AFC Notes: DeMeco Ryans, Nick Folk, Jaguars, Texans, Titans

Jaguars

Jaguars HC Doug Pederson has been impressed by undrafted WR Joshua Cephus so far in their offseason program. 

It’s been consistent. He’s done a nice job from a young player coming in here, picking up, and doing some things. Now, we’re here at the end of the offseason program and we’re going to have some time away but what he retains between now and camp and coming back in great shape. But he’s done a nice job,” said Pederson, via FanNation. 

Jaguars OC Press Taylor said they will rarely throw to a fifth receiver and want to see how Cephus can fit into their system, including on special teams. 

“Ideally, you’ve got three guys that you know are going to contribute most of the pass game to, a fourth guy that can be versatile and have some sort of role, and depending fifth, sixth, a lot of that comes down to special teams. We’re not throwing the ball to the fifth receiver a lot of times on game day when there’s five guys out. Then we have a lot of guys like Cephus that you were asking about that kind of fit that mold of how do they fit. Where do they fit in fourth, fifth, sixth? What’s their value as a receiver and special teams, as well.”

Texans

Houston HC DeMeco Ryans was the leader of a massive franchise turnaround in 2023. Texans GM Nick Caserio and LB Christian Harris cited his energy and positivity as the biggest reasons for the change he’s brought. 

“He has a lot of joy in his heart,” Caserio said, via Dan Pompei of The Athletic. “He loves what he does, and that emotion pours out and it’s sincere and it’s genuine.”

“Everybody feeds off his energy,” Harris added. “It makes you want to go out there and play for a guy like that. I love it. I’ve had a lot of great coaches, but I think he’s definitely going to be one of the greats forever.”

Titans

Titans veteran K Nick Folk wondered whether he would be back with the team this offseason after the organization moved on from former HC Mike Vrabel for Brian Callahan. In the end, Folk re-signed to a one-year deal. 

“For me, it’s always been a patient game,” Folk said, via Jim Wyatt of the team’s site. “I kind of understand the game, and I understand the business side of it. I was patient with it, and I knew I wanted to play. I told that to Ran (Carthon) at the end of the season, that I wanted to keep playing, that I loved it here. I wanted to come back, and I’m excited to be back. Now it’s about getting ready for another season.”

Folk explained how he’s changed his approach to kicking field goals over the years. 

“A lot of it has to do with how I’ve trained, the timing of training, the timing of kicking,” Folk said. “When I was younger, I used to be able to kick a lot, go multiple days in a row, kick a lot more balls. Now I am very rep conscious, if you will. I’ve always kind of been quality over quantity and I know there’s going to be days when I need the quantity, but I still want to make it quality. You could maybe look at my technique and say not much has changed, but there are little nuances. You could probably talk to a golfer, and they’d say the same thing. You might not see the changes, but they’re making small, minute changes. And I think a lot of that changes as your body changes. When you get older, maybe you’re not as flexible, the leg is not as lively, so you’re going to have to change some things technically to continue going. So, it is just small, little things … to try to find ways to continue to improve.”

Folk is still focused on perfecting his game and feels he’s having a strong offseason as he prepares for Year 17 of his career. 

“Just continuing to work, put your head down and refine the craft every day,” Folk said. “You are going to have ups and downs, and you try and make the good days better than the bad days. It’s been a good offseason so far. I feel like I’m kicking pretty well. So, I’m going to keep rolling and keep the rhythm going and get ready for training camp at the end of July. I want to make sure I am working toward Week One of the season so I’m ready to roll then.”

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