AFC South: Steve Keim

What I think they’re thinking at the headquarters of the Jacksonville Jaguars this evening…

Is Shad Khan close to hiring a general manager? It seems like Dave Caldwell of Atlanta or Steve Keim of Arizona will be the guy. Will the one who moves into Gene Smith’s old office decide if Mike Mularkey should remain in his current office?Assistant coaches have been told they can look for jobs. But we haven’t seen any take off yet. They all may come free soon. It’s not that a new GM won’t like Mularkey. There is just a certain comfort in hiring your own guy. And if they are wiping the slate clean, which they should after 2-14, then we expect them to wipe it all the way clean. Khan’s getting good reviews from people who know the best up and comers. Not all good personnel guys are suited for the promotion to GM. It sounds like the primary candidates are viewed by many in the league as capable of handling the bigger job.

 
Reading the coverage ...

Football Outsiders discussed Bengals-Texans and Colts-Ravens as they unfolded.

Houston Texans

The Patriots' rout of the Texans turned on five plays, says Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle.

That regular-season game in New England was too big for the Texans, says John McClain of the Chronicle. “This is a chance for the Texans to earn redemption, to make up for a performance that caused them to be ridiculed from coast to coast.”

The Patriots are a dividing line for the Texans, writes Brian T. Smith of the Chronicle.

To which I say: A scenario where Houston could advance deep in the playoffs without beating New England was really unlikely. But it’s hard not to wonder about how it would be different had the Texans earned a home game this round.

In New England, at least one writer thinks the Texans will barely be a speed bump for the Patriots, says Jerome Solomon of the Chron.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports doesn’t see the Texans going to New England and matching Tom Brady.

Indianapolis Colts

The end of the Colts' season is really just the start, says Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. Said owner Jim Irsay: “There's not much you can say except if adversity builds greatness and strength and those things, then we just added a lot of adversity in our bank."

The Ravens exposed all the Colts’ major flaws, says Mike Chappell. It showed us just what GM Ryan Grigson has to work on this offseason -- better protection for Andrew Luck, upgraded cornerbacks, improved run defense.

The Colts got to the 30 or closer five times but never got into the end zone, says Phil Richards of the Star.

The Ravens' big plays will haunt the Colts for the whole offseason, says Phillip B. Wilson. The Ravens gained 273 of their 441 total yards on just eight plays.

“Now all of a sudden we’re playing against an 11-5 watermark,” said Irsay. Wilson has what the owner said after the game.

Breaking down Denis Pitta’s touchdown catch and run which evolved out of pressure from Dwight Freeney on Joe Flacco. From Zak Keefer of the Star.

Breaking down Ray Rice’s 47-yard reception before halftime. From Mark Alesia of the Star.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals front office remains in the mix to become the next general manager of the Jaguars, says Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

“(Shad) Khan and the new general manager won't have an easy decision as they decide (Mike) Mularkey's fate,” says Vito Stellino of the Times-Union. “Firing him would be the easy part. Finding a better replacement could be more difficult.”

To which I say: In Carolina, they've decided to keep Ron Rivera as coach before signing a GM. Khan's approach is better.

Tennessee Titans

Season-ending awards for the Titans include Derrick Morgan as defensive player of the year, from Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Colin McCarthy’s was the injury that hurt the Titans the most in 2012, says David Boclair of the Nashville City Paper.

To which I say: Can the Titans count on him as their middle linebacker going forward considering how injury prone he is?
Reading the coverage ...

Houston Texans

Don’t only blame the offense, says John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. The Texans gave up 29 touchdown passes this season compared to 18 in 2011. And they’ve allowed 54 completions of 20 or more yards. Of the playoff teams, only New England (74) and Washington (58) allowed more.

To which I say: McClain says it’s been the safeties more than the corners. The only big difference has been at nickelback, where Brice McCain has been out. That should not make this much of a difference.

The offensive line’s drop-off has been one of the big issues slowing the Texans down, says Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle.

Injuries have left the Texans with little depth at inside linebacker, say Ganguli and Robertson. Darryl Sharpton is on IR and Tim Dobbins may not be able to play.

Analysts have their doubts about the Texans, says David Barron of the Chronicle.

Dumb penalties are getting the Texans off their down-and-distance schedule, the tight ends need to do more and special teams need to avoid big mistakes, says Stephanie Stradley of the Chronicle blogs.

Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck is the only No. 1 overall pick to deliver his team to the postseason as a rookie, writes Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star. “He understands the enormity of what's ahead, but plans on doing nothing more than what he did while prepping for his first 16 NFL games.”

The ancient grudge Baltimore has for the Colts still exists, writes Bob Kravitz of the Star. The Colts need to plant an early seed of doubt in the Ravens who struggled at the end of the season.

To which I say: I think the Ravens have to carry some degree of doubt whether the Colts do something early or not. We’ll find out how much of a bearing momentum has when the Ravens greet the hot Colts.

Reinforcements are arriving off the Colts injury list, says Phil Richards of the Star.

Vontae Davis won AFC defensive player of the week for his work against the Texans, says Richards.

The Colts have the potential to make this Ray Lewis’ last game.

Everything you need to know about the Colts-Ravens game from ESPN Stats and Info.

For the players and coaches, this week has nothing to do with the history between the teams, or the Irsays, or crab cakes, or moving trucks, says Marcus Dugan of Colts Authority.

Jacksonville Jaguars

With the future of Mike Mularkey and his staff up in the air, we don’t yet know if the Jaguars will coach the Senior Bowl, says Ryan O’Halloran.

To which I say: It’s nice for the staff to work with the kids for a week, but it won’t kill the franchise if it misses out.

Arizona executive Steve Keim is another candidate for Jaguars general manager, writes O’Halloran.

Tennessee Titans

Matt Hasselbeck is OK with a backup role with the Titans going forward, says John Glennon of The Tennessean. “I feel good about the people we have here,” Hasselbeck said. “I feel good about the people in charge. I feel good about the plan.”

To which I say: He remains an excellent guy to have in the locker room. But when the backup quarterback is the offense’s best leaders, there is an issue.

Titans like Eddie George recall the pride and pain of facing Lewis, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

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