AFC South: Dan Federkeil

We’ve fielded some questions about the “final eight” rule that restricts what the last eight teams alive in the playoffs -- including the AFC champion Colts -- bringing in unrestricted free agents before they lose one.

Here’s an old post detailing the rule.

And here’s the clarification:

The Colts were able to sign guard Andy Alleman because he isn’t a six-year player who reached unrestricted free agency when March 4 turned into March 5. Alleman was a restricted free agent for the Chiefs, but Kansas City declined to tender him, the same way the Colts declined to tender Marlin Jackson, Tim Jennings, Aaron Francisco, T.J. Rushing, Daniel Federkeil, Tyjuan Hagler, Freddy Keiaho and Hank Baskett.

While all those guys become unrestricted in free agency in that they are allowed to sign anywhere, they aren’t the same sort of free agent that Gary Brackett was, briefly, or that any player with an expiring contract and six or more years of experience became.

And so the Colts were free to sign Alleman.

And if Jackson signs with Baltimore or Philadelphia this week, it won’t mean the Colts are then free to sign an unrestricted free agent.

Hope that clarifies things a bit.

And here’s what Scouts Inc. has to say about Alleman, who scored just a 53 in their free-agent grading. I presume he’ll get a chance to compete with Kyle DeVan at right guard or work as an interior backup.
Alleman has bounced around between three teams during the three years he has been in the NFL since being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2007 draft. He played in nine games, starting three, for the Chiefs in 2009. He is a good sized lineman with above average initial quickness and agility but is not a natural knee bender and will overextend into blocks. He tends to play with a narrow base and can struggle to react and right himself against good counter moves by the pass rusher. He is a decent backup that can step in to start for a game or two but is not the kind of athlete you want to start all 16 games.

AFC South: Free-agency primer

March, 4, 2010
Houston Texans

Potential unrestricted free agents: CB Dunta Robinson, WR Kevin Walter, RB Chris Brown, DT Jeff Zgonina, G Chester Pitts, S Brian Russell, S Nick Ferguson, LS Bryan Pittman, LB Chaun Thompson, QB Rex Grossman, LB Khary Campbell, G Tutan Reyes, T Ephraim Salaam, P Matt Turk.

Potential restricted free agents: DL Tim Bulman, S John Busing, OT Rashad Butler, TE Owen Daniels, RB Ryan Moats, S Bernard Pollard, LB DeMeco Ryans, G Chris White.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: I don’t think the Texans will jump out and make any monumental moves. But by deciding not to tag Robinson they created another hole and saved themselves big dollars. With needs at corner, running back, free safety, interior offensive line and defensive tackle they may have more than they can address in one draft. That means they could jump out for one significant free agent – like they did last year with defensive lineman Antonio Smith -- and maybe another less expensive one or two.

Indianapolis Colts

Potential unrestricted free agents: MLB Gary Brackett, K Matt Stover.

Potential restricted free agents: WR Hank Baskett, S Antoine Bethea, S Melvin Bullitt, OL Dan Federkeil, CB Aaron Francisco, LB Tyjuan Hagler, CB Marlin Jackson, CB Tim Jennings, DT Antonio Johnson, OT Charlie Johnson, LB Freddy Keiaho, DT Dan Muir, CBPR T.J. Rushing.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: Brackett is priority one and the team has indicated a plan to pay him as an upper-echelon guy. The restricted list includes a lot of key guys who will remain big factors next year. Indy is not a team that looks to bring in many outsiders for big roles and it won’t start now. Bill Polian’s said the Colts will sit back and see how things unfold in the new capless landscape.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Potential unrestricted free agents: DE Reggie Hayward, G Kynan Forney.

Potential restricted free agents: DT Atiyyah Ellison, LB Clint Ingram, DL Greg Peterson.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Jaguars are draft-reliant, but will also shop for bargains in free agency, hoping to plug a couple holes with high-character guys with upside who fit what they are doing. As for a big splash, it’s unlikely based on their recent busts with big-name free agents like Jerry Porter and Drayton Florence and the direction they’ve moved since.

Tennessee Titans

Potential unrestricted free agents: DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, C Kevin Mawae, LB Keith Bulluck, TE Alge Crumpler, CB Nick Harper, CB Rod Hood, DE Jevon Kearse, S Kevin Kaesviharn.

Potential restricted free agents: DE Dave Ball, DT Tony Brown, TE Bo Scaife, LB Stephen Tulloch, DT Kevin Vickerson, RB LenDale White.

Franchise player: None.

What to expect: The Titans will undergo a youth movement, especially on defense where Vanden Bosch and Bulluck, who’s recovering from ACL repair, are going to be allowed to walk. Mawae been told his only chance to return is as a backup at a backup price. Brown, Scaife and Tulloch are important guys they’ll want to retain. Beyond that, expect mostly bargain shopping.

RFA tender update

March, 4, 2010
Restricted free-agent tenders have to be done before midnight ET. Here's what's out so far:


From John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.


Bethea info from Adam Schefter.



From Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

A look at restricted free agency

February, 19, 2010
It’s a whole new offseason world starting March 5, and we have no experience from which to predict what happens in an uncapped year. There are enough restrictions on the players’ side to offset the Wild West so many initially projected.

One area I am really curious to see is restricted free agency. Because there are fewer unrestricted free agents (it takes six years to get there now, not four), will teams be more protective of their RFAs and more aggressive in terms of signing RFAs from outside to offer sheets?

I certainly think a creative front office that can go after the right guys can lure them away or at least get a trade conversation going.

Teams must tender their RFAs by the end of March 4. Here are the levels of tags:

With no CBA by March 5, and we aren’t expecting one, here are the RFAs for each team in the AFC South, according to the NFLPA.





Colts roster move, inactives

November, 22, 2009
BALTIMORE -- The Colts put backup tackle Dan Federkeil on IR with a concussion, adding safety De'von Hall to their roster.

The entire list of inactives:

Posted by’s Paul Kuharsky

The Colts have done a great job so far this season mixing and matching in the secondary and indications are they will need to do it some more Sunday night in Nashville.

Marlin Jackson, who’s only played nickel so far as he returns from a torn ACL, tweaked his knee and hasn’t practiced this week. Here’s John Oehser’s write-up of the situation.

Starter Kelvin Hayden said this week he expects to miss one more game and return after the bye. If Jackson is also out, that means rookie Jerraud Powers and Tim Jennings as the starters for the third week in a row, with undrafted rookie Jacob Lacey plugged into the nickel package.

The Titans' third receiver is rookie Kenny Britt, but he doesn’t automatically line up in the slot. Tennessee is comfortable moving starters Justin Gage, Nate Washington and Britt around based on matchups they find favorable.

Left tackle could be an issue for the Colts as well. Starter Charlie Johnson’s been out since injuring a knee against Seattle. Dan Federkeil, not Tony Ugoh, was the backup against the Seahawks.

Coach Jim Caldwell tried to soft-pedal Ugoh’s status for that game, citing an unidentified “nick” that prompted the team to make Ugoh inactive, but Ugoh never appeared on the injury report.

Federkeil or Ugoh could be a good draw for Tennessee defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, a great motor guy who’s feeling a lot of pressure after going without a sack in the first quarter of the season.

Jaguars-Colts inactives

September, 13, 2009

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

INDIANAPOLIS -- Here are the inactives for Jaguars at Colts:


Colts: Cutdown analysis

September, 5, 2009

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Biggest surprise: Four undrafted rookies made it. Linebacker Ramon Humber, cornerback Jacob Lacey and interior offensive lineman Kyle DeVan have cause to celebrate and will surely be expected to make an impact on special teams if they make the game day 45. Kicker Shane Andrus could be insurance until Adam Vinatieri is fully fit after offseason hip surgery, or they could keep him as a kickoff guy. Fourth-round draft pick Terrance Taylor, expected to be part of the bulking up of the defensive line, was cut, as was second-year defensive end Marcus Howard. He was a fifth-round draft pick last year who appeared to have upside. But the team’s push to get bigger along the defensive line could have cost him his spot. Keyunta Dawson was moved from tackle to end in the changes.

No-brainers: The team spent a sixth-round pick on Curtis Painter and liked what it saw from him as he played more than anticipated in the preseason with Jim Sorgi hurt for much of the time. In a league starved for decent options as No. 2 quarterbacks it would have been difficult to have gotten him to the practice squad, so it kept him as a third quarterback on a team with as durable a starter as there is in Peyton Manning. Will injuries allow for such depth-long term?

What's next: Left tackle remains the big concern. Charlie Johnson ranks ahead of Tony Ugoh on the depth chart but could win the job back. It would be uncharacteristic for the team to bring someone in and insert him into the starting lineup at this point, but they have to at least wish an upgrade candidate in their scheme would present himself. Ugoh and Dan Federkeil currently rank as the backup tackles.
Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

FRANKLIN, Ind. -- Some observations and thoughts from Saturday afternoon's public minicamp practice at Franklin College's Faught Stadium:

Outreach: Bill Polian spoke to the crowd before things started and told those in attendance that owner Jim Irsay had charged the team to create more outreach and more interaction with fans, which was the impetus for a practice like this one.

Boomer: New special teams coach Ray Rychleski has a booming voice that carries. He's got some enthusiasm for sure and offered critiques and compliments with equal fervor. Rookie punter Pat McAfee bombed a couple, but was inconsistent.

Stumble: Tyjuan Hagler provided some comic relief, tripping over his own feet during a linebacker drill where players zigzagged in a back pedal before breaking on a ball.

Third wide: I tried to read into how the receivers deployed, but there is no telling at this stage how the candidates for the No. 3 job -- Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie and Roy Hall -- stack up. My eye -- which has no experience training receivers, just lots watching them -- puts them in that order right now.

It got even harder to gauge Garcon against Collie when Anthony Gonzalez dropped out, seemingly with a right thigh issue. Those two worked in three-wide with Reggie Wayne. That might tell us something about Hall, though.

Clyde Christensen is working as the offensive coordinator now, but is still with the receivers as their position coach. The Colts are creative in some of the drills they use when the wideouts work alone. I don't recall seeing other teams, for example, run short stuff where they cut behind a blocking bag that interrupts their view as they angle back to collect a pass. But it seems a smart way to recreate some real-world experience in this sort of mild setting. I saw Collie, Hall and Taj Smith drop short passes in that segment.

Details: While special teams work went on at one point, quarterbacks worked alone. Peyton Manning lined up in the spot where he imagined a defender would be on a specific play and looked to offer detailed commentary/advice/coaching to Curtis Painter before he took a few drops envisioning the full 11 that could be opposite him.

Protection: The first offensive line that worked in front of Manning in a team drill was, left to right: Tony Ugoh, Jamey Richard, Jeff Saturday, Dan Federkeil and Ryan Diem. (Charlie Johnson and Mike Pollak didn't work and Ryan Lilja didn't work that deep into the session.)

Scrambled backers: I tried to look at linebackers the same way, but it seemed like there was a lot of mix and match going on. One early group had Jordan Senn and Philip Wheeler bracketing Adam Seward. Of all the things not to read much into -- which is virtually everything here -- I'd rank this first.

Coming back: Watched Lilja, who's coming off a season lost to a knee injury, a little bit. He wore sleeves on both knees and seemed comfortable firing off the line and cutting down a blocking bag/tackling dummy as the O-line concentrated on some individual technique.

Off day: Among those who sat out at spots other than the O-line: Running backs Joseph Addai and Mike Hart, defensive end Dwight Freeney, cornerback Marlin Jackson, safety Bob Sanders and linebacker Gary Brackett.

Catches: In work with just quarterbacks and wide receivers, Gonzalez ran on to a nice line drive post from Manning, stopping it with one hand and then catching up to it as he accelerated. In the same period, Austin went to the ground to collect a pass from Chris Crane.

The break-up: Third-round cornerback Jerraud Powers made what I thought was the standout defensive play of the afternoon. In the team period, matched up with Wayne and with Manning, Powers broke well on mid-range pass to the left side, got a hand in front of Wayne and broke it up.

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Young talent at offensive tackle is a commodity and a necessity.

Via The Sporting News, RealScouts put together this list of the 20 top tackles.

Just two AFC South tackles make the list: Titans left tackle Michael Roos (fifth) and Texans right tackle Eric Winston (17th).

I think Titans right tackle David Stewart, a mauler who gets under defensive linemen's skin, is a glaring omission.

This seems like a good time for a look at each team's status at tackle:

Houston -- Duane Brown didn't play full games as a rookie last year as his coaches rotated Ephraim Salaam in to ease his workload. Salaam is gone, and Brown needs to show he can handle a full load. Winston is a very good player who earned a contract extension. Rashad Butler ranks as the backup. He was a third-rounder for Carolina in 2006.

Indianapolis -- Tony Ugoh remains a source of debate at left tackle. Will he prove tougher in his third year? How will he do without retired position coach Howard Mudd in his ear? Veteran Ryan Diem mans right tackle and is steadier. Dan Federkeil backed up both last year though it was the versatile Charlie Johnson who played four games for Ugoh when he was hurt and even after he appeared healthy.

Jacksonville -- The Jaguars are revamping at the spot and spent their top two picks on Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. Britton could wind up playing guard early on, depending on how the Jaguars sort things out. But with those two, and the addition of veteran Tra Thomas, they should be far better off than they were a year ago when Khalif Barnes was the starter on the left side. Tony Pashos, the incumbent right tackle, will have to play well to hold on to his spot.

Tennessee -- The Titans are set with Roos, an All-Pro, and Stewart. But their biggest personnel question on offense could be who backs those two up. Daniel Loper was an excellent utility part who could play outside or guard, but he left for Detroit as a free agent. Now the Titans hope Mike Otto, a 2007 seventh-rounder, or fourth-round rookie Troy Kropog can step forward and provide security. A late veteran addition with experience is a possibility.

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

With deals announced Tuesday for linebacker Buster Davis, offensive lineman Dan Federkeil and running back Lance Ball, the Colts have kept all four of their exclusive rights free agents.

Earlier they signed defensive tackle Daniel Muir.

All were contributors to the 2008 Colts.

Davis was claimed off waivers by the Colts from Detroit prior to the 2008 regular season. He appeared in six games with the Colts last season, starting three of the final four games at middle linebacker, and totaling 26 tackles, 16 solo.

Federkeil joined the Colts as an undrafted free agent from the University of Calgary in 2006. Heading into his fourth season with Indianapolis, Federkeil has appeared in 22 career games, including three starts. Those all came last year at right guard. He also appeared as a reserve at right tackle and on special teams.

Ball was a practice-squader for much of last season, but was on the active roster and played in the Colts' regular-season finale -- a game with no playoff implications for either team -- against Tennessee, totaling 83 yards on 13 carries.

A lunchtime look around

February, 27, 2009
Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans

I can't believe this, but Oilers/Titans Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews is joining the Texans coaching staff. I would have bet a lot against that one. He must have gotten bored at home.

We knew Eugene Wilson had a new deal. The National Football Post has contract details.

The Sage Rosenfels to Minnesota trade is official.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are now thin at linebacker, writes Mike Chappell.

Indy announced it tendered exclusive rights free agents offensive lineman Dan Federkeil, who also was offered a tender as an exclusive rights free agent in addition to running back Lance Ball, linebacker Buster Davis and defensive tackle Daniel Muir.

The team also confirmed it's added the following players since the end of the 2008 season: Linebacker Rufus Alexander, defensive back Brannon Condren, punter Mike Dragosavich (waiver claim), defensive back Brandon Foster, wide receiver Sam Giguere, tackle Corey Hilliard, defensive back Travis Key, linebacker Michael Okwo, tight end Jamie Petrowski, wide receiver Taj Smith and defensive back Brandon Sumrall.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tim Graham says choosing the Patriots over the Bills was easy for Fred Taylor.

Keeping Brad Meester was a good move, says Cole Pepper.

Tennessee Titans

David Climer would like the Titans to take a new approach at receiver.

The agent for receiver Nate Washington expects him to visit the Titans. Also interested: Lions, Buccaneers, Rams and Vikings. He's in Detroit Friday, according to Jim Wyatt.

Titans free agent receiver Brandon Jones will visit the 49ers, says Wyatt.

Defensive tackle Chris Canty is slated to visit the Titans Saturday after a stop in Washington.

The Titans have ratcheted up efforts to hold onto Chris Simms, says Terry McCormick.

Three keys for the Colts

January, 3, 2009
Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

SAN DIEGO -- Here are three things I think have to happen for the Colts to have their best chance to win Saturday night against the Chargers.

I acknowledge up front there is no rocket scientology involved in this formula.

Protect Manning: Against 3-4 defenses in the playoffs -- and they've belonged to good teams like New England, Pittsburgh and San Diego -- Peyton Manning has gotten sacked more often and thrown more interceptions. Once again, the Colts do not have the full offensive line they'd prefer. Dan Federkeil will be at right guard with Mike Pollak out hurt.

Minimize big plays: San Diego's been an explosive team. If the Colts can make Philip Rivers be patient and have to work super hard to drive the field, they'll get an edge. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are rested. They need to wreak some havoc and get the Chargers off rhythm -- something that didn't happen in last year's playoff game.

Run at least a little: Yes, the Colts can get yards out of Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes as part of the passing game. But if the Chargers stuff the run and make it a non-factor early, I would think the home team won't buy any play-action fakes from there. The Colts don't have to run well to win, but they may have to run well enough -- or at least often enough -- to make play-action a believable piece of their game and for it to create any hesitation for the Chargers defense.

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Heading to San Diego this morning, but you might still find some posts trickling out while I travel.

Some morning headlines for you:

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

  • A look back at a crazy season for the Colts, by Phil Richards who counted 19 knee surgeries.
  • Feisty Philip Rivers is ready to take on the Colts again, writes Phillip B. Wilson.
  • Peyton Manning learns if he's MVP today, as Wilson looks at his competition.
  • Dan Federkeil is expected to start at right guard in San Diego, says Richards.
  • San Diego has done things the hard way, writes Richards.
  • Dominic Rhodes is wearing a winning-streak beard, writes Mike Chappell.
  • Pressure on Rivers is crucial for the Colts, says Tom James.
  • It's hard to gauge momentum as the playoffs start, writes James.
  • Dallas Clark ranks as one of the biggest unsung heroes in the league, according to Adam Schein.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • All is quiet with those who cover the Jags.

Tennessee Titans

  • The Titans await the weekend's results, writes Gary Estwick.
  • Jeff Fisher had his team in pads for Thursday's practice, says Jim Wyatt.
  • Chris Johnson thought offensive rookie of the year voting was bogus, according to Estwick.

Colts' O-line filled-up with subs

December, 28, 2008
Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts got a couple guys dinged early and they've been called questionable. While receiver Pierre Garcon returned after it was announced he had knee and ankle injuries, odds are against comebacks for two other more prominent players.

Receivers Anthony Gonzalez (hip) and guard Mike Pollak (ankle) are out.

The offensive line has been filled in with backups beyond Pollak's: Left to right, we've now got starters Tony Ugoh and Charlie Johnson along with Jamey Richard, Steve Justice and Dan Federkeil.

All those subs got experience early this season while the team dealt with injuries.

Tony Dungy has never been shy about playing reserves in games like this that have no bearing on the Colts' playoff positioning.