Colts GM Chris Ballard thinks that linebackers Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker, and Bobby Okereke make up a trio that Ballard believes can compete with any group in the league. He also believes that his team has depth behind their starting three.
“I think the linebacker position is one where we have a lot of talent,” Ballard told Kevin Bowen of 107.5 The Fan. “I think we can compare them to anybody in the league and they are all young, athletic, and fast—everything we want. Behind them, it’s not like it’s chopped liver either. We think E.J. Speed has a lot of upside. You have Matt Adams and Zaire Franklin, who are both mainstays, and both have played for us and been great on special teams. And you have Jordan Glasgow, who we think is a really good fit. That’s going to be fun to watch.”
Ballard also has a defensive line group where he’s invested in DT DeForest Buckner, whose impact is something that Ballard is dying to see.
“I’m driven by it,” Ballard says. “You know we have to be great there. I’m looking at the addition of Buckner, how that’s really going to impact everybody else. I think it’s really going to have a big impact. I think he’s a pretty special player and a pretty special person. And he’s going to a great addition.”
“Of course, the kicking battle,” Ballard mentioned. “We are going to have to find ways to make sure that we create enough competition in pressure situations for both McLaughlin and Blankenship. And Frank and the staff have a plan for it. But that’s going to be an interesting one to watch.”
- Texans HC Bill O’Brien said of contract talks with QB Deshaun Watson: “We’re not going to talk about contracts in the media. We’d love to have Deshaun here for a long time. He’s here, he’s excited and we’re excited about the season.” (Aaron Wilson)
- O’Brien did, however, say they’re working hard on a deal for Watson: “We’re working hard. We feel so strongly about him in this offense, in this organization. We want him here for a long time.” (Aaron Wilson)
- As for possibly quarantining a quarterback as a precaution, O’Brien said: ‘We’ve gone through 1,000 different scenarios talking about any position whether quarterback, kicker, long snapper. Lot of unknowns, hard to say what exactly will happen.” (Aaron Wilson)
- O’Brien said that defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes opted out because of a preexisting condition: “He has a preexisting condition and has had family members deal with it over past six months. We respect that decision.” (Aaron Wilson)
- O’Brien said of wide receiver Will Fuller, who has recovered from offseason groin surgery: “We’re excited about having him for 16 games. He looks as good as he’s ever looked.” (Aaron Wilson)
As he battles for the Titans’ backup quarterback job, QB Logan Woodside reflects on his time in the short-lived AAF league.
“I took a lot out of that. It was a great opportunity for me to go in and play against some really good competition. It was kind of like last year. I kind of compared it to the preseason games,” Woodside told Terry McCormick of TitanInsider.com. “I had about eight games in the AAF and compared it to those preseason games. That’s about as real as it can get other than it being an official team. The speed of the game I got to pick up on, from college to the AAF to the preseason. I just kind of learned that way and it was very beneficial for me.”
Despite no off-season, Woodside likely impressed the Titans when he stayed in Nashville this off-season and held informal workouts with teammates TE Anthony Firkser, WR A.J. Brown, and WR Adam Humphries among others.
“I think it was big for me. Me and my family stayed here in Nashville this whole off-season. I just took it upon myself to get some guys out there and get some work in, especially since we didn’t have that program. I think it can be very beneficial for us. I was excited to see that come to life and get going.”
Starting QB Ryan Tannehill says he likes what he is seeing from Woodside, and noted that he stayed attentive in meetings last year even after going on practice squad IR.
“He was here last year. He saw the way I prepared. We spend a lot of time together going through film study, going through how it works in practice, what we’re working through, what we’re working on, why we’re working on things. He’s very inquisitive,” Tannehill said. “Last year, he asked a lot of great questions and I feel like he grew a lot, even though he wasn’t out there practicing with us since he was on IR. He wasn’t on the field, but I felt like he really got a lot out of last year and so far he’s carrying that into 2020.”