- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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Here are snippets of interest with some of your AFC South blogger sprinkled in.
Organizational structure: GM Rick Smith and Kubiak work well together and they usually seem to be on the same page. They have a deep and veteran scouting staff, but they are not a group that likes to take a lot of chances. They stay true to their draft board and they don't make a lot of 'gut' decisions. While they don't always look overly creative, they also don't make a lot of glaring mistakes. For such a deep and experienced front office, why is the product on the field not improved with better talent?
Horton’s needs: S, CB, OLB, NT, WR RS
My thoughts: With the lack of late-round success, I'd almost wish some decisions had been gut decisions. Kubiak and Wade Phillps have down-played nose tackle as a need. But Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell are nothing close to Jay Ratliff, the smaller nose Phillips had in Dallas.
Offseason observations: This team has been to the playoffs nine seasons in a row, and while they were disappointed in their first-round loss to the New York Jets, they won despite having 18 players on injured reserve. The Colts also had five losses by three points or less and never seemed to get into any kind of groove. They need to improve their offensive line and run game to take some pressure off Peyton Manning.
Horton’s needs: OT, DT, SS, WR, G-C, CB
My thoughts: I expect an offensive tackle, but am not so sure about an interior offensive linemen. They have a lot of guys in the mix there, including second-year man Jacques McClendon, who should make a jump. If Bill Polian sees a receiver worth No. 22, I could totally see him going that way. But who is that guy?
Offensive philosophy: Coordinator Dirk Koetter has adjusted his offense to accommodate what David Garrard does best, which is a short passing game with a quick release and some roll-outs and bootlegs. They will still run the ball a lot with some two tight end sets to set up play action. The offense not only lacks a deep threat, but also a true No. 1 WR.
Horton’s needs: S, DE, CB, QB, WR, OLB
My thoughts: Sixth ranks too low for outside backer and they need a middle linebacker too as they seem unlikely to bring Kirk Morrison back. But these are all legitimate needs and he didn’t even get to interior offensive line. Jacksonville doesn’t have enough picks.
Defensive philosophy: Jerry Gray is the new coordinator and he will likely keep the 4-3 defense intact, although [Mike] Munchak wants to show some multiple fronts to confuse offenses and cover up personnel deficiencies. They want most of their pressure to come from their front four without a lot of blitzes, but they are quick one-gap penetrators and always on the move. On the back end they will play a lot of zones and they really try to be physical. It is an assignment-oriented defense designed to not give up big plays, but they really dropped off in 2010, especially versus the pass.
Horton’s needs: QB, MLB-OLB, DT, G-C, CB, DE
My thoughts: A lot of people want to give the Titans an interior offensive lineman and they may draft one because Leroy Harris could be a free agent. But all indications are Munchak and his offensive line coach, Bruce Matthews, plan to keep the line intact and think the interior will be better.