AFC Notes: Colts, Jaguars, Titans

     

Colts

Colts second-round RB Jonathan Taylor doesn’t have the ability to work closely with his position coach, Colts assistant Tom Rathman, because of the pandemic. But the two have been getting creative to try and address Taylor’s biggest issue coming in, ball security. At Wisconsin, Taylor had 18 fumbles on 968 touches, while Indianapolis’ running backs combined had seven fumbles in 912 touches the past two years. Taylor has been sending videos to Rathman to try and learn the teaching points he’s being coached on. 

“Especially now, through these Zoom meetings, there’s nothing you can really do besides you’ve got to go out there, you’ve got to record, you’ve got to show him film,” Taylor said via Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “I want those coaching points, so I’m doing everything in my power to get those coaching points without physically being there in his presence.”

Jaguars

Regarding the Jaguars converting to a 3-4 defense, DC Todd Wash said their system is not a “true 3-4 or two-gap” scheme and they are not built for that defense. 

“We’re not a true 3-4 or two-gap team,” Wash said recently. “That’s not how we’re built up front – or the size of our unit – to do that.”

Wash mentioned that the Jaguars will use multiple different fronts and intends to use a system that is familiar to his players.  

“It’s funny: everybody says we’re going to a 3-4,” Wash said. “You will see some different fronts, but we want to still continue to give teams a lot of multiple looks. Most importantly, we want to put the players on our roster in a position to be successful in any scheme that they fit.”

Wash added that Jacksonville’s defense will continue to use “a lot of fronts” they’ve used “through the years.” 

“You’re going to see a lot of fronts that we’ve run through the years within this system that just match the personality and the skill set of our players.”

Titans

The Titans were one of the NFL’s hottest teams down the stretch last year, streaking to a spot as the No. 6 seed in the playoffs and then coming within a game of reaching the Super Bowl. Titans LB Rashaan Evans was one of the team’s best players on defense and said he started working toward 2020 almost as soon as Tennessee’s season ended. 

“I haven’t stopped training since the (AFC Championship Game),” Evans said via Jim Wyatt of the team website. “I took maybe a week off to kind of heal up, but ever since then I’ve been rolling. To be honest with you, I’m ready to play. I’m ready to go. Just the simple fact of just as a team we got so close to the Super Bowl game. By me having that first experience being in the NFL and having that opportunity to get to that last game, I think it definitely gave me even a bigger motivation because I know how to get there now.”

In his second season after being taken in the first round out of Alabama, Evans took a major step forward. He nearly doubled his tackle count to 111 and made more impact plays with nine TFL’s, 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown. Not only is he looking to take another step forward on the field in 2020, but Evans is also working towards shouldering more of a leadership role as he goes into his third season. 

“I feel like with the leadership thing, I think that’s something that’s natural. It has to be earned. It’s something that you don’t obtain overnight,” Evans said. “For me, right now I’m still pursuing the journey of trying to be a guy that guys can count on. Be a guy that when a play needs to be made, they’re looking for me or if they’re looking for some type of person, at least be vocal in a situation like that. Not only just on the field, but off the field as well. I know I keep myself to a high standard as far as those things because I know just from the things that I do off the field, I feel like it should definitely match on the field as well.

“Just with the leadership thing, I think as I’m getting older, maturing, learning more and more about this organization and about this city. I think when you get those types of understanding it comes with greater responsibility for yourself to pass some of the same things you experienced and the knowledge you obtained to guys that are coming in. I think that’s where that leadership role comes in and plays a big part.”

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