What follows are some whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC South:
• There haven't been many silver linings in a terrible season for the Texans' defense, but DE Antonio Smith is one player who's picked up his play somewhat from a season ago. Smith is stout vs. the run and has shown a little more pass-rush ability this year.
• The Texans rotated second-year pro Brice McCain with rookie Kareem Jackson at right cornerback in the Week 10 loss at Jacksonville. Jackson has had a trying first season, though he has received consistent public support from head coach Gary Kubiak.
• Texans head coach Gary Kubiak had no problems with CB Glover Quin knocking Jaguars QB David Garrard's eventual game-winning "Hail Mary" pass down instead of intercepting it, but he said Houston did a poor job of sealing off the Jaguars' other receivers nearest to the play. One of those receivers, Mike Thomas, caught the deflection and scored. He was covered by Brice McCain, who had good coverage initially but lost Thomas toward the end of the play.
• The Jaguars played well on defense in the first half of the Week 10 win over the Texans, but Houston did in the second half what so many other teams have done this season — attack the back end of the secondary. SS Courtney Greene and FS Don Carey might get better as the season progresses, but the Jags are still very vulnerable back there.
• Every time Colts undrafted rookie WR-RS Brandon James fielded a punt in the Week 10 win over the Bengals, it was an adventure, which is surprising because James looked like a natural at the University of Florida. He was probably pressing, given that it was his first NFL game. After the impressive job fellow rookie Blair White did returning punts in his first-ever opportunity in Week Eight, he will likely get another chance.
• The Colts could have some surprising turnover, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, after the season. Several players just have not proven that they can be counted on by Peyton Manning and the coaching staff.