AFC South: Chris Prosinski

MJD says 50-50 chance for Sunday

December, 13, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said he has a 50-50 chance of playing in Sunday’s game against Buffalo because of a strained right hamstring.

He was one of two players listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report. The other is safety Johnathan Cyprien, who hasn’t practiced the past two days because of a thigh injury.

"It doesn’t look real good for either of them right now," coach Gus Bradley said Friday afternoon.

Both will work out on Sunday morning to see if they’re able to play. If Jones-Drew can’t play, first-year back Jordan Todman would make the start in his place. If Cyprien can’t play, Winston Guy or Chris Prosinski would start at strong safety alongside Josh Evans at free safety.

Not having Jones-Drew would be the more significant loss. He leads the team with 719 yards and five touchdowns rushing, and is third with 34 catches for 239 yards.

Jones-Drew tried to test his hamstring on Friday, but said he couldn’t run full speed.

"Right now it’s just real tight," Jones-Drew said. "You’ve got to let it loosen up and get back to where it feels like the other one or close to it.

"I couldn’t open up yet. If I can’t do that then I’m not going to go out there, because I won’t be able to be myself. Hopefully I’ll be able to go out there Sunday, but if not be set up for next week."

Receiver Cecil Shorts also might be a game-day decision, but he was able to practice on a limited basis on Friday, and is listed as questionable on the injury report.

Shorts joins Jones-Drew on iffy list

December, 12, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars were already unsure of Maurice Jones-Drew's status for Sunday's game against Buffalo, and now receiver Cecil Shorts may not play, either.

Shorts
Jones-Drew (hamstring) and Shorts (groin) have not practiced all week and are expected to test their injuries on Friday, but coach Gus Bradley said there's a chance a decision on their chances of playing may not be made until just before kickoff.

"I think they're both very questionable," Bradley said Thursday. "We've got our fingers crossed on both of them."

Shorts has been battling a groin injury for much of the season and has managed it by not practicing on Wednesdays and being limited on Thursdays. That schedule got thrown off last week because the Jaguars played Houston on Thursday night and that wasn't sufficient time to rest his groin from the previous Sunday's game against Cleveland.

Jones-Drew
He played against the Texans but left the game late because of the pain. He's hoping the extra three days of rest between that game and Sunday's game against the Bills will be enough to allow his groin to improve.

"I've been dealing with it all year," Shorts said. "It's not getting better; it's getting worse.

"I think I'm going to go out there tomorrow and get some reps and stuff. We'll see how it feels tomorrow and then [make a] game-time decision as Gus said. If I'm able to play, I'm playing. No doubt about it. I have no problem dealing with pain but when it comes to your [groin] area, it's a little different."

Shorts leads the Jaguars in receptions (66), yards (77), and receiving touchdowns (three). If he is unable to play, Bradley said Kerry Taylor would start in his place. Taylor was signed on Nov. 4 from Arizona's practice squad and has caught three passes for 27 yards in four games.

Taylor would also be the team's kick returner if Jones-Drew is unable to play because regular kick returner Jordan Todman would start for Jones-Drew.

A third starter, safety Johnathan Cyprien, also did not practice Thursday because of a thigh injury. Bradley said he feels the best about Cyprien's chances of playing than any of the other injured players. Cyprien has started every game at strong safety this season and is second on the team with 83 tackles.

Defensive tackle Roy Miller (shoulder) and linebacker Geno Hayes (knee) also did not practice on Thursday because they were given the day off to rest their injuries. They are expected to play Sunday.

Safety Josh Evans (shoulder), guard Uche Nwaneri (shoulder), offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (shoulder), safety Chris Prosinski (concussion), and kicker Josh Scobee (left hip) were limited.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It has been an ugly first half of the season for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

They’ve lost every game by double digits -- the average margin is 22 points -- and are riding a 13-game losing streak that dates back to a Nov. 25, 2012, when they beat Tennessee. They rank last in the NFL in total offense and rush defense, 31st in rush offense, and 27th in total defense.

They haven’t scored a touchdown at EverBank Field since the first quarter of the 2012 regular-season home finale.

Ugly, indeed.

There have been slivers of good work in parts of the team in the first eight games, but the overall body of work deserves an F.

In breaking that grade down, it's clear this midseason report card isn’t going to be pretty. In fact, it’s the kind of report card that gets you grounded for weeks:

Upon Further Review: Jaguars Week 3

September, 23, 2013
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A review of four hot issues from the Jacksonville Jaguars' 45-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks:

First-down woes: The Jaguars continue to struggle on first down. Of the 27 first-down plays the Jaguars had against Seattle, they had negative yardage or no gain on 17 of them. The offense does not have the kind of playmakers, especially when the offensive line is struggling, to overcome that. It’s not because the Jaguars weren’t aggressive, though. Chad Henne threw 17 passes on first down, but he completed only seven. He did throw for 121 yards, but nearly half of that came on one play (a 59-yard catch-and-run by Cecil Shorts). Here’s a startling stat: Through three games, the Jaguars have 18 three-and-outs on 41 possessions (44 percent).

[+] EnlargeMaurice Jones-Drew
Tony Overman/The OlympianSeattle free-agent defensive linemen Michael Bennett, No. 72, and Clinton McDonald are likely to get hefty contract offers this offseason.
Ineffective ground game: Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said the team will examine whether switching from a zone blocking scheme to a man or gap blocking scheme is warranted. Something has to be done to fix the paltry production. The Jaguars rushed for 51 yards against Seattle, including just 20 (on 12 carries) in the first half. Jones-Drew had just 17 yards on nine carries in the first half. He had 8 on one carry, meaning he averaged 1.1 yards on his other eight carries. The Jaguars ran more gap blocking schemes in the second half, and things were slightly better (31 yards on 12 carries), but they had to throw the ball because they were behind. The lack of production in the ground game is killing the offense, and it has been that way all season. Brad Meester, Uche Nwaneri and Will Rackley aren’t getting consistent push off the ball or enough movement to create holes or creases for the backs.

Tight end damage: Seattle tight ends Zach Miller, Luke Willson and Kellen Davis combined to catch nine passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Up until then, the Jaguars had done a solid job of limiting the damage done by the position (five catches for 40 yards in two games). Play-action hurt the Jaguars on Sunday. For example, safety Chris Prosinski got caught looking in the backfield on Miller’s 1-yard touchdown catch because of Russell Wilson's play fake to Marshawn Lynch. Miller cut-blocked defensive end Tyson Alualu, then popped up and was wide-open in the end zone for an easy catch.

More Denard: The Jaguars tried to get Denard Robinson more work on Sunday by having him return kicks. He was solid, averaging 27.0 yards on two returns -- but he also nearly had a disaster by starting to take the ball out of the end zone but taking a knee just behind the goal line. The team is in desperate need of playmakers, so it was a good idea to try to take advantage of Robinson’s open-field ability. That might be the best way to use him because the Wildcat formation is not working. Robinson fumbled an exchange and had minus-2 yards on his other carry.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars wrap up the preseason in Atlanta against the Falcons tonight (7:30 p.m. ET). Here are three things to watch:

The quarterbacks: With starter Blaine Gabbert out with a hairline fracture of his right thumb, Chad Henne gets the start. But he and the rest of the team’s starters will play only 10-15 snaps. That leaves Mike Kafka and Matt Scott to play the majority of the game.

The two are battling for the No. 3 quarterback spot. Neither has been particularly impressive in the preseason. Kafka has completed 7 of 14 passes for 27 yards and one interception while Scott has completed 12 of 28 passes for 103 yards. They’ve played in every game.

The team claimed former Kansas City QB Ricky Stanzi off waivers on Tuesday, but that move appears to be more about picking his brain about the Chiefs (whom the Jaguars play in the regular-season opener) than anything else.

So it’s Scott versus Kafka for the third quarterback spot. It’s a critical competition, at least for the early part of the season. There’s some doubt that Gabbert will be ready to go in Week 1, in which case Henne would start and the Kafka/Scott winner would be the No. 2.

Jonathan Cyprien: Coach Gus Bradley has said several times this week that he wants Cyprien to get more reps against the Falcons. The second-round draft pick missed the first two weeks of training camp because of a hamstring injury.

The 6-foot, 217-pound safety is a better option in the secondary than Chris Prosinski, who was picked on by Miami in the preseason opener, including a play in which he got turned around on a touchdown pass. Cyprien seemed to be unsure of himself at times in last Saturday’s game against the Eagles and the extra playing time will certainly help.

Cyprien will be one of two rookie starters in the secondary (cornerback Dwayne Gratz is the other). They’re going to make mistakes but the best way to limit those is to get as much time on the field as possible.

The battle at WR: Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders and Mike Brown are set, which leaves five players competing for two spots. The top two candidates are Jordan Shipley and Tobais Palmer, with Jeremy Ebert, Toney Clemons and Charly Martin likely on the outside.

The 5-11, 178-pound Palmer is intriguing because of his speed, but he has fumbled two punts in the preseason and that may be something he can’t overcome. Shipley leads the bubble group of receivers with four catches for 48 yards. He also has value on special teams as a punt and kickoff returner, which may be enough to win him one of the final two spots.

Observation deck: Dolphins-Jaguars

August, 10, 2013
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Any chance to tighten a hold on the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting quarterback job disappeared on Blaine Gabbert with a miserable stat line against Miami.

Five completions in 10 attempts for 19 yards isn’t going to make anyone feel like Gabbert rose to the occasion or staked a claim in a 27-3 preseason loss at EverBank Field.

That’s 1.9 yards per attempt and 3.8 yards per completion. The Jaguars averaged 4.8 yards a carry when they ran the ball.

For comparison, Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill also completed five passes. His were good for 75 yards.

All the disclaimers for the Jaguars’ passer in one paragraph: Gabbert was without the team’s top two receivers, Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon, and its top two running backs, Maurice Jones-Drew and Justin Forsett. He got sacked early when Cameron Wake beat rookie right tackle Luke Joeckel. He suffered as a result of a drop by rookie receiver Ace Sanders and the lack of a play on a pass to Mike Brown that was probably catchable. On an early third-and-12 the Jaguars ran a screen pass with no chance of extending a drive. The interception he threw hit fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou in the hands and he failed to pull it in.

Even with all that context, a starting NFL quarterback needs to make more of his chance than Gabbert did. Chad Henne was far better: 8-for-11 for 87 yards for a 95.6 passer rating compared to Gabbert’s 16.7.

Henne deserves the start in the second preseason game.

A few other thoughts:
  • Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks was active, with a sack on the second play from scrimmage and at least one more disruptive play. Working from the left end spot, Tyson Alualu also had one very nice early pressure.
  • Dustin Keller pulled in the game’s first score, a 22-yard TD from Tannehill. Safety Chris Prosinski was all over the tight end but didn’t have the awareness to find the ball so it didn’t matter.
  • Sanders’ second punt return went for 22 yards and showed some nice shake.
  • Denard Robinson had one very nice change-of-direction play that went for a 7-yard gain, but in his first game action as a running back the production was poor as he averaged 3.6 yards. He got smashed in the backfield on a Wildcat keeper midway through the second quarter. The story of the run game was Jordan Todman, who turned six carries into 45 yards and seemed to get into his top gear pretty quickly.
  • Rookie cornerback Dwayne Gratz took advantage of a somewhat off-target throw from Matt Moore to confidently collect an interception.
  • Jaguars quarterbacks combined to complete six passes that were good for 2 yards or fewer: two 2-yard passes, two 1-yard passes, one pass for no gain and one completion that resulted in a 3-yard loss.

RTC: Ranking city sports duos

May, 28, 2013
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Reading the coverage…

Houston Texans


A case that the Astrodome is worth keeping, from Jere Longman of the New York Times.

Returning receivers know the heat is on for them to justify their place with the Texans, says Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle.

The Texans have depth for the long-term at cornerback, says Patrick Starr of State of the Texans.

Indianapolis Colts


A look a cities with franchise-caliber duos in sports from Matthew Glenesk and Nat Newell of the Indianapolis Star. Where do James Harden and J.J. Watt rank? How about Andrew Luck and Paul George?

An overview of the Colts in the red zone in 2012, from Kyle Rodriguez of Colts Authority.

Who will be the Colts' kick returner, asks Andrew Mishler of Stampede Blue.

Jacksonville Jaguars


Early indications are that cornerback Mike Harris and safety Chris Prosinski are in the Jaguars’ plans for 2013, says Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

To which I say: Perhaps Prosniski will be far better as a third safety. He's not a starting caliber guy.

Changing the date of the NFL draft is all about greed, says Gene Frenette of the Times-Union.

Part of the rationale in moving Tyson Alualu to end is taking some of the strain off his bad knee, says Dan Pompeii of the National Football Post.

Tennessee Titans


On Memorial Day, Titans fullback Collin Mooney remembered the sacrifices made by friends, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

A closer look at sixth-round cornerback Khalid Wooten, from Wyatt.

Considering the Titans' defensive backs from the draft with Tom Gower of Total Titans.
Johnathan CyprienRobert Mayer/USA TODAY SportsSecond-round safety Johnathan Cyprien is one of five draft picks the Jags added to their secondary.
With the second pick in the first round, the Jacksonville Jaguars got themselves a rock of an offensive tackle in Luke Joeckel.

What did they get with the first pick of the second round?

A team in dire need of cornerstones might have found one for the defense in Johnathan Cyprien, the strong safety out of Florida International.

Initial reports out of Jacksonville are very solid. It’s obviously early, but Cyprien could be the linchpin of a young secondary that grows up together, helping slow the run and cover the sort of tight ends who are increasingly posing matchup issues around the league.

“The thing we really enjoyed about evaluating him was his football instincts," said DeWayne Walker, the Jaguars' defensive backs coach. “Some guys, they have that halo effect where they kind of feel the game, and he has a real good feel for the game.

"We’re going to have to smooth him out, and we’re going to have to polish him up a little bit. At the same time, he definitely brings a lot of good tools to the table.”

Not too may years ago, the AFC South had a major dearth of quality safeties. Gradually, the position has gotten better. If Cyprien can be an impact guy, he and free safety Dwight Lowery can make the position one of the Jaguars’ most solid.

Cyprien comes across as a polite, confident young man eager to learn and to prove himself. He grew up admiring Sean Taylor, Troy Polamalu and Detroit Lions safety Louis Delmas, who went to the same high school and ranks as a friend who has offered a great deal of encouragement.

A late bloomer at North Miami Beach (Fla.) High School, Cyprien dreamed of playing at Texas, but had just two scholarship offers -- from Central Michigan and FIU. He stayed in Florida, and a big senior season in college turned him into a borderline first-round pick.

The Jaguars surely could have gotten good value by trading out of the 33rd position in the draft, but stayed put and jumped on him.

“It’s a big position, a big role in this defense,” Cyprien said. “You’re allowed to do a lot of things. You’re allowed to have a lot of fun. I’m planning on having a lot of fun playing that position.

“I guess you could say it could be hard for a rookie to be a leader. I wouldn’t define it as that, personally. I’m just taking it head on.”

Of eight picks in the draft, the Jaguars spent five on defensive backs: Cyprien in the second round; UConn cornerback Dwayne Gratz in the third; Florida free safety Josh Evans in the sixth; and New Mexico State cornerback Jeremy Harris and Appalachian State cornerback Demetrius McCray both in the seventh.

The Jaguars have a handful of guys with experience for the kids to look to.

Marcus Trufant, a 10-year veteran corner, played on coach Gus Bradley’s defense in Seattle, and could be the nickelback. Another free-agent cornerback, Alan Ball, has played five seasons, but struggled in Houston last year. Safety Chris Prosinski, a fourth-rounder from 2011, should be a backup at best with Cyprien on board. Mike Harris could be a nice nickel candidate in his second season.

Given the uncertainty at the position, I rank the Jaguars’ cornerback group as the most competitive unit in the division.

If Jacksonville is going to be any good on the back end, it’s likely to be because of the draft class’ contribution.

“I think it’s fun for all of us,” Walker said. “These guys were needed. We’re going to be pretty young. It’s fun for all of us to get this group and develop it and prove people wrong …

“Being able to talk with them about the league, these guys are pretty mature. Coach Bradley, [defensive coordinator] Bob Babich, all of our coaches do a good job saying the right things to these guys to get them acclimated. So I think all of our rookies, not only the rookies in the secondary, have come into a situation where we are here to help them, we are here to develop them to be competitive football players.”

Walker, who was the head coach at New Mexico State from 2009 to 2012, where he posted a 10-40 record, left in January to join Bradley's staff. Previously, Walker coached defensive backs for the Washington Redskins, New York Giants, New England Patriots and at Cal. He was also defensive coordinator at UCLA.

The assistant coach is a straight shooter who has been telling the rookies about the identity he wants his players to have, Cyprien said. They need to be sound in the techniques they are taught, and they should all look the same on tape.

“I think it’s a challenge for him, I think it’s good for him,” Cyprien said of the influx of youth in the secondary. “I know we have him excited, because we just want to run around, and we’re hungry to learn and we’re asking a lot of questions.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars have gone from Dawan Landry to Johnathan Cyprien at strong safety, and the move could wind up being an immediate upgrade for the new regime.

Cyprien
It certainly will be more cost effective. Landry, signed to a monster deal by the fired brass, was overpriced. Cyprien will get the contract commensurate with the first pick of the second round, which is where the Jaguars picked him.

Here’s Scouts Inc. in the Jaguars’ new safety, who should start beside Dwight Lowery: “Cyprien may have the best combination of size, range and athleticism in the safety class. He can play near the box and handle middle-of-the-field responsibilities. Cyprien plays fast, and with a physical edge. His instincts are adequate, but he could improve his angles as a tackle.

If he doesn’t beat out Chris Prosinski, it won’t bode well for him. I expect it won’t be difficult for Cyprien to vault Prosinski.

Priority one: Jacksonville Jaguars

January, 23, 2013
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Today we look at the biggest issues facing each team in the AFC South and give you an opportunity to assess priority one:

Pending free agents of note: Linebacker Daryl Smith, cornerback Derek Cox, fullback Greg Jones, defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, cornerback Rashean Mathis, center Brad Meester.

Weaknesses: It’s a big list considering the Jaguars were as bad as any team in the league with their 2-14 season. They have no clear answer at quarterback, where Blaine Gabbert will be coming off a couple injuries and Chad Henne didn’t show he’s better. The pass rush generated fewer sacks than Houston’s J.J. Watt had by himself.

SportsNation

What should be priority one for the Jaguars?

  •  
    6%
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    24%
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    43%
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    4%
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    23%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,270)

Unsettled starting jobs: We’ll turn this category inside-out for Jacksonville and consider guys under contract who should be locked in -- left tackle Eugene Monroe, receivers Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon, running back Maurice Jones-Drew if he’s back, defensive end Jason Babin, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, strong safety Dawan Landry, free safety Dwight Lowery.

Depth issues: They could be OK at receiver and safety, though I’d like to see an upgrade on Chris Prosinski as the third guy. There are front-line issues everywhere else, so depth is a luxury conversation at this time.

Health concerns: Jones-Drew missed all but six games and had foot surgery after the season, and his recovery will be a big issue. He’s got one year left on his deal a year after holding out for a new deal. Gabbert had left shoulder surgery. Receiver Laurent Robinson had major concussion issues. Defensive end Andre Branch didn’t finish the season and had surgery, believed to be connected to a groin issue. Lowery is recovering from a foot injury.

Unseen issue: Gus Bradley and his staff will try to start off with schemes tailored to what they have, but they’ve not yet been able to dig in and evaluate the roster. Their assessment of the roster is obviously a crucial part of how things pan out going forward.

Wrap-up: Patriots 23, Jaguars 16

December, 23, 2012
12/23/12
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Thoughts on the Jaguars' 23-16 loss to the Patriots at EverBank Field:

What it means: The Jaguars, a bad team, can have a good day against a good team and still lose. The Patriots, a good team, can have a bad day against a bad team and still win. Jacksonville was up 10 points, but it was no surprise the Jaguars couldn’t hold on. The Jaguars are now 2-13 and, mercifully, one week away from the offseason.

What it’s impossible to like: Field goals. The Jaguars got just one TD in four chances in the red zone. That’s simply not going to beat a team like New England. Interceptions. Chad Henne threw three of them. Blown leads. The Jaguars were up 10-0 and 13-3 but couldn’t hold on.

Nice job, except for the scoring part: The Jaguars outgained the Patriots 436 yards to 349, including 343 yards through the air. The 436 yards were the second most this season (458 at Houston) and the second game with 400-plus yards this season.

Clutch moments: Chris Prosinski pounced to pick a deflected pass and Derek Cox intercepted a Tom Brady pass intended for Brandon Lloyd. Two picks of Brady in a game is a hard thing to do. But they have to turn into more than field goals.

Doing things: Montell Owens had a 53-yard catch-and-run. Cast predominantly as a special-teamer, he’s been working as the team’s lead back because of so many injuries at the position. And he’s got a 5.0 yards per carry average and a 14.1 yards per catch average.

What’s next: A trip to Nashville for a rematch with the Titans. The Jaguars got one of their two wins against Tennessee 24-19 on Nov. 25 at EverBank Field.

Things to know about Colts-Jaguars

November, 8, 2012
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Some things to consider as we approach tonight’s game between the Colts and Jaguars at EverBank Field in Jacksonville:

Coverage issues: The Colts have survived a lot of injuries that too often have been bunched up at the same position. That’s the case now at corner, where starters Jerraud Powers (toe) and Vontae Davis (knee) are out. Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars' passing offense simply have to push the ball downfield more than they have to try to take advantage of replacements Cassius Vaughn and Darius Butler and third corner Josh Gordy. Andrew Luck is likely to do a better job picking at Jacksonville’s coverage deficiency. Safety Dwight Lowery (ankle) remains out and replacement Chris Prosinski is simply not a starting-caliber player. Corner Rashean Mathis is questionable with a groin injury.

[+] EnlargeRobert Mathis and Ryan Tannehill
Sam Riche/MCT via Getty ImagesRobert Mathis (98) has played in only five games this season but he's been productive when on the field, collecting six sacks.
Pressure: Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey said of Luck: “You can make anybody look like a rookie quarterback with a few hits.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not accurate with regard to Luck, who’s taken his share of shots and played just fine after them. The Jaguars rushed the passer pretty well for a couple of weeks, but faded in the loss to Detroit last week. They have just eight sacks in eight games. On the other side, Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis is a key to maximizing pursuit of Gabbert, but he’s questionable with a back injury. Even if he starts, will his back be a factor? If he can get a sack, it’ll be his ninth consecutive game with a quarterback takedown.

Rematch: Here's a refresher on the teams' first meeting, which is the Jaguars' lone win of the season. The Jaguars rallied back from an 11-point halftime deficit to pull ahead in the fourth quarter. But Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri’s 37-yard field goal with 56 seconds remaining looked like the back-breaker. On the first play after a touchback, Gabbert zipped a pass to Cecil Shorts, who split the safeties and ran to a game-winning touchdown with 45 seconds left. If it weren't for that play, the Jaguars might be winless and the Colts could be 6-2.

Other things to know: The Jaguars have lost eight of their past nine prime-time games, including three against the Colts, but Jacksonville has won its past three against Indianapolis. The Jaguars are 0-4 at home, having been outscored by a total of 92 points in those games. … The Jaguars rank second in the NFL with 46 penalties and they’ve not been called for an illegal contact penalty on defense or a delay of game penalty on offense. They have only one offside penalty, the second-fewest in the NFL. ... The Colts have started the same lineup on offense just twice and the same lineup on defense three times. The Jaguars have had a different starting lineup on offense in all eight games and have started the same defense in back-to-back games only once. ...[The butchered line about results against common opponents is gone. Apologies.]

Assessing the injury news

October, 26, 2012
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The primary injury developments that will impact Sunday’s games involving the AFC South.

Colts

Defensive lineman Fili Moala will miss his third consecutive game with a knee injury, so Drake Nevis will start in his place. Linebackers Robert Mathis (knee) and Pat Angerer (foot) are questionable and will be game-time decisions. I presume Angerer has a better chance but won’t be surprised if both play. Running back Donald Brown and nose tackle Martin Tevaseu are also questionable.

Titans

Left tackle Michael Roos, who had his appendix removed Monday, is out and Mike Otto will replace him in the starting lineup. Look for tight end Craig Stevens to line up and frequently help Otto against Dwight Freeney. Middle linebacker Colin McCarthy (ankle) and reserve linebacker Will Witherspoon (hamstring) are questionable.

Jaguars

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and safety Dwight Lowery (ankle) are out. Rashad Jennings starts for MJD and Chris Prosinski is in line to replace Lowery for a second week. Special teams ace Montell Owens (shoulder) is doubtful. Cornerbacks Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis, fullback Greg Jones and receiver Laurent Robinson are all questionable. They really need Cox to play.

Assessing the injury reports

October, 19, 2012
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What we know about the most important injuries that will affect the AFC South games Sunday:

Titans at Bills

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (shoulder) and middle linebacker Colin McCarthy (ankle) are both crucial components to the effort the Titans will need to stop the C.J. Spiller-Fred Jackson duo of Bills running backs. Both Titans defenders are questionable. Expect them to play, though they could be limited.

Ravens at Texans

Cornerback Johnathan Joseph (groin) was limited Friday. He will play, the question is how much and how effectively. The Ravens will likely test him early with Torrey Smith. Right guard Antoine Caldwell needs to take a concussion test to return, but they are listing him as probable, which suggests they are expecting him to pass.

Haloti Ngata (knee) is questionable for the Ravens but expected to play. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (Achilles) would need to be activated from PUP to play, and it appears unlikely to happen.

Browns at Colts

Inside linebacker Pat Angerer (foot) will play for the first time this season, seeing time in the base package in a rotation with Kavell Connor and Jerrell Freeman. Out are defensive end Cory Redding, outside linebacker Robert Mathis, nose tackles Fili Moala and Martin Tevaseu, cornerback Darius Butler, running back Donald Brown. The collective hit to the run defense on a day when it needs to slow Trent Richardson is quite large. Left guard Joe Reitz (knee), yet to play this season, is questionable. If he’s out, Jeff Linkenbach’s been the replacement.

Jaguars at Raiders

Outside linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) remains out, and receiver Laurent Robinson (concussion) and safety Dwight Lowery (ankle) won’t play either. Chris Prosinski will start for Lowery, despite his tackling troubles in his work as the third safety. The other starting safety, Dawan Landry, is probable with a knee injury.
Reading the coverage…

Houston Texans

Arian Foster and Ray Rich both pride themselves on being three-down running backs, writes Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle. “Rice and Foster are both top 10 in the league among non-quarterbacks sorted by all-purpose yards. Foster averages 105.5 total yards per game, down from 141.6 last season, and Rice averages 119.2.”

To which I say: As there are fewer and fewer, we should appreciate backs who can do it all more and more.

Danieal Manning apologized to Marshall Newhouse for throwing a punch at the Packers' defensive tackle during Sunday night’s game and expected to be fined, says John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. The fine was $15,000.

A Texans’ progress report from Nate Dunlevy of Bleacher Report. They are steady.

Indianapolis Colts

“If (Robert) Mathis remains idle and (Dwight) Freeney’s effectiveness is compromised against the Browns, from whom does the pass rush originate,” asks Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

To which I say: The inability of the Colts to get the two healthy and together on the field has been the biggest thing holding the Colts' defense back. (Outside of the overall personnel.)

Vontae Davis, Pat Angerer and Joe Reitz could be back in action Sunday. There are a lot of injuries to update, says Phil Richards of the Star.

Jacksonville Jaguars

“The inability to sack the quarterback has been one of the reasons why the Jaguars are off to a 1-4 start. If they are to climb out of this hole, they have to begin getting to the quarterback and that starts with getting to Carson Palmer when they go to Oakland Sunday. It’s up to (Jeremy) Mincey to jump-start the pass rush,” says Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union.

To which I say: Being a high-effort, high-motor guy is great, but if it doesn’t finish with a sack periodically, its value is simply not the same.

The Raiders still put a premium on speed, says Stellino.

Mike Mularkey said Chris Prosinski will start for the injured Dwight Lowery at safety, says Ryan O’Halloran. Prosinski has worked as the third safety, and will have to tackle better in increased playing time.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans allow nearly a touchdown less per game when Colin McCarthy is in the lineup, a stat that surprises coach Mike Munchak, writes John Glennon of The Tennessean.

To which I say: While it’s an impressive note, it reveals a lot, too, about how poorly stocked and unimpressive the defense is without him.

Jake Locker returned to practice on Wednesday and appears on track to be back in the lineup Oct. 28 against the Colts in Nashville, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

A Titans progress report from Dunlevy.

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