AFC South Blog
The Houston Texans will arrive at training camp on Friday, and the face of the franchise is expected to join them. After holding out of spring practices and then reportedly demanding a trade, wide receiver Andre Johnson will likely be back with the Texans this week, according to Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon. Johnson visited the team's facility on Monday.
Jaguars wide receiver Ace Sanders told reporters Tuesday that he is taking a leave of absence from football to handle some "personal issues." He also said he is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
"I've decided to go seek help and get that attention," Sanders said. "I should be fine. ... I've made some mistakes that I could have handled a little differently."
Sanders said he will seek "counseling, anybody that can give me insight" during training camp. He will likely be away from the team for all of camp and doesn't know if he will remain in Jacksonville while addressing his issues. However, Sanders said he is looking forward to playing again. He won't be eligible to play this season until Oct. 5.
According to the Florida Times Union, Head Coach Jedd Fisch stated very clearly that Jordan Todman would be involved in their offensive scheme but, as a "change of pace" style back.
ESPN's John Clayton is already on record with his expectations for the Broncos' Emmanuel Sanders. Now we've got more predictions coming in just before training camps open. The latest are from The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt, and he covers a handful of Titans.
Wyatt has wide receiver Kendall Wright catching 88 passes for 1,360 yards and eight touchdowns. Wright is the team's best fantasy player, according to Wyatt. He also says Wright's receptions total will drop from 94 to 88 due to more contributions from other players.
Rookie running back Bishop Sankey: 980 rushing yards and five touchdowns to go with 24 receptions for 242 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Wyatt says Sankey will be the Titans' most productive running back, but Dexter McCluster and Shonn Greene "will cut into his stats."
Tight end Delanie Walker: 62 catches, 646 yards, five touchdowns. Those numbers are similar to the ones Wyatt hinted at last week.
Wide receiver Justin Hunter: 44 catches, 690 yards, seven touchdowns. "He will have some monster weeks, and some quiet ones," Wyatt said.
It's already known that Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley wants Toby Gerhart to be his bell-cow running back. On Saturday, he presented further reasons why.
"His work ethic, his knowledge of the game, his ability to fit in with our team, his competitiveness — he checks all those boxes," Bradley said of Gerhart. "The one thing we saw during the OTAs was that his speed — he's even faster than we gave him credit for."
When asked if his staff will have to monitor Gerhart to keep from overworking him, Bradley only said that he was "intrigued" by his backup running backs -- Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson, and Storm Johnson -- and that the coaches are still trying to figure out each player's strengths.
Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt predicts "Sankey will be the busiest back this season in terms of carries and production, even though the Titans plan on using a running back by committee approach." After watching OTAs he notes that offensive weapon Dexter McCluster has been an "offseason star" and while Sankey was absent due to the University of Washington's late graduation, and power running back Shonn Greene missed OTAs because he's still recovering from his second knee surgery. Titans open training camp July 26th and we are sure to get a better look at how the backfield will pan out.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano understands the difficult transition running back Trent Richardson had to make last year. Traded from Cleveland prior to Week 3, Richardson was installed as the Colts' lead back even though he was learning the offense on the fly. It played a role in a very disappointing season for Richardson as he averaged just three yards per carry and less than 40 yards per game. He ended up losing his starting job late in the season to Donald Brown.
But a new season is upon every NFL team, and Pagano thinks this one will be a good one for Richardson.
"Coming in under the circumstances which he did would be tough on anybody," Pagano said of Richardson to USA Today. "Certainly having a year under his belt and a full offseason ... he's put the time in and has a better understanding of the offense. The expectations are what they are, and I think Trent expects probably more of Trent than anybody else.
"Fully expect him to have a great year."
The Titans would love to see what tight end Delanie Walker did during May and June carry over to September and beyond.
According to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, Walker was an offseason star who looked good during practices and really worked hard on his blocking skills so he can stay on the field for more plays. Walker is also healthy after spending last offseason, his first in Tennessee, recovering from a knee scope. Wyatt said Walker has become more of a leader, and "all signs point to a big year."
Walker had the biggest year of his career in 2013, blowing past his previous highs to set new benchmarks in receptions (60), yards (571), and touchdowns (6).
The Titans would like Shonn Greene to fill the role of short-yardage pounder while backing up Bishop Sankey this year. But Greene can't do those things if he's not on the roster, and Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean thinks he may not be when the season begins.
Wyatt opined Monday that a disappointing 2013 season followed by a spring wiped out by the second surgery on his right knee in eight months has left Greene with a make-or-break training camp in front of him. He should be healthy when camp opens next week, but Wyatt thinks that if Greene doesn't perform well, he is a candidate for release. He is scheduled to make $2.3 million in salary this season, and the Titans have a couple of possible big-back replacements on the roster in Jackie Battle and undrafted rookie Antonio Andrews.
Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter experienced a tough rookie season, full of growing pains, mental lapses, and unfulfilled promise.
But those high expectations remain for the 23-year-old Hunter heading into his second season, and he can be a very good player in this league if he meets those highest expectations.
A very, very, very good player. Teammate Michael Preston thinks the sky is the limit for Hunter and compares him to a young Randy Moss.
"I know how great a player Randy Moss was, and in my mind, there's no reason Justin can't be the next greatest player," Preston said Monday. "I just want to be there to support him. I know he's going to grow, make a great leap this year, and impress the city and fans with his talent."