AFC Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Texans

     

Colts

Colts’ RB Marlon Mack has had a long road back after tearing his Achilles’ in the second quarter of the 2020 season opener.

“The mental process was tough,” Mack said, via Kevin Bowen of 107.5 The Fan. “The first week it was tough, just testing, coming in, and knowing you’re not going to be able to go on the field again for a while. But actually, me going in the building helped me out and talking football with the guys each and every week, that helped me a bunch because if I was just sitting at home and not seeing the guys in the training room or the guys keeping my hopes up, it would’ve been pretty hard on me.”

In the long run, Mack thought it made sense to return to Indianapolis on a one-year deal.

“It’s a family,” Mack said. “Guys in the locker room, training room and knowing I’m going to get taken care of here…(there’s) a big what if not knowing what’s out there on other teams. I know the football team, I know the scheme well and know I am going to do my thing once I get on the field and come back. I’m in a good spot. I just have to get back in the training room and they will let me know. I’ve been killing it man these past few months. I actually just left Indy – the beginning of March. So I just have to head back now and I should be good to go pretty soon.”

The situation is going to be much more difficult for Mack than it was last season, as he will no longer be the lead back. He is still excited to work with teammates Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines.

“This is going to be crazy because once one guys get hot, it doesn’t stop because the next guy is going to do the same thing and the next guy, like all of us have that one-play thing. We all can take one play and it’s going to pop for sixty. So every team has to be on their toes because we are going to keep running and they have to be prepared for it.”

Jaguars

  • Michael DiRocco of ESPN writes that if the Jaguars want an impact tight end, then they will have to act quickly to acquire one.
  • DiRocco mentions that Jacksonville’s best chance will likely come during the second day of the draft, as there should be several intriguing options available at that point such as Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth, Boston College’s Hunter Long, and Miami’s Brevin Jordan.
  • Ultimately, DiRocco says that while the team should not force the pick, the position of tight end is a priority in today’s NFL, and the Jaguars need to address it as such.

Texans

Texans’ new DC Lovie Smith said their top defensive priorities are to create turnovers, be effective on third downs, and fundamentally sound. 

“The No. 1 goal is to score. The second goal is to take the ball away, we need to be good on third downs. We need a smart defense fundamentally sound. I’m a product of Texas high school football and proud of it,” said Smith, via Aaron Wilson

Smith explained that the Texans were committed to “overhauling the roster” on defense and feels their additions will help their speed going forward. 

“We were based in a 3-4 front for several years here. The first thing we did was overhauling the roster. I love all the free agency moves we’ve made. We play with a little bit different linebacker, more space guys, run, speed as a premium. We like our roster,” said Smith. 

Smith added that their defense will put an “emphasis” on creating turnovers going forward.  

“We have to do that. People say turnovers don’t come. I don’t believe that. You’ll see an emphasis on that daily. If you’re not taking the ball away, you’re not a good defense. It’s not just total yards,” said Smith, via Wilson.

Smith said he is excited to feature Texans LB Zach Cunningham in his defense. 

“There’s a reason why we’re paying him what we’re paying him,” said Smith, via Wilson.

As for the team moving on from J.J. Watt this offseason, Smith believes change can be good for an organization. 

“They had a chance to see how J.J. prepared. They’ll take that. Change brings about a lot of different things. Who’s the next J.J. Watt coming up? That’s what I’m excited about,” said Smith, via Wilson. 

  • Smith mentioned that it is “safe to say” Texans’ Lonnie Johnson fits in as a linebacker in his system after previously appearing at safety. (Aaron Reiss)
  • Texans’ new OLB Jordan Jenkins didn’t provide a timetable of recovery from his torn labrum but is confident he’ll return to playing at a high level: “I can be a violent guy for this team and be a guy who can give it his all.” (Aaron Wilson)

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