AFC Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Texans, Titans, Ryan Tannehill


Colts HC Frank Reich had plenty of good things to say about CB Stephon Gilmore, especially after he intercepted QB Matt Ryan and returned it for a touchdown.

“I can just tell you from a quarterback’s perspective, he’s the kind of cornerback you fear because [of the] way he sees the game,” Reich said, via Pro Football Talk. “He knows what’s coming before it’s coming. He’s so quick to recognize routes and concepts, and then he has the ability to make plays on the ball and turn it over. That’s what we’ve seen from start to finish. Love him. Love the player, love the person, and love how he’s fitting in with this team. I really feel like he’s helping our defense and helping our secondary to kind of elevate it to a new level for us.”

Reich believes that having Gilmore will also improve the wide receivers group, as they will be charged with the task of taking on a top-tier cornerback.

“[T]hat is just a universal principle, right? The more you are challenged, the harder it is and the more you have to figure out how to win,” Reich said. “This game ultimately — like we always say — comes down to one-on-one matchups and how am I going to win my one-on-one matchup? So, when you go up against a guy like Gilmore, you’re just challenged. Half the time he knows what you are doing and you still have got to find a way to win. So, I think the receivers have been doing a decent job at that and we won our shares versus ‘Gilly’, but he’s definitely challenging us all to get better.”


Jaguars first-overall pick OLB Travon Walker was able to record a sack in his first preseason game, with DC Mike Caldwell noting that the team likes what they have seen from him so far.

“Really, you just like the get-off. Early on in the game — really, the first play of the game — he got off, used his power, you saw the power, hit the quarterback,” Caldwell said in his Monday press conference. “Now, we stress staying away from the quarterback’s head. But the call is the call, we’ll live with that. But we just want to see him continue to get better, continue to work his moves and build his toolbox. We’re happy so far.”


Texans WR Nico Collins has been impressive this offseason, with HC Lovie Smith and QB Davis Mills taking notice. Smith says that the team will likely be throwing more opportunities his way this year, and Collins wants to use it to become an all-time great in Houston.

“Nico has put in a ton of work all last year and through this offseason,” Mills said via Pro Football Network. “It shows what he’s been doing out here in practice. I think we’ve definitely developed chemistry, and he’s going to be dangerous. When we’re on the same page and how we are on the same page, I don’t think there’s many people out there who can stop him. Definitely, size and athletic abilities. I don’t think there are too many people out there who can play and jump with him.”

Collins has the inside track to the No. 2 receiver job across from Texans WR Brandin Cooks, and his size at a hulking 6-4 ought to be a nice complement to the smaller, quicker Cooks.

“That’s a tough duty for a defensive back,” Smith said of trying to cover Collins. “The one play that you’re talking about, defensively, Steven Nelson is in a pretty good position. But when you’re 6-foot-4, most corners are around six feet, that’s a pretty good matchup for us. Nico Collins is an excellent football player. We expect him to make plays like that. We went to Brandin Cooks a lot last year. And we definitely plan on doing it a lot this year. We need Nico to be that compliment to Brandin, and he can. Big target, catch, go and jump. That can be a good combination.”


Titans QB Ryan Tannehill has been honest about how much of an impact the loss in the AFC Divisional Round had on him this offseason. The top-seeded Titans lost 19-16 to the Bengals and Tannehill’s three interceptions were a major factor in the outcome. Tannehill said grappling with his failure on that big of a stage sent his mental health into a tailspin. 

“I hadn’t really been in that spot before,” he said via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “It was weeks and weeks of not really sleeping, and then kind of slowly got better from there, working my way through it. It wasn’t something that I just passively got through. I was intentionally seeking out help, talking to somebody and trying to work through the mental side of it.”

Just like a broken bone or a torn ligament, Tannehill says rehabbing his mental health took intentionality and focus. 

“The mental side is such a big thing for everybody in life, but especially in sports. We talk about it as an organization. We have guys that help us with our bodies, help us train. We also have people that help with our minds. Being able to take advantage of that and kind of destigmatize the mental side of things. We’re all gonna go through something at different points in our life. It’s okay, right? Now you have the opportunity to work through it and be intentional about growing through the process and moving forward.

“You’re not pushing away the feelings. You’re acknowledging the feelings. You’re really feeling them and digging through why you’re feeling them, and then moving past it at that point. You’re not stuffing it away and hoping just to never feel it again. You’re acknowledging it, knowing it’s there, and then moving through it.

“Now, it’s a scar. That’s kind of how I’ve described it is that it’s a scar. It’s always there. You remember it. But it’s not a wound anymore. It doesn’t hurt the same. You acknowledge like yeah that sucked. But this is a new year. We have everything out in front of us. What happened last year, whether it was good or bad, it doesn’t matter at this point. You have to take each day as its own and take advantage of it.”

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