Chris S. in Knoxville, TN writes: Alright Paul, We discussed this before, but now that the NFL has changed the OT rule. How do you feel about it? I still think this is not the right way to go. Seems like they should just play out the OT period all together. At some level this smells like a kid shoveling the sidewalk so poorly his parents never ask him to do it again. Just seems like they ignore the easy and obvious to come up with the ridiculous and controversial. -Chris S.
Paul Kuharsky: Playing the whole period isn’t fair. Whether it’s just playoffs or it’s playoffs and regular season, the teams are subject to an extra quarter’s worth of injuries. Then, having played that much more, they are that much more tired/beat up as they look to recover and play a fair game the next week.
I don’t like the rule for two reasons. I think it creates unnatural football in two ways:
If opening possession produces a field goal, the team that has to match, at worst, to keep the game going, then goes for it on fourth down to get into field goal range. Four-down offense isn’t regular football, it’s a different sort, a desperation sort.
And a safety wins but a first-possession field goal does not, even though a safety is worth one less point. It’s a game about scoring more points, right?
Nick in The U.K. writes: Hey Paul, been from the U.K. your blog is by far the best way to keep up with the Colts news! There’s a lot of talk about Peyton Manning becoming the NFLs highest paid player, and rightly so, but is there any chance he takes a cheaper deal for the sake of the teams development, I mean, he’s good, but he needs a defense and wide receivers to win still. Manning comes across a squeaky clean and this seems like something he may do. Thanks!
Paul Kuharsky: Well, they have lost exactly zero pieces of the receiving corps and defense he went to the Super Bowl with, so I can’t see the Colts making an appeal for charity.
The two are not mutually exclusive, especially now with no cap. Manning’s earning years are limited, he’s an all-time great and a smart businessman. If you’re the best guy at your company and it’s time to talk contract, do you offer to take less and tell your boss you know it would help the company if you did so? Or is that not your problem?
I vote B for sure.
Chris in Houston, Texas writes: Do you really believe the Texans and Gary Kubiak will use a higher than a third round pick to address the running game? I'm very skeptical for a couple of reasons. One is that I believe that Kubiak thinks addressing the inside of the line will resolve our short yardage problems. The other is I hope that Steve Slaton will fix his fumbling problem and have a bounce back year. Kubiak thinks this too, more than likely. Do you see Owen Daniels coming back from his injury to put up Pro Bowl caliber numbers?
Paul Kuharsky: They don’t want Slaton carrying the bulk of the load and his neck injury is a concern -- see Stephania Bell’s piece on this.
I think they probably address one of their defensive needs in the first round -- corner, free safety, defensive tackle -- and get their running back in the second or third. I’d be very surprised if they don’t have a back before the fourth.
Yes, I think Daniels will return and return to form.
William in Oviedo, FL writes: With regards to Quentin Groves being a bust, yes he hasn’t had sacks, but if you look at quarterback pressures, he was solid, just not finishing the job sacking the quarterback. Also, I think some of the blame can be put on the defensive line coach as it is his responsibility to develop the talent. I think between Joe Cullen and Aaron Kampman they should be able to get him to play much better.
Paul Kuharsky: Finishing the job IS the job. Pass rushers aren’t judged or rewarded for getting close. It’s about sacks, and Groves has not been productive. To be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve seen him AROUND the quarterback a lot either. And his coaches and management clearly have questions about him at this stage. His time is now.
That doesn’t mean others haven’t played a role in his lack of development, or that Cullen and Kampman won’t help him. But if they are banking on him for a big contribution, it’s a mistake. Let it be gravy if you get it.
Jason Pitts in Lufkin, TX writes: I have a question about quality control coaches. How do people find out about these jobs? Do the Titans have quality control coaches? How do they apply and get hired?
Paul Kuharsky: They are the lowest ranking spots on a staff, obviously, and do a lot of administrative work. Head coaches have running lists of guys they’d like to bring in, their assistants tell them about guys they’ve worked with, they have a pool of former players looking to break in, etc.
It’s not like an office where an opening comes up and they post a help wanted ad. Chuck Cecil started as one, for example. This is one of those walks of life where you don’t get to apply for jobs, you work your way into a pipeline Jeff Fisher monitors that feed the positions. They aren't always called quality control, by the way. Some teams just call them offensive assistant or defensive assistant.
Tucker in Columbus, IN writes: The draft is still a month away, but your recent article about the Colts going 4-wide and the need for defensive back depth among the competition has me thinking on it more. Obviously the Titans coaching staff is aware of the Colts' ability to utilize their talent at catching the ball, so do you think this puts cornerback higher in the needs column than defensive end? A great pass rusher can be just as effective as a great corner at disrupting the passing game, if not more so. Have an idea of what the Titans may lean towards, or will it boil down to the best player available at those two positions left on the board?
Paul Kuharsky: No guarantee they draft either at No. 16 -- it depends entirely on who is there. Sure they need a corner and end, and yes each can play a role in defending Manning. The Colts will use some four-wide but it's not gong to be their base or primary offensive personnel grouping. But the other three AFC South teams were all building to slow Manning and that passing offense already. Some snaps of four-wide doesn’t somehow make it more of a mission.
Mauricio in Houston, TX writes: Paul, I read and enjoy your comments with a lot of interest. How likely do you find this scenario -- Earl Thomas drops to the 16th spot on the draft and Houston sends its first and fourth pick this year to Seattle, to get this talented young man. I feel the secondary to be the highest priority by far.
Paul Kuharsky: The Titans draft 16th, not Seattle. No. 20 and a fourth-rounder might not be quite enough to move up like that.
I like Thomas a lot and would love to see him on the Texans.
John Wilson in Knoxville, TN writes about all the top-flight receivers the Titans will face and wonders if they don’t need a shutdown corner to go with Cortland Finnegan against them all.
Paul Kuharsky: It’s just like quarterback. That you need a Manning or a Darrelle Revis doesn’t make one magically available to you.
I think the Titans can be fine with Finnegan as No. 1 if they are solid at second and third corner.