AFC Notes: Colts, Dolphins, Jaguars

     

Colts

Colts GM Chris Ballard doesn’t feel that recently retired LT Anthony Castonzo gets “enough credit” for being one of the best tackles in the NFL before walking away from the game this offseason. 

“Well, when you have a special player like Anthony Castonzo retire … I don’t think he’s ever gotten enough credit for how really special he was as a player,” Ballard said, via the team’s official Facebook.He stood for everything we wanted to stand for, Anthony did. And he was good. I mean, I always thought he was a top five left tackle in the league. I think we paid him accordingly — that told you what we thought of him. And he performed.”

Ballard added that Castonzo will not be easy to replace but is confident in OTs Sam Tevi and Julién Davenport. 

“So, that’s not going to be an easy replacement. Saying that, I mean, I think I’ve [said] all along, that I think we’ve got four really good linemen — before free agency started. We’ve signed a couple veterans. Tevi, who’s started a lot of games for the Chargers. Julién’s played in this league. And we think they’re good players. We will create competition at left tackle and we’ll get the best five players on the field.”

Dolphins

Dolphins GM Chris Grier said he feels comfortable about the team’s depth at pass rusher but they will continue to examine the free-agent market for players “below market value.” 

“We feel good about it,” Grier said, via Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “Like anything, we’re always looking to keep upgrading. It’s just a unique year with the pandemic, so many teams releasing players, players taking one-year deals cheaper, below market value because of the salary cap.”

Grier added that they are monitoring players in the 2021 NFL Draft and free agency. 

“For us at the end of the day, we’ll just keep churning over the roster and look at the draft here, and keep looking at free agents that are on the streets as well.”

Grier feels confidence in Dolphins HC Brian Flores and the coaching staff’s ability to develop younger players. 

“We have great confidence that this coaching staff has shown that they can develop players and get the best out of them. And so that’s the exciting part of it. Listening to them and watching those guys coach. The details of [coach] Brian [Flores] and his staff is what makes it fun here. And the players know that. And they appreciate it,” Grier said.

Jaguars

Jaguars WRs coach Sanjay Lal called WR Laviska Shenault a “true physical specimen” with a lot of potential, but he must be able to stay healthy. 

“First of all, when you see him in person, this guy is a specimen. He’s a true physical specimen,” Lal said, via John Shipley of Sports Illustrated. “I think his ceiling is unlimited. I really do. Obviously, he has to stay healthy, be able to practice every day, all the things that everyone else has to do. But I don’t really see a ceiling for him. So I’m extremely excited to work with him.”

Lal believes the Jaguars’ new coaching staff can find a “nice niche” for Shenault. 

“But I think we can, without giving away what our plans are for him, I think we can find a nice niche for him that is more receiver-driven for sure,” Lal said.

As for Jaguars WR D.J. Chark, Lal believes he is a “game-changer” as their X-receiver and will contribute “right away” to their offense. 

DJ: phenomenal ball skills. He’s got the timed speed. We need him to play to that speed, which he will. Again, he can be a game-changer at the X position because he can go vertical,” Lal said. “And he can not only run vertical routes, but he can run intermediate routes too. So I think he can be special in his own regard too. And the beauty in him is he’s going to do it the right way.”

Regarding the addition of WR Marvin Jones this offseason, Lal said the veteran is an “unselfish leader” and will help lead the younger players of their offense. 

“You can — it’s hit or miss with veterans sometimes in a room with young guys. If you have a veteran who’s trying to protect themselves, that’s not good for the room. I see Marvin as an unselfish leader, he’s going to do it the right way. So it’s a good benefit for the young guys.”

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