AFC Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Texans, Titans

     

Colts

Instead of signing RB Marlon Mack to an extension this offseason, the Colts traded up to land RB Jonathan Taylor in the second round. Given how that likely spells the end of Mack’s tenure in Indianapolis when his contract runs out after the year, it would have been easy for the running back room to become awkward. Instead, Colts OC Nick Sirianni says there haven’t been any issues. 

“I just witness two good teammates to each other, rooting for each other, pulling for each other, but also hungry to compete with each other and — ‘Hey, I want these carries. I want these carries.’ I never hear them say that, but I do see them help each other out and I do see them being good teammates to each other,” Sirianni said via ESPN’s Mike Wells. “That’s key, and that is the type of guys that we have here. We have good teammates and good players. It’s been fun to watch them. It’s been fun to watch them interact, communicate, help each other and compete at the same time. It’s going to greatly benefit us to have those two types of caliber backs. They will just be fresh all game, and they are both going to get carries.”

Mack acknowledged he drew some motivation from the Colts’ decision but he doesn’t hold anything against Taylor. 

“As a running back, it just motivates you,” Mack said. “It’s just a business, like you said, but just coming in — I know we can be great together. I’m more of a team guy so we can come together as a team, go out there and just put in work. Everybody has the same goal on this team — to get to the Super Bowl, go 1-0 each week.”

Colts HC Frank Reich has said the team will roll with whichever back has the momentum any given week but Mack has still earned the right to open the year as the starter. 

“We’re going to continue to take the same approach that we have — where it’s week in and week out, hot hand and all those things,” Reich said. “We’re expecting a big year from all of our backs but in particular, Marlon. He looks good. I feel good about how the backs complement each other. I really do. I feel like that’s a strong room for us. I feel like those guys are very unselfish. They are in it for each other. Marlon needs to be a leader — the way he plays and we expect him to do that.”

Jaguars

  • Per Jacksonville.com’s John Reid, Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew was surprised by the team’s decision to cut RB Leonard Fournette: “I was like everybody else — surprised. Leonard has really been the face of the franchise for a long time and I think we all hate to see him go.”
  • Minshew said he doesn’t think the team is tanking: “Realistically I know if we’re tanking, Coach [Doug Marrone], [GM Dave Caldwell], and me are probably going to be out of jobs.” (Reid)
  • Marrone hasn’t talked with Caldwell about potentially making a trade to take advantage of the Jaguars’ depth at receiver. (Reid)

Texans

  • Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson spoke about contract talks while mentioning the $58 million extension signed by LB Zach Cunningham: “My agent and the organization continue to handle that. Zach deserves everything he got and more.” (Aaron Wilson)
  • Texans’ HC Bill O’ Brien said the team could re-sign a third quarterback in QB Alex McGough who was cut on Monday: “We might bring Alex McGough back. Who knows?” (Aaron Reiss)

Titans

  • Per Jim Wyatt of the official team website, Titans HC Mike Vrabel downplayed the connections on staff to new K Stephen Gostkowski. Vrabel and Gostkowski were teammates with the Patriots: “A lot is going to made about our history with Stephen, but in the end that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s a decision we felt as a team would help solidify the position.”
  • Vrabel hinted the team might keep a kicker on the practice squad. Tennessee released K Greg Joseph to make room for Gostkowski but UDFA K Tucker McCann is still on the roster.
  • Vrabel worked with Titans OLB Vic Beasley on a side field Thursday as the pass rusher works to come off the NFI list. 
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