AFC South: Brad Smith

Jacksonville Jaguars mailbag

November, 14, 2013

Final Word: Jets-Colts

January, 7, 2011
Wild-card Final Word: NY Jets-Indy | Baltimore-K.C. | N.O.-Seattle | G.B.-Philadelphia

Three nuggets of knowledge about Saturday's Jets-Colts wild-card game:

[+] EnlargeIndianapolis Colts wide receiver Pierre Garcon
AP Photo/Kevin TerrellColts wide receiver Pierre Garcon caught 11 passes for 151 yards in last season's AFC Championship Game against the Jets.
Will the Colts target Drew Coleman? Peyton Manning’s going wherever he finds an open receiver. But the Jets emphasized adding cornerbacks after Pierre Garcon had a huge game against them in the AFC Championship Game. ESPN Stats & Info says that Manning really took off in that game when he started attacking the middle of the field. Surely Reggie Wayne and Garcon will run routes that take them there. But if Darrelle Revis and Cromartie do well on Wayne and Garcon, respectively, we’re going to see how the linebackers can handle Jacob Tamme and how the nickel, Coleman, can handle Blair White. I suspect there will be at least a couple of moments when Colts’ fans grimace and wonder how much of a difference Austin Collie would have made. But Indianapolis has enough to still be effective.

Can the coverage contain Brad Smith? The Colts can’t let a big special teams play be a factor, and Smith can be exceptionally dangerous as a kick returner. Indianapolis should take a touchback every chance it gets. Seriously. There are two significant categories where the Colts and Jets are night and day. This is one of them. The Jets' average drive starts at the 31.5-yard line, the best spot in the league. The Colts start at the 22.7, the worst. It’s fair to cringe every time Indianapolis fields a kick, and that’s not a knock on Dominic Rhodes, who’s been handling the job. There is just nowhere for him to go.

What happens inside the 20? The other night and day contrast between these teams is in red zone production. The Colts don’t have to call on Adam Vinatieri a lot because they are busy scoring touchdowns. When they get close, they get touchdowns 67.9 percent of the time, the best percentage in the league by a good margin. New York doesn’t play great red zone defense. The Jets allow TDs 60.5 percent of the time with Indy’s defense faring better (52.1). On offense, the Jets punch it in only 40 percent of the time. That’s a lot of numbers to get to my point: A lot of Nick Folk on the field isn’t going to win this game, I don’t expect.

RTC: Will Freeney target Slauson?

January, 5, 2011
Reading the coverage ...

Two AFC South players made John Clayton’s NFL All-Pro Team.

Houston Texans

The Texans talked to Marvin Lewis before he re-signed with Cincinnati and will talk to Wade Phillips today, says John McClain.

The new defensive coordinator needs be a proven winner and the Texans should follow the path of the Saints and Packers, says McClain.

Finally, Gary Kubiak’s job looks to be on the line, says Jerome Solomon.

Rick Smith hasn’t taken enough heat here, says Richard Justice.

The porous defense was a constant problem for the Texans, says McClain.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts have to keep the Jets’ pass rush at bay, says Mike Chappell.

If the Jets' Rex Ryan can’t beat Peyton Manning this time, when will he? Bob Kravitz considers the question.

The Colts face another return star in Brad Smith, says Phil Richards.

Breaking down the matchup with Phillip B. Wilson.

Manning’s Wednesday talk with the media.

The Polian Corner features Chris, not Bill.

Manning’s year in context, from Nate Dunlevy.

Better or worse? Dunlevy’s 2010 review.

Will Dwight Freeney be put in position to go after young guard Matt Slauson? Scott Bolander considers.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Vito Stellino and Tania Ganguli discuss Jack Del Rio’s season wrap-up. (Video.)

Del Rio is hopeful for next season, says Ganguli.

The Jags must play better at crunch time, says Vic Ketchman.

Players the Jaguars should target for the defense, from Alfie Crow.

Tennessee Titans

Former Titans coaches back Jeff Fisher, writes Jim Wyatt.

Talks about Fisher’s future are still ongoing.

Recapping Fisher versus Vince Young with Jason LaCanfora and the AP.

Marc Mariani set a team record in large part because of how many kicks the Titans fielded, says David Boclair.

Guys who should not be back, from Andrew Strickert.

Rapid Reaction: Colts 30, Jets 17

January, 24, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS -- The mission isn’t a Super Bowl appearance, it’s a Super Bowl win.

Still, with two weeks before the league’s season-ending spectacle, the Colts are lifting the AFC championship trophy and should be taking a great deal of pride in it. Set aside your feelings if you were bitter about how they decided to play Weeks 16 and 17. They are 16-0 this season when they’ve tried to win.

Despite a shaky first half where the Jets seized some control, the methodical, precise and passionate Colts recovered and rolled -- 30-17 in the AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

With a 377-yard passing game, Peyton Manning became the league’s all-time leader in 300-yard playoff games, with seven. Kurt Warner and Joe Montana each have six.

The Jets hit two big home run plays, an 80-yard Mark Sanchez-to-Braylon Edwards touchdown and a 45-yard Brad Smith-to-Jerricho Cotchery Wildcat play that set up another seven points.

But the Colts were able to withstand the atypical big plays surrendered and answer with plenty of their own.

The mighty Jets defense gave up 100-yard games to receivers Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, and the mighty Jets running game pieced together 86 yards, 15 less than their hosts who have a rep for not being able to run it at all.

Now we wait to see what storyline the Colts get for the Super Bowl: Manning versus Brett Favre, with a second Super Bowl title added to one of their legacies, or Manning against his hometown Saints, the team his dad starred for.