Reading the coverage ...
NFL rules have “grown into a convoluted mess, with no sense of what is reasonable or even needed. It's as though the NFL is trying to keep everyone -- the players, the fans, the coaches, even the officials -- in a constant state of guesswork.” Paul Newberry of AP makes a case for trimming the rulebook.
To which I say: I completely disagree with trimming the pass interference penalty to a 15-yard penalty. Defensive backs would be coached to interfere too often.
The only playoff mystery for the Texans now is their seeding, says John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “The Texans don’t even want to think about this right now, but if they avoid an upset against the Titans and lose to the Patriots, they can still get home-field advantage by defeating Indianapolis twice and Minnesota. If the Texans lose to the Patriots, New England will earn the head-to-head tiebreaker if it becomes necessary to determine playoff seeding. But if the Texans win the rest of their games to finish 14-2, the Patriots would be 13-3 at best.”
To which I say: A loss at New England isn't a given. The defense could play better and the Texans might be able to hang in a shootout.
The defensive fixes need to include a better pass rush, says McClain.
A late look at Lance Zierlein’s reaction to the Texans’ win in Detroit. “I would take last year’s pass rush in a heartbeat over this year’s.”
We thought the Colts were crazy to dismiss talk of rebuilding before the season started, says Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. Robert Mathis asked the columnist if he was still using the word. “Heck, no, I'm not,” writes Kravitz.
Via text, Chuck Pagano urged T.Y. Hilton to “stretch and cut” as he returned punts, writes Phil Richards of the Star. He did just that and ignited the Colts with a 75-yard touchdown return.
Hilton is the first Colt in team history with a punt return and receiving touchdown in the same game, says Zak Keefer.
His teammates have taken to calling Jerrell Freeman “Baby Ray,” as in Ray Lewis, says Phillip B. Wilson of the Star.
Look at this story just to see the picture of Pagano responding to the crowd’s salute of him in Jim Irsay’s box on Sunday. Mike Chappell tells the story.
To which I say: I love the vantage point of this shot by Matt Kryger of The Star because it puts Pagano in the crowd and shows him right in the middle of the people who are embracing him.
The Colts' special season seems to defy logic, says Reggie Hayes of the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel.
Cheerleader Megan M. talks about getting her head shaved to honor Pagano.
The Jaguars did enough things right against the Titans to end their seven-game losing streak, says Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Mike Mularkey greeted each player with a chest bump as they arrived in the locker room. “Hopefully the spell is broken,” owner Shad Khan said.
Jacksonville gave up seven sacks, some to blitzers who were unblocked, says O’Halloran.
Cecil Shorts “has evolved into more than just the clear-cut Most Valuable Player so far in the Jaguars' underachieving 2012 season. He epitomizes what this franchise so desperately needs, but doesn't have yet in a big enough supply: a young player growing up and flourishing almost overnight.” Gene Frenette of the Times-Union on the Jaguars’ blossoming receiver.
To which I say: Shorts is the example. If you are making a list of young up-and-comers, who's No. 2 for the Jaguars? There is hardly an obvious choice.
Chad Henne wasn’t rattled by early struggles, says Vito Stellino of the Times-Union.
Last week, Mularkey urged his team to dig three feet deeper, says Vito Stellino.
The offense needed a change, Blaine Gabbert has a chance to be the guy and Shorts has a chance to be better than good, says John Oehser of Jaguars.com.
More NFL teams are interested in advanced statistics, but teams are pretty guarded about their use, says Judy Battista of The New York Times. The Jaguars and Tony Khan talk about how they try to use such numbers.
The Titans proved again they are not good enough to help themselves, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. “They repeatedly settled for field goals thanks to dropped passes, failures in the run game and the inability to make plays at crucial moments.”
Mike Munchak found the right word for what the Titans have achieved: mediocrity. David Climer of The Tennessean agrees.
Against a defense that’s been porous, the Titans didn’t even move into the red zone until the fourth quarter, says John Glennon of The Tennessean.
To which I say: While the defense gave up too many plays, this loss is pinned on the offense for sure.
The Titans recorded seven sacks but still allowed the Jaguars enough big plays to win, says Glennon.
A replay ruling that didn't give Damian Williams a touchdown hurt the Titans, Jordan Babineaux got benched again and Rob Bironas felt he should have been perfect, says Wyatt.