AFC Notes: Derrick Henry, Colts, Jaguars, Titans


Colts LB Zaire Franklin reflected on last year’s season-finale against the Texans, where they felt like they were competing for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. This time around, Indianapolis is playing for a playoff berth. 

“Last year being in the situation, it felt like we were playing for the No. 1 overall pick against Houston,” Franklin said, via JJ Stankevitz of the team’s site. “This year we’re playing for a chance to go to the dance.”

Colts GM Chris Ballard said pairing HC Shane Steichen with a young quarterback wasn’t the defining factor in their decision to hire him away from the Eagles. 

“Is it an added bonus? Yes. Was it the final defining factor? No,” Ballard said. “We wanted to get the best fit for us and for the Colts organization. Shane fit that.”

Colts C Ryan Kelly said Steichen approached them with “very high” expectations going into the 2023 season. 

“When Shane first got here, I think he put together an incredible staff — an incredible staff that believed in the players, that saw us for who we were as great players,” Kelly said. “Unfortunately you look at last year and a lot of that was kind of tarnished. This group came back in April, speaking for our group and the entire team, with a lot to prove. And I think Shane made it very clear the expectations — the expectations were very high.”


Jaguars second-round TE Brenton Strange said he’s looked up to TE Evan Engram and has been watching how he prepares and keeps his body right throughout the season.

The difference between college and the NFL for me has really just been the time management,” Strange said, via Jags Wire. “The structure is a little bit more different than college, so coming in and watching how [Engram] works and how he prepares for practice. The things he does before practice and after practice to get his body right. That’s been the most impressive thing is how he prepares each week and it shows. Its been awesome to just come in and learn from a guy of that caliber and learn from the things he does. I found myself in a similar situation at Penn State. When I came in there was another top guy, Pat Freiermuth, who was doing that and I got to learn from him and take some things from his guy. So I’m really appreciate of [Engram] and not only [Engram], Luke [Farrell] and the coaches too.”


Titans RB Derrick Henry, who is set to enter free agency after this season, said he’s approaching Week 18 as if it’s “any other game.” 

“We’ll just treat it as any other game,” Henry said, via Kayla Anderson of 104.5 The Zone. “Try not to get too caught up, too overwhelmed. Just enjoy the moment. Focus on finishing the season strong, going out there playing a good game overall as a team and hopefully getting the win.”

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