AFC Notes: Colts, Texans, Titans, Malik Willis


Colts DE Kwity Paye praised DE Yannick Ngakoue‘s attitude and desire to win.

It’s good to see a guy that hates losing,” Paye said, via PFT. “That’s a guy you want on your team. if you have a guy who is just OK if you lose and he’s just like, ‘Ah, whatever,’ that’s not the guy you want to go into war with. When it really gets tough, you can’t depend on guys like that. so having Yann on our side is great.

Paye personally was disappointed with his performance as a rookie and has set 10 sacks as a minimum goal for his second season. 

“I definitely want to get double-digit sacks,” Paye said via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “I feel me getting double-digit sacks will help the team in the pass rush. Last year, I wanted to do that, but I kind of started out slowly and got the injury. I’ve put a lot of work in this offseason. I can’t wait to get out on the field and show people what I’ve been working on.”

  • Colts OG Quenton Nelson said that he’s feeling better than he has in a year following a healthy offseason: “I feel great. No surgeries this offseason, just a chance to really work on my body, do deep-tissue massages, get some rest, some stretching, flexibility, eating well and then, really hitting the gym hard when I felt I was ready, getting more range of motion in my joints and just getting strong and healthy. It’s been a great offseason and now [it’s time] to transfer onto the field.” (Stephen Holder)


  • Texans HC Lovie Smith said the team still needs help at tight end after the trade involving TE Adam Shaheen voiding due to a failed physical: “That said we need a little bit more help there. We have a couple of tight ends that have been down.” (Aaron Wilson)
  • Smith added that hopefully the team can get healthy at that position and they won’t have to seek outside help: “But they’re getting better. Maybe. It’s a maybe. Again, I hope the guys that we have here get back on the football field, and we may not have to go down that road.” (Wilson)


Regarding his performance in the Titans’ preseason opener on Thursday, third-round QB Malik Willis said he relied too heavily on his running ability.

“I just made up for it with my legs. Can’t continue to rely on that, though,” Willis said, via the team’s official Youtube. “But that’s what the preseason is for — so you can just see those things against a live defense, one we hadn’t played before.”

Willis wants to study his film to determine what plays he could’ve released the ball. 

“I mean, all you do is go out there and play the game,” Willis said. “You don’t have a play like, ‘I have to pass the ball this play. I have to run the ball this play.’ You just play the game. I probably ran it a little more than I threw it tonight. That’s why we’ve got to look at film. But I don’t know. We’ll see on film.”

Willis is confident that more game experience will help develop his decisiveness when throwing and running. 

“You’ve just got to know when you need it and when you don’t,” Willis said. “That’s what this whole process is about. That’s the really cool thing about it. I’m blessed in many ways and I appreciate it, but it’s about learning when to use what and just playing the game.”

Titans HC Mike Vrabel said that Willis must improve at finding open receivers. 

“He needs to try to throw the ball when guys are open, be more decisive,” Vrabel said, via ProFootballTalk. “We’ll evaluate that, see if there’s a timing issue or what’s going on. Wanted to get him out there, see how he responds. There were some good plays and obviously some plays we’re gonna have to look at the timing on the release and if we’re making the right decisions.”

  • Titans HC Mike Vrabel feels that first-round WR Treylon Burks was “inconsistent” in Thursday’s preseason opener and wants him to show his ability in practice during games. (Jim Wyatt)
  • Vrabel mentioned that second-year WR Racey McMath was able to make his presence felt as a receiver and special teams player on Thursday: Racey McMath is a big fast guy who keeps showing up in a lot of areas. Had a return, had a tackle, made a catch.” (Jim Wyatt)
  • When asked about rookies who stood out in their preseason game, Vrabel named RB Julius Chestnut, ILB Jack Gibbens, and TE Chigoziem Okonkwo. (Jim Wyatt)
  • Vrabel added that backup QB Logan Woodside has shown a strong command of the offense and decision-making ability: “One of his strengths has been his command of the offense and his decision-making. We expect that to improve from last night.” (Jim Wyatt)

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