NFL Nation: Josh Gordy

Examining the Indianapolis Colts' roster:

This is the safest position on the roster for the Colts. They plan to always keep a veteran backup if Luck ever goes down with an injury.


The Colts will have a solid running combination if -- and we’re saying if until proven wrong -- Richardson can bounce back from a poor first season in Indianapolis and Bradshaw and Ballard can stay injury-free. Havili, a fullback, gets the edge over Mario Harvey, who switched from linebacker to fullback during offseason workouts.


The final receiver spot will come down to Rogers and Griff Whalen. If the Colts want to play it safe, Whalen is the guy because he’s familiar with Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but Rogers has the size and speed the team likes. There’s also the possibility of the Colts keeping six receivers.


Allen, who missed all but one game in 2013, and Fleener have the potential to be one of the top tight end duos in the league. Doyle and Saunders are both familiar with the system after backing up Fleener in Allen’s absence last season.


There are plenty of questions surrounding the offensive line outside of tackles Castonzo and Cherilus. The one thing general manager Ryan Grigson wanted with this group is depth. The Colts have plenty of it.


Like the offensive line, the Colts want depth on the defensive line so they can constantly rotate in players, so come the fourth quarter they still have fresh legs to get after the opponent. Jones was the key offseason acquisition for the Colts. Chapman showed flashes last season; now he needs to do it every snap that he’s on the field.


All eyes will be on outside linebacker as the Colts look to find a replacement for Mathis, who is suspended for the first four games of the season. Werner gets the first crack at starting in Mathis’ spot. McNary is a player for whom Grigson has high expectations. It’ll be up to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky on how he uses McNary.


It’s anybody’s guess how the secondary will perform. It’s anybody’s guess who will start alongside Landry at safety. It looked like it would be Howell for most of the offseason, but the Colts signed the veteran Adams in June. Can Toler finally remain healthy? Can Davis live up to his contract? So many questions with no answers at the moment.


This only changes if an injury occurs.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson didn't just come out and say it as he stood behind the podium at Lucas Oil Stadium on Feb. 21. But you knew what he was getting at while addressing the media during the NFL scouting combine that afternoon.

Grigson was asked if center Samson Satele was in the team's plans in the future.

“This is an evaluation process and we have a plan in place,” he said. “We're not going to divulge that to anyone, but we're taking all the time and due diligence and the film work and it's something for the organization to know and you guys will find out at some point.”

Grigson's comments about Satele may not seem like a big deal, but things were put further into perspective about how the organization felt about the center when the general manager talked about safety LaRon Landry, cornerback Greg Toler and defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois needing to be more consistent next season in the concourse outside of the media area.

Releasing Satele, who was a disappointment last season, became official Thursday. The move frees up $4 million in salary cap space for the Colts.

The Colts are now on the market for a new starting center to snap the ball to franchise quarterback Andrew Luck and block because Khaled Holmes, who played a total of 12 snaps during his rookies season, is the only center on the roster.

Mike McGlynn was solid while starting in place of the injured Satele last season. McGlynn's a free agent and I've been told that the Colts don't plan on re-signing him at the moment.

New Orleans' Brian De La Punte and Green Bay's Even Dietrich-Smith are possible players the Colts could pursue once free agency begins March 11. The Cleveland Browns used the transition tag on center Alex Mack. The Browns have the right to match any offer made to Mack.

  • And to put a wrap on Thursday's busy day for the Colts, which also saw them sign linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, they made qualifying offers to restricted free agents cornerback Josh Gordy and offensive lineman Joe Reitz. The Colts have the right of first refusal if Gordy or Reitz receives an offer sheet from another team. Indianapolis made an exclusive rights tender to linebacker Cam Johnson.
  • Super XLV: Where are they now?

    February, 6, 2014
    PM ET
    GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Exactly three years ago -- on Feb. 6, 2011 -- the Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV.

    Since then, much has happened to the 53 players who were on the roster for that 31-25 victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Arlington, Texas.

    Free agency, injuries, retirement and declining performance cause roster turnover.

    Still, it’s eye-opening that from the group that suited up for the Packers’ last championship, only 12 players (just 22.6 percent) remain under contract with the team for 2014. Another 11 are still officially members of the Packers, but have contracts that expire next month. There are 13 players with other NFL teams, and 17 are out of football -- perhaps for good.

    Here’s a look at the status of every player who was on the active roster three years ago today at Super Bowl XLV:

    Under contract for 2014

    • [+] EnlargeAaron Rodgers
      Wesley Hitt/Getty ImagesThree years after being named MVP of Super Bowl XLV, Aaron Rodgers is still leading the Packers.
      QB Aaron Rodgers: Threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns on the way to winning the Super Bowl XLV MVP, then won the NFL MVP award the next season. Signed a five-year, $110 million contract extension last April.
    • G Josh Sitton: Started Super Bowl XLV at right guard, but moved to left guard in 2013 and was a second-team, All-Pro selection. Signed a five-year contract extension on Sept. 2, 2011 that averages $6.75 million per season.
    • T Bryan Bulaga: Started at right tackle, but moved to left tackle last offseason. A training camp knee injury ended his 2013 season, and he now enters the final year of his rookie contract.
    • G: T.J. Lang: Served as a backup, but became the starting left guard the next season. Signed a four-year contract extension on Aug. 14, 2012 that averages $5.2 million per season. Moved to right guard last season.
    • WR Jordy Nelson: Caught nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl, and went on to post 1,000-yard receiving seasons in two of the next three years. Entering the final year of his contract in 2014.
    • OLB Clay Matthews: Forced a fumble in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl that the Packers recovered and turned into a touchdown to pad the lead. Four-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $66 million contract extension last April.
    • LB A.J. Hawk: Started and made seven tackles in the Super Bowl. Was released two months later, only to re-sign a more salary-cap friendly deal. Is under contract through 2015.
    • CB Tramon Williams: Broke up three passes in the Super Bowl, including the one that sealed the game on fourth-and-5 from the Steelers’ 33-yard line in the final minute. Entering the final year of his contract. Scheduled to make $7.5 million in 2014, and could be a candidate to be released or restructured despite a strong finish to last season.
    • K Mason Crosby: Made a 23-yard field goal in the game and signed a five-year, $14.75 million contract on July 29, 2011. Struggled in 2012, but bounced back last year to post his best season.
    • P Tim Masthay: Capped his first season with the Packers by averaging 40.5 yards and allowing the Steelers just 5 yards on punt returns in the game. Signed a four-year, $5.465 million contract extension on July 26, 2012.
    • LS Brett Goode: Has been the long snapper since 2008 and signed a three-year, $2.715 million contract extension on Oct. 13, 2012.
    • CB Jarrett Bush: Special teams player who was pressed into defensive duty in the game after injuries to Sam Shields and Charles Woodson, and intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass in the second quarter. Signed a three-year, $5.25 million contract on March 26, 2012.
    Headed for free agency next month

    • RB James Starks: Started the Super Bowl and rushed for 52 yards on 11 carries. Battled injuries most of his career, and might not be re-signed.
    • WR James Jones: Caught five passes for 50 yards in the game, and signed a three-year, $9.6 million contract on Aug. 2, 2011. Caught 59 passes for a career-high 817 yards in 2013, and could be a re-signed despite his age (will turn 30 next month).
    • DT Ryan Pickett: Started the game, made two tackles and was in on the play in which Matthews forced Rashard Mendehall's fourth-quarter fumble. Played in all 16 games last season with a base salary of $5.4 million, but might be at the age (34) where the Packers let him walk.
    • DT B.J. Raji: Capped a strong 2010 postseason with a pair of tackles in the game. Finished his rookie contract in 2013, and reportedly turned down an $8 million-per-year offer last season.
    • DE C.J. Wilson: Started the game, but played only 14 snaps. Biggest impact came the night before the game, when he kept things loose in the team hotel by playing piano and leading a team sign-along. Finished his rookie contract in 2013.
    • FB John Kuhn: Played on both offense and special teams in the game. Signed a three-year, $7.5 million contract on Aug. 1, 2011.
    • CB Sam Shields: Suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter of the game. Had his best season in 2013 while playing under the restricted free agent tender of $2.023 million. Will command a big contract either from the Packers or another team in free agency.
    • LB Robert Francois: Went back and forth from the practice squad to the active roster throughout the 2010 season, and played on special teams in the game. Played last season under a one-year, $725,000 deal, but tore his Achilles tendon on Oct. 6.
    • TE Andrew Quarless: Caught one pass for 5 yards in the game. Suffered a major knee injury the next season and missed all of 2012. Returned last season to catch 32 passes for 312 yards (both career highs) in the final year of his rookie deal.
    • QB Matt Flynn: Served as Rodgers’ backup but did not play in the Super Bowl. Left after the 2011 season as a free agent, and after stints with Seattle, Oakland and Buffalo, he returned to the Packers last season for a one-year minimum deal and played in five games after Rodgers broke his collarbone.
    • C Evan Dietrich-Smith: Was inactive for the Super Bowl. Became a starter late in 2012 and for all of 2013, when he played under the restricted free agent tender of $1.323 million deal.
    With other teams

    • [+] EnlargeMcCarthy
      Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsCoach Mike McCarthy and the Packers have seen a lot of roster turnover since winning Super Bowl XLV.
      WR Greg Jennings: Started and became just the third player in team history to catch multiple touchdowns in a Super Bowl by recording touchdowns of 21 and 8 yards. Signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Vikings last March.
    • G Daryn Colledge: Started at left guard, but left in free agency a few months later to sign a five-year, $27.5 million contract with the Cardinals. Has started every game for the Cardinals since.
    • C Scott Wells: Started at center and remained with the Packers through the 2011 season before signing a four-year, $24 million contract with the Rams. Has missed 13 games over the past two seasons because of injuries.
    • LB Desmond Bishop: Became a starter earlier in 2010 after Nick Barnett's wrist injury and made nine tackles in the Super Bowl. Also recovered the fumble that Matthews forced. Signed a four-year, $19 million contract in 2011, but was released after missing the entire 2012 season because of a hamstring injury. Signed with the Vikings last offseason, but appeared in only four games.
    • OLB Frank Zombo: Started the game and had the Packers’ only sack of Roethlisberger but battled injuries the next two years and was released. Signed with the Chiefs last year and appeared in all 16 games.
    • CB Charles Woodson: Started at cornerback, but broke his collarbone late in the second quarter and missed the remainder of the game. Played two more seasons with the Packers, who released him last year. Returned to his old team, the Raiders, and played in all 16 games last season.
    • DE Cullen Jenkins: Played 36 snaps and had a pair of quarterback pressures. Left in free agency the following year and signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Eagles, who released him after two years. Signed a three-year, $8 million contract with the Giants last season.
    • TE Tom Crabtree: Played on both offense and special teams in the Super Bowl, catching one pass. Left last year to sign with the Buccaneers as an unrestricted free agent, but was limited to seven games because of injuries.
    • CB Josh Gordy: Was inactive for the game, and the next season was signed off the practice squad the by the Rams. Spent the past two seasons with the Colts.
    • G Nick McDonald: Was inactive for the game, like he was for every game that season. Was released in training camp the next year, and spent parts of the next two seasons with the Patriots. Did not play in 2013, but was recently signed by the Chargers.
    • OLB Erik Walden: Was inactive after suffering an ankle injury in the NFC Championship Game. Played the next two seasons before signing a four-year, $16 million contract with the Colts last year.
    • DE: Jarius Wynn: Was active but did not play. Played in Green Bay through 2011, and with the Titans and Chargers before landing with the Cowboys last season.
    • FB Quinn Johnson: Inactive for the game. Was traded to the Titans in 2011. Has played in 24 games for the Titans over the past three years.
    Out of football

    • T Chad Clifton: Started at left tackle, but his long career with the Packers ended when they released him after he played in only six games in 2011. Was never signed by another team.
    • WR Donald Driver: Started the game and caught two passes for 28 yards before leaving with an ankle injury in the second quarter. Retired after the 2012 season as the team’s all-time leading receiver.
    • S Nick Collins: Started and made a key early play when he returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Suffered a neck injury in Week 2 of 2011 and hasn’t played since.
    • DT Howard Green: Claimed off waivers earlier that season and started the game. His hit on Roethlisberger led to Collins’ interception return for a touchdown. Returned in 2011 and played in all 16 games, but has not played since.
    • WR Brett Swain: Posted a team-high four special teams tackles. Was released the following season and played briefly with the 49ers. Was cut in training camp last season by the Seahawks.
    • S Atari Bigby: Played on special teams. Signed with the Seahawks the following season and played in 15 games. Played in eight games with the Chargers in 2012, but did not play in 2013.
    • CB Pat Lee: Special teams player who saw action on defense after injuries to Woodson and Shields. Played one more season in Green Bay before splitting time in 2012 between the Lions and Raiders. Did not play in 2013.
    • RB Brandon Jackson: Played as the third-down back, but did not have any carries in the game. Caught one pass for 14 yards. Signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Browns in 2011, but missed all of that season and played in only two games in 2012.
    • FB Korey Hall: Caught one pass for 2 yards and made one special teams tackle in the game. He played in 13 games with the Saints in 2011, and retired after going to camp with the Cardinals in 2012.
    • S Charlie Peprah: Led the Packers with 10 tackles (including nine solo stops). Returned as a starter in 2011, when he had five interceptions, but was released shortly before training camp in 2012. Played in five games for the Cowboys in 2012.
    • LB Diyral Briggs: Made one special teams tackle in the game, but never played in another NFL game.
    • LB Matt Wilhelm: Made two special teams tackles, but seven-year career ended after that game.
    • G Jason Spitz: Played on special teams. Left in free agency the next year and signed a three-year, $4.05 million contract with the Jaguars, who released him in training camp last summer. He signed with the Seahawks, but was released on Oct. 12.
    • TE Donald Lee: Played in the game, but did not have a catch and was released two months later. Played in nine games for the Bengals in 2001.
    • QB Graham Harrell: Inactive for the game. Remained with the Packers until he was released in training camp last summer. Also spent time briefly with the Jets before being released.
    • RB Dimitri Nance: Inactive for the game. Was released by the Packers the following summer and never played in another NFL game.
    • CB Brandon Underwood: Inactive for the game. Was released in 2011. Went to camp with the Raiders in 2012 and Cowboys in 2013, but did not make either team.
    INDIANAPOLIS -- The frustration was there for the Indianapolis Colts' defense. So were some ‘R-rated’ words after a brutal defensive performance for more than a half.

    The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t have running back Jamaal Charles (concussion) but quarterback Alex Smith roasted the Colts' secondary by coming up with big plays with his arm. They converted seven of their first nine third-down attempts.

    “I’m not going to say there wasn’t any frustration because there was,” Colts linebacker Robert Mathis said. “No finger pointing, we just have to play ball. That’s why you play the game, you play until the end.”

    The Colts needed something to happen to show that their defense had some kind of life in them.

    It started with Mathis doing what he does best -- getting a strip-sack of Smith -- in the third quarter. The Colts scored five plays later.

    After quarterback Andrew Luck completed the 28-point comeback by throwing a 64-yard touchdown to receiver T.Y. Hilton, Mathis barreled in and hit Smith. Smith tried to throw the ball away, but he was called for intentional grounding because he was still in the tackle box.

    Then, with the game on the line, the Colts sealed the game when cornerback Josh Gordy, playing in place of the injured Greg Toler, defended Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe perfectly along the sideline on fourth-and-11. Bowe caught the pass, but he couldn’t get both feet inbounds.

    “All great defenses want to be out there on that last drive,” safety Antoine Bethea said. “Be out there on the last drive and be able to close out teams. That’s what we were able to do.”

    Those three key plays helped ease the fact that the defense gave up 44 points, 513 yards and 30 first downs to Kansas City. All three were season highs allowed by the Colts.

    “We just decided we didn’t want our season to end today,” Mathis said. “Knowing what type of team we have and just getting the job done.”

    Four players sit out at Colts practice

    November, 20, 2013
    PM ET
    INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s Wednesday’s practice report for the Indianapolis Colts:
    Havili had some concussion symptoms after the Nov. 14 game at Tennessee. He must complete the NFL’s concussion protocol before he’s cleared to play.

    Landry wore a walking boot on his right foot during the media portion of the open locker-room period. He said he’ll be “fine” when asked about the boot.

    Colts coach Chuck Pagano said rookie Bjoern Werner will start at linebacker in place of the suspended Erik Walden in Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

    “He’s coming back off the injury,” Pagano said about Werner missing three games earlier this season. “He’s knocking the rust off. Again, he can be and will be a good edge setter in the run game and he gives you pass-rush capabilities.”

    Pagano declined to talk about Walden’s suspension for head-butting Titans tight end Delanie Walker. Walden’s appeal was denied Tuesday.
    INDIANAPOLIS -- Any suspense about whether Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson will be in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams ended at about 11 a.m. on Friday when he took the practice field.

    Richardson didn't practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a swollen ankle. The Colts have him listed as questionable on the injury report, but you can expect him to play against the Rams barring any setbacks with his ankle.

    “Oh yeah, I’m always game-ready,” Richardson said. “Took precaution on it and coach (Chuck Pagano) is going to make the best decision. You see me out there running around and you see me moving like I used to move. You know I’m ready.”

    The goal -- other than having him find his rhythm rushing the ball -- is to find ways to get Richardson, who is only averaging 3.0 yards a carry in six games with the Colts, involved in the passing game. He had a 24-yard reception in the Nov. 3 game at Houston.

    "I just have to find ways to creatively get the ball to Trent," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "A lot of different ways, not just out in space, but do a better job with run schemes that feature his instincts. But he’s gotten better each week, and we expect that he’ll continue to make big plays for us.”

    Offensive guard Hugh Thornton also practiced Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday with a calf problem. He's listed as questionable.

    Pagano said defensive tackle Josh Chapman (knee), cornerbacks Josh Gordy (groin) and Greg Toler (groin), and safety Delano Howell (neck) will miss Sunday’s game.

    Reggie Wayne takes up coaching

    November, 7, 2013
    PM ET
    INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Colts injured receiver Reggie Wayne didn’t go to Houston just to surprise his teammates the night before their game against the Texans.

    Wayne also provided an extra set of eyes for offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

    “In between series, I would pass over the pictures and ask his opinion,” Hamilton said. “And, of course, during the series he had a job. His job was to watch their slot coverage and give myself and [quarterback] Andrew [Luck] feedback.”

    Wayne’s season – his 13th – ended when he tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of their victory over Denver on Oct. 20.

    Sunday was the first time Wayne had been around his teammates since he had his surgery. The plan is for him to be around the team and take part in meetings as much as possible during his rehabilitation. Coach Chuck Pagano said last week that they anticipate Wayne to be ready for the start of the 2014 season.

    “Reggie, he loves this game,” Hamilton said. “He loves the horseshoe and it’s awesome that he’ll still be around even under the circumstances.”

    Here’s Thursday’s injury report:

    Running back Trent Richardson (ankle) missed his second straight practice. Guard Hugh Thornton (calf), cornerback Greg Toler (groin), safety Delano Howell (neck), cornerback Josh Gordy (groin) and defensive tackle Josh Chapman (knee) also did not practice.

    Linebacker Robert Mathis (shoulder) did return practice after sitting out Wednesday.

    Greg Toler out against Houston

    November, 1, 2013
    PM ET
    INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts starting cornerback Greg Toler will miss Sunday's game against the Houston Texans because of groin injury.

    Colts coach Chuck Pagano is giving the silent treatment on who will replace Toler in the starting lineup. The only thing Pagano would say is that it’ll be either Cassius Vaughn or Darius Butler.

    Butler is the team’s nickelback, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Vaughn starts at cornerback because of how well Butler plays the nickel position.

    Butler has 16 tackles, eight passes defended and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, this season.

    “I like nickel because you have to talk more, you can make calls with the corner and the safety,” Butler said when asked his preference. “I like that because it makes me think more, anticipate more, watch more film.”

    Safety Delano Howell (neck) and cornerback Josh Gordy (groin) are also out against the Texans. Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was held out of practice Friday as a precaution because of a hamstring problem, but Pagano said he should play Sunday. Center Samson Satele (knee) and linebacker Bjoern Werner (foot) are also expected to be in the lineup.

    Werner could return against Houston

    October, 28, 2013
    PM ET
    INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts could have their first-round draft pick back when they play the Houston Texans on Sunday.

    Linebacker Bjoern Werner practiced on a limited basis Monday. He’s been out with a torn plantar fascia since Sept. 29. He has five tackles and 0.5 sacks this season.

    “We’ll see how he comes in [Tuesday],” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “He felt good with what he did leaving the practice field and hopefully he comes in [Tuesday] morning and feels great and then amp it up a little more on Wednesday. Always see the glass half-full on that kind of thing.”

    While Werner continues to work his way back, safety Delano Howell (neck) and cornerback Josh Gordy (groin) are both doubtful against the Texans. Cornerback Greg Toler (groin) and linebacker Cam Johnson (ankle) are day-to-day.
    Football Outsiders continues their red flags series Wednesday, hitting on the AFC South.

    Tom Gower takes on the biggest remaining issue for each team.

    Houston Texans

    Gower says wide receiver: “Considered about the most pro-ready receiver in this year's draft, the Texans are counting on (DeAndre Hopkins') relatively polished route-running skills and natural hands to let him step in as a starter immediately. Most late first-round receivers of late have been eased into the lineup, but the Texans need Hopkins to be a high-impact player immediately.

    Kuharsky counters: Sure, Hopkins’ development is a big storyline going forward. But the right side of the offensive line is more of a lingering issue and didn't add a first-round pick. Right tackle Derek Newton is recovering from major knee surgery, and could lose out to third-rounder Brennan Williams. Veteran Ryan Harris could be in the mix as well. Second-year right guards Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks are promising, but also need to prove they are going to be better and solidify a line that needs more consistency on the right side.

    Indianapolis Colts

    Gower says cornerback: “(Greg Toler) ranked in the top 10 in success rate and yards per pass. However, those stats are heavily dependent on Toler's role. His career history suggests that Toler can be a good nickel or dime corner, as he was in Arizona last year, but that he struggles when asked to play a full-time role.”

    Kuharsky concurs: A cornerback pool of Vontae Davis, Toler, Darius Butler, Cassius Vaughn and Josh Gordy really could have used one more solid entry, perhaps between Davis and Toler, but certainly between Butler and Vaughn. Cornerback depth is an issue for most teams, and it was more than a bit surprising that the Colts didn’t add one in the draft. It’s good they didn’t reach, but they might still be on the lookout for some additional help.

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    Gower says quarterback: ”It is very hard to win games with quarterback play as bad as the Jaguars have had recently, and generally requires a strong defense (the Jaguars ranked 28th by Football Outsiders in defensive DVOA in 2012) and a strong running game (the Jaguars ranked 27th by DVOA there). The addition of (Luke) Joeckel and the return to health by Maurice Jones-Drew should mean an improved running game in 2013, but another season of (Blaine) Gabbert and/or (Chad) Henne behind center likely means another high draft pick for Jacksonville in April 2014.”

    Kuharsky counters: Gower, pretty much agrees with my thinking here. Sure they need a quarterback. But I don’t see a move they should have made that they didn’t make, and neither does he. Wait a year, build elsewhere, make things better for the next quarterback in a year. So setting quarterback aside, my concern is the pass rush, where they really haven’t added anything on the edge and don’t have sufficient depth.

    Tennessee Titans

    Gower says defense: “The Titans seem to be counting on a lot of internal improvement, better coaching with the addition of senior defensive assistant Gregg Williams (though Jerry Gray returns as defensive coordinator) and an offense that can do a better job of sustaining drives. While Tennessee fielded a particularly young defense in 2012 and some internal improvement is likely, most defenses that improve quickly devote more resources to adding better players.”

    Kuharsky specifies: You can’t have too many pass-rushers, and counting on dramatic improvement from multiple holdovers seems shaky. So I’d narrow Gower’s category to defensive end. The team could sign John Abraham or Israel Idonije, two veteran ends who have visited recently. Adding one would make me feel a lot better about the team at end beyond Derrick Morgan, Kamerion Wimbley and fifth-rounder Lavar Edwards.
    NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

    With the draft in the rearview mirror, what is the most pressing issue on each AFC South team’s agenda?

    Houston Texans: Get DeAndre Hopkins up to speed. The Texans like their first-round draft pick’s experience and think he will be a contributor right from the beginning. So they need to get the receiver on an accelerated program as quickly as possible. The crash course will include time with Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub. Rookie minicamp is May 10-12. Then there are OTAs May 20-21, May 23, May 28-30, June 3-6 and the team’s mandatory minicamp June 11-13. Those will be crucial days for Hopkins to get up to speed. The more he can get out of the spring and summer work, the better off he will be for training camp and the preseason. The more he can get out of all of that, the better the chances he’ll be making plays for the Texans' offense on Sept. 9 in San Diego.

    Indianapolis Colts: It’s not as if there are quality veteran cornerbacks out on the market waiting on teams to step forward. But the Colts should continue to consider outside options. They signed Greg Toler as a free agent, re-signed Darius Butler and kept youngsters Cassius Vaughn and Josh Gordy. Safety John Boyett, drafted in the sixth round, can be a help in sub packages as a cover man. But the Colts are going to need a contribution from a fourth corner at some point, and neither Vaughn nor Gordy did much to gain confidence last year. Maybe they make leaps in their second year in the system. But Indianapolis should be looking to add to the group to improve competition and options.

    Jacksonville Jaguars: Teach and teach some more. The team’s offseason work will be heavy on getting players up to speed on the new systems of coach Gus Bradley and coordinator Bob Babich on defense and Jedd Fisch on offense. The defense will be something like Seattle’s with the corners asked to be really physical at the line and a hybrid outside linebacker/end keying the rush with speed as a Leo. The offense will put Blaine Gabbert on the move more and look a bit like what Houston does. It’s different. So holdovers, new veterans, draft choices and undrafted rookies all have a lot to learn and get comfortable with.

    Tennessee Titans: Begin to jell. It’s not a process that can be accelerated, but the Titans could have as many as seven new starters. They have 12 free-agent additions and eight draftees added to the mix. They need the newcomers to meld with the guys in place, forge offensive and defensive identities and establish who will lead and who should be followed. Only so much of that can happen before camp. But in a rookie orientation camp, the remaining OTAs and minicamp, a lot of important seeds can be planted that might be able to take root before training camp starts in late July to get ready for a crucial season.
    The draft is in the books.

    What went under-addressed in the AFC South?

    Here’s my thinking for spots on each tam where there will be an emphasis on undrafted rookies and where teams may now look for some veteran help, be it soon or before the season when some players are let free by other teams.

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    The Jaguars resisted any urge to draft a quarterback, but they will go into camp with more than Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. They can sell opportunity to undrafted guys as much or more than any team in the league -- to quarterbacks and to players across the board. Teams that drafted a quarterback may soon have one to part with, and they could be candidates to add to the Jaguars’ mix.

    Tennessee Titans

    The Titans didn’t have things break for them before the fifth round for a defensive end. They expect the pass rush to improve thanks to scheme, player improvement and better coverage. Still, for the competition they’ve created on the offensive line and at receiver, they really need to do more to try to churn up better rush options off the edge beyond their starting two.

    Indianapolis Colts

    I’m surprised the Colts didn’t draft a cornerback. They can probably be OK with Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, Darius Butler as their top three. But the depth after that is headed by Cassius Vaughn and Josh Gordy. Those two didn’t instill a lot of confidence last season, and David is heading into the last year of his deal. Indianapolis needs additional resources at the position.

    Houston Texans

    With Justin Forsett gone to Jacksonville as a free agent and Ben Tate a year away from potential free agency, the Texans need to see what other options they can develop as insurance and for the future at running back. Arian Foster was an undrafted free agent, so Houston can sell a couple backs on the idea that they can function well in the Texans' system, just like Foster did when his chance arrived.

    Things to know about Colts-Jaguars

    November, 8, 2012
    PM ET
    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 have too often 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 again last week in the loss to Detroit. 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: A refresher on the first meeting of the teams, which was the Jaguars' lone win of the season so far. 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 last three games against Indianapolis. The Jaguars are 0-4 at home, having been outscored by a total of 92 points in those games. …The teams have played three common opponents. Against Minnesota, Green Bay and Chicago, the Colts are 3-0 and the Jaguars are 1-2. … 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.

    Colts super thin at CB for Packers

    October, 5, 2012
    PM ET
    We wrote a bit earlier in Final Word that the Colts could face serious problems against the Packers even with a healthy secondary. It turns out that starting corner Vontae Davis (ankle) and nickel back Justin King (groin) are out of Sunday's Indianapolis-Green Bay game.

    Cassius Vaughn will start opposite Jerraud Powers. Darius Butler or Josh Gordy will be at nickel in two different versions of the package.

    It could be catastrophic, but interim coach Bruce Arians has no choice but to be optimistic.

    “I think it’s a great opportunity for guys,” Arians told Indy reporters Friday. "...We’ve got some guys, some new guys, that are going to get a great opportunity to go up against a very formidable opponent and show what they’ve got.

    “You know, Wally Pipp; you can earn a job, that’s where the whole next man in line got started. We believe in it. If you’re a Colt, you play like a starter when you’re on that field.”

    There is no other way to move forward of course.

    But I feel pretty confident that Vaughn, given up on in Denver before he was traded to Indy, and Butler, given up on in New England, aren’t going to be cornerbacking versions of Lou Gehrig.
    EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams were deep into practice Tuesday when Jeff Fisher gathered players around him.

    Reporters not yet familiar with Fisher's ways figured the team's new coach was calling an end to the session, a move that would have seemed merciful given the 103-degree heat and direct sunlight blasting down upon everyone in attendance.

    But practice wasn't finished. Fisher, drawing upon research collected over the years, had called for a stretching session. Practice then resumed, with Steven Jackson breaking a long run in work featuring the starting units.

    "We've come to realize that the third day (of camp) there's a an increased pull history," Fisher explained, "so we intended on just taking a moment and getting stretched out so we didn't have any fatigue issues and fatigue pulls in the weather."

    NFL teams have become more proactive, particularly since Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Korey Stringer died from the heat at training camp on Aug. 1, 2001.

    The Rams weigh players before and after practices to ensure they've done enough to replace spent fluids. Times have changed.

    "We're an air-conditioned society now," Fisher said. "In the old days, we spent summertime outside. I remember when you got in trouble, Mom said, 'Go to your room.' You say that now and they go, 'Yeah, cool, we got all kinds of stuff to do in the room.' Moms need to say, 'Go outside' now. ... We're very much aware of it."

    [+] EnlargeSt. Louis' Janoris Jenkins
    Jeff Curry/US PRESSWIRESecond-round pick Janoris Jenkins has impressed so far at Rams' training camp.
    A few more notes from the Rams' latest practice:

    • Breakout player: Second-round cornerback Janoris Jenkins has fit right in with the starters. Asked to project a potential breakout player from the Rams' defense this season, veteran safety Quintin Mikell named Jenkins. Mikell: "He is a young guy who is coming in with a lot of confidence. He has come in and made a lot of plays already. I can see it coming. He's going to have a good year. They're going to test him and he might have a little bit of struggles here or there, but he has a lot of confidence and is a guy who can make plays."
    • Work in progress: Another rookie second-round choice, receiver Brian Quick, is adjusting. He beat cornerback Cortland Finnegan with a beautiful inside release, breaking into the clear in the end zone. Sam Bradford delivered the ball a little high, but the 6-foot-3 Quick got both hands on it. The pass bounced off his hands. Quick could easily make that catch, but rookies sometimes are thinking so hard while they learn an offense, they forget to finish. Later, Quick made a catch away from his body when Bradford went his way in the end zone. At first I thought Bradford was throwing away the ball. Quick put his reach to use in snatching the ball cleanly.
    • DB shortage: The Rams practiced without cornerbacks Josh Gordy and Kendric Burney. Tight hamstrings sidelined them. That left the secondary shorthanded under extreme weather conditions. The receivers fared well and wondered if the depth issues in the secondary contributed in some way. Steve Smith got behind Jenkins to make a hands catch (as opposed to body catch) of a ball Bradford threw with velocity. Austin Pettis might have made the catch of the day, rising high above Quinton Pointer and falling into the end zone with the ball. Rookie Chris Givens also showed up with a couple strong catches, although assistant head coach Dave McGinnis ruled him out of bounds on one (offensive players protested).
    • Alexander running: Receiver Danario Alexander was running under a trainer's supervision during practice. He's rehabbing a hamstring injury.
    • Sims scare: Defensive end Eugene Sims, a player the Rams expect to play extensively this season, left practice with what appeared to be an injury to his right arm or shoulder. He was walking slowly with his right elbow pointing to the side and his hand pointing forward, limiting movement. I'm checking with the Rams to find out more.
    • Kendricks update: Tight end Lance Kendricks was one of the Rams' most impressive players during camp a year ago. He had some problems with drops in this practice.
    • Good from 60: Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein continues to impress with his strong leg. One attempt from 60 yards cleared the crossbar with several yards to spare. Another from 64 yards had the distance and barely missed to the right.

    That's it for now. I've got a long list of interviews to process before putting together our annual "Camp Confidential" file for later in the week. Those wondering about Bradford's performance to this point in camp should know he continues to perform at a high level, impressive coaches and teammates alike.



    Sunday, 1/25