AFC South: Steve Weatherford
Free agent signings are never mere formalities.
And Chicago has agreed to terms with Podlesh on a five-year deal that Sean Jensen reports is worth over $10 million.
I don’t know if the Jags were in the running. But they put a serious premium on special teams, so this is a bit of a blow because they liked Podlesh.
Well one of their 24 undrafted rookie free agents is Brian Saunders from Virginia Tech.
He put up some nice numbers as a senior, but saw no action in his first three seasons. (Side bonus: He has a degree in horticulture.)
There are free agents to sort through as well. Scouts Inc. ranks Ben Graham, Daniel Sepulveda and Steve Weatherford as just a bit better than Podlesh.
Weatherford played five games for the Jaguars in 2008.
That’s not what I am looking for on Twitter. But I am curious what NFL players are saying and I have made a commitment to sort through it all to give you the highlights from NFL players since the last edition of the NFL Twindex.
Comedy is key during the lockout, but once things are settled we expect far more football talk to be involved here.
It’s not all about laughs on Twitter, and Amy Nelson illustrated so well in this piece about Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds.
Check out tweets I made favorites. That's the list I then worked with to craft our new poll.
Seeing quality tweets you want to make sure are considered? Point me to them. I'm @ESPN_AFCSouth and @Paul Kuharsky.
In time, the Colts might come to consider this pre-Super Bowl playoff exit the least painful and most dismissible of the seven they’ve endured during a nine-year run of postseason qualification. On Saturday night, of course, they were too close to it to think or speak that way.
They saw a blown opportunity in their 17-16 loss to the New York Jets in the opening round of the NFL playoffs.
So they’ll carry regret into the offseason, regret not so much about losing to the Jets, but losing to the Jets like that.
By blowing three leads.
The Colts were up 7-0, 10-7 and 16-14.
By watching the Jets convert five of seven third downs in the second half while they failed to convert two third-and-longs in the fourth quarter that left them settling for field goals.
The first, a third-and-7, produced only a 1-yard run by Dominic Rhodes against a heavy defensive-back set.
“They had seven DBs, they had 34, [cornerback Marquice] Cole at defensive end, it was 100 percent pass coverage,” Peyton Manning said. “That’s a lot of DBs. We just thought they’re not going to think we’re going to run it. We’ve got to be able to pick those up.”
The second, a third-and-6, was a Manning sprint out to the right and a throw to Blair White that looked to be a bit short on the right side. White couldn’t corral it as he went to the ground.
By allowing New York to keep the ball with a running-into-the-punter penalty, which resulted in two timeouts burned ahead of schedule and 34 fewer seconds on the clock when the Colts got the ball back.
Taj Smith was flagged despite trying to hold up Jets punter Steve Weatherford once he’d made contact.
“He did a good acting job and I should have played it more conservative, it just was a bad play on my part,” Smith said. “… They just said play it more smart and keep my head up.”
By allowing a 47-yard kickoff return with 53 seconds remaining that positioned the Jets for a quick drive and a field goal as time expired.
The Colts aren’t used to watching that unfold with their offense on the sideline. They’re used to Manning and the offense making the other team’s offense squirm on the sideline, enduring a sense of helplessness.
“It’s just bad execution on our part,” left tackle Charlie Johnson said. “It’s bad because … I want to be careful here. You have to give them credit. They played a great game, but at the same time I feel like the better team didn’t win.”
It was the seventh exit in the Colts’ first game of the playoffs in Manning’s 11 trips to the postseason, the sort of context the Colts absolutely hate to have pointed out to them.
“We’ve been to the playoffs nine consecutive years. I don’t think this team has to explain itself to anybody as far as what we are doing in the playoffs,” linebacker Gary Brackett said. “A team’s pinnacle is to get to the playoffs and we’ve done that consistently.”
Said Johnson: “I think it’s bogus. I think there are some teams in the league that would love to have the success we’ve had, regardless of going to Super Bowls or not -- winning so many games over the years, winning 12 or more games however many years in a row, going to the playoffs nine straight years. There are a ton of teams that would take that and be happy with it.”
This exit will ultimately deserve a less harsh review than some others because of how deep the injury-riddled Colts had to dig along the way. They ended the game with Ken Hamlin at free safety. He signed Dec. 22 and was, at the very best, their fifth option at the position this season.
Coming into the game the question for Rex Ryan was, if his team couldn’t get past the Colts now, when might it ever?
Before Manning left the interview podium for the last time in what may be quite a long time, he offered a glimpse into how the 2010 Colts were looking at a potential playoff run, at how things might have been different this time.
“It would have been fun to have kind of gotten on a little run here, there would have been a different feeling,” Manning said. “I thought we would have been the underdog in every game. I thought we were the underdog tonight. We would have been the underdog going to Pittsburgh. That’s certainly a different feeling.
“Usually in the playoffs we’re always kind of usually the favorite to win, expected to win. This would have been a fun little run. This has been a fun little run, these last few weeks, we felt like they’ve all been playoff games. This was the best team we’ve played in some time. We certainly had a chance and just came up short.”
The Texans were denied permission to interview Atlanta quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave and Miami receivers coach Karl Dorrell, says John McClain. Such denials are not uncommon.
Three Texans were among players who went to Capitol Hill, says Alan Burge.
Jim Caldwell is never unprepared, says Phil Richards.
Caldwell stays true to his beliefs, says Richards.
The Colts have a nasty defense too, says Bob Kravitz.
Jets vs. Colts still means a lot to Joe Namath, says Curt Cavin.
If Jerraud Powers can’t go, Jacob Lacey is ready, as usual, says Chappell.
On the biggest stage of his life, Pierre Garcon is doing all he can to help in Haiti, says Cavin.
The Jets feed off Rex Ryan’s style, says Phillip B. Wilson.
Steve Weatherford is scrambling for tickets, says Wilson.
Wilson’s matchup page.
Counterpunchers have become sluggers, says Judy Battista.
Peyton Manning and the Colts are looking to shed a reputation as playoff underachievers, says Nancy Gay.
Jarrett Bell looks at Manning’s propensity to clam up at playoff time. Manning spoke for less than 10 minutes this week. It's not unreasonable to expect at least double that from the league's MVP the week of the AFC title game.
Jim Trotter breaks down the game.
John Oehser’s thorough game preview.
The Jets running game poses the big challenge, says Tom James.
Reasons to love the Colts, reasons to hate them, from Shutdown Corner.
Eighteen things to watch for in Jets-Colts, from Deshawn Zombie.
The Jets ran well and still lost often this season, says Zombie.
Remembering the last Colts-Jets playoff game with Big Blue Shoe.
Called on to hold for field goals for the first time, Pat McAfee’s been reliable, says Larry Hawley.
Jeremiah Johnson would like to see Edgerrin James, who is an honorary captain for the game, get the Deuce McAllister treatment and actually be on the roster. I’m against turning former players into mascots as the Saints did with McAlister last week.
Super Bowl III will be replayed Saturday night.
There is no deal in place yet for assistant coach Joe Cullen, says Vito Stellino.
A continuation of Chris Harris’ conversation with Jack Del Rio.
A look at who the Jaguars beat from Jonathan Loesche.
Kenny Britt’s uncle defends him for posting bail for an old friend, says Jim Wyatt. People who are jumping to conclusions and wondering if Britt’s the next Pacman Jones need to slow way down here. He’s done nothing wrong.
Found some interesting numbers on Nick Harper in this Aaron Schatz piece on cornerback tackles.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
The Jaguars cuts, just announced by the team:
Tight end Richard Angulo
Safety Marlon McCree
Running back Alvin Pearman
Offensive lineman Tony Pashos
Linebacker Tim Shaw
Running back Chauncey Washington
Punter Steve Weatherford
Defensive back Brian Williams
Linebacker Thomas Williams
Long snapper Joe Zelenka
Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood
Quarterback Todd Boeckman
Fullback Brock Bolen
Safety Michael Desormeaux
Cornerback Pete Ittersagen
Defensive end Jeremy Navarre
Center Cecil Newton
Wide receiver Todd Peterson
Guard Cameron Stephenson
Running back Josh Vaughan
Linebacker Johnny Williams
The team also placed defensive tackle Rob Meier (shoulder) on injured reserve.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Before we head for the airport and make our way back to Nashville for a belated Thanksgiving, here are your morning headlines from around the division.
- After a good rest, the Texans returned for a short Thanksgiving practice, says Dale Robertson.
- The Texans are wary of dual threat David Garrard, writes Robertson.
- Houston has failed to keep pace with several teams it beat last season, according to John McClain.
- Ron Jaworski tells McClain what he thinks of the Texans on film.
- With Bob Sanders looking to be out in Cleveland, Melvin Bullitt is ready, again. Details from Mike Chappell.
- The Colts are waiting on Sanders' knee, says Tom James.
- Phil Richards looks at the Dawson family, which has one son in Iraq and another playing for the Colts.
- A look at some turkeys so far this season, from Phillip B. Wilson.
- Andre Johnson knows exactly how the Jaguars feel, says Michael C. Wright.
- Steve Weatherford could challenge Adam Podlesh in training camp next year, writes Vito Stellino.
- A thrashing of the Lions was good therapy for the Titans just four days after their first loss of the season, says Jim Wyatt.
- A dominating defense returned for the Titans in Detroit, according to Gary Estwick.
- Vince Young saw action in a mop-up role, writes Wyatt.
- Joe Biddle's four downs from Detroit.
- Wyatt's report card features two A-pluses and two A's.
- Fullback Ahmard Hall showed off what he can do with the ball in his hands, from The Tennessean's notebook.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
As expected, the Jaguars made several roster moves Tuesday.
Here's the news release they sent out a little while ago.
JAGUARS MAKE ROSTER MOVES
The Jaguars today made several roster moves including placing second-year punter Adam Podlesh on injured reserve after suffering a knee injury in last Sunday's loss to Minnesota and signed veteran free agent punter Steve Weatherford. The Jaguars also activated tight end George Wrighster and defensive lineman Jeremy Mincey off the Physically Unable to Perform list and waived cornerback Omare Lowe.
The Jaguars waived tight end Chris Brown from the practice squad and replaced his spot with center Tim Mattran, who was originally signed by Minnesota as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Stanford.
Weatherford, 25, played in two games with Kansas City after being claimed off waivers from New Orleans on Oct. 20. The 6-3, 215-pounder played in the first seven games for the Saints this season and the previous two seasons after being signed as an undrafted rookie in 2006 out of Illinois. He has played in 41 career games with the two teams and has 41 punts for 7,732 yards with a 43.4 gross average and 45 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. He will wear jersey No. 6.
Podlesh had played in 11 games this season and had 46 punts for 1,989 yards with a 43.2 gross average and 36.6 net average. The second year pro had played in 27 consecutive games after being selected in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.Mincey and Wrighster had spent the first 12 weeks on the PUP list with a wrist and knee injury respectively. Lowe played in five games for the Jaguars after being signed on Sept. 24. The seventh-year veteran recorded three special teams tackles.