AFC Notes: Broncos, Colts, Patriots

     

Broncos

The Broncos used a third-round pick in this past draft on former LSU C Lloyd Cushenberry. While they haven’t been able to get him out on the field, the Broncos have been impressed by Cushenberry so far during virtual OTAs. Center is the most cerebral position on the offensive line and that’s an aspect Cushenberry can show off so far. When the team gets to practice, Cushenberry will get to prove himself on the field.  

“He’s impressed us,” Broncos OC Pat Shurmur said via USA Today’s Jon Heath. “We feel like we’ve got to see him. We’ve got to see him compete. We’ve got to see him work. Once they get out there and start doing it, we’ll see how quickly he can master it.”

Colts

  • 1075TheFan.com’s Kevin Bowen writes Colts WR T.Y. Hilton will likely have to play out his contract year to get an extension from the team after the season is over. He’ll also likely need to stay healthy and productive. 
  • Bowen notes eyes will be on young WRs Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell to see how quickly they can step up to draw attention away from Hilton. 
  • Bowen thinks there are four roster locks at receiver and one or two spots available for a group that includes Ashton Dulin, Daurice Fountain, Marcus Johnson and rookie Dezmon Patmon.
  • At tight end, Colts HC Frank Reich is anticipating TE Mo Alie-Cox to see the field more, especially given his ability as a blocker: “Sometimes you might think the basketball player is a finesse guy. Mo is not a finesse guy. He’s a powerful man. He brings an element of what a ‘Y’ tight end brings (with) strength at the point of attack. For us to run the ball, like we want to run the ball this year, I envision Mo is going to play a big role in that.” (Bowen)

Patriots

One of the lingering questions some have raised about the Patriots’ decision to sign QB Cam Newton is how the veteran will fit into New England’s organizational culture. At a shallow glance, Newton’s boisterous personality and celebrations might seem like a conflict with New England’s business-first mantra of “Do Your Job.” However, veteran OT Marshall Newhouse, who spent the 2018 season in Carolina and the 2019 season in New England, doesn’t see that being a problem for Patriots HC Bill Belichick or OC Josh McDaniels

“Some people who are just uncomfortable with a guy as strong in personality as Cam might see that as something that could cause friction, but people who are secure and understand what it takes to play in the NFL — both Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels as a staff and Cam Newton as a guy who has matured and competed and grown so much over the years — to those guys, none of this matters,” Newhouse said on SiriusXM NFL Radio via ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Newhouse went on to explain that no one in Carolina worked harder than Newton and that won’t be an issue in New England. 

“When I was in Carolina, I was new, getting traded in the middle of the season, and my mornings started early, cramming the playbook. Lo and behold, Cam was there, hours before me, walking on the treadmill, studying his playbook,” Newhouse said. “Same in the afternoon, with Luke Kuechly, studying, getting extra film work. So the work part is not a question. You can call it flamboyance, but he’s just got a strong personality. He’s a leader.”

Newhouse also took issue with the perception that the Patriots and Belichick are just looking for football playing robots. While Belichick has a dour reputation, likely stemming from his reticence to open up during interviews, Newhouse says the team has never been afraid to take on players with big personalities. 

“But when has Bill Belichick ever shied away from that? We just assume they don’t mesh with that kind of thing, but in reality, there are strong personalities all over the locker room. Everybody just knows their role,” Newhouse said. “I think Cam will get there, and they’ll kind of help him define what his role is, and he’ll adapt to that. Them not being able to get along is just a fallacy, in my opinion.”

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