AFC South: James Wyche

Jags place Ingram on IR, sign Daniels

December, 21, 2009
12/21/09
5:48
PM ET
On linebackers-to-the-IR day in the AFC South, the Jaguars placed Clint Ingram on the list and will play the rest of the season without him.

Ingram suffered a shoulder injury Dec. 13 against Miami. Undrafted rookie Russell Allen worked in Ingram’s place in the loss to the Colts. Allen led the team with a dozen tackles.

The Jaguars had three roster spots because they recently released Kennard Cox and James Wyche.

To fill out their roster, they signed veteran free agent linebacker Tank Daniels and signed rookie tight end Zach Potter and center Cecil Newton off the practice squad to the 53-man roster. In addition, running back Josh Vaughan was signed to the practice squad.

The Jaguars will miss Ingram in New England and Cleveland in their final two games, but his loss isn’t a deal-breaker for a team that is one spot outside of the playoffs.

Daniels has been with the Eagles twice as well as the Giants. He has played in 26 regular season games and nine playoff games, including Super Bowl XLII.

Reading the coverage: Yards at any cost

December, 20, 2009
12/20/09
11:27
AM ET
Houston Texans

Don’t scoff, says Richard Justice: Matt Schaub is the real deal.

The Rams are not what they used to be, says Dale Robinson.

If Kyle Shanahan and Alex Gibbs leave, Justice will wish them well and urge people to move on.

Losing Shanahan to his father’s staff would stink for the Texans, says Lance Zierlein.

A guide on who to root for in order for the Texans to hold on to their slim playoff chances, from Sean Pendergast.

Indianapolis Colts

Joseph Addai has surpassed his hero, Kevin Faulk, says Phil Richards.

Jim Caldwell has extra time to make decisions about game No. 15, says Steve Ballard.

More on Caldwell taking his time, from John Oehser.

The Saints’ loss just about clinched the MVP for Peyton Manning, says Stampede Blue.

Jacksonville Jaguars

As the Jaguars watch and hope, they cut two defensive reserves -- Kennard Cox and James Wyche, says Vito Stellino.

Are Reggie Nelson’s days in Jacksonville numbered? Gene Frenette asks.

Vic Ketchman loved the play calling in the Jaguars’ loss to the Colts.

Tennessee Titans

Chris Johnson wants yards at any price, writes Jim Wyatt.

The Titans and Dolphins still harbor playoff hopes, says Wyatt.

Kerry Collins tells Titans Radio he's not planning on retiring. (Audio.)

Count Michael Irvin among the Johnson fans, says Wyatt.

Freeney, Mathis in starting lineup

December, 17, 2009
12/17/09
7:12
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE -- The Colts starting defensive ends are active and in the starting lineup. How much dinged up Dwight Freeney (abdomen) and Robert Mathis (quad) play against the Jaguars remains to be seen.

I expect Raheem Brock and Keyunta Dawson will get a lot of early-down action. That would be a smart way to scale back work for their stars, who would benefit from less contact with Maurice Jones-Drew.

Only three inactive Colts were left to be determined after the team declared the status of its injured players on Tuesday. Because five guys were already declared out, there could be guys eligible or dressed tonight who hardly play -- that will be one of the story lines we’ll try to follow for you after kickoff.

For the Jaguars, Russell Allen will start at outside linebacker for Clint Ingram (shoulder) and Attiyah Ellison will move ahead of Quentin Groves for the start at defensive end. As expected, Montell Owens is the starting fullback with Greg Jones (ankle) placed on injured-reserve.

Here’s the full list for both teams.

Colts:
Jaguars:
Luis Deloureiro adds third-down efficiency to passer rating.

Handicapping wild-card contenders including Jacksonville and Houston with Clark Judge.

Houston Texans

Gary Kubiak defended his end-of-game strategy, said Eugene Wilson will miss time, said he’s sticking with Kris Brown and explained why he went with Chris Brown, from John McClain.

McClain tells Texans fans to be careful what they wish for.

Respectable is no longer good enough, says Richard Justice.

Brian Cushing denied tweeting complaints about the officiating in the Titans game, says McClain.

A replay of McClain’s chat.

Indianapolis Colts

By winning four consecutive games in the same season by a total margin of 10 points or fewer, the Colts have done something that’s never been done before, says Chappell.

Clint Session and Eric Foster have helped set the tone for the excellent defense, says Phillip B. Wilson.

Does Peyton Manning get too much respect from opposing coaches? John Oehser examines the question in two pieces: Part I and Part II.

Oehser reviews Polian on the radio. Peaking isn’t an issue; Anything that’s said or written is absolutely meaningless to the team; Joseph Addai is having a terrific year; Though what’s written or said about the team is absolutely meaningless, he was gratified that he didn’t see anything about the Colts being a finesse team after the win in Baltimore.

Yes, Manning has been this good before, says Deshawn Zombie.

The Colts waived Mike Hart and re-signed John Thomas, says Mike Chappell.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars are about civic pride.

Can you feel the planets aligning for the Jaguars, asks Gene Frenette.

Rashean Mathis is out for San Francisco, meaning Tyron Brackenridge likely keeps a bigger role, says Vito Stellino.

A Q&A with Ernest Wilford from Michael C. Wright.

The Jaguars waived Adam Seward and signed Lamar Myles and James Wyche to their practice squad.

Why the Bills were able to slow the Jaguars’ run game, from Vic Ketchman.

The Jags’ identity and future are still unclear, says Gil Samson.

A late look: Richard Collier is at peace, says Jason Cole.

Tennessee Titans

Vince Young ran like a rookie again, says Jim Wyatt.

A different Young is steering the Titans on a different course, says David Climer.

Young is rewarding Bud Adams’ faith, says Alex Marvez.

David Barron provides an explanation of the Young-Jerome Boger high five.

Jeff Fisher rated Nick Harper’s return as solid, say Gary Estwick and Jim Wyatt.

The Titans had little intention of returning a punt in Houston, says Terry McCormick. How ambitious.

Posted by ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky


Sporting News previews Texans-Titans.

Houston Texans

James Casey could start at fullback with Vonta Leach banged up, says Dale Robertson.

Texans-Titans offers a reunion opportunity for Bruce Matthews and Mike Munchak, says John McClain.

Chris Brown is diplomatic about his former team, writes Robertson.

How can anyone have a shred of confidence in the Texans after their opener, asks Alan Burge.

Indianapolis Colts

The legacies of Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning are intertwined, says Phil Richards.

Anthony Gonzalez could miss as much as eight weeks.

Hank Baskett’s crash course is underway, says Mike Chappell.

Jim Irsay says not to worry about a contract extension for Peyton Manning, writes Richards.

Look for Pat McAfee to handle kickoffs and Fili Moala to be ready to play, says John Oehser.

Monday nights are not the same, but they are still special, says Bob Kravitz.

A look back at 18 significant plays from Jaguars-Colts from Deshawn Zombie.

Joseph Addai remembers a wardrobe malfunction, says Mike Chappell.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Why isn’t Jacksonville buying Jaguars’ tickets, asks Adam Aasen.

The Jaguars’ blackout is official.

Vic Ketchman of jaguars.com talks about why the empty seats are a big deal.

Mel Tucker praised Derrick Harvey’s work ethic, says Vito Stellino.

The Jaguars seem to be trying to lower expectations for Harvey, says Gene Frenette.

Bigcatcountry.com looks at how Jack Del Rio has changed his tune about Harvey. This is a smart take. Is the team is reframing -- and lessening -- its expectations of a guy it traded up to get? If so that’s a bad sign. But maybe Del Rio is trying more to ease the pressure on a guy that’s got to be feeling it.

Del Rio, who likes to go for it on fourth down, might like this blog entry from Brian Burke who cites a study that says it’s often a good idea.

Key matchups from Jay Gray.

Anquan Boldin is excited to return to Florida, says Eric Desalvo.

The Jaguars released James Wyche signed Jeremy Navarre from the practice squad and added tight end Zach Potter to the practice squad.

A look at overreaction about Del Rio, Harvey and Tim Tebow from Mike Nelson.

Good news and bad news from Gray.

Tennessee Titans

The energetic Stephen Tulloch plays the game with a lot of heart, writes Jim Wyatt.

Jared Cook returned to practice on a limited basis, says Jim Wyatt and Gary Estwick.

Untested Ryan Mouton is ready to return punts, says Terry McCormick.

Chris Johnson doesn’t love to run in the rain, but knows if it’s wet he probably gets more chances, blogs Jim Wyatt.

Tulloch’s extra work paid off, says McCormick.

Injury updates on Gonzalez, Hayward

September, 13, 2009
9/13/09
10:18
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky


Two pieces of injury news pertinent to the AFC South:

Indy receiver Anthony Gonzalez: Adam Schefter confirmed an NFL.com report that Gonzalez strained a knee ligament and will miss two to six weeks. That’s a big range that could mean he misses only away games at Miami and Arizona or his absence could extend to games against Seattle, at Tennessee, beyond the bye to an Oct. 25 game at St. Louis.

Jacksonville defensive end Reggie Hayward: Michael C. Wright (@jagsreporter) tweeted this -- "X-ray reveals #Jaguars DE R Hayward has fracture of lower left leg that might require surgery, Jack Del Rio just told me."

Reggie Hayward had the team’s lone sack of Peyton Manning Sunday and is the team’s top veteran presence among its defensive ends. Derrick Harvey is the team’s other starter and like Harvey, Quentin Groves is a second-year man. James Wyche and undrafted rookie Julius Williams were both inactive for Sunday’s loss in Indianapolis.

Jaguars-Colts inactives

September, 13, 2009
9/13/09
11:51
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky


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

Indianapolis
Jacksonville

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Old, but interesting: pro-football-reference.com goes three deep on the best players ever by uniform number.

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

The Jaguars' minicamp is underway and we can get a bit of a taste for the tone and what's going on thanks to a transcript of Jack Del Rio's media session.

He was asked about seeming more involved in the defensive drills. That's something that doesn't surprise me. He's got a young new coordinator in Mel Tucker. For a veteran defensive coach coming off a disappointing season and who is expected to turn things around, I'd be more surprised if Del Rio didn't roll up his sleeves and get a bit more involved.

Here is his answer:

"Yeah, I'm going to be directly involved with the defense, not that I haven't been. I pretty much have been during my years here. I probably stepped back a little bit over the last two years. I really wanted Mike Smith to kind of have the opportunity that I know he wanted in terms of becoming a head coach, and obviously did a great job last year, you know, he got the Atlanta job. And then Gregg (Williams) last year, the dynamic was a little different. But I will be heavily involved but coach Tucker is our defensive coordinator. We're going to work hand-in-hand. He's been busy this offseason installing the defenses that we're going to run and that we're going emphasis in 2009. So, I'm looking forward to that."

Del Rio also spoke of a new vibe around the team.

"Yeah, I think there's a real good vibe in our building right now. There's a freshness about what we're doing. New uniforms, new strength coach, there's a totally new weight room -- there's just a freshness about where we are right now as an organization, understanding we've got a mountain of work to do. We understand that, but there's a fresh feel about it right now and it's good. It's a new year with new opportunities. So we're going to take that and get busy."

On the injury front:

  • Linebacker Chad Nkang suffered a calf injury Del Rio didn't make sound serious, but Nkang will be held out and Del Rio said fullback Montell Owens is also out.
  • Four others aren't participating as they continue to work back from injuries that landed them on IR last season: Guard Vince Manuwai (knee), fullback Greg Jones (ankle), cornerback Scott Starks (knee) and defensive end James Wyche (knee).
  • That would suggest other key players who didn't finish last season are back and able to practice: Guard Maurice Williams (biceps), corner Rashean Mathis (knee) and linebacker Daryl Smith (groin).

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

In Monroeville, Ohio (population roughly 1,400), nestled about halfway between Cleveland and Toledo, a swath of teal runs through a region tinted orange.

The reason for the patch of Jaguars fans in Browns country is Gene Smith, the 45-year-old first-year Jacksonville general manager and senior vice president of personnel.

A small but determined defensive end and tight end during his career at Monroeville High, Smith left town stamped with the work ethic of his father, Delbert, a construction worker, and with a friendship with his coach, Steve Ringholz, that would last a lifetime.

 
  Courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars
  New Jaguars general manager Gene Smith prefers a steady approach to building a team, rather than making splashy acquisitions.

"He was a self-made player. He didn't have great athletic ability but he worked very hard and he not only demanded a lot out of himself, but he demanded a lot out of his teammates," Ringholz said. "He had a lot of instincts for the game of football. He had a lot of instincts for dealing with people."

When he wasn't playing football, he was often working for his father, learning early the importance of a good shift, while developing an interest in the way things are built.

"When you're working for your dad, you're a laborer," Smith said with a laugh. "Concrete and structural work interested me most. But when I say concrete, I was the guy who was wheeling the concrete. I didn't have all the high-level chores now, I was tending mud if we were laying block.

"But the structural part is a lot of what I did, studding up walls and anything structural and with concrete. My dad always taught me that the key to a good home is putting in a good foundation, and that's why I think with a good football team, a good foundation starts up front with your offensive and defensive lines."

It's too neat a metaphor, too hokey, but it works: The guy now in charge of putting the Jaguars together, who will work to build consensus but ultimately has the final say on personnel matters and roster decisions, is simply looking for the studs and concrete with which to rebuild a team.

It won't come with high-priced free agents, an approach the Jaguars have used before with poor results. It will come with a patient plan, heavily reliant on the draft. The Jaguars intend to start with strong lines and build from the back end of the roster, at least at the beginning.

The Gene Smith file
• Born: Dec. 31, 1963
• High School: Monroeville (Ohio)
• College: Heidelberg College, degree in education
• Graduate School: Ohio University, athletic administration
• Family: Married with two daughters

Career track

• 2009 -- GM and Sr. VP of player personnel
• 2008 -- Executive director, college and pro personnel
• 2000-2007 -- Director of college scouting
• 1996-2000 -- Scout, southeast region
• 1994-1995 -- Jaguars BLESTO combine scout
• 1989-1994 -- Assistant coach, Edinboro University
• 1986-1988 -- Graduate assistant, assistant coach Ohio University

The franchise's early decisions under Smith included admitting mistakes and parting with receiver Jerry Porter and cornerback Drayton Florence, and making the more difficult choice to let running back Fred Taylor go.

Although the team signed Sean Considine to play strong safety as a less expensive alternative to free agent Gerald Sensabaugh, the other contracts Smith has put together so far have been for backups and strong special-teamers like Montell Owens, Brian Iwuh and James Wyche.

"A lot of people look at it as guys who can make your 53. I'm looking at guys who can get into our game-day 45," Smith said. "... Without question those type of players are players you can get your hands on earlier than a guy that you play every down, per se."

Bigger building blocks will come in the draft, where the Jaguars have the No. 8 pick, but the idea of solidifying the back end of the roster at the start of his regime is one that's worked for one of the teams the Jaguars are trying to catch -- many of the early moves of Tennessee's Mike Reinfeldt's were similar.

Smith was named to the post Jan. 12, and the move received big applause from the scouting community, which was pleased to see one of its own ascend. At his first big scouting event after taking on the new responsibilities, a dozen or so scouts quickly approached him in the Reliant Stadium parking lot at an East-West Shrine Game practice to offer congratulations.

Smith has been with the Jaguars since before they had a roster, hired by Tom Coughlin in 1994. One scout from another team classified him a quiet, hardworking, well-organized and well-respected football man.

As he works with Jack Del Rio, the coaching staff and a scouting staff he was long a part, Smith still has a touchstone in Monroeville. His parents have passed away, but Ringholz is still coaching. The 58-year-old member of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame said he talks to Smith just about every day.

When Del Rio and his staff coached in the Senior Bowl, Ringholz took in some practices in Mobile, Ala., with Smith.

"We talk almost daily, sometimes more than once a day," Ringholz said. "He'll talk a lot about what's going on, ask my opinion about things and he's always wanting to know what's going on back here. A lot of stuff that we talk about he wants it to stay just between him and me.

"He's had some very tough decisions to make, not just tough business decisions but tough personal decisions. Fred Taylor was somebody that he watched come up, he studied while [Taylor] was in college. It was a tough one for Gene, there is no doubt about that."

As the franchise looks to add
new players who might be great finds as Taylor was, Smith and Del Rio will be concerned with how they will factor into chemistry and develop into leaders.

Smith is hopeful that fresh blood will arrive and then follow a course similar to his own, working up through the organization.

"I certainly believe that players make the system," he said.

As a decision-maker, he said he intends to be more Ichiro than A-Rod.

"Certainly we'd like to get them all right, but I am probably someone with more of a base hit philosophy," he said. "If you get base hits, you get people on base, you're going to score and probably win more consistently than if you're standing up there trying to hit home runs. If you're trying to hit home runs, you're going to be striking out a lot."

He likes the baseball terminology, but said he's no baseball guy.

As a football guy, he's now got some pieces and a lot of power. He will be measured in his decisions, but undaunted by the new power.

"I try to be a good listener, then I also watch a lot of film myself," he said. "I say the value is in the evaluator. So I study a lot of film on players. I'm not one that's just listening and delegating, I'm also a doer. I think in the end, you try to build a consensus. But decisions have to be made and I am confident in my abilities, with the staff around me, to make those decisions."

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans

The Texans matched Denver's offer sheet for David Anderson who said it's a win-win situation, while C.C. Brown signed with the Giants, says John McClain.

More from AP on Brown to the Giants.

LaDainian Tomlinson was one of seven inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, writes McClain.

Indianapolis Colts

John Oehser ponders Marvin Harrison's future.

Oehser tracks some other former Colts.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The contract defensive end James Wyche, who hadn't received a qualifying offer from the Jaguars, agreed to earlier this week is one year for $460,000, I was told. The minimum, as you'd expect.

Tennessee Titans

A chance at a bigger role lured Chris Simms to Denver, and the money wasn't bad either, writes Jim Wyatt.

Vince Young's agent said the quarterback wasn't unhappy about Kerry Collins re-signing and is "just trying to get himself together," reports Wyatt.

The Titans will have a lot more tough decisions on expiring contracts after 2009, writes Terry McCormick.

As the Titans visited with Justin Miller, Chris Carr's tour took him to New England, says Wyatt.

News on Simms, Benson and Wyche

March, 3, 2009
3/03/09
6:42
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

An evening roundup of headlines and news pertaining to the AFC South:

  • Cedric Benson is no longer an option for the Texans after re-signing in Cincinnati.
  • Titans free agent quarterback Chris Simms is heading to Denver on Wednesday and also is drawing interest from Detroit, according to Terry McCormick. I'm surprised Simms' name hasn't surfaced until now.
  • The Jaguars have signed defensive end James Wyche, a seventh-round pick from 2006, who has missed the past two seasons with injuries. Wyche, 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, missed the entire 2008 season with a knee injury suffered in the preseason, and was placed on injured reserve in 2007 after suffering a groin injury in the final preseason game against Washington. He spent the first 10 weeks of the 2007 season on the practice squad as a rookie before being activated to the 53-man roster on Nov. 15.
  • Philip B. Wilson checked in with a blog entry on some of the Colts' offseason issues.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

The Indianapolis Colts are generally willing to let their linebackers go when they hit unrestricted free agency. They are letting Freddy Keiaho go a year ahead of schedule as they did not make a qualifying offer to the linebacker who started 14 games last season and 25 in his first three years.

The third-round draft pick in 2006 (93rd overall out of San Jose State) is now free to sign anywhere.

Tyjuan Hagler, who started the season on the physically unable to perform list as he recovered from pectoral surgery and then played in nine games with three starts, finished the season listed as Keiaho's backup at weakside linebacker on the team's depth chart. But he's an unresticted free agent the team is showing no interest in re-signing.

Three other players in the AFC South who were in line to become restricted free agents, none of them with Keiaho's draft pedigree or experience, were also not given qualifying offers by their clubs: Houston defensive end Stanley McClover and receiver Harry Williams and Jacksonville defensive end James Wyche. Williams suffered a career-ending spine injury in the preseason.

According to the official release from the NFL, Houston was the only AFC South team with restricted free agents who were given qualifying offers.

Player/Compensation

Jacksonville signed both Montell Owens and Brian Iwuh before free agency opened, Indianapolis didn't have any scheduled RFAs beside Keiaho and Tennessee had none.

Reviewing restricted free agency

February, 25, 2009
2/25/09
3:15
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Thursday is the deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to their restricted free agents whose contracts are expiring and to whom they desire to retain a right of first refusal/compensation.

Translation of the league's language: It's time to attach a one-year tender offer to RFAs (players who are heading into their fourth seasons without a contract). It's a one-year contract offer that comes with draft-pick compensation attached. If a team signs a RFA to an offer sheet, the original club has a week to match. If it chooses not to, then it gets the compensation instead.

NFC West expert Mike Sando pulled this information together that spells out teams' options with RFAs:

Tender Right to match Compensation if declined to match
$1.01M Yes Same round as when player originally drafted
$1.545M Yes 2009 second-round draft pick
$2.198M Yes 2009 first-round pick
$2.792M Yes 2009 first- and third-round picks

Here are the AFC South restricted free agents:

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

None.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider