- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter
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It’s a super-short week for the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, who play each other Thursday night, and a short week for the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. Coaches are moving faster, so are they more prone to spin?
Here’s our occasional look at Spin City in the AFC South, ranked from the hardest-to-swallow spin to the most palatable since Sunday's games.
Mel Tucker on whether he thinks Blaine Gabbert is feeling pressure in the pocket when pressure is not there: “I see Blaine as being courageous in the pocket. I see him as being super tough. I see him being very, very competitive and my feeling is that his teammates and his coaches feel the same way.”
Kuharsky’s take: Reverse psychological overstatement. You can say he’s not afraid, you need to say he’s not afraid because it probably does him no good to hear his coach saying publicly that he’s scared. But courageous? This will be Tucker’s fourth game at the helm, but that’s fourth-year level coach-speak there.
Gary Kubiak on if he sees any drop off by the Colts on the defensive side in line with their 1-13 record: “Absolutely not. They’ve been playing their hearts out and they’ve been on the field a lot. They’ve been true pros through their situation. It’s been impressive to watch.”
Kuharsky’s take: Well, the Colts played very good defense Sunday in their first win of the season, over the Titans. And they have been pros about it. But this year’s Indianapolis defense ranks 28th, eight spots worse than last year’s, three spots worse against the run (28th) and 11 spots worse against the pass (24th) than in 2010. Kubiak can’t say it, but that’s called drop off. He could stop short of “Absolutely not,” however.
Jim Caldwell on Peyton Manning's recent rehab session throwing in pads: “It’s tough to give, from my vantage point at least, a detailed sort of description of a rehab session, and that’s basically what it is. He’s got a little ways to go yet, he’s still working towards it and I think he’s making progress.”
Kuharsky’s take: Why is it tough? Elsewhere Caldwell said he wasn’t going to comment, and that’s obviously his prerogative. But let’s not pretend it’s difficult for a veteran football coach to describe the simple throwing his quarterback did. Caldwell’s boss, Bill Polian, didn’t struggle on SiriusXM NFL Radio earlier in the day to say Manning threw 30-35 passes with “good velocity” in a 25-30 yard space.
Mike Munchak on Chris Johnson's season and his potential for a big rebound next year: “… We just haven’t been as good as we need to be and some of that is him but I think more of it’s the situation and the others around him and so that’s something we’re going to have to improve in the offense, is making sure we have him here all during the offseason and having him here in camp I think will make a big difference for us.”
Kuharsky’s take: When he took the job Munchak said the Titans had a Super-Bowl caliber offensive line. He’s not said that during this season. And I’m not certain how an offseason in Nashville prevents Johnson, with a chance to score in Indianapolis Sunday, from getting caught from behind by Chris Rucker. Super-fast guys who get slower don’t typically get faster again.
It’s a super-short week for the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, who play each other Thursday night, and a short week for the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.