The offensive front, blessed with continuity, cohesion and a collective work ethic, plus line coach John Benton's clever mind, has quietly evolved into one of the NFL's most experienced and steadfast units, writes Dale Robertson. One big key to the line’s success is that guards Wade Smith and Mike Brisiel have both played center, and their understanding of the spot enhances the overall cohesion of the group.
Kuharsky’s read: Lacking a “star,” they don’t get a ton of attention and because they play that Denver-style scheme heavy on cut blocks people tend to underrate the group. All of which is fine if Matt Schaub has time to throw and Arian Foster has room to run. Indications are they will. The guys in front of them are a likeable group.
Jim Caldwell is in a very tough spot, even beyond the loss of his franchise quarterback, writes Bob Kravitz. Caldwell is working for a franchise that has become mildly dysfunctional, the old we-speak-with-one-voice mantra turning into a cacophony of varying voices and disparate agendas.
Kuharsky’s read: Kravitz nails the mildly dysfunctional element to Caldwell’s situation and his lack of concern over it. But I disagree that the coach can’t be judged on this season. He’s held a team together under tough circumstances last year. Can he do it again with even tougher ones?
Dwight Lowery often calls or texts Drew Coleman to ask questions about the defense, writes Tania Ganguli. The trouble is, Coleman is so new himself sometimes he has to refer Lowery to someone who's been here a little longer. "It's been six weeks?" Coleman said. "It feels more like three weeks."
Kuharsky’s read: Can the two former Jets make a play or two that comes out of knowledge gleaned from practicing against Mark Sanchez and the offense? The Jaguars will need such things to have a chance.
Shaun Smith, the 6-foot-2, 325-pound Titans defensive tackle, has become an unabashed, unapologetic trash-talker on the practice field and in games -- one of the best in the NFL, in his own humble opinion, writes John Glennon. Whether Smith’s verbal volleys make a significant Sunday difference is debatable. He feels they do, that they tend to wear down the confidence of opponents and motivate his teammates.
Kuharsky’s read: The jury’s out on Smith’s play. But the personality is something the Titans needed. He keeps things light -- he stepped in and delivered coach-speak comments when reporters waited for Mike Munchak this week, then leaned in to listen to a coordinator’s media session. But he also sends messages that need to be heard.