AFC South: Maurice Williams

David GarrardGary W. Green/Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Getty Images
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This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in Jacksonville Jaguars history. On Monday we featured Morten Andersen’s missed field goal in the 1996 regular-season finale that sent the Jaguars to the playoffs. On Tuesday we featured Mark Brunell’s touchdown pass to Jimmy Smith to clinch the 1996 AFC divisional playoff game over the Broncos.

Score: Jaguars 31, Steelers 29
Date: Jan. 5, 2008 Site: Heinz Field

The Jaguars have won just one playoff game since their run to the 1999 AFC Championship Game, and it came thanks to a gutsy play call, a couple of good blocks and a holding penalty that wasn’t called.


Which is the most memorable play in Jaguars' history?


Discuss (Total votes: 24,526)

The Jaguars appeared headed for an easy victory over Pittsburgh in a 2007 AFC wild-card game after beginning the fourth quarter with an 18-point lead and the Steelers facing a fourth-and-12 at the Jacksonville 37-yard line. But Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes hooked up for a touchdown, and Pittsburgh’s comeback got jump-started.

The Steelers eventually took a 29-28 lead with a little more than six minutes to play. After the teams traded possessions, the Jaguars drove into Pittsburgh territory but faced a critical fourth-and-2 from the Steelers' 43 with 1:56 remaining.

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter didn’t choose a pass play or a run by Fred Taylor or Maurice Jones-Drew. He called a quarterback draw out of the shotgun formation, putting the season on David Garrard’s feet.

Four players threw key blocks: Center Brad Meester sealed linebacker James Farrior on the inside, left guard Vince Manuwai drove defensive end Brett Keisel backward, right tackle Maurice Williams took down nose tackle Casey Hampton and tight end Marcedes Lewis turned safety Troy Polamalu outside.

That opened a huge hole for Garrard, who put a move on safety Tyrone Carter and ran by him at the 30 before Carter finally ran him down at the Pittsburgh 11-yard line. That play set up Josh Scobee’s 25-yard field goal with 37 seconds remaining, and defensive end Bobby McCray sacked Roethlisberger and forced a fumble that defensive tackle Derek Landri recovered with 20 seconds to play to give the Jaguars a 31-29 victory.

Except it shouldn’t have happened.

Officials missed a pretty blatant hold by left tackle Khalif Barnes on linebacker James Harrison. Barnes got his feet crossed as Harrison went outside and then back inside and grabbed Harrison’s jersey by his shoulders. By the time Barnes let go, Garrard was already past the first-down marker.

Steelers players and fans were irate about the noncall. Their complaints were eventually validated when the NFL’s head of officiating admitted the following spring that the crew working that game missed the holding call.

There was obviously nothing the NFL could do about the outcome. That remains the last time the Steelers lost a playoff game at home.

The Indianapolis Colts got a jump on Tuesday’s mandatory roster cuts when they waived 11 players and placed another on injury reserved Sunday

There weren’t any surprises on today’s list.

CB Johnny Adams

CB Allen Chapman

G Danous Estenor

DT Kellen Heard

P/K Brandon McManus

RB Davin Meggett

LB C.O. Prime

C Rick Schmeig

S Ashante Williams

WR Maurice Williams

CB Teddy Williams

OLB Lawrence Sidbury was placed injured reserve. He injured his shoulder in the Aug. 18 game against the New York Giants.

The Colts have until 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday to get down to the league-mandatory 75 players.

What to watch for: Colts-Browns

August, 24, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS -- The third preseason game is the one to keep an eye on. It’s the game where you can get a better indication of where the team stands because the starting unit usually plays into the third quarter.

That’s the plan Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano has with his starters in Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Here’s what to watch for:

1. A running attack: I'm like most of you, I'm waiting for the Colts' power-running game, discussed by offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton in training camp, to show up. The Colts haven't even teased us with anything yet. They're averaging 3.1 yards a carry in the preseason. Running back Ahmad Bradshaw won't join Vick Ballard in the backfield Saturday, because the team doesn’t want to rush Bradshaw back on the field after practicing in pads for the first time this week. Not having tight ends Coby Fleener (knee) and Dwayne Allen (foot) to block will make things more difficult for the Colts. So in other words, you likely won't see anything that resembles a power-running game until at least Week 1 against Oakland. Good thing quarterback Andrew Luck (13-of-19 and a 128.8 passer rating) has looked sharp in the preseason.

2. Stopping the run: Is giving up 115.5 yards a game on the ground in two preseason games bad? Yes, but you also have to take into consideration that the starters spent the majority of those games on the sideline watching. What is alarming, though, is that the defense has given up runs of 17, 15 and 21 yards on three of their opponent’s first four runs of the game. The starters will be tested again against Browns running back Trent Richardson. You have every reason to wonder if the defense can improve on being 29th in the league in rushing yards allowed last season if Richardson has a strong game against the starters.

3. Debut time: Speaking of the defense, it will have the starting unit on paper together for the first time in the preseason. Safety LaRon Landry (knee) and linebacker Pat Angerer (foot) are expected to play. Landry will join a secondary -- Antoine Bethea, Vontae Davis and Greg Toler -- that has been solid in the preseason. Toler, a free-agent signing in the offseason, had an interception against the New York Giants on Aug 18. Angerer and Landry are familiar with the defensive scheme, it’s a matter of them getting game reps, especially Landry. Angerer, who spent the first part of training camp on the physically unable to perform list while working his way back from offseason foot surgery, could get between 15 and 20 snaps. Rookie guard Hugh Thornton is also making his preseason debut. Thornton, who injured his ankle right before training camp, will likely back up Jeff Linkenbach at guard.

4. Final audition: Rosters must be trimmed from 90 to 75 players by Tuesday. Keep an eye on the receiver spot. The Colts are still looking for a fourth and fifth receiver. LaVon Brazill, currently the fourth receiver, is suspended the first four games of the season. Jeremy Kelley, Nathan Palmer, Jabin Sambrano, Lanear Sampson and Griff Whalen aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity. There is a reason why general manager Ryan Grigson went out and signed receiver Maurice Williams this week.

5. Special teams: Rookie Kerwynn Williams, Sambrano and Cassius Vaughn have handled kickoff return duties in the first two games. David Reed might get a shot to return kicks Saturday. He was acquired in the trade that sent running Delone Carter to Baltimore this week. Reed led the league by averaging 29.3 yards a kickoff return in 2010.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne doesn’t have to prove himself. He’s done that throughout his 13-year career.

Wayne, 34, is second in team history in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Still, Wayne doesn’t consider himself a lock to make the final roster when he heads to training camp every year.


Receivers like Griff Whalen, Jeremy Kelley, Nathan Palmer, David Reed, Lanear Sampson and Maurice Williams should be the ones worried about making the final 53-man roster.

Not Wayne.

But he is.

“First, let’s make it clear,’’ Wayne said. “I’m always fighting for a spot. Every year they’re going to try to find somebody to replace me. Now it’s up to me to make that a hard decision. So I don’t go out there with the mind frame that I always got a spot sewed up, because that’s when you go out and you loaf and then you got somebody else going out there 100 miles per hour.’’

Wayne didn’t say that just to appease the media group surrounding his locker.

He’s dead serious. He goes hard in practice. And he goes just as hard after practice.

Wayne spends ample time after practice catching passes off the Jugs machine. Some of Wayne’s younger teammates usually stand around enamored, watching him snag one-handed passes and balls that look like they’re going to hit the ground.

“I’m out there trying to set the tone from what Reggie Wayne can do, no matter what the situation is,’’ Wayne said.

The first round of cuts are next week, when 90-player rosters must be trimmed to 75.
The warning has been sent to Griff Whalen, Jeremy Kelley, Nathan Palmer, Jabin Sambrano and Lanear Sampson.

It came at about 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday when the Indianapolis Colts announced the signing of receiver Maurice Williams, a former Arena League Player.

For as much as the Colts have been praised (I’m right there in praising them, too) for their receiving trio of Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey, there’s concern within the organization about the lack of depth behind them. The fourth receiver -- LaVon Brazill -- is suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

You would think somebody on the roster would take advantage of the opportunity, right?


Whalen had an impressive first two weeks of training camp, but a groin injury has sidelined him for more than a week now.

Whalen, Kelly, Palmer, Sambrano and Sampson have combined for eight catches in the first two preseason games.

I was told early on that Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has no problem looking on the outside if the current players aren’t getting the job done.

Enter Williams.

He spent time with the Cleveland Gladiators and Orlando Predators in the AFL He caught 39 passes for 517 yards and 12 touchdowns during his two seasons in the AFL.

Penalty tracker: Jags showing discipline

November, 12, 2009
Posted by’s Paul Kuharsky

An overdue review of penalties in the AFC South reveals that the young Jaguars have shown great discipline. They have given up the least penalty yards in the league (290) and their 39 penalties are tied with Seattle for second-fewest in the NFL behind Cleveland (37).

Those are very good developments for a young team, and speak to the ability of Jack Del Rio and his staff to get a message through to a roster filled with newcomers and to the ability of veterans to spread the word about how to do things the right way.

Thanks to Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Information for running the numbers.

Here’s a team-by-team look at penalties and the primary offenders:


Penalties: 39, tied for 2nd fewest

Yards: 290, fewest Colts

Penalties: 43, tied for 7th fewest

Yards: 331, 5th fewest Texans

Penalties: 56, 7th most

Yards: 480, 7th most Titans

Penalties: 49, tied for 15th most

Yards: 397, 16th most

Jags-Titans inactives and changes

November, 1, 2009
Posted by’s Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans promised changes beyond Vince Young for Kerry Collins.

But Jeff Fisher indicated they’d be minor and they are: Jason Jones is starting at left defensive tackle for Jovan Haye, who’s inactive, and Rod Hood is starting at left cornerback for Jason McCourty.

Who's returning for Tennessee? Not Alvin Pearman, signed after Mark Jones suffered a hamstring injury. Pearman's inactive. Look for some combination of Kevin Kaesviharn and Ryan Mouton on punts -- they are fielding them now in warmups -- and either Michael Griffin or McCourty on kickoffs.

For the Jaguars, Reggie Nelson shifts to corner to start at corner for the injured Rashean Mathis and Brian Russell replaces Nelson at free safety. (Sean Considine was in line to replace Nelson, but is sick and inactive.)

Tra Thomas is starting at left tackle for Eugene Monroe.

The list of inactives:

  • Receiver Tiquan Underwood
  • Mathis
  • Considine
  • CB Brian Witherspoon
  • LB Brian Smith
  • OL Maurice Williams
  • OT Jordan Black
  • DT Greg Peterson
  • CB Nick Harper
  • RB Javon Ringer
  • CB Cary Williams
  • OT Mike Otto
  • Haye
  • TE Craig Stevens
  • DE Jevon Kearse
  • PR-KR Alvin Pearman

Posted by’s Paul Kuharsky

Players of note in the AFC South who did not practice Wednesday in preparation for Texans-Bengals, Rams-Jaguars and Titans-Patriots:
Players of note who were limited:

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

The situation: The Jaguars lead the Titans 10-3 with 8:29 on the clock in the second quarter and face a second-and-2 from the Tennessee 38-yard line.

The Jaguars line up with Maurice Jones-Drew alone behind David Garrard who’s under center and has two tight ends on the field. Marcedes Lewis is to the right of right tackle Maurice Williams and Ernest Wilford is in the slot to the left. Receiver Mike Sims-Walker is wide right and Torry Holt is left.

The Titans are in their base defense with rookie corner Jason McCourty across from Holt, Nick Harper on Sims-Walker and Michael Griffin with Wilford, the former receiver. Chris Hope is one deep safety, as least 12 yards off the line of scrimmage, out of the wide screen TV picture at the snap.

Here’s what I saw unfold after the snap:

Garrard takes a three-step drop, looks to his right and makes a shoulder fake as if he’s throwing to Sims-Walker, who’s taken off up the right side.

Left linebacker David Thornton steps to the line between left end Jevon Kearse and left tackle Jovan Haye and comes on a bit of a delayed blitz, but Jones-Drew steps up to meet him. His initial foray stopped, Thornton sees the crowd of people between him and Garrard and bounces back toward the line of scrimmage, beginning to pursue Garrard on a clearer route. But to much time's gone by and the ball is gone by the time he really starts his move.

Williams blocks down on Haye leaving Lewis to single block Jevon Kearse, who gets good push.

Center Brad Meester and right guard Uche Nwaneri double right tackle Tony Brown who starts to his left before pushing the pocket.

Left tackle Tra Thomas rides right end Kyle Vanden Bosch in a loop around Garrard, but Vanden Bosch winds up making a late move back to the quarterback.

Holt moves at an angle off the line, cutting in front of Wilford and taking McCourty with him.

Garrard senses Meester being pushed into him, with Lewis also being pushed back and Vanden Bosch recovering to close some as well and the quarterback shifts up and to his left while throwing for Wilford on the left.

Griffin is about three yards off Wilford at the snap, gets one hand on him briefly and is facing the middle as the routes begin to unfold. Griffin might actually bump or brush Holt as he turns to go with Wilford who separates. Wilford collects the ball placed nicely over his left shoulder at about the 17-yard line with Griffin a few yards ahead of him and towards the middle of the field.

Result: A 29-yard gain that sets up a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line.

Ultimate outcome: Garrard hits Sims-Walker over the middle on the next play for a touchdown and the Jaguars never lead by less than 13 on their way to a 37-17 rout.

Posted by’s Paul Kuharsky

  • John Clayton sorts through the AFC South.
  • Brian Burke looks at game probabilities for Week 4. AFC South chances to win: Indy 87 percent; Houston 68 percent; Jacksonville 51 percent against Tennessee (49 percent).
Houston Texans
  • As bad as they’ve been, the Texans have allowed fewer yards each week, writes John McClain.
  • Jerome Solomon looks at just how important this one is for Gary Kubiak.
  • Third-down defense gets this look over from Dale Robertson.
  • Kubiak is talking about making changes on defense. McClain asks which ones you want to see.
  • Breaking down the stats so far, with Alan Burge.
  • questions Kubiak’s clock management. Sure you want to score with as little time left as possible, but it can’t be priority No. 1. You can’t generally control when you punch it in, when you have to be concerned with making sure you punch it in.
Indianapolis Colts
  • Mike Chappell’s source says Dwight Freeney will miss three weeks and two games.
  • Five key early season developments include smooth transitions, the emergence of Pierre Garcon and a return to form for Joseph Addai.
  • Chappell takes questions, including one about Philip Wheeler.
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans
  • Jeff Fisher deserves a delay of game flag for Tuesday’s roster moves, opines David Climer.
  • Fisher’s in no trouble, says Peter King in his mailbag.
  • The Titans make roster moves, including adding Mark Jones and putting Craig Hentrich on IR, says Gary Estwick.
  • Five things Jim Wyatt knows about the Titans.
  • Cary Williams was signed to the practice squad.
  • The Titans also looked at veteran cornerbacks Rod Hood, Eric Green and Dante Hughes and safeties Kevin Davis and Keith Lewis, says Terry McCormick.

Posted by’s Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
  • Fast starts are a way of life for the Colts, writes Jeff Rabjohns.
  • Bill Polian anticipates playing it by ear with Dwight Freeney, says the Star’s notebook.
  • WTHR-TV in Indianapolis is reporting Dwight Freeney is out for a month. (Hat tip to for pointing us to it.)
  • The best of Polian from his radio show in two parts thanks to yeoman’s work from John Oehser: Part I and Part II.
  • Bob Kravitz’s report card from Sunday night.
  • Jim Caldwell wants his team focused at 3-0, says Tom James.
  • A 3-0 start doesn’t mean too much, says Dave Goldberg.
Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans

Further review: Missed PI on Holt

September, 22, 2009
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
A possible missed pass interference call on the Cardinals Bryant McFadden against the Jags Tory Holt was a game-changer last Sunday.

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

The situation: Down 10-3 in the early second quarter, the Jaguars’ Sean Considine recovers a punt muffed by Greg Toler, positioning Jacksonville at the Arizona 26-yard line. After a sack and a run, the Jaguars face third-and-12 from the Arizona 28.

The Jaguars line up quarterback David Garrard in shotgun with Maurice Jones-Drew to his left, a tight end Marcedes Lewis is to the right of right tackle Eben Britton and back a step. Three receivers are deployed, two to the right and Torry Holt to the left.

The Cardinals have three men on the line with their hand down. They are in nickel or dime -- I cannot identify the player to the left of Darnell Dockett, who functions as the left end here. The unidentified defender and safety Adrian Wilson, who’s a step behind right end Adrian Branch, creep forward as if to blitz from both sides.

Here’s what I saw unfold after the snap:

Garrard takes the snap and drops back an additional three or four steps. He might have looked middle then left, he might have been looking at Holt the whole time. He’s sandwiched by two rushers just as he lets go of the pass.

Wilson drops off and when he sees Jones-Drew come out of the backfield and head to the left flat, he follows him.

Branch gets a good rush from the right, sliding around left tackle Eugene Monroe at the end to hurry Garrard.

The defensive back or linebacker on the left side blitzes, and while Britton holds him up, Dockett loops around, loses right guard Maurice Williams as he gets caught up in what’s going on his right and gets to Garrard as he throws.

Holt has 10 or 11 yards of cushion from cornerback Bryant McFadden at the snap and runs straight, turning left just after the 15-yard line. He inches back while cutting to the left sideline. Before the ball arrives, McFadden’s initial contact with Holt is his right hand on Holt’s right shoulder, pulling and turning the receiver. McFadden winds up with each arm over each of Holt’s shoulders before the ball arrives. It ties up Holt’s arms and he cannot reach for an on-target ball as it arrives.

Holt argues about the non-call with field judge Greg Gautreaux. It unfolded in front of Jack Del Rio, who pulls out his red flag but is helpless and it’s not a reviewable play.

Result: Fourth-and-12 from the 28. Kicker Josh Scobee attempts a 46-yard field goal. Calais Campbell blocks it, Antrel Rolle recovers it and returns it for an 83-yard touchdown.

Ultimate outcome: With the pass interference call, a team with little margin for error would have been in position for a touchdown to pull even at 10-10. The field goal would have made it 10-6. The block and return make it 17-3 and the Jags are never closer than 14 points again.

Futher review: MJD's 2-point try

September, 15, 2009
The situation: The Jaguars have just scored on a 7-yard run by Maurice Jones-Drew to close to 14-12 and are going for 2 with 11:12 remaining in the game.

The Jaguars line up with an unconventional offensive line set: Tight end Marcedes Lewis is acting as the left tackle and left guard Vince Manuwai pulls to head lead Jones-Drew up the middle. Brad Meester is the center with three linemen to his right -- guard Maurice Williams, tackle Eben Britton and tackle Eugene Monroe.

To top it off, Jones-Drew is lined up like a shotgun quarterback, with receiver Nate Hughes wide left, receiver Torry Holt in the slot on the right and quarterback David Garrard wide right.

Here’s what I saw unfold after the snap:
  • Hughes comes from the left side towards Jones-Drew, who fakes a handoff to him, but no one on the Colts appears to bite on the idea that Hughes is getting the ball and heading right.
  • Jones-Drew pulls the ball back, puts his head down and heads up the middle.
  • The Colts get good penetration from the snap. Left end Robert Mathis turns Monroe outside and slides inside him to bottle up any possibilities to the right.
  • Right end Dwight Freeney slips inside Lewis and gets low on Jones-Drew in a big pile.
  • Cornerback Jerraud Powers, who tracked Hughes from the left plugs in behind Lewis to prevent any sort of possible spin out by Jones-Drew, who’s stuffed well short of the goal line.
Result: Attempt fails.

Ultimate outcome: That was the Jaguars last best chance to pull even their last two possessions start at their own 1-yard line and their own 33, and they never even cross midfield as the Colts hold on for the win.

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

The Jaguars did some roster tinkering Tuesday, adding veteran offensive lineman Kynan Forney and veteran safety Brian Russell while cutting reserve center Dennis Norman.

Also of note: While Jack Del Rio declined recently to name his starting right guard, Maurice Williams remains in the spot on the team’s newest depth chart, with Forney listed as his backup. Uche Nwaneri is listed as the backup at center and left guard.

A bit from the team on the two newcomers:

Forney, 6-3, 302, is in his ninth NFL season and has appeared in 95 games with 88 starts at right guard. The 31-year-old Forney was released by the San Diego Chargers last week. He spent seven seasons with the Atlanta Falcons from 2001-07 before joining the Chargers in 2008. Forney was part of the NFL’s top rushing attack from 2004-06 with the Falcons and was a first alternate to the Pro Bowl in 2005.

A native of Nacogdoches, Texas, Forney was originally a seventh-round pick of the Falcons in 2001 and earned a starting job as a rookie. He played collegiately at Hawaii and Trinity Valley College in Texas and currently resides in Atlanta.

Russell, 6-2, 210, is in his eighth NFL season and has played in 108 games with 94 starts for Minnesota, Cleveland and Seattle. He has started all 16 games five times in his career including the last two seasons at free safety for the Seahawks. Russell, 31, has recorded 484 career tackles, 16 interceptions, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Russell originally signed as a rookie free agent with the Vikings in 2001 and spent his rookie season on the practice squad. Over the next three years he started 50 games and tied for the NFL lead with nine interceptions in 2003. He joined the Browns as a restricted free agent in 2005 and played under Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker for two seasons.

A native of West Covina, California, he played collegiately at Penn before transferring to San Diego State following his freshman season. He made the transition from quarterback to defensive back midway through his junior season.

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Jack Del Rio’s comfortable with his rookie tackles starting Sunday in Indianapolis, and he’s comfortable not revealing who his starting right guard is.

Maurice Williams was the starter at the spot on the final preseason depth chart, though he gave way to Tony Pashos in the preseason finale. Pashos has since been let go and signed with San Francisco. So it’ll be Williams, who missed last season with a biceps injury suffered warming up for the season opener, or Uche Nwaneri, who replaced him.

Del Rio didn’t offer a clue as to who it will be and wouldn’t say if players know when he talked to the local media Monday.

He was more revealing about starting left tackle Eugene Monroe, right tackle Eben Britton and cornerback Derek Cox and said he wasn’t wary of relying on youth and inexperience.

“I think that’s where you start, is you start with your best players,” he said. “Ideally you would like to have guys that are two-, three-, four-, five-year veterans, maybe older, that have been doing it, they’re proven commodities. I think we have to trust our judgment and the work that we put in and the evaluation process. We have some younger guys that are going to play right away and we expect them to play well. We expect to play well as a team.”

Later, he talked about the paths the team’s two top draft picks took to the starting lineup.

“I think Eugene came in a little bit of a delay at the start but then really came into camp and has been pretty steady throughout,” Del Rio said. “I think Eben on the other side probably started at a lesser place, maybe lower down the rung, but each week got better and better and better and then played very well even in our last preseason game. So each week he got better, dramatically better.

“So they both in different ways came in and earned a spot. We wanted to have good competition and make them earn it and I feel like through the whole process, the evaluation of all the exposure that we had with them was enough to evaluate. We do feel like the body of work that we have to look at with the offseason, with training camp, with preseason games, all of that, that they are our best options.”

I think the Jaguars are taking the right approach here. They’ve said they are re-tooling, most of us outside team headquarters view it as a rebuilding year. And when a team’s rebuilding the best course of action is to get those high draft picks on the field, provided they’ve showed they aren’t in over their heads, and let them learn from real experience. If Monroe and Britton live up to the pre-draft expectations they’ll do OK early and show quick and steady improvement.

That said, I expect Marcedes Lewis to line up beside Monroe often at Lucas Oil Stadium to try to help keep Dwight Freeney away from David Garrard.