AFC South: Jerraud Powers

In early March, I outlined a five-category plan for offseason moves for each team in the AFC South.

I considered finances, continuity, turnover, additions and the draft.

Today we’ll look back to see how my plan and the team’s offseason lined up and how they didn’t.

Next up are the Colts. Here’s the original post.

What I got right:

Turnover: “Nose tackle Antonio Johnson did good work but isn’t ideal for a 3-4. Josh Chapman and Brandon McKinney are on the roster, rebounding from injuries and better suited to do what the role requires. Receiver Donnie Avery was a nice reclamation project, but the Colts can and should be looking for an upgrade beyond Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton.”

The team made no effort to re-sign Johnson, who wound up with the Titans. Avery moved on to Kansas City and the Colts brought in Darrius Heyward-Bey, who looks to be an upgrade.

What I got part right, part wrong:

Draft: "What was missed in free agency? The emphasis should fall on that, be it outside linebacker, corner, safety or offensive line. …Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins would be a very nice fit if he’s there at No. 24. Also: at least one offensive lineman, a 3-4 end (or two), outside linebacker depth and additional corners.”

While they signed Erik Walden in free agency, they went pass-rushing outside linebacker with Bjoern Werner in the first round and picked two offensive linemen. But the Colts didn’t draft a receiver, a corner or an end.

What I got wrong:

Finances: “The team has more than $43 million of cap room, which means there's no need to search for savings. Still, one contract appears to be too big. Center Samson Satele needs to be a lot better in his second year to prove he's worth the free-agent deal he got in 2012 that calls for a $2.8 million base salary in 2013. Cutting him would save only $668,000, however, and at least until the line is restocked, the team should keep options alive, not kill one off.”

Not only did the Colts keep Satele, once they drafted center Khaled Holmes in the fourth round, they traded A.Q. Shipley to Baltimore. Shipley played better than Satele when he was in the lineup for the Colts last season.

Continuity: "They already held onto defensive end Fili Moala with a new contract. I’d re-sign Jerraud Powers to a one-year, incentive-laden deal, but that requires that no one else gives him something better. If he stays healthy, he can be a productive contributor. If he doesn’t, the Colts will have given him every chance.”

Powers went to Arizona for a three-year, $10.5 million contract with $3 million guaranteed.

Additions: “I’d target these four players, hoping to land three. Ravens outside linebacker/end Paul Kruger played for Chuck Pagano in Baltimore and is coming off a Super Bowl win. He could fill out a nice linebacking corps and boost the pass rush. Provided that Atlanta’s Brent Grimes is on the right path to recovery from a torn Achilles, he could be great opposite Vontae Davis as a second starting cornerback. Houston safety Glover Quin could be a nice takeaway from the team the Colts are chasing in the AFC South and has enough versatility to fit with Antoine Bethea and ultimately take over his role. On offense, San Diego’s Louis Vasquez is the sort of guard who could help settle a line that has to be far better.”

Right positions, wrong names. The additions were Walden, cornerback Greg Toler, safety LaRon Landry and guard Donald Thomas.
Reading the coverage…

Houston Texans

Adding to the Texans' concern about right tackle: Derek Newton is recovering from major knee surgery, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

Indianapolis Colts

Free agent cornerback Jerraud Powers is finding out how at least two other teams feel about him, says Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Could the Jaguars reunite University of Arizona quarterback Matt Scott with his position coach from college, Frank Scelfo, who’s now in Jacksonville? Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union considers.

Tennessee Titans

At least five teams have inquired about Titans free agent defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Welcome to Eight in the Box, an NFL Nation feature that will appear each Friday during the offseason. This week's topic: Who should be the primary target (including trades) for each team when free agency begins?

Houston Texans: The Texans might add no one of note in free agency, as they have minimal cap room and people they need to re-sign, starting with safety Glover Quin. But, given the players likely not to return, they will have more open spots than a draft class alone will be able to fill. One of those is nose tackle Shaun Cody. Much has been made of the team’s need to fortify at inside linebacker. Brian Cushing and whoever is beside him would benefit from better run-down play from the nose, so how about bringing in a guy for a spot where they’ll have only Earl Mitchell if Cody is gone? I propose Tampa Bay’s Roy Miller, a solid run-stopping player I believe could adjust to the role in Wade Phillips’ scheme, which is not like most 3-4 fronts.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts have a lot of money and need to upgrade at several spots. What’s the best match given the available offensive linemen, cornerbacks, outside linebackers, safeties and receivers? I’m going with a cornerback. Perhaps the price of Atlanta’s Brent Grimes comes down a little because he’s coming off a torn Achilles tendon. But he’s the type of confident coverage player who would make for a very solid one-two combination with Vontae Davis, and could solve the team’s issue at a spot where it was incredibly vulnerable last season. If the Colts had Grimes and Davis, could re-sign Jerraud Powers and/or Darius Butler and add a player or two in the draft, they could turn a 2012 weakness into a 2013 strength.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The new regime in Jacksonville has downplayed the concept of spending big in free agency. Given the high-dollar contract failures of the team with some veterans in recent years, that’s understandable. The solution, however, is not to shut down spending -- it’s to spend smarter. Someone who ranks as a virtual sure thing at a position of need could help this team. New England right tackle Sebastian Vollmer qualifies, provided his back doesn’t appear to be an issue going forward. He can help make room for running backs and protect a quarterback, and the Jaguars need to do far better at both.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans have pledged to rebuild the inside of their offensive line, and it should mean two guards to sandwich around center Fernando Velasco. One of those guards should be a veteran, and Buffalo free agent Andy Levitre fits the bill. He’s a durable player who’s never missed a game; he’s good, if not great, at everything; and his best football should still be ahead of him. Head coach Mike Munchak and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews haven’t given themselves enough to work with on the interior. With a talent like Levitre, the two Hall of Famers should really be able to help get peak production.
My plan for the Indianapolis Colts as we approach the start of the 2013 NFL calendar year:

Finances: The team has more than $43 million of cap room, which means there's no need to search for savings. Still, one contract appears to be too big. Center Samson Satele needs to be a lot better in his second year to prove he's worth the free-agent deal he got in 2012 that calls for a $2.8 million base salary in 2013. Cutting him would save only $668,000, however, and at least until the line is restocked, the team should keep options alive, not kill one off.

Continuity: They already held onto defensive end Fili Moala with a new contract. I’d re-sign Jerraud Powers to a one-year, incentive-laden deal, but that requires that no one else gives him something better. If he stays healthy, he can be a productive contributor. If he doesn’t, the Colts will have given him every chance.

Turnover: Nose tackle Antonio Johnson did good work but isn’t ideal for a 3-4. Josh Chapman and Brandon McKinney are on the roster, rebounding from injuries and better suited to do what the role requires. Receiver Donnie Avery was a nice reclamation project, but the Colts can and should be looking for an upgrade beyond Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton.

Additions: I’d target these four players, hoping to land three. Ravens outside linebacker/end Paul Kruger played for Chuck Pagano in Baltimore and is coming off a Super Bowl win. He could fill out a nice linebacking corps and boost the pass rush. Provided that Atlanta’s Brent Grimes is on the right path to recovery from a torn Achilles, he could be great opposite Vontae Davis as a second starting cornerback. Houston safety Glover Quin could be a nice takeaway from the team the Colts are chasing in the AFC South and has enough versatility to fit with Antoine Bethea and ultimately take over his role. On offense, San Diego’s Louis Vasquez is the sort of guard who could help settle a line that has to be far better.

Draft: What was missed in free agency? The emphasis should fall on that, be it outside linebacker, corner, safety or offensive line. Ryan Grigson did well with Hilton and needs to find another receiver for Andrew Luck, this time an outside guy who will bring potential to succeed Wayne eventually. Clemson receiver DeAndre Hopkins would be a very nice fit if he’s there at No. 24. Also: at least one offensive lineman, a 3-4 end (or two), outside linebacker depth and additional corners.
This list was somewhat of a bear. The gap between No. 1 and No. 12 isn’t so big. There is a huge degree of subjectivity and personal preference.

I wanted my one overriding consideration as I pieced together the top 12 free agents in the AFC South to be production versus potential. If I’m shopping for a player, I want to feel like he’s got potential to produce for me, of course. But I want that feeling rooted in the fact that he already has produced. But few guys with expiring contracts in our division strike the right measure in the production versus potential debate.

You could reshape this in any number of ways and I likely wouldn’t object. So have at me in the comments. It seems quality fodder for some discussion.

My top 12 free agents-to-be in the AFC South:

[+] EnlargeGlover Quin
Thomas Campbell/USA TODAY SportsLosing the coverage skills of safety Glover Quin would surely be a big blow to Houston.
1) Glover Quin, free safety, Texans. He’s versatile and can cover and hit. He may rank as only the fourth-best safety to get to free agency in the NFL, but he could be a strong addition to a secondary and losing him would hurt the Texans.

2) Dwight Freeney, defensive end, Colts. He’s aging, sure. But for a team needing a pass-rushing boost, he’s got to be intriguing. Put him back in a 4-3, ideally indoors on turf, and he’s going to get some sacks.

3) Daryl Smith, outside linebacker, Jaguars. A durable guy, the timing of his first serious injury was poor and he missed all but two games last year. A very solid player the Jaguars would probably do well to retain.

4) Jared Cook, tight end, Titans. He’s an intriguing physical specimen who’s quite a threat as a pass-catcher. While the Titans didn’t figure out best how to use him, he wasn’t very consistently productive and is limited as a blocker.

5) Derek Cox, cornerback, Jaguars. But for health concerns that have cost him 17 games over the past three seasons, he’d probably be atop this list. When he’s on the field, he can be a high-quality cover corner. Can he stay on the field?

6) Greg Jones, fullback, Jaguars. It’s a position that is increasingly devalued and de-emphasized. But if you need a lead back, he’s a quality guy who’s done some awfully good work paving the way for Maurice Jones-Drew.

7) Terrance Knighton, defensive tackle, Jaguars. He can show great feet for a giant man, and seemed to get his weight under better control. But his best play was early in his time with the Jaguars, not late. That was a big disappointment considering how much of a contract he could have earned.

8) Connor Barwin, outside linebacker, Texans. Had a big year in 2011 and passed on a contract extension before the 2012 season. What he’s going to get now, after a poor season, is unlikely to match up to the deal he passed on. Does he rebound or did he simply flash once?

9) Sen’Derrick Marks, defensive tackle, Titans. Has some ability to penetrate on early downs and has made some progress. But isn’t as far along as suitors would probably like for a second-round pick four years into his career.

10) Jerraud Powers, cornerback, Colts. A smart player who understands how to play. Didn’t have sufficient time to settle into Colts’ new system which has a thin secondary before he was sidelined by a toe injury. His inability to stay healthy is the big issue for him at this point.

11) Rob Bironas, kicker, Titans. Bironas has a strong leg and a clutch history, though he’s not coming off his best season. But in a league where analytics are carrying more weight, more teams will cap what they’ll pay a top guy at the position

12) James Casey, fullback, Texans. I think he’s been somewhat miscast as a lead blocker. He’s got excellent hands, so I think he could do more in an atmosphere where he has more chances to catch passes.

Players react to proposed new calendar

February, 22, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFLPA seems unlikely to grab on to the NFL’s most recent trial balloon.

Adam Schefter reported the NFL would like to shift the offseason calendar: Pushing the combine into March, free agency into April, and the draft into May.

The plan would help the league take more ownership of the sports landscape in the offseason.

But it would mean free agents would have to wait on millions of dollars in signing bonuses, and it’s hard to imagine the union agreeing to that.

I did a quick survey of some players from the AFC South this morning.

Here are their thoughts on the idea.

Jerraud Powers, Colts cornerback and pending free agent: "I don’t like what the league would be trying to do. I’m a strong believer if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. If anything, I think they should push everything up so teams can have plenty of time to prepare for the next season with everything in place."

Duane Brown, Texans left tackle: “I think that would be good and bad for the incoming guys. More time to prepare after their final game, but also less time to make the transition to their new teams after the draft. I think it would be best to keep it the way it is.”

Uche Nwaneri, Jaguars right guard: “I think it will allow young players who are recovering from injuries a bit more time to prepare for the combine. I'm guessing it will benefit the fans more than anything, it will streamline the NFL offseason and keep football on the minds of fans with no interruptions. … Shorter amount of time to acclimate to new teams and new cities would not bode well for FAs. I can see that FAs will be sitting in limbo for four months, gives teams a bit more leverage especially leading into OTAs and minicamp. Guys will have to make quick decisions as to who to sign with. Never good to rush a decision.”

Will Witherspoon, Titans linebacker, pending free agent: “I think it could be a good thing, especially for guys going back to school.”

Priority one: Indianapolis Colts

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: Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, cornerback Jerraud Powers, punter Pat McAfee, right tackle Winston Justice, defensive lineman Fili Moala, defensive tackle Antonio Johnson.

Weaknesses: The offensive line wasn’t great and played better than the sum of its parts. The team needs a major overhaul on the line. The secondary needs a lot of work -- at least two new corners and one new safety. The defensive line suffered a lot of injuries and needs depth or more depending on what happens with Moala and Johnson in free agency.

Unsettled starting jobs: Left cornerback Cassius Vaughn was a constant target once he “settled in" as the starter when Powers was lost for the season, Tom Zbikowski and Joe Lefeged aren’t good enough at strong safety. Pick a spot on the offensive line besides left tackle Anthony Castonzo.

SportsNation

What should be priority one for the Colts?

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Discuss (Total votes: 2,008)

Depth issues: The secondary needs options for nickel and dime packages and needs to be able to survive some injuries. Outside linebacker -- minus Freeney, who’s not expected back -- needs to be restocked, even if Jerry Hughes is deemed worthy of Freeney’s starting spot.

Health concerns: Powers hasn’t been able to stay healthy, and that could mean the Colts don’t re-sign him. He’s recovering from a toe injury. Moala is coming off a torn ACL and defensive tackle Josh Chapman, who didn’t make it back during his season from a college knee injury, is a wild card going forward.

Unseen issue: Reggie Wayne was fantastic in his first season with Andrew Luck as his quarterback. T.Y. Hilton had a great rookie season. But Donnie Avery is going to be a free agent and is hardly a long-term answer and we’re not sure what LaVon Brazill is yet. The Colts need to continue to add at receiver, knowing Wayne won’t last forever.
Reading the coverage …

A preview of the crucial Colts-Texans matchup from Nate Dunlevy of Bleacher Report. He also tells you who to root for to help your team.

Houston Texans

Like many before him, Gary Kubiak sees Ben Roethlisberger in Andrew Luck, says Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle.

Tight end Garrett Graham is ready to return to action, says Dale Robertson of the Chronicle.

Where things stand going into Week 15 for the Texans, from Dunlevy.

Back when it was posting dominating victories, the Texans harassed quarterbacks and ran well. The Colts give up pressure and don’t defend the run real well, says Battle Red Blog.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are nowhere near as good as their record, writes Bill Barnwell of Grantland.

To which I say: Of course they’re not. And I understand all the math he uses to show us what they really are beneath that 9-4 exterior. But the fact is they have a 9-4 exterior. Barnwell says vote for Arians for coach of the year if you would vote for him if they were 6-7. But they are not 6-7. As for the weak schedule -- should they apologize? They play who they play, and they’ve won games, close or not. I agree they are an early out in the playoffs. That won’t be the measure of this team’s success.

Arians should be coach of the year, says Bob Kravitz of the Star. I agree. I’d vote Chuck Pagano/Arians if I had a vote.

Arians has rolled to the Colts’ rescue, says Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.

Jerraud Power’s future with the Colts is in doubt, says Mike Chappell.

Some fundamental teaching points from Tony Dungy still seem to resonate with the Colts, says Phil Richards.

Arian Foster’s yards-per-carry average is likely down because he’s gotten the ball when the Texans have been sitting on leads, says Marcus Dugan of Colts Authority.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Montell Owens is adjusting to a new role: feature back. Ryan O’Halloran’s story from the Florida Times-Union.

Eben Britton can’t find a productive spot, says Vito Stellino.

To which I say: The Jaguars were really counting on him coming into the season. He’s one of the most interesting guys in the division. But if he’s not a bust for the Jags, he’s on the verge.

Where things stand going into Week 15, from Dunlevy.

Cecil Shorts is eyeing a 1,000-yard season, says O’Halloran.

Tennessee Titans

Warren Moon says Jake Locker needs to take fewer chances and not try to do too much, writes Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Wyatt picks up on this, and adds some important financial detail. Mike Munchak’s salary is between $2.75 million and $3 million over the next two years but none of his assistants are under contract past 2013.

The Titans have to be better on third down, and the Jets are good at stopping people, says John Glennon of the Tennessean.

Munchak didn’t want to talk about a report that Jerry Gray interviewed for the Texas Tech job, which is now filled, says Glennon.

Jason McCourty knows where to go for help on the Jets -- to his brother, Devin, who plays against them twice a year. David Boclair’s story from the Nashville City Paper.

Dunlevy previews Jets-Titans.

 
INDIANAPOLIS -- These cornerbacks are playing mostly man to man. The corners on the 2010 Colts played almost exclusively zone.

As I talked to Cassius Vaughn and Vontae Davis Sunday evening in the Indianapolis locker room, I found myself thinking about guys who saw a lot of action at corner for the franchise’s last playoff team -- Justin Tryon and Jacob Lacey.

Vaughn and Darius Butler are like those guys. The team didn't know what it could expect from them. Their roles have expanded because of injuries. They seem to be getting better.

[+] EnlargeCassius Vaughn
AP Photo/Jeff RobersonCassius Vaughn returned a Jake Locker interception three yards for a Colts score.
The coaches have changed, the GMs have changed, many of the players have changed -- yet again the Colts have this plug-and-play feel at cornerback.

Titans quarterback Jake Locker played a role in it for sure, but Vaughn had a giant interception for a touchdown and Butler got Andrew Luck the ball back with another. Davis might have had an end-zone pick but interim coach Bruce Arians said he lost the ball in the lights.

As the starters Sunday, Vaughn and Davis did a lot of good work near the line of scrimmage and in run support, too.

In the second quarter on back-to-back plays, Vaughn tackled Chris Johnson on a short pass to the right for no gain and Davis cut down tight end Jared Cook on the other side for a 1-yard loss on a screen.

“In this league, you have to be a complete corner,” Davis said. “You have big running backs. When the ball gets out to the edges, the only players there to make the tackles there are the corners.”

The Colts may have gotten away with some pass interference, but Pete Morelli and his crew were letting them play in the secondary on both sides. Indy gave up a couple of 46-yard passes to Kenny Britt that Arians said were more about great throws and catches than poor coverages.

In the big picture, the defensive backs did more than enough to contribute to a win.

Vaughn would likely be the nickel at best if Jerraud Powers wasn't on injured reserve.

Davis looks as healthy as he’s been since Colts GM Ryan Grigson dealt a second-rounder to Miami for the veteran corner to solidify the secondary.

We’ll need time to see if that was a good deal or not. This week, it looked good.

“I think Vontae is coming on like gangbusters,” Arians said.

RTC: Pagano gives Colts a purpose

November, 13, 2012
11/13/12
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Reading the coverage ...

Houston Texans

“And now, for their encore performance, the Texans need to crush the Jacksonville Jaguars like a June bug under a bulldozer,” writes John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, looking ahead to Jaguars-Texans.

Defensive line coach Bill Kollar (blood clot) plans to be back with the team Wednesday, says McClain.

Injured Texans starters could be back for the Jaguars game, says Nick Scurfield of the team’s website. There should be no reason to rush tight end Owen Daniels, defensive tackle Shaun Cody or reserve running back Ben Tate.

The penalties against Jay Cutler and Tim Dobbins didn’t come out in a fair way, but should, says George Breather of The Fifth Down.

Indianapolis Colts

Chuck Pagano’s illness has provided the Colts with a purpose, says Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

To which I say: The idea of a purpose for a young team is a big deal. And Pagano’s situation has provided this team with something big to fight for over the long haul, bonding a group in a rare way.

Cornerback Darius Butler is a starter now and Jerraud Powers is on IR, says Phil Richards of the Star. Nose tackle Josh Chapman’s time to contribute has come, too.

Jacksonville Jaguars

If there is a good time to play the Texans this season, Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union thinks this might be it. “It would seem difficult for the Texans to come close to duplicating the emotion they displayed against the Bears, especially because they beat the Jaguars 27-7 in Jacksonville in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score sounded.”

Defensive end George Selvie has gotten more and more playing time, says Ryan O’Halloran of the T-U.

The Jaguars signed another Greg Jones, says O’Halloran.

Can Cecil Shorts reach 1,000 receiving yards, asks Luke Sims of Black and Teal.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans know it would take a lot, but still see a possibility of a playoff berth, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

To which I say: That’s what they have to say and believe. I know things can change quickly, but I look at the AFC standings and have trouble seeing anything different than the Colts and the second-place team in the AFC North as wild cards.

As they self-scout, the Titans will pay particular attention to Kenny Britt, says John Glennon of The Tennessean. They want to see if he can be utilized better.
Jerraud Powers’ season is over for the third consecutive season because of an injury.

Ponder
Powers
The Indianapolis Colts cornerback went on injured reserve after 10 games in 2010 with an arm injury, after 12 games in 2011 because of an elbow issue and now after nine games because of a toe injury.

It’s a very unfortunate development for a solid player at a position where the Colts are not deep.

Indianapolis beat Jacksonville last Thursday without both starting corners -- Powers and Vontae Davis. Darius Butler had a big game with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. But the Colts are going to face tougher opposition than the Jaguars moving forward.

Butler and Davis, once he’s recovered from his knee injury, are the likely starters going forward, with Cassius Vaughn and Josh Gordy as the guys in line for nickel and dime roles.

I find Powers to be one of the most thoughtful guys in the division, so I will selfishly miss being able to look for him in the Colts locker room when I cover them.

His rookie contract is also expiring, and the injury history is going to work against him when the Colts, and maybe an outside bidder, make their offers.

It may be a string of bad luck, but if you’ve got a string of bad luck like this one, you’re officially injury-prone.

In other Colts developments, the team activated nose tackle Josh Chapman from the non-football injury list. He’s practices for three weeks and is all the way back from the torn ACL he suffered in his final year at Alabama.

Adding him to the 53-man roster is offset by losing Drake Nevis for the year. He too went on IR with a hand injury.

Things to know about Colts-Jaguars

November, 8, 2012
11/08/12
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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.]

RTC: Colts shave heads for Pagano

November, 7, 2012
11/07/12
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Reading the coverage ...

Houston Texans

Danieal Manning is set on a businesslike visit Sunday when the Texans play in Chicago against his old team, says Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle.

Gary Kubiak has had a close-up look at just how dangerous Brandon Marshall is for the Bears, says John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

Duane Brown and J.J. Watt are Pro Football Weekly Midseason All-Pros, says McClain.

The Bills threw at Johnathan Joseph nine times, and he allowed just five catches and registered a pass defense. “What was most impressive was the way he limited yardage even when he allowed the ball to be completed into his coverage. “ John Maney of Pro Football Focus re-examines the Bills-Texans game.

Indianapolis Colts

Among the players who shaved their heads to show support for Chuck Pagano: Punter Pat McAfee, defensive lineman Cory Redding, kicker Adam Vinatieri, safety Antoine Bethea, running back Donald Brown, wide receiver Nathan Palmer, cornerback Darius Butler, linebacker Kavell Conner, tackle Anthony Castonzo, guard Joe Reitz and long-snapper Matt Overton. Mike Chappell’s story from the Indianapolis Star.

Jerraud Powers (toe) is out for Thursday night’s game in Jacksonville along with the other starting cornerback, Vontae Davis (knee), says Chappell.

Vick Ballard is taking on more responsibility in the Indianapolis backfield, says Phil Richards of the Star.

While Andrew Luck threw for a rookie record 433 yards, he lost an additional 77 because of drops. Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus looks at Dolphins-Colts.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars owner Shad Khan told Action News 47: “It’s embarrassing, but there are better days ahead. I’m deeply grateful to the fans for supporting us. They’ve done their part. Now we have to do our part. Whether it’s a football team or an auto parts company, you need three things: Right people in the right spots, processing and decision making that’s right and you need support from fans, sponsors or owners. We have to finish the season. You can’t be rushing to judgment. I wish life was that simple, that you could hire and fire people and things would change. I am committed to building a sustainable, winning organization.” Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union has more.

After concussion-related layoffs, receiver Laurent Robinson is shaking the rust off, says Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

The Jaguars and Colts are going in opposite directions, says Vito Stellino of the Times-Union.

“While the rest of the Jaguars offensive line did a relatively good job of holding their own in pass protection, it was Mike Brewster who really let them down. Beaten routinely by Sammie Lee Hill and Corey Williams, he finished the game having allowed two hits and four hurries from 42 snaps in pass protection.” Gordon McGuinness looks at Lions-Jaguars.

Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker got good news from his most recent MRI and could return to action Sunday in Miami, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean. Mike Munchak said on his weekly radio show that Locker and Matt Hasselbeck will split reps early in the week as they assess Locker’s progress.

A recent history of Bud Adams’ calling out the Titans and how the team has responded, from Wyatt.

Adams deserves his share of blame too, says David Clime of The Tennessean. “Bud says the Titans were outcoached. OK, who hired the coach? Bud says the Titans were outplayed. OK, who hired the front office personnel who acquired the players?”

In the past two weeks Akeem Ayers has recorded seven pressures (two sacks, two hits, three hurries) on only 13 pass rushes. “The Titans need to find ways to get Ayers more involved in the pass rush to give them an extra weapon attacking the QB, and remove a weakness from their pass coverage.” Ben Stockwell of Pro Football Focus looks at Dolphins-Colts.

Since I taped this a bit ago, we've learned the Colts will be without both their starting cornebacks Thursday night in Jacksonville. Jerraud Powers (toe) and Vontae David (knee) are out and Cassius Vaughn and Darius Butler will start.

To pull an upset, the Jaguars need to find multiple big plays. Their plan should call for Blaine Gabbert to do all he can to test those corners and nickelback Josh Gordy.

Dolphins should target Colts' Vaughn

October, 31, 2012
10/31/12
3:11
PM ET
The Titans did a pretty good job targeting Colts cornerback Cassius Vaughn when he replaced the injured Vontae Davis.

[+] EnlargeCassius Vaughn
AP Photo/Wade PayneCornerback Cassius Vaughn was targeted often on Sunday against Tennessee.
The Miami Dolphins will have a chance to do the same on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, as Davis’ knee injury is going to keep him out a couple weeks. Bruce Arians announced that and that tight end Coby Fleener, who suffered a shoulder injury in Nashville, will also be out two games.

That means stress on Vaughn, who will be a weak link, and on Dwayne Allen, another rookie tight end who’s ready to contribute. Allen made some good plays in Nashville, though he got away with a late fumble that would have been a killer.

Indy’s other starting corner, Jerraud Powers, told me Sunday after the Colts’ OT win that for as much man-to-man as the corners are playing, they have to expect to give up plays. It’s scoring plays that are the biggest issue.

There was only one of those against Tennessee, when Kendall Wright beat Vaughn with a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch on the left side of the end zone. The 23-yard scoring play required some excellent footwork and would have been tough for anyone to successfully cover.

“You can’t touch the receiver nowadays, they’re going to make their plays, it’s just a matter of us not letting them score touchdowns,” Powers said. “They made a good catch on Cassius in the end zone, you can’t say he was out of coverage -- it was just a good throw, good catch.

“We’ve got guys if Vontae is out who are going to step up just like [against the Titans].”

The Dolphins are 23rd in passing and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill is banged up. Matt Moore finished last week’s win over the Jets in New York.

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