AFC South: What I think they are thinking

What I think they're thinking, or should be, in the headquarters of the four teams of the AFC South…

Houston Texans

We’ve got to get it together. This inability to put together a 60-minute effort against quality teams is an issue that’s got to stop now. Maybe we get Andre Johnson back this week, but we can’t count on it and we can’t count on him coming back curing our issues. We’ve not run the ball well in the past two weeks and we’ve not played well enough in the second halves. The clutch plays are coming from the other team and we can’t let ourselves fall further into the pattern. We’re all about trying to go 1-0 each week. If we can do it this week, next Monday will be a lot more positive, because we will have taken over first place. If we can’t do it this week, we’ll have a losing record and the pressure gauge will rise substantially.

Indianapolis Colts

Early on, we could pin our problems on our quarterback situation. Now we are getting steady play from Curtis Painter but finding other ways to lose. We’re in games in the fourth quarter, but we don’t look like a collection of guys who have been in the playoffs before. When Peyton Manning is in the huddle, we find ways to win games at the end. Without him, we’ve consistently found ways to lose. It’s really embarrassing and it stinks to have NFL fans thinking that each of us is a much lesser player when we take the field minus our best guy. Now we go to New Orleans. Does our defense really believe we can find a way to stop the Saints, who are likely to bounce back big after losing to Tampa Bay?

Jacksonville Jaguars

Oftentimes we lament the lack of attention we get. But Monday Night Football is about to come to town and we might be better off hiding under a rock. That’s not an option, though. The Ravens are hardly an ideal team for us to end our losing streak against. Blaine Gabbert is going to face his biggest challenge yet by far, and we need to do way, way more to help him. Rashean Mathis rounded us up after the loss in Pittsburgh and talked about how we are on the cusp. It was a good gesture and a good theme, but when it’s delivered by a guy who was flailing around when the defense was having a hard time against the Steelers, it lacks a certain oomph. People will want to bash us being in prime time. Let’s give them a game that shows it's not such a bad thing.

Tennessee Titans

We’re well rested, but we better not be looking at the standings, where we managed to move into first place in the AFC South without playing. We shouldn’t feel like a first-place team based on our most recent effort, that complete dud in Pittsburgh. The Texans are going to be the team we need to get in front of if we’re going to win this division. While they’ve got one more loss than we do, we’ve got a division loss and they don’t. We need to hold serve at home against Houston. We’re beyond overdue for the running game to get going, and it’s going to be hard to win this one with nothing significant out of Chris Johnson.

What I think they are thinking

January, 3, 2011
1/03/11
2:51
PM ET
What I think they are thinking in the headquarters of the four AFC South teams this afternoon ...

Houston Texans

It was nice to win at the end, nice to make sure it wasn’t the worst season of the Gary Kubiak era, nice to avenge the Hail Mary game, nice to prevent the Jaguars from having a shot at the division, nice to get Arian Foster the rushing title, nice to finish third in the division instead of last. But there isn’t really that much solace in any of that considering where we expected to be and where we are. Reports say Kubiak is safe, but he said after the game it was not certain. If he’s back, what’s it mean for my job. If Wade Phillips is in as the new defensive coordinator, are we turning into a 3-4? What’s that mean for Mario Williams?

Indianapolis Colts

We’re in and we start off at home. We’re not the popular pick, but we’ve found our footing. We’ve been in playoff games for a month now, as far as we are concerned and if we can maintain what we have been doing, there is no reason we can’t advance through these playoffs. Maybe we even get Clint Session and/or Kelvin Hayden back in the mix. Rex Ryan was already talking about his big expectations Sunday. We sure hope he gets more Colts-specific this week. We’ll sit back, watch that while we work, and fully expect to be louder than him Saturday night.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Maybe in some time we’ll come to regard this as a season of improvement and see it as a year of progress. But considering the control we had in the division and the way we gave it away and the chance we had to finish above .500 that we didn’t take advantage of, it’s hard not to feel disappointed now. It doesn’t feel like a success. We’re not expecting Wayne Weave to oust Jack Del Rio, but the big boss passed on a situation to offer support this morning. With or without Del Rio, how do we get better at seizing our biggest and best opportunities?

Tennessee Titans

Jeff Fisher versus Vince Young may turn out to be a better matchup than a lot of the games we played after our 5-2 start. Big change is coming, because it’s impossible to envision them both back. We have issues that our brass really has to sort out. And a lot of us who coach think it’s players, a lot of us who play think it’s coaches. It would be good for all of us to take accountability of our piece of it. Maybe we eventually will. But right now we want to see how things shake out and figure out what the developments mean to each of us.

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