Mailbag: Considering Bulluck

Patrick5005 in Nashville writes: Dear Paul, I want to say that I enjoy reading your blogs everyday and I just had two questions. Now the last two games after the Titans lost Keith Bulluck the defense was not the same. Should the Titans make every effort to re-sign him and if they don't is there another free agent linebacker who would fit in their system and possibly flourish with the Titans?

Paul Kuharsky: All indications are that they aren't planning on trying to bring him back and he's not expecting them to.

There were more factors contributing to bad defense in the end than Bulluck’s absence. And there is a hole in looking at it as you are -- when he was out they didn’t have the replacement on the roster they will have next year. They were playing Gerald McRath and Colin Allred as their outside linebackers. Next year McRath may be a starter. I expect he will be. But the other outside guy will be a newcomer (or David Thornton, but I think he’s gone too.)

So you can’t say next year’s team without Bulluck is the same as the one that ended the season without him, because they’ll be an upgrade on Allred.

For me, it would make sense for them to get a veteran linebacker and then address corner and defensive end in the draft.

I can’t pretend to know who they like in free agency. But I wouldn’t expect a big name. Whoever they bring in at whatever position, I’d expect someone like Thornton was when he came in, a guy who’s ready to play his best ball, not one who’s probably already played it.

With a smaller pool because of the restrictions on free agency, he won’t be easy to find or sign.