Thoughts before the Monday Night game
By Zoltan Paksa
This huge upcoming home divisional game and all AFC South teams standing at 3-2 has made me thinking… the world is turned upside down in the NFL (Vikings; Cowboys; 49ers have a combine record of 2-11; meanwhile Tampa Bay and Kansas City both have a 3-1 record). I feel the same for the AFC South. Most experts thought the division would be decided between Houston and Indianapolis. But the Titans and the Jaguars are standing at 3-2 and can we rule out any of them for the divisional title? I don’t think so! But why is that? I looked deep into that idea and allow me to present my thinking as I break down these two (very similar) teams.
The ’10 Draft – looks like Titans and Jaguars have more hits then misses
Remember what Terry and I thought after the draft? We thought the Colts would be stronger because of their draft class; the Texans will remain basically the same and the Titans had a very poor draft class. Well after 5 weeks I have to admit we screw it up quite badly… The Titans draft looks like to me the best in the AFC South right now. Derrick Morgan contributed until he was injured (he is on IR now). Returner WR and 7thround pick Marc Mariani could be Scotty McGee or Deji Karim for the Titans very easily. But who I love the best among them is cornerback Alteraun Verner. He is a starting CB caliber player and he was just a 4thround pick. Would he have been better than Larry Hart? Maybe. I have to give credit to Adam Stites, well praise him actually for pointing him out to us all before the draft. He is for real; and I would say this- If I was Dirk Koetter I would game plan to throw toward Cortland Finnegan instead of Verner.
The Texans draft is looking awful right now. RB Ben Tate has not seen any action. Darly Sharpton and Earl Mitchell are contributing but they are not big names. The rest of their draft looks poor to me. Their first rounds pick, Kareem Jackson is struggling. The Texans pass defense is dead last in the NFL and looks like to me that only Bernard ‘why didn’t we signed him Gene?’ Pollard is the only player who actually doing something back there. What about the Colts? Well I see a not so good draft by Bill Polian (lately he and the other draft guru Bill Belichick have not had more hits then misses. While they both have a healthy Manning and Brady, the draft won’t hurt them so much, but it will catch up. The Colts first 2 picks Jerry Hughes and Pat Angerer have barely see any action thus far. Their 3rdpick is on IR. The only 2 players who are contributing is Brody Eldridge; and UDFA rookie Blair White. White couold be the best rookie on the team and that says a lot.
How do I feel about the Jaguars? Tyson Alualu is looking to me the best 1stround pick of the 4 right now. He already learned how to ‘hold the point’ in 5 games! I think in the end Mel Kiper and lot of others will stop laughing about this pick. According to Jeff Lageman he is ahead of development than Marcus Stroud was! And he has not even learned ‘chasing the ball’…As for the rest, I am very impressed by Deji Karim; who will have his real test on Monday night. If he can hurt the Titans defense and special teams- look out. As for the rest; 2 players are on IR (D’Anthony Smith and Scotty McGee) and Austen Lane played his 1st game on last Sunday. I have a few words for Larry Hart. Overall; it is far from last year’s success, but for the division it looks better then 2 of the rivals…