AFC Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Texans, Titans

     

Colts

  • Per the Athletic’s Zak Keefer, Colts HC Frank Reich said he’s mapped out a backup for every single coach on staff, including himself, but has only shared that plan with his three coordinators: “I’m not going to share it with anybody else. Let’s just go to work. It’s all written down. It’s all mapped out.”
  • Keefer writes Colts DC Matt Eberflus and OC Nick Sirianni are the two most logical backups for Reich. 
  • Colts QB Philip Rivers said he never really considered opting out because he felt it basically would have been like retiring at his age: “I think that this point, making that decision for me would have been making the decision to be done, period — you know, retiring — which is nowhere on my mind.”
  • Rivers added Colts backup QB Jacoby Brissett has been a big help in helping him acclimate even though Rivers was signed to take his job: “He’s been a pro, a true pro. I don’t think it is one of those deals where he’s going, ‘All right, I’m going to take a back seat.’ He’s competing like crazy. He’s giving a quiz on the Zoom meetings. When we get to practice, he is going to be trying to get after it. So it will be a healthy competition, and also we’ll pull for each other like crazy.”
  • Reich is optimistic the Colts’ two second-round rookies, WR Michael Pittman and RB Jonathan Taylor, can make an immediate impact: “Two physically dominant-looking athletes.”
  • Sirianni says Taylor, in particular, has stood out: “I look at him and say, ‘I would hate to have to tackle this guy all game long. Now I don’t get paid to do that, but I can see other people are going to think that way, a defensive coordinator saying, ‘Man, our guys are going to wear down from tackling him because that’s a big man right there.”

Jaguars

  • Per NFL Media’s Michael Giardi, Jaguars HC Doug Marrone thinks DE Dawuane Smoot‘s six sacks in 2019 are a sign of more good things to come for the former third-round pick: “I usually do it with food. If I like it, I start eating more of it and I get fat. I think he tasting what it’s like and he knows he can do and he knows he can play at this level and that accelerated him.”
  • John Oehser of the team website writes that Jaguars S Jarrod Wilson and Ronnie Harrison are pretty much locked in as starters for 2020. 
  • Oehser adds Wilson is solid but there are questions about if he can be anything more than a stopgap type of player. Harrison has shown flashes as a former third-round pick but has also been inconsistent as a starter. 

Texans

  • Texans RB David Johnson believes he and teammate Duke Johnson will be a star tandem both rushing and receiving: “We’re going to be a lethal threat, not just running, but catching the football. We’re going to be able to expose the defense and really help out this offense and Texans organization. Get the first downs, the touchdowns.” (Aaron Wilson)
  • Texans WR Brandin Cooks said he has zero concerns about his concussion history: “I’m not worried at all. If there was any hesitation or worry, I wouldn’t be here right now.” (Wilson)
  • O’Brien mentioned the team has high expectations for 2019 first-round OT Tytus Howard in his second year: “We have high expectations for Tytus. He’s a large human being. He’s smart. He’s tough. He dealt with some injuries, especially the knee last year. He’s come back from that. We’re hoping we see a jump from Year 1 to Year 2.” (Wilson)

Titans

As a rookie, Titans LB Rashaan Evans struggled to make many splash plays, finishing with just two tackles for loss, no sacks or turnovers and one pass defense as a rookie. In his second year, Evans made a big jump, recording nine TFLs, 2.5 sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown. In Year 3, Titans HC Mike Vrabel said they’re going to ask Evans to do even more. 

“We’ve always prescribed in theory that the more that the player can handle, the more we’ll give them,” Vrabel said via Jim Wyatt of the official team website. “Rashaan has developed very well. He’s fun to coach, plays extremely hard, exemplifies what we want, and he’s always looking to improve. He has a great attitude, comes in every day with a willingness to learn, and a willingness to improve. I know he’s very respected by his teammates, as well as his coaches.”

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