Ferr or Foul?: Does anyone in the AFC South want to win?
By Mike Ferris
The AFC South is in shambles and is easily the National Football League’s worst division.
So far this year, the division, which produced the AFC runner-up last year, has combined for nine wins.
The defending division champion Indianapolis Colts sit tied for first at 3-5 with the Houston Texans, while the Jacksonville Jaguars sit behind them at 2-5.
The Tennessee Titans currently occupy the bottom spot at an abysmal 1-6.
While these teams have not only struggled on the field, this may be the most dysfunctional off-the-field division, too.
The Colts are supposed to have one of the best young quarterbacks in football. Analysts have gone as far as to say that Andrew Luck could someday become the best quarterback in the NFL.
The only problem with this is that Luck has failed to look even average this year.
The Stanford graduate has thrown for 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions this season. In fact, he leads the league in turnovers, despite missing multiple games.
The games he’s missed have resulted in backup Matt Hasselbeck leading the Colts to two of the team’s three wins, which has some calling for head coach Chuck Pagano to bench the starter.
Not only has Luck brought his turnover problem, which previously reared its ugly head only in the playoffs, to the regular season, but he seems to have no accountability.
Everyone around him is making excuses. The organization has blamed injuries and coaching for the poor start. In fact, the Colts Cred offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton just last week.
The great players hold themselves accountable and until Andrew Luck does the same, this organization will continue this death spiral.
Pagano will likely suffer the same fate as Hamilton if the Colts don’t turn this around because, as it has been made clear, this sure isn’t Luck’s fault.
The Houston Texans, who are tied for first place, have had plenty of issues of their own.
Coach Bill O’Brien has made what seems like double-digit quarterback changes this year, going back and forth between two mediocre players, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett.
One can’t help but think this trend would have continued had Mallett not missed a team fight, resulting in his release a couple weeks ago.
If one thing is clear in the NFL, it’s that having a revolving door at the quarterback position is not a recipe for winning, and often ends poorly for the head coach.
Houston has lacked structure and stability this year and O’Brien, for that reason, also finds himself in the hot seat.
The Tennessee Titans don’t find their coach in the hot seat because Ken Whisenhunt received the news last week that his services were no longer needed.
After going 3-20 in a season and a half, Whisenhunt was replaced by interim head coach Mike Mularkey.
Interim stints usually don’t become permanent ones in the NFL and so the job security in Tennessee is extremely low just as it is in Houston and Indianapolis.
The other problem that the Titans face is that their first-round draft pick and franchise player, Marcus Mariota, hasn’t been very good and an injury problem has already presented itself.
Mariota is only 1-4 as a starter and has missed time this year with an MCL injury.
One of the knocks on Mariota out of college was his reckless style and just five games into his career, the quarterback is already hurt, despite being careful.
Titans fans can only hope that this isn’t another Robert Griffin III case. The team that seems to be in the best shape of all in this division is the Jaguars.
Head coach Gus Bradley is just 9-30 in his tenure with the team and has the highest job security of all in the division.
The Jaguars seem to be content with being in the basement of the division and must be pleased that they may reach their highest win total since 2011 with five.
With all of this being said, the AFC South is a poor excuse for a division this year and will probably send a below .500 team to the playoffs, which will have many football fans everywhere wanting a restructured playoff system.