AFC Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Texans

     

Colts

With questions arising over whether QB Philip Rivers will return next season, Colts’ GM Chris Ballard says he isn’t oblivious to the importance of the quarterback position in the NFL. He also stresses that the team will be patient with both Rivers and their search for the franchise quarterback in the future.

“Do I think Philip can still play? Absolutely, I do,” Ballard said, via George Bremer of The Herald Bulletin. “Philip and I had an hour talk (Wednesday). He’s gonna take time, and we’re gonna take some time, and we’ll meet here in about a month and figure out which way we’re gonna go forward. Philip’s gotta make a decision if, for sure, he wants to play. So we need to go through that process. Do I think Philip Rivers is a winning quarterback that we can win and go to the Super Bowl with? Absolutely, I do. I promise you we get the importance of the quarterback position. The difference between just taking one and taking the right one is the key in our minds. We’ll explore it. We’ll examine it. We’ll go A to Z on it. I promise you that position never leaves my mind, and it’s something that we want to get fixed. But it’s also – there’s gotta be a little bit of timing and luck come into play when you get it. We’ll figure it out. That’s our jobs. I feel very confident in Frank and (offensive coordinator) Nick (Sirianni) and (quarterbacks coach) Marcus Brady. We’ll task them with some work to do here pretty soon, and we’ll move forward. But until we get the Philip decision made – both parties, him deciding if he wants to play, that’s a big part of it, and then us, also – we’ll figure that part out as we go along.”

Rivers himself even weighed in on the season, saying that he enjoyed his first and possibly final season in Indianapolis.

“It was a heck of a fun season,” Rivers said. “I certainly – there is zero regret. Moving to Indiana and playing for this franchise and having a chance to meet a bunch of new guys that I will keep relationships with – we fell short (at Buffalo), but I walk out of here with my head held high for sure.”

Jaguars

  • Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan said new HC Urban Meyerclearly separated himself” other candidates in the interview process: “One man clearly separated himself from the field. He’s a winner, a leader, and a champion. He’s the man we want and need in Jacksonville.” (Andrew Siciliano)
  • Meyer mentioned that Hall of Fame HC Jimmy Johnson will be a frequent resource for him: “He’ll be a guy I lean on quite frequently.” (Judy Battista)
  • Meyer explained that the Jaguars having the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft was “huge” in his decision and that he wouldn’t have joined an organization where he wasn’t sure he could win. (John Reid)
  • Regarding Meyer’s health, the new Jaguars’ coach is confident he’ll be fine but it will be something he monitors “very closely”: “I’m older. I’m not going to be running around like a nut on the practice field, those days are done… It’s something I’m going to watch very closely.”  (Ian Rapoport)
  • Meyer looks forward to adapting to coaching NFL players and mentioned that he “changed dramatically” from his time after Florida in 2010 to Ohio State until 2018: “You’re talking about grown men. … However, between the white lines, I don’t see a lot of difference.” (Tom Pelissero)
  • As for who will control the Jaguars’ roster, Khan said they hope to have a new GM by next week and the organization will carry out Meyer’s plan: “We need to be a coach-centric team and organization.” (Pelissero)
  • Meyer identified Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, and BYU’s Zach Wilson when asked about the quarterback class at No. 1 overall: “You see Trevor, you see Justin, you see Zach. As Shad said, this a monumental moment for this franchise.” (Andrew Siciliano)
  • Meyer continued that his decision on which quarterback they select will be “one of the most important” of his career: “Who we pick at that quarterback position, that’s going to be one of the most important decisions in my lifetime.” (Field Yates)
  • Meyer indicated that he may consider signing one coach from Ohio State’s staff but does not intend to go further: “I am not going to do that to that organization.” (Mark Maske)

Texans

Regarding the perceived dysfunction within the Texans’ organization between the front office and QB Deshaun Watson, owner Cal McNair issued an apology for his actions which have “created mistrust” and will learn from his mistakes. 

“Change is hard and we’re going through change and I accept everything hasn’t gone perfectly,” McNair said, via John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “It’s just hard and we’re working through it. If players, media and fans are upset, that’s on me and I’ll apologize for my actions or communications that have created mistrust and I accept those team’s and fan’s frustrations. I’ll learn, listen, commit to getting better, but change is hard. Winning, what we’re trying to do, chase the championships, it’s gonna be hard. I’m committed to doing that.” 

McNair indicated that he has recently communicated with Watson via text messages and hopes to address the quarterback’s issues with him directly. 

“Deshaun and I connected over texts since he’s returned from vacation and I believe in dealing with the personnel issues directly with the players, but in conjunction with our general manager,” McNair said. “Deshaun, it’s no secret that he’s disappointed in the communication during the (general manager) hiring process.” 

McNair said they intend on having Watson return for 2021 as Houston’s starting quarterback.

“That’s the intent,” McNair said. “We want him in the loop and part of the process… Conversations are always good…He’s our quarterback.”

McNair added that he reached out to former Texans WR Andre Johnson after his harsh criticism of the organization. 

We have a long relationship with Andre, as you know, and I’d just say we feel his passion,” McNair said. “He’s got a lot of passion for the Texans, for the game, and we share that. I talked to him during the phase where we visited with the advisory group early and I’ve reached out since then, but we haven’t spoken.” 

McNair went on to defend Texans’ executive Jack Easterby, calling the criticism of him “really unjustified” and that Easterby will be a part of the organization going forward. 

The scrutiny on Jack is really unjustified,” McNair said, via McClain. “Jack was put into that role (interim GM) the organization needed by me. If missteps were made during that process, we’ll own those within our building. Jack will (return) to the role he was brought here for and what he grew into after he got here.”

McNair continued that he still believes Watson can lead the Texans to the Super Bowl. 

“I’ve watched Deshaun since he played at Clemson. I believe he can win championships here. We believe in him. He’s a great person and a Texan. He’s our quarterback.

As for the Texans’ search for a head coach, McNair said they will be diligent in finding the right candidate. 

Picking the right head coach is more important than making a quick pick. It’s an important spot, means a lot to us and we’ll take our time and get the right guy,” said McNair, via Mark Berman

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