AFC Notes: Colts, Patriots, Titans

     

Colts

Peyton Manning said he was impressed with how Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck returned after enduring shoulder problems for the past two seasons. 

“It’s hard to believe that he really missed the past two years essentially with an injury,” Manning said via Kevin Bowen. “You thought there would be some rust in there somewhere. I know he probably talked about feeling like there was, but you sure didn’t see it, making all the throws, getting the ball to different playmakers, spreading the ball around, teams playing the pass, opens up a lot of run plays.”

  • Stephen Holder of the Athletic mentions Giants S Landon Collins as a potential free agent the Colts should target if he hits the open market this offseason. 
  • Holder also identifies pass rush as a need for the Colts and mentions Washington’s Preston Smith or Denver’s Shaquil Barrett as possible free agent options. 
  • Upcoming free agent S Clayton Geathers is a favorite of GM Chris Ballard, making him a strong candidate to return despite his injury: “I love him. I do,” Ballard said. “I love everything Clayton Geathers stands for. I watched a guy every week fight his tail off to get ready to play.” 

Patriots

New England guard Joe Thuney will become the first player ever to start three Super Bowls in his first three seasons when he starts Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams. 

“It’s pretty crazy,” Thuney said via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “You don’t really think about that stuff, and then you look back on it, and it’s kind of there. I just want to prepare the best I can, and perform the best I can, and that’s kind of the major thing I’m focused on.”

Titans

  • The Athletic’s Travis Haney reports that the Titans may have a decision to make at safety. After S Johnathan Cyprien went down with a torn ACL before the season, the team signed S Kenny Vaccaro to a one-year deal, who played well in relief. The team could bring back Vaccaro to run more three-safety looks, or release Cyprien and save $5.25 million. 
  • Haney believes the Titans are also likely to move on from DE Derrick Morgan this offseason.
  • Tennessee could also look to improve its backup quarterback spot and move on from QB Blaine Gabbert, according to Haney.
  • As for a potential free agent target, Haney says Tennessee could have some interest in WR Golden Tate, who would provide a veteran presence in their young receiving corps.

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