AFC Notes: Colts, Steelers, Texans

     

Colts

New Colts RB D’Onta Foreman‘s career never really got off the ground with the Texans. The former 2017 third-round pick tore his Achilles tendon his rookie season and spent most of his second season trying to work his way back. The Texans decided heading into what will be Foreman’s third year that a reset was best for both sides. 

“The Texans alluded to me having a fresh start,” Foreman said via Andrew Walker of the team website. “I mean at the end of the day, it was the first start for me. I never played outside of Texas, never played on the team more than three hours away from my hometown. So, me being way out here, it’s definitely different for me, definitely a different vibe from Houston. Things didn’t work out with Houston, but I’m here now, great organization, great people, great vibes, and I’m looking forward to being here.”

Steelers

With Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster stepping into the No. 1 wide receiver role vacated by Antonio Brown, it’s reasonable to assume opposing defenses will start treating the young wideout like Brown and sending double teams his way. One of the ways the Steelers hope to counteract that is by moving Smith-Schuster around like they did with Brown. 

“Being able to put him in different positions inside and out is always going to help,” Steelers OC Randy Fichtner said via the Athletic’s Mark Kaboly. “As time went on, that’s what he had to do with AB. We had to put him positions that he wasn’t always stagnant in one spot. If they are going to double him, it is going to be seen.”

Of course, if teams double Smith-Schuster, that means someone else on the Steelers offense has single coverage. Pittsburgh doesn’t have anyone else as proven as Smith-Schuster was even a year ago, though they added WR Donte Moncrief in free agency and have high hopes for 2018 second-round WR James Washington. The Steelers hope that’s enough. 

“We aren’t centering off of one person because we know everybody can make plays,” Smith-Schuster said. “When they are doubling me or doubling Moncrief, it’s going to be the other guys who need to step up. It’s kind of like AB and I came in and nobody knew about me and I made my plays. I am ready for the competition and all of that. I am ready.”

Texans

  • According to ESPN’s Field Yates, new Texans RB Duke Johnson is under contract through 2021 and has base salaries of $1.8 million, $3.6 million and $4.65 million the next three seasons. 
  • The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain says if the Texans carry four running backs again in 2019 like they did in 2018, that leaves Buddy Howell, Taiwan Jones, Josh Ferguson, Damarea Crockett and Karan Higdon battling for two spots behind Lamar Miller and Johnson. 
  • Howell also made the roster in 2018 for his special teams ability. 
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports Texans HC Bill O’Brien was the main executor of the trade for Johnson as Houston operates without a defined general manager for 2019. 
  • According to Jason La Canfora, the consensus around the league was that Johnson was worth a fifth-round pick. 
  • Browns GM John Dorsey traded Johnson to the Texans for a conditional fourth that becomes a third-round pick if Johnson is active for 10 games. 

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