AFC Notes: Colts, Dolphins, Titans

     

Colts

Colts HC Frank Reich is well-known for his love of tight ends, and he’s always made sure Indianapolis is well-stocked at the position. After moving on from TE Eric Ebron, though, the Colts had a hole that needed to be filled. When the Bears somewhat surprisingly released TE Trey Burton just two years after making him a priority in free agency, Reich pounced to land a player he’d already coached during his breakout with the Eagles. 

“I’m incredibly excited about Trey,” Reich said via 1075TheFan.com’s Kevin Bowen. “Trey is a big-time playmaking tight end. This guy is an incredible route runner, really smart and instinctive player. I think he fits a big need in our offense. You know that spot in our offense gets a lot of attention and I think he can step into that role that Ebron was in. He’ll play it different than Ebron would play it. It’ll look different, we’ll scheme different things up for Trey than we did for Ebron, but that role gets highlighted schematically in certain ways. I expect Trey, assuming he’s going to stay heathy, will have a very productive year.”

Burton is equally excited for the chance to reunite with Reich. 

“They love pass-catching tight ends,” Burton said. “Fortunately, that’s what I am. I enjoy playing that position. I’m also a guy that’s not afraid to put my hand in the dirt. I’m undersized, I know that, everybody knows that, but blocking is more of a mentality than a size thing. Mentality and technique is really what matters. I think I’ve grown tremendously over the last four years at this position.

“If I can actually get healthy, which is something I haven’t been able to do because of some of the things I went through in the past, I am not an injury-prone type of guy, I’ve never really been injured before, so if I can get healthy, which I believe I will be able to, I am really excited for the season.”

More than anything, health is what derailed Burton’s tenure with the Bears. He started out strong in an offense that similarly highly prioritizes the tight end position, playing 16 games in 2018 and finishing with 54 catches for 569 yards and six touchdowns. But he says an offseason injury was misdiagnosed and he rushed back to the field. He was never healthy in 2019, playing eight games and catching just 14 passes. 

“When I say a struggle, that is a light term for it,” Burton said. “It was rough. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to play coming up to almost every Sunday. Fortunately, I was able (to play) in a couple of them, but I wasn’t able to play at the level I would’ve liked to. I went on IR after I had suffered another little strain from a lot of things that were going on. We decided that it was time for me to get the surgery that I probably should’ve gotten to start out with, which was in December.”

Dolphins

  • Per Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Dolphins HC Brian Flores says the rookies, including first-round QB Tua Tagovailoa, have done fine with virtual meetings but the lack of on-field work is a challenge: “The rookies in general, they’ve all done what we can do. They’re all learning, to pick up the information, to train, but it’s hard not to have your hands on him. … Tua is working hard, picking up the information, but you want to get your hands on him, honestly.”
  • Flores appeared to indicate the Dolphins have not been able to give Tagovailoa a physical and further monitor his hip recovery: “I haven’t seen him. The doctors haven’t seen him.”

Titans

  • Per NFL Media’s Michael Giardi, Titans OC Arthur Smith says QB Logan Woodside was in a “quasi” offensive quality control role after going on injured reserve last year and he’s excited to see his progression. 
  • Regarding Titans RB Derrick Henry‘s workload, Smith told reporters it would be better for the offense “if more guys are touching the ball,” but the number of carries for Henry will be dictated “on how the game goes.” (Giardi)
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