight.

I don't score a point for him because he doesn't get to play against the Texans.


Brent Paulson in Indianapolis, IN: Colts fans should not be fearful that the running game is starting slow.. the backs are getting off the line and averaging 4.5 plus a carry-better than last year. Peyton is taking what the teams give him, the pass! It is easy to pick on the running game but until defenses force them run they will do what the do- win games!

Paul Kuharsky: The Colts’ run game doesn't have me in a panic. But there will come a time they need to do better, so they might as well get started at it, wouldn't you agree?


gpfrag from 0-3 Misery, TN writes: Paul, your article regarding titans receiver drops has fueled a debate in the comment section. Since I am an individual who called you out; I think it is only fair to let you know so you can defend your position on the comments if you wish. Debate is fun!

Paul Kuharsky: When Vince Young had clear cut drops, I am sure I mentioned them. Suggesting he's anywhere near as accurate as Kerry Collins is silly. He’s just not. I don’t care what kind of numbers you can roll out either. I’ve watched both of them throw a lot.

Young isn't better just because Collins hasn't been great. The Jets defense would have likely destroyed VY.


Hunter from parts unknown writes: Paul, I am curious to know the reason why there are inactive players each week and why all 53 guys on the roster cant be active? I am sure there is a simple reason why, but I have never heard it explained. I always pay attention to roster moves, who is on the 53 man, and make it a point to hear who the inactives are when announced 90 minutes before kick-off. But I have never known why there are inactives.

Paul Kuharsky: That inactive buffer of eight on game day serves a couple purposes.

1) It evens things out for injuries, as opposed to having some sort of DL. Either we both have our injured guys down, or I have mine down and you have to put healthy people down to help balance things out.

2) Having 45 players on game day is sufficient. Boost it to 53 and you allow for more and more specialists. Many important people -- Bill Belichick is one of them who's been outspoken about it -- do not like the idea of too many situational players. Do you want a team with a red-zone receiver, a third-down back, a goal-line tight end, a holder, a short field goal kicker, a long field goal kicker, a kickoff specialist, a punt returner, a kick returner, etc.?

I agree with the idea that you want to foster a league filled with football players, where guys are asked to play fuller roles on offense or defense.


Darryl from Toronto/Canada writes: Hey Paul, big fan of the column, thanks for all the time you put in. Bit of a random question at this point in the season, but what is the deal with playoff seeding? Why wasn't this addressed in the off-season (or at least it wasn't publicized if it was)? When are we going to stop seeing weak division winners finishing 8-8, having home games against non-division winners in tough divisions who finish 12-4? As you might have guessed, I'm a Colts fan still somewhat irked by the Colts' predicament last year playing on the road against a team which won a quarter of a season's fewer games. Why won't the NFL reseed the teams after determining playoff berths, especially with the NFL's ONE-GAME playoff rounds where the 12th man is often a monstrous factor?

Paul Kuharsky: Thanks Darryl.

I prefer it as is, as do the majority of owners. The premium is on winning your division. Occasionally a division winner might have a lesser record than a non-division winner and get in ahead of them. So be it.

If you're going best records only, then what is the point of divisions at all? Why not make it a 16-team conference and take the six best teams?

As for seeds -- same thing. Winning the division gets you the bigger reward. And seeds are not as big a deal as they once were. We've seeds five and sixes winning Super Bowls in recent years.

The "monstrous" homefield advantage you are pointing to produced a giant 5-5 advantage in last season's playoffs.