AFC Notes: C.J. Stroud, Brian Callahan, Trent Baalke, Jaguars, Texans, Titans


  • Cameron Wolfe reports the Jaguars interviewed former Dolphins offensive assistant Kolby Smith for their running backs coach job. 
  • Jaguars GM Trent Baalke said he is still in “lock-step” with HC Doug Pederson on their plans going forward: “Probably even more so … great communication, great collaboration,” via John Shipley. 
  • Baalke said he sat in on all defensive coordinator interviews before landing on Ryan Nielsen but it was Pederson’s call in the end: “The coach owns it.” (Shipley)
  • Although Baalke feels they have a “good nucleus,” he plans on making changes this offseason: “We feel we have a good nucleus of players, but this team is going to look different.” (Shipley)
  • Baalke indicated they still have not started contract negotiations with EDGE Josh Allen. (Shipley)  
  • Baalke expressed confidence in retaining Allen: “Josh Allen is going to be a Jaguar next year.” (Wolfe)
  • As for a possible extension for Trevor Lawrence, Baalke said they will have a “heart-to-heart” with Lawrence on whether to finalize a deal now or in 2025, via Eugene Frenette. 
  • Baalke feels Lawrence made “great strides” this season but must make improvements in protecting himself: “A knee, concussion, shoulder, ankle issue all in one year is alarming.” (Frenette)
  • Baalke still believes in C Luke Fortner and thinks their offensive line’s issues this year were “systemic” instead of being on one particular player. (Frenette)
  • As for WR Calvin Ridley‘s performance in 2023, Baalke thinks the receiver successfully knocked “the rust off.” (Frenette)
  • Baalke refuted a report indicating he’s considering retirement: “I’m only 59 years old, far from retirement.” (Frenette)


Texans OC Bobby Slowik had high praise of C.J. Stroud for executing their offensive game plan to a high degree. 

“The most empowering thing for a coordinator is when you call the right play and get exactly what you want and the quarterback throws it on time — exactly where it needs to be,” Slowik said, via DJ Bien-Aime of ESPN. “And that happens on repeat with C.J. It feels like almost never this year has there been a [play] where it was wide open and we missed it.”

Slowik said Stroud gives him a lot of confidence as a coordinator and play-caller.

“He’s letting it go when it needs to be let go and puts the ball exactly where it needs to be,” Slowik said. “It builds so much confidence for me as a play-caller and our relationship.”

49ers HC Kyle Shanahan called Slowick one of the most talented assistants he’s had in San Francisco. Slowick was a 49ers’ offensive assistant in 2019-2020, offensive pass game specialist in 2021, and offensive passing game coordinator in 2022. 

“Bobby was as talented as anyone I’ve ever worked with,” Shanahan said. “I didn’t want to lose him at all. DeMeco knew that he was special. DeMeco and he had a close bond together because they both were [quality control coaches].”


  • Titans GM Ran Carthon said he will collaborate with new HC Brian Callahan on assembling his coaching staff: “Hunting at the same time isn’t the same as hunting together. With Brian Callahan, we will be hunting together,” via Joe Rexrode. 
  • Callahan said he had an “instant connection” with Carthon, via Jim Wyatt. 
  • Callahan is intrigued by QB Will Levis: “He’s got a lot of really special physical talents that I’m excited to go see if we can make better. Everything about him so far has been fantastic, and I’m excited to go further down into it.” (Rexrode)
  • Callahan intends on calling plays next season and doesn’t think it’s a “big step” from his time in Cincinnati, per Terry McCormick.  
  • As for the possibility of bringing in his father, Bill Callahan, Brian Callahan said he’s still under contract as the Browns’ offensive line coach: “He’s under contract. There’s nothing I can say about that.” (McCormick)

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