Around the AFC South

The best way to the Super Bowl is to win your division and host a playoff game. The Jaguars haven't hosted a playoff game since 2000 and they have their sights set on accomplishing that feat in 2012. We're going to check and see what's going on with the Jags rivals, beginning with the reigning AFC South champion Houston Texans.

Texans Add Depth in Secondary

On June 2, the Texans signed free-agent cornerback Alan Ball to provide more experienced depth at his position.

Ball, 27, played his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, where he started under Wade Phillips, his defensive coordinator in Houston. Ball was limited to two starts last season and wasn't invited back by the Cowboys.

Ball (6-2, 197) could fill a role that was vacated when Jason Allen signed with Cincinnati in March. Allen came off the bench and rotated with starter Kareem Jackson covering an outside receiver.

"Alan knows the system because he played for Wade," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He looks good. He fit in real fast. He's competing hard.

"Wade said, 'This is a good fit for us. He can make us better.' We're glad to have him."

Jackson and Johnathan Joseph are the starting corners. Ball, Brice McCain, Brandon Harris, Sherrick McManis and Roc Carmichael are the other veteran cornerbacks.

Ball is excited to be reunited with Phillips. He joins inside linebacker Bradie James as former Cowboys who are playing for the Texans.

"It helps a lot," Ball said about knowing the system with his new team. "It makes it a whole different game when you have to learn a playbook and go at the same time, so it helps that I'm kind of refreshing instead of learning."

Ball has been watching his new teammates. He's aware that the Texans believe they're a Super Bowl contender after winning the AFC South and reaching the divisional round of the playoffs last season.

"They've got a lot of guys working hard," he said. "I want to help any way I can. I'm just looking to add onto what they've got. They've got a lot of talent."

The Texans aren't looking for Ball to earn a starting job. They're hoping he can contribute off the bench as Allen did last season.

"I'm a work-hard guy," Ball said. "I'm going to do things the right way. I just want to get the drift and fit in and figure out how I can help the team."

Ball played cornerback and safety for the Cowboys. He won't play safety for the Texans unless it's an emergency caused by injuries. He's more than willing to play both positions, if needed.

"Right now, it's just a part of knowing the defense, and I want to focus on corner and get as good as I can for when they need me in any situation, whether it's special teams, corner -- whatever it may be," Ball said. "I want to be ready to go when they call my number.

"This is a good group, man. I enjoy the energy they have. It's infectious. They work so hard every day. Any time you get into something new, it's definitely a pleasure. I'm comfortable and excited.

"Like I said, they're going to let me work at corner and I enjoy myself. I'm comfortable at corner. I definitely feel comfortable and I'm excited."

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