N.F.L. Roundup: Changes for Jaguars, From the Top Down

Fire Jack Del Rio, who has the Jaguars at 3-8 in his ninth season as coach, and who had made the playoffs twice and won only one postseason game, and install the defensive coordinator Mel Tucker as the interim coach? Check.

Extend the contract of General Manager Gene Smith, who drafted the rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, whom Del Rio benched in Sunday’s loss to the Texans? Check.

And make the stunning announcement that Weaver, the founding owner of the 17-year-old franchise, had sold it to an auto-parts mogul who was born in Pakistan and had previously tried to buy the St. Louis Rams? Done.

The Jaguars, in the most tumultuous day for the franchise since it was formed in 1995, recast their future and, at least for now, removed the possibility that they would move to Los Angeles, which hopes to lure at least one team to a new stadium that has yet to be built.

Weaver had long maintained publicly that he would not sell the team, which struggled to fill its stadium and which repeatedly avoided local television blackouts only with the help of tarps covering large swaths of seats. But on Tuesday, Weaver sold the Jaguars to , who emigrated from Pakistan as a teenager, made his fortune in an Illinois-based auto parts company called and had tried to buy the Rams last year before Stan Kroenke exercised his right to match his offer. Khan has pledged to keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

Forbes magazine recently listed the Jaguars as the least valuable N.F.L. team, at $725 million. The magazine reported Tuesday that Khan paid $760 million for the franchise.

Weaver said Commissioner Roger Goodell supported the sale, an indication that concerns about Khan’s financial and tax situation, raised during his pursuit of the Rams, had been resolved and that the sale would probably be approved by owners.

“This gentleman is absolutely the American story,” Weaver said of Khan, 61.

Weaver, who became emotional when discussing the deal, also sought to temper speculation that the team’s sale might mean it would soon be moving. Weaver said Khan first inquired about a minority interest in the Jaguars five years ago and came back a year ago seeking to buy the team. Weaver said his criteria for a new owner was to find someone whose passion for football in Jacksonville matched his. With the Jaguars apparently staying put, the San Diego Chargers, who are seeking a new stadium, are now the most likely team to move to Los Angeles.

“If the proposed transaction is approved in the weeks ahead, I will responsibly and enthusiastically serve the N.F.L., the Jacksonville Jaguars and their great fans, and I will be fully committed to delivering Jacksonville its first championship,” Khan said in a statement. “This is a franchise with tons of potential, playing in a community that is passionate about football and loves to win. I can’t think of a better place to be.”

Weaver said Khan, who was not at the news conference but was expected to attend Jacksonville’s Monday night game against the San Diego Chargers next week, was going to buy a home and spend time in the Jacksonville area, although he would allow the existing management team to run the team on a day-to-day basis.

“This is a team that will be in Jacksonville for many years into the future,” Weaver said.

Still, the sports landscape is dotted with owners who said they were committed to one city only to move to another, and Khan’s actions will be closely scrutinized as long as Los Angeles remains without a team.

Khan will have to make a huge decision almost immediately: hiring a new coach. Del Rio was the first N.F.L. coach to be fired this season, and while the move was expected, Weaver acknowledged that the timing was awkward because of the concurrent announcement of the team’s sale. Weaver said he spoke with Del Rio on Tuesday morning.

“I said ‘We deserve better, the community deserves better,’ ” Weaver said. “We’ve been very average over the last few years. This team is not far away from being a very competitive football team.

SUH APPEALS SUSPENSION A few weeks ago, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said that he would worry about his reputation for being a dirty player only if his family, friends or teammates told him he was crossing the line. On Tuesday, the N.F.L. did. The league suspended Suh for two games without pay after he stomped on the arm of Green Bay guard Evan Dietrich-Smith and shoved his helmet into the ground during a loss to the Packers on Thanksgiving.

Suh was ejected, and immediately after the game he insisted that he did not intentionally step on Dietrich-Smith. But a day later, after the Lions condemned Suh’s actions, Suh issued an apology on his Facebook page.

Suh is appealing the suspension, and the N.F.L. said it would hold an expedited hearing before this weekend’s games. It will be heard by Ted Cottrell, a former assistant coach, and the former Raiders coach Art Shell. If Suh’s suspension is upheld, he will miss games against New Orleans and Minnesota.

COLTS MAKE CHANGES Indianapolis fired its defensive coordinator, Larry Coyer, and announced that quarterback would make his first N.F.L. start since 2008. The changes came after the Colts dropped to 0-11 for the first time since 1986.

Coach Jim Caldwell said the decision about Coyer was made to “improve communication and production.” The linebackers coach Mike Murphy will take over the defense. Orlovsky will replace Curtis Painter. Orlovsky has started seven games in his career, for Detroit when it went 0-16 in 2008. (AP)

TEXANS SIGN DELHOMME Jake Delhomme’s agent said his client had signed with the Houston Texans and would back up the rookie quarterback T. J. Yates. (AP)

Texans, Jaguars Facing QB Questions Again

It matters for one. It’s moot for the other.

The Texans likely lost Matt Leinart for the season because of a broken collarbone in Sunday’s 20-13 victory against the Jaguars. The injury comes two weeks after starter Matt Schaub suffered a season-ending foot injury.

The Jaguars benched rookie Blaine Gabbert in the fourth quarter, turning things back over to journeyman Luke McCown.

For Houston (8-3), losing Leinart would mean the franchise’s playoff hopes are in the hands of a third-string quarterback. For Jacksonville (3-8), benching Gabbert means little in a season in which the only remaining question is if coach Jack Del Rio gets fired.

Leinart injured his throwing shoulder in the second quarter Sunday. He said all indications point to a broken collarbone, but coach Gary Kubiak said X-rays were inconclusive.

“There’s a pretty strong possibility I probably won’t be coming back this season,” Leinart said. “It’s pretty disappointing. It’s tough to swallow, but we’ll just move forward. Everything that’s happened to me, this was a great opportunity. … It’s unfortunate, but I’m not going to give up. It’s not my nature. I’ll just keep moving forward and figure this thing out one step at a time.”

Assuming Leinart is done for the season, it would be a serious setback for a team that is closing in on its first AFC South title. Sure, the Texans have one of the league’s best running games. But as Jacksonville showed, Arian Foster and Ben Tate will have a tough time carrying the load against eight- and nine-man fronts.

Foster ran for 65 yards and a score, with 43 of them coming on one carry, and Tate added 26 yards on the ground. Along with Leinart’s perfect touchdown pass to Joel Dreessen and a defensive effort that included seven sacks — Connor Barwin had four of them — it was enough for Houston to win its fifth consecutive game.

“I’m very proud of this team,” Kubiak said. “It’s hard to win in this league, and when you face some of the adversity we’ve faced and will be facing again, and to continue to find a way to win, that’s a sign of a very solid football team.”

But with Schaub (foot) and Leinart out, the Texans are down to T.J. Yates and newly signed Kellen Clemens.

Yates completed 8 of 15 passes for 70 yards in relief of Leinart, doing just enough to help the Texans win. Houston led 20-10 at halftime, but managed just 47 yards and two first downs in the second half.

Del Rio benched Gabbert after six sacks and an interception. McCown led the team to a late field goal, but his fourth-down pass with about a minute remaining fell incomplete.

Del Rio said Gabbert remains the team’s starter.

“Blaine is our starting quarterback until I tell you otherwise,” Del Rio said.

Of course, Del Rio said the same thing about David Garrard in the preseason before cutting him five days before the opener. And said the same thing about McCown until benching him after two games.

“Offensively, we just are struggling to generate enough productivity to have any fun,” Del Rio said. “It’s tough to win in this league when you’re not scoring. … We are working hard at it, but we are just not making enough plays.”

Leinart, making his first start in two years, was hit hard by defensive end Jeremy Mincey late in the second quarter. He went to the sideline, headed to the locker room for tests and did not return.

Leinart completed 10 of 13 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, a 20-yard pass to Dreessen under heavy pressure. He got hurt on the next possession.

Yates replaced him and drove the Texans into position for a field goal that put them ahead 20-10 at the break.

Jacksonville outgained Houston 255-215. But Josh Scobee missed a 55-yard field goal and Marcedes Lewis dropped a pass in the end zone with no one around him. It was the latest in a growing list of drops for the former Pro Bowl tight end. His latest one prompted Jacksonville to settle for a short field goal.

Jacksonville’s only touchdown came on Ashton Youboty’s 38-yard fumble return on the opening series. Foster fumbled for the first time in 172 carries this season.

“There are no excuses,” said running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who finished with 166 yards from scrimmage. “We aren’t playing well. That’s it. Teams are beating us. They aren’t beating us because they are outscoring us. They are beating us because we can’t score points on offense.

“To score six points today is ridiculous, complete nonsense.”

Notes: Texans WR Andre Johnson, back in the starting lineup after missing six games because of a hamstring injury, caught two passes for 22 yards. … Neil Rackers’ 53-yard FG tied the franchise record. … Jaguars C Brad Meester played in his 172nd career game, breaking the previous franchise record held by Jimmy Smith. … Jones-Drew has 1,040 yards rushing, his third consecutive 1,000-yard season.

Texans Handle Jaguars in 24-14 Victory

Arian Foster rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown, and Houston shut down rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the NFL’s worst offense in a 24-14 win over the Jaguars on Sunday.

Matt Schaub threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score for Houston (5-3), off to its best eight-game start. The Texans also took one more step toward the franchise’s first division title and playoff berth by improving to 3-0 in the AFC South.

“We knew it was going to be a tough, dirty game,” said Houston linebacker Brian Cushing, who led his team with seven tackles. “In this league, it’s tough to get a win. We just had to do what we had to do.”

The Texans have outscored their division opponents by a total score of 99-28. This was the closest of the three games, mostly due to two Houston fumbles that led to Jacksonville touchdowns.

Schaub completed 16 of 30 passes and was sacked twice, and the Texans once again missed star receiver Andre Johnson, who sat out for the fourth straight game with a hamstring injury.

Unlike past seasons, Houston can rely on its defense to pick up the slack.

The Texans stayed in control by holding Jacksonville to 61 yards and five first downs in the second half. Gabbert, making his sixth career start, completed 10 of 30 passes for 97 yards and two interceptions in the game, for an anemic 26.7 rating.

“We had a defense that stood up and said, ‘We’re gonna win the game,'” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. “They were excellent all day, exceptional.”

The Jaguars (2-6) couldn’t carry over momentum from their surprising 12-7 win over Baltimore on Monday night. Maurice Jones-Drew was limited to 63 yards on 18 carries, and says the entire offense bears some of the blame for Gabbert’s struggles.

“We have to continue to give him time in the pocket. We have to catch the ball when he throws it,” Jones-Drew said. “The quarterback is only as good as the players around him. So obviously, if he’s not doing well, we’re not doing well.”

The Texans got off to another fast start, scoring on their opening series for the fifth time. Schaub went 4 for 5 and then sprinted for a 2-yard touchdown with 8:21 left in the first quarter.

Jacksonville’s sixth-ranked defense held Baltimore to 34 yards rushing Monday night, but Houston matched that total on its first three possessions.

Gabbert was hurt on Jacksonville’s first series. Forced to scramble, he slid awkwardly at the end of an 11-yard run and was hit by safety Glover Quin and Cushing.

Trainers helped Gabbert off the field with bruised ribs, and Luke McCown replaced him. Gabbert returned on Jacksonville’s next possession, then threw five straight incompletions.

The Texans’ offense bogged down, too, failing to convert three consecutive third downs.

“We wanted to get everyone involved,” Schaub said. “We had some opportunities down the field, and I missed a few of the throws. I’ve got to make those plays for us to be successful as an offense.”

A slick play by Jacksonville’s defense midway through the second quarter created the Jaguars’ best scoring chance of the game.

Clint Session sacked Schaub and forced a fumble, triggering an impromptu double-lateral. Defensive end Matt Roth scooped it up, then flipped the ball backward to defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. Knighton chugged 7 yards, then pitched to Session who reached the Texans 10 before Foster tackled him.

Two snaps later, Gabbert threw a short TD pass to Jason Hill, Jacksonville’s first touchdown since the third quarter of a 17-13 loss to Pittsburgh two weeks ago.

The Jaguars were lucky to be tied at halftime after producing 113 yards in the half.

“We are working our butts off,” Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio said, “and I’d sure like to have a little more validation for the type of effort that’s being put forth.”

Jacoby Jones returned a punt to the Jaguars 44 early in the third quarter, and Schaub threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Joel Dreessen.

Jason Allen intercepted Gabbert’s pass to Mike Sims-Walker on the first play of the fourth quarter, and the Texans stretched the lead on Foster’s 4-yard touchdown run.

Jones-Drew scored on a drive set up by Ben Tate’s fumble. The Texans used nearly the rest of the time to set up Neil Rackers’ 39-yard field goal.

Notes: Foster has 12 100-yard rushing games, a franchise record. … Texans LB Darryl Sharpton is out for the season after tearing a tendon in his right leg. … Jaguars PK Josh Scobee had his streak of 15 games with a field goal snapped. … Jacksonville is 5-9 in the week after playing a Monday night game.