AFC Notes: Colts, Texans, Titans

     

Colts

Colts second-round RB Jonathan Taylor has struggled in recent weeks and instead of seizing control of Indianapolis’ backfield, it’s fallen into a three-way committee. Taylor had a key fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the first half and received just one carry afterward as the team relied on former backup RB Jordan Wilkins for the second straight week. However, Colts HC Frank Reich said going away from Taylor wasn’t something they did on purpose. 

“I can tell you this, there was never any discussion over the headset about, ‘Hey, let’s get the other guys in there,’” Reich said via Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. “That was not talked about. It was, ‘He has to get over it and get ready to go.’ We have confidence in him, all the confidence in the world.”

Colts GM Chris Ballard echoed Reich’s confidence in Taylor’s future with the Colts, even if he doesn’t necessarily become the team’s dominant lead back in 2020. 

“We’ll see. We like what Jonathan’s done,” Ballard said via 1075TheFan.com’s Kevin Bowen. “He had an unfortunate fumble on a really good run this week, just working to get extra yards, and Marcus Peters, who’s one of the best I’ve ever been around causing turnovers, got his hand in there and knocked it out. But we like Jonathan. Jonathan’s played pretty good football for us, and as he gains more experience and continues to play, we think he’s got a lot of talent and a lot of ability, and we expect to see big things from him the second half of the season.”

  • Ballard said the team hopes to get DE Kemoko Turay back from injury following this week, meaning that he likely won’t be ready to face the Titans on Thursday night. (Zak Keefer)

Texans

Texans QB Deshaun Watson was sensational again, continuing what’s been a fairly good season that has flown under the radar as Houston has struggled. Texans interim HC Romeo Crennel compared Watson to legendary Dolphins QB Dan Marino after Sunday’s win against the Jaguars, both to point out Watson’s immense talent and the need for a better team to be built around him. 

“There’s a guy named Dan Marino who was a pretty quarterback and they say that he didn’t win the way he wanted to win, but it takes more than one guy,” Crennel said via USA Today’s Mark Lane. “That’s what I tell these guys all the time. One guy cannot be the team. Deshaun, as good as he is for us, he cannot be the team. It takes all the guys on the team and on the other side of the ball, as well. When everybody does well, then the team can do well.”

Titans

The Tennessee Titans played CB Breon Borders, DL Teair Tart, and LB Derick Roberson often in their win over the Bears, and HC Mike Vrabel made it clear that they would all see more playing time going forward.

“I think all of those guys earned more opportunities here against the Colts. I think it will be important that they don’t spend a whole lot of time standing in the batter’s box staring at the home run,” Vrabel said, via Terry McCormick of TitansInsider.com “If they move on, whether we win or lose, and that’s our whole focus. And that’s our whole goal to make sure these guys are consistent and trying to earn larger roles.”

  • According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the word on former Titans OLB Vic Beasley was that he just didn’t love football enough despite the flashes of elite talent. Sources didn’t describe it as malicious but just noted Beasley didn’t have the zeal for practices and meetings he needed and that didn’t fit Vrabel’s culture. 
  • Vrabel says Titans WR Adam Humphries is still in the concussion protocol. (Jim Wyatt)
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