AFC South: Alex Mortensen

Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Houston Texans

  • Jerome Solomon looks at Twitter and sports, including the Texans who use it.
  • Shaun Cody is showing off his versatility, says Jordan Godwin.
  • Kevin Walter is a quiet complement to Andre Johnson, writes John McClain.
  • Dominique Barber is getting some reps ahead of strong safety Nick Ferguson, says McClain.
  • Kris Brown missed three field goals in a row, one because of a bad snap.
  • A look ahead to Texans-Chiefs, from Alan Burge.
  • Walter is probably a goner after this season, says
  • A jump to average can make a big difference for the Texans' defense, writes Stephanie Stradley.
  • Texans fans might be interested in Jim Irsay's read on how Mario Williams and Andre Johnson rank.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Jim Caldwell did his homework as he replaced Tony Dungy, getting in touch with George Seifert, says Bob Kravitz.
  • Curtis Painter is ready for some action, writes Mike Chappell.
  • Irsay wants another Super Bowl ring, says Chappell.
  • John Oehser's Tuesday practice report.
  • The defenses' added fronts, coverages and changing looks are helping Peyton Manning and the offense, says Oehser.
  • Demond Sanders says Charlie Johnson as the starting left tackle is a ploy.
  • Tony Ugoh will now get work at right tackle as Ryan Diem is out with a back issue, says Phillip B. Wilson.
  • Caldwell says the Colts veterans keep the team in line, said on WNDE in Indianapolis.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans

  • Five things Jim Wyatt knows about the Titans so far.
  • Chuck Cecil's first game at coordinator found him wandering outside the territory he's supposed to occupy, says David Climer.
  • Vince Young ran some option plays in practice, says The Tennessean.
  • Michael Lombardi considers Vince Young.
  • Charley Casserly declines to say "I told you so" on Mario Williams over Vince Young, says Wyatt.
  • Roster moves include Alex Mortensen out, Rocky Boiman in, says Terry McCormick. Boiman's likely temporary as the Titans are banged up at linebacker.
  • Wyatt's grown tired of the running backs' nickname game.
  • The NFL Total Access crew discusses the potential for Vince Young to be a third-stringer.

Some postgame thoughts on Titans

August, 9, 2009
Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Some quick hits on the Titans in the wake of their preseason opener, a 21-18 win over Buffalo in the Hall of Fame Game:

  • In our first real glimpse, veteran receiver Nate Washington appeared to add just what the Titans were looking for when they signed him away from Pittsburgh -- a more dynamic pass catcher.
  • If you don't think quarterback Patrick Ramsey looked better than Vince Young, particularly in the command department, you weren't watching the same game I was.
  • It looked to me as if rookie running back Javon Ringer was better than the competition he was on the field against. He may not have Chris Henry's measurables, but he's just more of a football player. In four more preseason chances, he's got to get some carries with at least the second string.
  • The deep defensive line is going to have to come in waves and stay fresh, but if the group stays healthy, it has the horses. NBC did a nice job spotlighting second-round defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks in the second half, showing us his combination of strength and speed.
  • I thought rookie linebacker Gerald McRath showed up a lot on special teams.
  • Is it better as a quarterback to come in, complete a pass, throw a pick six and get replaced ... or not to play? I'm guessing fourth-stringer Alex Mortensen, and his dad, ESPN's Chris Mortensen, would both choose the first scenario, but I'm sure it felt lousy Saturday night. Ramsey returned to finish things after the interception return by the Bills pulled them within five points.
  • Veteran safety Donnie Nickey has absolutely no argument about the flag he drew for the head shot he delivered to Jonathan Stupar late in the fourth quarter. That could make the officials tape as an example of what they are trying to prevent.

A Titans' OTA look-in

May, 21, 2009
Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans' rookies mixed with the veterans for the first time Tuesday. Thursday's second go-round was open to the media.

Here's what I saw that I found to be of interest:

Receivers: First-round pick Kenny Britt had hamstring tightness and did just the individual period and a bit of red zone work. Nate Washington was excused and Lavelle Hawkins was also limited. That gave Chris Davis a chance at a lot of first-team snaps and he took advantage with a solid day. While he had one bad drop, he also had one nice stretching reach for a catch in a seam with no concern for what defenders were approaching (they were late anyway).

Davis knows he's on the hot seat and that his fate could depend on winning one or both of the return jobs. But quarterback Kerry Collins said Davis has improved as much as anyone, a real public pat on the back.

Different strokes: The practice was largely focused on red zone work, and in an early period the quarterbacks threw balls from about 12 yards out to the pylon, over the receivers' outside shoulder as offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger offered very detailed instructions and assessments.

Fourth-stringer Alex Mortensen, an undrafted rookie, got an earful after he threw one well inside of where Heimerdinger wanted them and was told it was an interception if there was coverage. Vince Young threw a very similar ball and Heimerdinger asked that it be "a little more outside."

That's the difference between being the third pick in the draft and a camp body. It was one snapshot; I don't want to overvalue it. Young could be regularly getting yelled at when he does things wrong. But this instance struck me as one of those baby-him moments that haven't served him well in the big picture.

Double duty: Third-round tight end Jared Cook split time in one period, working with the tight ends against linebackers for a while before joining receivers to go against corners. He's a specimen, and if he can avoid the drops -- he had some, even with defenders tugging on him -- he sure looks like a guy who can be a weapon.

Ball-security message: After the last OTA I saw, LenDale White talked about how he is still haunted by his costly fumble in the playoff loss to Baltimore. So I was struck when he joined the coaches' chorus urging guys to lock the ball up. Maybe that's a topic he should stay quiet for now.

Dropsies: Running backs did not catch the ball particularly well. I saw drops by Chris Johnson and Quinton Ganther and a bobble that may have turned a pass into an incompletion by rookie Javon Ringer.

Justin Gage: Justin Gage looks good. He made the sort of aggressive play Titans receivers too often lack when he snatched what looked to be a Cortland Finnegan interception away from the cornerback for a touchdown from about 12 yards out. Later Gage made a nice play to stop and cut in front of overmatched rookie corner Jeremy Haynes for another TD reception from Collins.

Rowdy: Tight end Matthew Mulligan and linebacker Ryan Fowler brawled during a special-teams period, with Mulligan attempting to knee Fowler in the belly or chest. Both landed several blows and their helmets came off, but it ended when they both stood with their hands in fighting position waiting for the second round. Mulligan told Colin Allred, a linebacker a good distance away, how he wasn't going to back down.

Right tackle David Stewart and defensive lineman Larry Birdine also came to blows. The fights and some other intense moments gave the session the feel of a second-week training camp practice, not the second full-team OTA.

Mortensen's son signs with Titans

April, 27, 2009
Posted by's Paul Kuharsky

Who's going to be throwing to Kenny Britt when the Titans' rookies practice on their own Friday and Saturday?

The son of ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

Jim Wyatt is piecing together the Titans' undrafted free agents and he reports that former Arkansas quarterback Alex Mortensen is one of them.

Mel Kiper Jr. rated him 58th among quarterbacks and said he's 6-foot-2, 222 pounds and ran a 4.75 40.

Insert your presumptions about dad's relationship with the Titans' brass here.