Tennessee Titans starting left guard Andy Levitre had his appendix removed on Thursday and could miss about two weeks as he recovers from the procedure.

Levitre
The Titans report to camp Friday morning and hit the field for their first practice Saturday morning.

Tennessee has dealt with an offensive lineman and appendix surgery recently.

The team’s left tackle, Michael Roos, had his appendix removed on Monday Oct. 22, 2012, missed the team’s overtime home loss to Indianapolis the following Sunday and was back in the lineup for the next game.

In Levitre’s absence I expect reserve interior lineman Chris Spencer and rookie first-round tackle Taylor Lewan to see extra action at left guard.

Lewan will work primarily at left and right tackle, but the team looked at him a bit at guard during offseason workouts and is likely to do so again now.

Outside of Levitre, the Titans could be at full strength for their first practice.

Running back Shonn Greene missed the offseason after a second surgery on his knee but the team expects he returns ready. Defensive lineman Marcus Dixon also had a summer calf injury that should be resolved.
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Justin Blackmon's latest arrest has done nothing to change the Jacksonville Jaguars' plans regarding the former first-round pick’s status with the team: They aren’t going to cut him.

Owner Shad Khan, speaking after the team’s Back to Football charity luncheon on Thursday afternoon, said he was disappointed to hear the news of Blackmon’s third arrest but said he plans on keeping the troubled Blackmon on the team’s reserve/suspended list.

"I think we want to keep him as a player," Khan said. "He’s not part of the team, obviously, but I think it’s very important for him to get the help. I think that’s the most important thing.

"I think it’s good for him to be [under contract with the team] and frankly it’s good for us. We want him to get the help and really beat this."

[+] EnlargeJustin Blackmon
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesJustin Blackmon had 29 receptions in the four games in which he was available last season.
It appears, however, that Blackmon doesn’t, and that’s why the team should cut the former Oklahoma State standout.

General manager David Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley have repeatedly said they care about Blackmon and want him to receive help to get his life in order. There are numerous resources available for Blackmon to get help through the NFL and the NFL Players Association, whether it’s counseling or help finding a treatment center. In order to get better, Blackmon first has to admit that he has a problem and wants to get better, and it's clear he isn't willing to do that.

Players in the NFL's substance-abuse program are subject to additional random drug testing. Testing positive will result in additional penalties, possibly even a lifetime ban. Blackmon knows that, yet he still made the decision to smoke marijuana while driving, which eventually resulted in his arrest in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Wednesday evening.

Either Blackmon has a more serious problem with substance abuse than many believed or he just doesn’t care. It appears to be more the latter based on the fact Blackmon maintained minimal contact with the team after being suspended indefinitely on Nov. 1. NFL rules prohibit teams from contacting suspended players, but players can contact the team, and the Jaguars had hoped Blackmon would keep them informed of his progress and whereabouts.

He did neither, aside from an occasional text to Bradley. It was disappointing because the Jaguars believed Blackmon had made progress during his four-game suspension to start the 2013 season. A new NFL rule allowed Blackmon to be with the team during his suspension for meetings (no practice or games), and Bradley and Blackmon met almost daily. Bradley said he was encouraged by their deeper relationship and said he believed Blackmon was heading in the right direction.

That is obviously not the case based on what happened Wednesday in Oklahoma.

The Jaguars have perfectly logical reasons for not cutting Blackmon. He is serving an indefinite suspension for his third violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse program, which means he isn’t being paid and doesn’t count against the salary cap or roster limit. His career essentially is paused, meaning he still owes the team 2 years of service if he ever were to return. Plus, if the Jaguars do cut him they will be unable to recover any bonus money they have already paid.

However, those are football reasons and this is no longer an on-field issue. It’s about making a stand that the kind of behavior in which Blackmon is engaging is unacceptable. The Jaguars stood by and supported him through his May 2012 arrest, his four-game suspension and the current indefinite suspension. That is enough chances, more than many of us would receive if we found ourselves in the same situation.

Blackmon has become an embarrassment to a franchise that is riding a huge swell of momentum and positive energy thanks to the EverBank Field renovations and the enthusiasm surrounding draft picks Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. Forget the money and the slim chance that he will turn things around and become the player he was projected to be. The best thing for the franchise at this point is to cut Blackmon loose.
ANDERSON, Ind. -- There was one substantial trade in the NFL last season. One that was supposed to give Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck his complimentary piece in the backfield that he would team with for years to come. Too bad that hasn't happened yet.

The move to acquire running back Trent Richardson from the Cleveland Browns in September 2013 is not favoring the Colts so far. The more Richardson struggled last season, which was on a regular basis, the more he was criticized and the more Indianapolis general manger Ryan Grigson was questioned for making a trade that wasn’t panning out.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck and Trent Richardson
AP Photo/Michael DwyerTrent Richardson averaged only 2.9 yards per carry as a Colt last season.
Richardson was eventually benched and ended up averaging only 2.9 yards a carry last season.

To Richardson’s defense, he was thrown on the field less than a week after being acquired, teams stacked the box at times, and he was running behind an interior offensive line that wasn’t any good.

New season, fresh start?

That’s what you would like to believe.

In Richardson and Grigson’s case that has to happen. No more excuses. Richardson has had an entire offseason to familiarize himself with the offense, get in better shape and let his shoulder heal.

Richardson revealed for the first time Thursday that he had a chipped collarbone and his AC joint had separated last season.

“Toward the end of the season I felt a lot more comfortable, but the other time I was more injured,” Richardson said.

Richardson’s offseason, according to him, was spent working with his high school coach in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida, running the beaches, working his speed and learning the playbook like he’s studying for the bar exam.

“He’s a lot more comfortable,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “Basically it was survival for him at first, memorization. Now he has a better understanding scheme-wise, why we’re doing things, why we’re calling certain things, how we run plays. He has a better feel for guys he’s playing with, the line, guy in front of him, the fullback. He’s obviously in a much better place.”

Richardson is expected to get the first shot at starting because not doing so would be a sign of admission of the trade not working in the Colts’ favor. Don't expect the Colts to stick with Richardson in the starting lineup for as long as they did last season if he struggles like he did last season. He’ll be pushed by Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard for playing time.

“I think through the course of camp it’s all going to take care of itself, shake itself out,” Pagano said. “You’d like to have a bell cow. We’ll see if that happens…We’ll do a good job of getting the guys the necessary reps to make evaluations. If someone separates himself and becomes that guy then that’s your bell cow.”

 
Floyd Reese was General Manager of the Houston Oilers and Tennessee Titans from 1994-2006. He worked for ESPN for a time after that, and then was part of Bill Belichick’s front office in New England from 2009-2014.

He’s living in Nashville, and Thursday he visited with The Wake Up Zone, which is co-hosted by one of Reese’s greatest finds: Frank Wycheck, the tight end who caught 482 passes for Houston and Tennessee with 27 touchdowns and was part of the famous TD late in the Music City Miracle.

[+] EnlargeFloyd Reese
Jason O. Watson/USA TODAY SportsFormer Titans GM Floyd Reese on young head coaches: "Young head coaches with limited experience come into the league and many have no chance."
Some highlights of the conversation:

On a power struggle with Jeff Fisher at the end of Reese’s tenure: He said if Fisher won power struggle he didn't know anything about it. Reese said Fisher was not big into the draft and just wanted to coach ball, which is accurate for sure.

But Reese was being politically correct there. As he left he clearly felt that he had lost and Fisher had won in some capacity.

On dealing with then-Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars on draft day in 1995: The Jaguars were picking second and the Oilers were third.

Coughlin called and said Reese needed to give him a third or he was going to trade it to Minnesota and the Vikings were going to take Steve McNair.

"I said (Tony) Boselli is right there, you want Boselli,'" Reese recalled. "I said, 'Why would you do that?' 'Well if you don’t give me a third, I’m going to do it.' So I put down the phone ... Bud (Adams) said we need to trade it so we don’t miss out on the kid. And I thought about it and I thought about it and I really don’t know what happened, but I picked the phone back up and said, 'Tom, we’re not going to do it, talk to you later, bye.' And 30 seconds later he takes Boselli and we erupt and end up with McNair and everything is cool.

"That night I am laying in bed and I’m thinking to myself, 'The owner just told me to trade and I didn’t do it.' Can you imagine if it worked out differently? My career would have been 30 seconds long."

Reese on draft clunkers: "You think about the bad ones probably more than the good ones."

Which one in particular?

Bryant Mix, a defensive tackle from Alcorn State, picked in the second round in 1996.

"You sit around with a group of guys and everybody in the room was in love with this guy," Reese said. "And I’ve never seen him make a play. I just don’t see it. Now big, good-looking guy. Strong. And I said, 'OK, we’ll do it.' It’s my fault, I understand that. But that one bothered me more because I just couldn’t fall in love with the kid."

Glenn Cumbee, the team’s director of college scouting, later told a couple of us that the Mix pick was his fault, that he simply missed on the player.

On Adams’ involvement in the choice of Vince Young third overall in 2006: "Bud made it very clear who he wanted," Reese said. "And Bud didn’t do that very often. I think Jeff and I both realized what Bud wanted. Bud called me the night before the draft and said, 'You’ve got to call New Orleans and trade up because I understand that Al Davis is going to trade in there to take Vince.' I said, 'What?' We were third and he wanted us to trade up to second.

And I said 'You know, I really don’t want to' and he said 'Yeah, you need to do that.' So I called them and I said, trading one spot, 'I need to trade with you guys and I will give you a two.' They said, 'A two?' I said , 'Yep, a two.' They said, 'Why?' I said, 'We want that spot.' He said, 'you know something we don’t and we're not going to trade.' I laughed about that forever."

The loss that haunts him more between Super Bowl XXXIV and the 2000 playoff dud against Baltimore the following year: "It’s one of those 'do you want to drown in the Atlantic or the Pacific?' "

"I think the Ravens the next year probably hurt me the most, because we had the best team in the league," he said.

On quarterback development: "We destroy a lot more QBs than we create."

On the trend to young head coaches: "Young head coaches with limited experience come into the league and many have no chance. If you measure them against Bill Belichick, who worked in all sort of different roles before he became a head coach and has had great success, most have no chance," Reese said.

On the Titans now: "I really like Ken (Whisenhunt), I really like Ruston (Webster), he said. "... Tommy Smith knows what he's doing. I have nothing but hope."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell has repeatedly said there's no reason to cut suspended wide receiver Justin Blackmon.

He doesn't count against the team's salary cap or the roster limit, and they don't have to pay him, either. Plus, Blackmon's contract is essentially paused, so if he were to eventually return to the field, he'd still owe the Jaguars at least two seasons.

Blackmon
Blackmon
But that was before Blackmon was arrested in Oklahoma and charged with marijuana possession on Wednesday evening, his third arrest involving either alcohol or marijuana. Now it's time for the Jaguars to cut ties with the troubled former first-round pick.

Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley repeatedly have said they care about Blackmon and want him to receive help to get his life in order. But Blackmon has to make the commitment, too, and it's clear that he isn't willing to do that. Being in the NFL's substance abuse program means additional drug testing, and Blackmon either didn't care or has an even bigger problem with substance abuse than many believe.

At some point, what's best for the franchise overrides what's best for a player. It doesn't appear that Blackmon is willing to change, and he has now become an embarrassment to a franchise that is riding a huge swell of momentum and positive energy thanks to EverBank Field renovations and the enthusiasm surrounding draft picks Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. The best thing for the franchise, at this point, is to cut Blackmon loose.
ANDERSON, Ind. -- For Indianapolis Colts running back Vick Ballard, the date of his surgery -- Sept. 19, 2013 -- and the reason why he needed the procedure -- a torn ACL because of a cut during a running drill in practice -- are still entrenched in his mind like it just happened hours ago.

Ballard
Ballard's second season came to an end days prior to Week 2 because of the knee injury.

"You never forget anything like that," Ballard said. "It's like a car crash. You remember the last few seconds. I remember everything. I've made the cut a million times. It was one of those things."

Ballard has put in the time to rehabilitate his knee, and he passed his physical Wednesday morning clearing him to take part in training camp. He's been cleared, but the Colts will likely keep a close eye on him during the first part of camp at least.

Ballard showed that his knee has healed when he was sprinting around the base paths during teammate Robert Mathis' charity softball game in late June. But a softball field is way different than a 300-pound defensive lineman flying at you.

One of the biggest issues with Ballard now will be overcoming the mental obstacle of returning to the field, cutting hard on his knee, getting hit in his knee and regaining the speed that allowed him to be the Colts' leading rusher in 2012.

"I'm just trying to keep my mind right," Ballard said. "It was tough physically, but physical pain goes away. You have to nurse yourself to get over any mental hurdle you have. I'm just keeping my confidence."

Ballard, who rushed for 814 yards as a rookie in 2012, is about to join a crowded backfield that also features Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson. All three will get snaps, but coach Chuck Pagano said during the offseason that they want a "work horse" in the backfield.

"All of us have carried the rock, been the primary back in big games," Ballard said. "It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out. I feel like all of us can contribute and make plays."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The first step in beating any kind of problem with substance abuse is admitting that a problem exists.

Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Ace Sanders is doing that.

Sanders
It was certainly big news that Sanders admitted on Tuesday night that he’s facing a four-game suspension, which a source close to the team confirmed was for a second violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. But the bigger story is how Sanders has chosen to deal with his issue.

He’s putting his football career on hold and devoting his complete attention to making sure he gets the help he needs. NFL rules allow Sanders to participate in training camp and the preseason and to also participate in team meetings during his suspension, but Sanders has chosen instead to get counseling.

It’s not a route that most players choose. Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine said earlier this week that he expects receiver Josh Gordon to report to training camp on Friday and be on the field despite the fact that he’s facing what could be an indefinite suspension for his latest violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon remained with the team throughout training camp, the preseason, and his four-game suspension at the beginning of the 2013 season. The team also got special permission from the NFL to allow Blackmon to travel to the West Coast for a week with the rest of the team between road games at Oakland and Seattle. All that was done in the hope that being around his teammates and coaches would help Blackmon better handle the suspension.

It obviously didn’t work because Blackmon was caught again after four games and is now suspended indefinitely. Remember, too, Blackmon's repeated denials that he has a problem with alcohol or substance abuse.

Sanders, though, believes counseling is more important than trying to hold onto his spot as the Jaguars’ No. 2 receiver, which he will undoubtedly now lose to either Marqise Lee or Allen Robinson, the Jaguars’ second-round draft picks. That’s why he won’t be on the field when the Jaguars begin camp on Friday.

"This is just solely something that I felt I needed to do," Sanders said. "… I’ve made some mistakes that I do regret, that I do honestly regret. I could have handled situations a little differently. I’m still just dealing with it. I’m trying to be a better person and a better teammate for everybody and everybody around me.

"I decided to go seek that help, get that attention that I need. Hopefully, somebody can help me out and I should be okay. I should be fine. I just want to get better and come back and be ready to play."

Sanders was poised throughout a roughly 10-minute conference call with reporters -- which he initiated -- but he is undoubtedly worried about his future. But it seems he’s more concerned about his health and his family, which includes an infant daughter, than his football career. That should be an indication that he really does want to get help.

That doesn’t excuse the fact that Sanders made a stupid decision, one which clearly impacts everyone else on the team. The offense had few proven receivers and it now has one less and will have to rely even more upon two rookies.

But give Sanders credit for publicly acknowledging his mistake and apologizing. Give him even more for recognizing he has a problem and making getting better the No. 1 priority.
The Texans admitted another defeat from the 2013 draft on Monday. They released third-round pick Brennan Williams, thus officially going 0-2 in the third round last year.

Williams wrote this on twitter:

"I want to thank the Texans and the city of Houston for the great opportunity! It didn't work out how anyone planned, but I am still the same player who was drafted last year. Right now the key is getting healthy and getting back on this horse--don't worry about me I'll be back soon! Thanks for your prayers and support I am truly blessed. You can't keep the the GBO down."

Williams
There were a few red flags that came with both of the Texans third-round picks in 2013.

Sam Montgomery had been singled out by one of his college coaches as not being a hard worker. His interviews during the combine led many NFL personnel people to stay away from him. On the field, Montgomery couldn't manage the transition to outside linebacker and was moved to defensive end. His maturity was always in doubt, and proved to be insurmountable for the defensive end/linebacker who was released in the middle of last season.

Williams didn't have off-the-field concerns. But there were some on-field question marks. He had shoulder surgery and missed the final four games of his senior season at North Carolina. It's a different injury than the one he suffered in the pros, but for some players that's how it goes. His play -- for the small part of the 2013 offseason in which he participated -- left some members of the former coaching staff wanting to release him before that season began. There was talk of releasing Montgomery that early as well.

Today the Texans released Williams after he failed his pre-camp physical. He had hoped to be ready for organized team activities, but instead spent the whole of them rehabbing an injury that required microfracture surgery last year.

A glance at that draft offers plenty of questions once you get past the first and second rounds. First-round pick DeAndre Hopkins and second-round pick D.J. Swearinger aren't game-breakers yet, but they have talent and the potential to be very good players for the Texans.

Then, things get muddy.

We've discussed the third round. Fourth-round pick Trevardo Williams is on the physically unable to perform list. Sixth-round pick Chris Jones was released and wound up with the New England Patriots eventually, where he played more snaps than any Texans draft pick.

Their three other sixth-round picks that year were offensive tackle David Quessenberry, tight end Ryan Griffin and receiver Alan Bonner. We'll remove Quessenberry from this discussion as he fights for his life at MD Anderson, a much more important fight than a mere position battle. Bonner and Griffin have shown promise, but only Griffin has played. Bonner spent last season on injured reserve.

That means just three of nine 2013 draft picks have played any NFL games for the Texans.

And that third round wasn't good. That's a place where you can still find starters and the Texans got nothing out of their picks. The blame gets shifted between the former coaching staff and the front office depending on who's doing the blaming. To me the bottom line is this: The final say for that draft rested with Texans general manager Rick Smith. Ultimately, he should shoulder that responsibility.
Jadeveon Clowney's rehab from his June surgery is going well enough that the Houston Texans opted not to put him on the physically unable to perform list.

Three players were placed on PUP to start training camp: inside linebacker Brian Cushing, nose tackle Louis Nix and linebacker Trevardo Williams.

Clowney not being on the list is significant, as is Cushing being on the list.

At this point in the year, PUP is mostly a procedural designation because a player can be taken off it at any point before the first week of the regular season. If he is still on PUP during Week 1, then he must remain there for at least six weeks.

There is clearly no concern, as expected, that Clowney will miss any of the regular season. In fact, this indicates the Texans aren't expecting him to miss much time, if any at all. Clowney had surgery to repair a sports hernia in June.

In Cushing's case, this means the Texans are preparing for the possibility that he could need to start the season on PUP. In order to be able to put a player on regular-season PUP, he must start there before training camp. Cushing is certain he'll be able to play all 16 games this season, but the fact that the Texans apparently think there's a chance he won't be ready for Week 1 is noteworthy. Either that, or they're playing games.

Williams spent last season on injured reserve with what was termed a knee injury. He was a fourth-round pick in 2013. Nix was a third-round pick this year and worked through a knee injury during the offseason.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars fans have purchased a lot of Blake Bortles jerseys.

According to the NFL, Bortles' jersey ranks 18th among the jerseys sold on NFLshop.com since April 1. Bortles' jersey is more popular than those worn by J.J. Watt, Andrew Luck, Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson, all of whom finished in the top 25. Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel topped the list, followed by Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Peyton Manning and Richard Sherman to round out the top five.

In addition to Manziel and Bortles, Michael Sam (sixth), Teddy Bridgewater (13th), and Jadeveon Clowney (16th) were the only other rookies to make the list of the top 25 most-purchased jerseys from April 1 to July 17.

You can find the full top 25 here. And read more on Manziel topping the list.
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy said he would not have selected University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam if he was still coaching.

Sam, who is gay, was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the May draft.

Dungy
"I wouldn't have taken him," Dungy told the Tampa Tribune. "Not because I don't believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn't want to deal with all of it. It's not going to be totally smooth ... things will happen."

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said on the draft's final day that Indianapolis considered selecting Sam with one of their picks.

Sam's situation may end up being a distraction inside the locker room and for the franchise, but the Rams deserve credit for being willing to select him.

Coach Chuck Pagano and punter Pat McAfee were two of the many Colts who earlier this year said they would have no problem with Sam's orientation inside their locker room.

"I love the environment we've created, the culture we've created," Pagano said earlier this year. "I think we have an outstanding locker room. The Colts never have and never will discriminate based on sexual orientation. We look at the player. We'll evaluate him just like we evaluate everybody else. If he can help our team and help us win football games, he'll be more than welcome."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars are set to begin training camp on Friday. Veterans don't have to report until Thursday, but rookies had to report on Monday for a few extra days of preparation.

The Jaguars have been clear about their plan for first-round pick Blake Bortles, so that's not something that needs any clarification. However, here are five questions for some of the other rookies:

[+] EnlargeAllen Robinson
Rob Foldy/Getty ImagesRookie WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) missed some time in OTAs but still will have an opportunity to move up the depth chart during training camp.
1. What are legitimate expectations for receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson? Their top priority right now is remaining healthy and continuing to absorb as much of the offense as they can. Both missed significant chunks of the OTAs and minicamp because of injuries, and that was valuable time they lost not working with receivers coach Jerry Sullivan. They'll be significant parts of the rotation early in the season, but it's hard for rookie receivers to make a big impact. It has happened -- look at San Diego's Keenan Allen last season -- and the Jaguars do need help at receiver, but it's more realistic to believe Lee and Robinson will finish their first seasons with somewhere around 40 catches.

2. Can Brandon Linder win the job at right guard? That's what he was drafted to do, but veteran Jacques McClendon was the leader at that spot after OTAs and minicamp. He's a fourth-year player who has played in nine career games and is entering his second season in Jedd Fisch's offense. That's an advantage that should help McClendon hold the lead early. Linder is a bulldog with a great work ethic, but he needs some refining and also needs to become more explosive off the ball. This will be one of the training camp battles to watch.

3. Is cornerback Aaron Colvin going to help the team at all this season? That's a hard question to answer. He'll begin camp and the season on the PUP list as he continues to rehab his repaired ACL, but there's hope he can be cleared to resume practicing in the second half of the season. If that's the case then it wouldn't be out of the question to see Colvin on the field during the final month of the season, mainly in a special teams role with a few defensive snaps here and there. There's no point in rushing his return and risking a re-injury. The Jaguars got a steal by landing Colvin in the fourth round, but that would be a waste if he got hurt again. Expect the Jaguars to bring him along slowly.

4. Is there an undrafted rookie who could be a surprise survivor? The best candidate would be receiver Allen Hurns, who benefited from the rash of injuries at receiver during OTAs and minicamp. Hurns got a significant amount of reps -- much more than he would have gotten had the team not been without seven receivers at one point -- and he earned a training camp invite. His familiarity with Fisch's offense from their time at Miami obviously helped, too. If he is to make the team then it will mean one of the other veterans -- likely Kerry Taylor or Tandon Doss -- won't.

5. Who makes a bigger impact on defense, linebacker Telvin Smith or defensive end Chris Smith? It's hard not to get excited about Telvin Smith because of his speed, which was evident throughout OTAs and minicamp. But he's only 218 pounds and that's too light for an NFL linebacker. If he doesn't put on some weight it's hard to see him being effective throughout the entire season. Chris Smith is also somewhat undersized (6-foot-1), but he has good quickness and is a relentless rusher. The Jaguars cut Jason Babin in part because they liked what they saw from their young pass rushers. Chris Smith is among that group so it's likely he makes a bigger impact in 2014.
Examining the Tennessee Titans' roster.

QUARTERBACKS (3)
If all are healthy, Locker starts and Whitehurst is the game-day backup with Mettenberger not dressed, at least at the beginning.

RUNNING BACKS (5)
Battle beats Collin Mooney because he can carry the ball and is a good special-teamer. Washington could get some touches, but is on the team to return.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)
Mariani and Preston both making it seems like a long shot to me, but it could happen. I think a receiver who is cut elsewhere at the end of the preseason is signed and on the roster when the season starts.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Walker has said he expects to play on the line more and Stevens is a blocker. Thompson is at a make-or-break point and could easily lose out to someone emerging or an outsider.

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

A starting caliber tackle is on the bench (Oher or Lewan) and that means Byron Stingily is less needed than backups for the interior such as Spencer and Olsen.

DEFENSIVE LINE (8)

A big fight here is pending with Lavar Edwards having value and Klug being a question to start in the 3-4. But the Titans are going to have to make tough cuts on the line. Nine defensive linemen on a 3-4 team is too much and won't happen.

LINEBACKERS (9)

McCarthy, Gooden and Moise Fokou could be battling for one spot between them. McCarthy is the best football player if he can stay healthy. Year 2 would be early to give up on a third-rounder in Gooden.

CORNERBACK (5)

The fifth spot could be up for debate, though Campbell is over a shoulder problem he’s had for some time and will be removed from the pressure put on him by former coordinator Jerry Gray, who over-touted him.

SAFETY (4)
Khalid Wooten, a corner who got summer work at safety and could be a versatile guy, might beat Stafford. I was tempted to give fourth safety to a player not on the roster as I did with fifth receiver.

PUNTER (1)

A solid guy who had a bit of an off year in 2013.

KICKER (1)

He has a huge leg but is completely unproven and comes with a risk. The favorite in a competition with undrafted rookie Travis Coons.

LONG SNAPPER (1)

There has not been much chatter about a position player snapping, but it still surprises me a team would dedicate 1/53rd of the roster to the position.
Examining the Houston Texans' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)

They traded T.J. Yates to the Atlanta Falcons and brought in the veteran Fitzpatrick as the starter and drafted Savage in the fourth round in May. Savage isn't ready to start yet, but they didn't draft him expecting that. Keenum is the only quarterback on this roster who was not brought in by new coach Bill O'Brien, but I think he keeps him. Having three quarterbacks prevents you from being forced to start an unprepared rookie in case of injuries. Savage's development is paramount.

RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (4)

Blue, a sixth-round pick, and Brown, a free-agent pickup, will battle during camp to be Foster's backup. That's an important role, given the questions about Foster's health. Prosch, another draft pick, blocked well during the offseason. He'll stick around as the only fullback on the roster.

RECEIVERS (5)

In my first version of the 53-man roster, I opted not to choose between Posey and Keshawn Martin. Martin was the Texans' returner last season and their primary slot receiver, though they didn't use a true slot receiver often. I think the Texans keep five here and there's absolutely a chance Martin fights his way back onto the roster, displacing Posey or Bonner. And, yes, like the Texans, I am expecting Johnson back for the season.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

The Texans kept only three tight ends for most of last season, but they'll need more for this offense.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

The only remaining battle on the offensive line is between Jones and Su'a-Filo at left guard. Drafted with the first pick of the second round, Su'a-Filo has starting level talent, but he missed most of the offseason. Now he'll have to play catch-up; Jones has a head start. Elsewhere: left tackle Brown, center Myers, right guard Brooks and right tackle Newton.

DEFENSIVE LINE (5)

This is assuming Pagan, a sixth-round pick, recovers from his injury and does enough to remain on the roster. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Pagan had shoulder surgery after college. Powe's speed and size were really impressive during OTAs, as was Crick's athleticism. And, of course, there's Watt.

LINEBACKERS (9)

This will be a much-talked about position because of the addition of Clowney, the first overall draft pick. The Texans get versatility from Reed and Tuggle, who can play both inside and outside, and return Cushing, the heart of this defense who hasn't finished the past two seasons. He's confident he'll stay healthy this season. Bullough could make the team as an undrafted rookie.

CORNERBACKS (6)

Jackson suddenly found himself the elder statesman this offseason, with Joseph working to the side as he recovers from offseason surgery. Joseph expects to be back by training camp. Hal is tentatively on this list, but the seventh-round pick could be usurped during training camp. Bouye was a promising undrafted rookie last season and has drawn compliments from O'Brien. Slot corner is another question mark for the Texans.

SAFETIES (5)

Lewis started next to Swearinger during the offseason and should be competing against Clemons during training camp to be the team's starting free safety.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Bullock's kicking and confidence improved at the end of last season. He's competing with undrafted rookie Chris Boswell to be the Texans' kicker, but that competition won't really ramp up until training camp and the preseason games.
Examining the Indianapolis Colts' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)
This is the safest position on the roster for the Colts. They plan to always keep a veteran backup if Luck ever goes down with an injury.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

The Colts will have a solid running combination if -- and we’re saying if until proven wrong -- Richardson can bounce back from a poor first season in Indianapolis and Bradshaw and Ballard can stay injury-free. Havili, a fullback, gets the edge over Mario Harvey, who switched from linebacker to fullback during offseason workouts.

RECEIVERS (5)

The final receiver spot will come down to Rogers and Griff Whalen. If the Colts want to play it safe, Whalen is the guy because he’s familiar with Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but Rogers has the size and speed the team likes. There’s also the possibility of the Colts keeping six receivers.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Allen, who missed all but one game in 2013, and Fleener have the potential to be one of the top tight end duos in the league. Doyle and Saunders are both familiar with the system after backing up Fleener in Allen’s absence last season.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

There are plenty of questions surrounding the offensive line outside of tackles Castonzo and Cherilus. The one thing general manager Ryan Grigson wanted with this group is depth. The Colts have plenty of it.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)

Like the offensive line, the Colts want depth on the defensive line so they can constantly rotate in players, so come the fourth quarter they still have fresh legs to get after the opponent. Jones was the key offseason acquisition for the Colts. Chapman showed flashes last season; now he needs to do it every snap that he’s on the field.

LINEBACKERS (10)

All eyes will be on outside linebacker as the Colts look to find a replacement for Mathis, who is suspended for the first four games of the season. Werner gets the first crack at starting in Mathis’ spot. McNary is a player for whom Grigson has high expectations. It’ll be up to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky on how he uses McNary.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)

It’s anybody’s guess how the secondary will perform. It’s anybody’s guess who will start alongside Landry at safety. It looked like it would be Howell for most of the offseason, but the Colts signed the veteran Adams in June. Can Toler finally remain healthy? Can Davis live up to his contract? So many questions with no answers at the moment.

SPECIALIST

This only changes if an injury occurs.

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