Players, owners encouraged by protest talks

When owners talk directly with players, it often has to do with contracts.

The dialogue Tuesday was of a much different nature, and from the way NFL team owners, Commissioner Roger Goodell and a bunch of players reacted, the discussions were informative, enlightening and potentially impactful.

Monday night’s come-from-ahead 36-22 loss at Tennessee highlighted the reason Indianapolis is 2-4 and in last place in the AFC South — its inability to maintain a lead once they build one.

The Colts also coughed up second-half leads in losses to Arizona and Seattle, and blew a 14-point fourth-quarter advantage two weeks ago before an Adam Vinatieri field goal beat San Francisco in overtime. They also barely held off Cleveland in Week 3 after establishing a 31-14 fourth-quarter margin, escaping with a 31-28 verdict.

So when Indianapolis hosts South co-leader Jacksonville on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, it knows what must be done. But can it accomplish the task?

We’ve got to play 60 minutes, Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. It’s a recurring thing, I know that. We’ve got to figure out, obviously, a way to finish games. Our margin for error is minute and we just continue to kill ourselves.

You do the best you can, Del Rio said. There are two ways to look at. It’s a short week, that’s the negative part of it. The positive part is you get a nice long weekend, kind of a mini-bye prior to your next ballgame.

The Eagles offense is going up against a well-oiled machine of the Panthers defense. Their defensive line is deep and talented, led by Kawaan Short and Julius Peppers, who looks more like 27 than 37. He’s averaging a quarterback pressure on 16 percent of his snaps (and he doesn’t even start), which is 5 percent more than Von Miller or Khalil Mack. Peppers can still stop the run too.

Overall, the Panthers rank sixth against the run.

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