AFC Notes: Browns, Colts, Titans


New Browns OC Alex Van Pelt hopes that the transition will be seamless, and is excited about the new players the team has brought in to help QB Baker Mayfield which includes tackles Jedrick Wills and Jack Conklin, as well as TE Austin Hooper.

“Hats off to the scouting department for bringing those people in,’’ Van Pelt said, via Scott Petrak of “I thought we hit it out of the park there. Extremely excited about what we have. Can’t wait to get together to see it all unfold in person. If you just look at the players that we’ve acquired and people we have added, I think that you would say our side of the ball, we look like we’re in pretty good shape from a personnel standpoint. Just excited to get in front of these guys and get to know them better as people.”

  • Former Browns HC Hue Jackson said he thinks QB Baker Mayfield is still going to be a “really good player” in the NFL: “I still think this guy is going to be a really good player. … The player, I’ve never had a problem with the player.” (Jake Trotter)


  • Per Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star, Colts LB Bobby Okereke says he’s preparing to play either middle linebacker or SAM linebacker in 2020. 
  • Colts RB Nyheim Hines is thrilled for his projected role in the offense in 2020 with the addition of QB Philip Rivers: “Been waiting two, three years trying to catch some balls.” (Zak Keefer)
  • Hines also has his eyes set on winning both the kick and punt return jobs. He had two punt return touchdowns in a win against the Panthers in 2020 and averaged 30+ yards on his nine returns: “Would love to do both of them. But I have to earn both of the jobs, and that’s what I plan on doing.”
  • Colts DL coach Brian Baker said DE Justin Houston and DT DeForest Buckner are the only two players who have starting jobs locked up: “This is a group I’m really excited about.” (Andrew Walker)
  • Colts second-round RB Jonathan Taylor fumbled 18 times in 41 career college games, but RB coach Tom Rathman said they’re already working on his ball security: “I don’t think there’s going to be an issue there.” (George Bremer)
  • Rathman is expecting Taylor to have an adjustment period and not instantly step into the starting role just because he was a high draft pick: “Jonathan, I mean, he’s a work in progress, so to speak — obviously very talented. Came out with huge numbers. … obviously there’s ability there, but you still have to develop at this level.” (Walker)
  • Rathman added Colts incumbent starting RB Marlon Mack does a good job of asking for a break when needed to stay fresh, which will help in splitting carries. (Stephen Holder)
  • Colts QB coach Marcus Brady believes fourth-round QB Jacob Eason is an intriguing developmental option for Indianapolis: “Just getting him, it was great for us, to be able to get that type of talent that late in the draft. Obviously he’s still young — got a lot to work on — does have a lot of tools with his size and his arm.” (Walker)


  • Titans OC Arthur Smith said TE Jonnu Smith “does it all” for them and has improved each year: “He’s come a long way. … He kind of does it all. He’s gotten better year to year and hopefully takes another step.” (Erik Bacharach)
  • Regarding the Titans’ backup quarterback role, Smith said Logan Woodside and Cole McDonald are competing for the job. (Turron Davenport)
  • Smith said Titans WR Corey Davis will continue being a “big part” of their offense: “He is a big part of our offense. He’s been an unsung hero on some explosive plays. Expects him to take another step. Likes his growth.” (Jim Wyatt)
  • Smith praised QB Ryan Tannehill‘s athleticism and ability to produce in the red zone: “He gives you a threat. Ryan is a good athlete. He’s very decisive with the football, especially in the red zone. That helps because windows close quickly.” (Davenport)
  • Smith mentioned that he is excited about Titans’ third-round RB Darrynton Evans potential. (Jim Wyatt)
  • Smith said Titans’ first-round OT Isaiah Wilson has a “familiarity” with their zone blocking scheme: “There’s familiarity. He played in a lot of zone schemes at Georgia and had one of the best OLine coaches in Sam Pittman. We have to see when he gets here and hope he takes off. We know his background but we’ll have to see.” (Davenport)

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