AFC South: David Anderson

Considering Avery versus Mason

October, 12, 2011
Let’s stop this before the volume gets too high.

Many Titans fans are pouting this morning, suggesting that their team should have traded for receiver Derrick Mason, who was acquired by the Texans last night in a trade with the Jets that could send a seventh-round draft pick to New York.

The Titans signed Donnie Avery after Kenny Britt went down and have used him very little so far.

Look, these are different teams with different needs who sought different things.

The Titans lost Britt for the year. Their intention was to move their young players up, so they can finally get a verdict on Damian Williams and Lavelle Hawkins. They were looking for a fourth guy who might challenge for time after he got comfortable, and a guy with speed.

That’s Avery.

The Texans lost Andre Johnson, probably for three games, and decided they could use an additional veteran presence.

While the Titans have young guys they like and want to give a chance, the Texans started off thin at receiver. They don't have guys who've been waiting who they think have promise.

They know exactly what they do have in Kevin Walter (a reliable guy who can’t always separate), Jacoby Jones (an unreliable guy who can separate), Bryant Johnson (a late addition who's not a big answer) and David Anderson (a guy they were willing to part with at cut time.)

Adding Mason makes a lot more sense for the Texans than for the Titans.

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. says Mason and Avery “couldn’t be any more extreme” in the possession versus speed regard.

“Mason is very reliable, but only a short-to-intermediate player,” he said. “Avery is extremely hit or miss, but when he hits, he hits big with blazing speed.”

The Titans want to be younger and faster. Mason wouldn’t have helped in either regard. They are riding with their kids and hoping they ultimately get more hit than miss with Avery.

The Texans need depth, and they got a reliable veteran.

Texans seeking opinions on Johnson

October, 3, 2011
Don’t expect a resolution on Andre Johnson’s timetable before Wednesday.

Gary Kubiak said the team would be getting multiple opinions on the receiver’s hamstring injury. Johnson will miss time, but Kubiak said it’s not yet clear what range of time.

“We’re still in an evaluation process,” Kubiak said of Johnson. “Obviously we are dealing with a hamstring, we do know that. We’re going to get a couple different opinions here over the course of the next few days. It’s hard for me to give you an answer right now. He’s going to miss some time. I don’t know if that’s three or four days. I don’t know if that’s a few weeks. I don’t know right now. Once we get a better evaluation and see how he progresses over the course of next two days, I can probably answer your questions better.”

Jacoby Jones will play in Johnson’s spot, opposite Kevin Walter. Bryant Johnson and David Anderson will be part of things as well.

Bryant Johnson becomes the third receiver, expected to be able to play two spots.

He was brought in on Aug. 29 after time with Arizona, San Francisco and Detroit. Receiver depth is not a Texans' strength, at least not until Johnson and Anderson, who was cut at the end of camp and brought back later, prove it is.

“It’s been a mental catchup thing for Bryant, but he’s come a long way, he played a little bit yesterday,” Kubiak said. “His preparation has been excellent… We’re going to find out right now how much he can help us.”

In another injury note, Kubiak said he’s hopeful running back Ben Tate, who suffered a groin strain, will be ready to return at the end of the week.
HOUSTON -- Andre Johnson went down untouched after a second-quarter reception for the Texans against the Steelers, writhing in pain and holding the back of his right knee.

After trainers attended to him, he got up and left the field under his own power.

He paused briefly in the bench area, then walked with team personnel to the locker room, moving slowly and with the injured leg staying stiff.

Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter are now working as the top two Texans’ receivers and Houston throws a bunch to tight end Owen Daniels.

Bryant Johnson is the only other active wide receiver. David Anderson was a pregame scratch.

The Texans have a 10-0 lead on Pittsburgh.
HOUSTON -- Kareem Jackson is out with a knee injury for the Texans’ game against the Steelers, replaced in the starting lineup at left cornerback by Jason Allen.

Jackson struggled through his rookie year but held on to his starting spot through the preseason despite a strong challenge from Allen.

The Texans' secondary was picked apart in second half by Drew Brees last week in New Orleans in a loss to the Saints. Jackson was not good, but plenty of other defenders were victimized as well.

Allen will line up across from speedy receiver Mike Wallace, and should get significant safety help.

The banged up Steelers are down four starters -- defensive end Brett Keisel, left cornerback Bryant McFadden, left tackle Jonathan Scott and right guard Doug Legursky are all out.

The Texans' defensive front will be attacking an offensive line with two subs -- left tackle Trai Essex and right guard Ramon Foster.

The complete list of inactives:

NEW ORLEANS -- As expected, Arian Foster won’t play for the Texans against the Saints today.

Ben Tate will bid to become only the second running back in league history to top 100 yards in his first three games, matching Cadillac Williams.

The Texans get a break with New Orleans injuries. Jo-Lonn Dunbar will play middle linebacker in place of the injured Jonathan Vilma, and Patrick Robinson will replace Tracy Porter at right cornerback. Receiver Devery Henderson is out of the offensive lineup, with Robert Meachem.

The full list of inactives:


RTC: Brown an unsung hero for Texans

September, 14, 2011
Reading the coverage ...

Houston Texans

Sunday could have been a sign that the Texans’ locker room is changing, says John McClain.

The Texans brought back receiver David Anderson and cut defensive end Tim Bulman, says McClain.

It’s his fifth season, but people are still talking about Jacoby Jones’ potential. Like in this Jeffrey Martin piece.

Duane Brown was the Texans’ unsung hero, says Battle Red Blog.

Indianapolis Colts

The transcript of Bill Polian’s radio show, Part I. The plan is to hold a roster spot for Peyton Manning.

Nine times Kerry Collins dropped back on third or fourth down, and nine times he failed to pick up a new set of downs. Highlights included a 3-yard completion with 17 yards to go, a 2-yard gain with 11 yards to go, a 20-yard loss on an intentional grounding penalty, and a sack-fumble on third-and-5. From Football Outsiders.

Examining Peyton Manning’s contract with Andrew Brandt.

Phillip B. Wilson is waiting for the Colts to announce they’ve added linebacker Caleb Campbell.

Return men made plenty of noise in Week 1, says Wilson.

A Q&A with Pat Angerer.

Thomas Neumann’s sarcastic backup quarterback ratings include Curtis Painter.

How about a more aggressive defense, asks Brett Mock.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars feel good about running back beyond Maurice Jones-Drew, says Tania Ganguli.

The newcomers had an impact, says John Oehser.

Tennessee Titans

Practice can cure Chris Johnson’s troubles, says David Climer.

Five things John Glennon knows about the Titans at this point.

The Titans worked out six defensive linemen, including Keyunta Dawson, say Glennon and Wyatt.

Matt Hasselbeck’s pick was an inexcusable mistake, says Don Banks.

RTC: Chris Johnson to get more carries

September, 13, 2011
Reading the coverage ...

Houston Texans

Mario Williams’ transition to linebacker is good so far, writes john McClain.

Confidence is one heck of a drug, says Jeffrey Martin.

David Anderson is one of the receivers the Texans will look at today, says McClain.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are ready to move on after a terrible start, says Mike Chappell.

Reggie Wayne thinks if the Colts can stay in third-and-manageable on offense they will be OK, says Phil Richards.

Bill Polian is talking about looking for Peyton Manning’s heir.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Luke McCown executed the plan and drew praise for it, says Vito Stellino.

Aaron Kampman’s return remains on hold, says Tania Ganguli.

David Garrard doesn’t want to be a temporary fix, says Ganguli.

Tennessee Titans

“You don’t throw everything away after one game because certain things didn’t work out the way you’d hoped,” says Mike Munchak. Jim Wyatt’s story.

Chris Johnson will get more carries against the Ravens, says Wyatt.
Rarely, if ever, does an NFL unit simply pick up where it left off one year as it begins the next. Coaches talk all the time about how you’re actually starting from zero every time you start up.

Gary Kubiak’s been reminding his offense of that, and he wishes it had more of a chance to build some continuity in the first week of camp and in life after Vonta Leach.

Instead, with contract delays, injuries and a later addition in Leach’s replacement, Lawrence Vickers, the Texans have been patchwork on offense.

Here’s Kubiak with Houston media today:
“The number one thing I wish would happen is I wish we had these offensive guys on the field working. That’s been disappointing because you can have all the guys you want on paper, but they need to work together and play together. With Arian [Foster] going to miss some time now and Andre [Johnson] has missed some time; Jacoby [Jones] missed a lot of time, not his fault by any means; [Owen Daniels] missed a day. We need that continuity. We need to get on the field and get better. We’ve got to replace Vonta; we’ve got to replace the things David Anderson did for us, so we need that continuity, but I’m hoping that starts to pick back up next week.

“… They did some good things last year; that’s last year. You don’t ever stay the same in this business. You’re either moving forward and getting better or you’re stepping back. We’ve got a good group and I like the way our guys up front have worked, and they look very solid. Our tight ends look solid, but it’s about putting the whole group together and everybody being there to work for Matt [Schaub]. We’ll be smart; we’re not going to throw somebody out there who’s not ready to go, but boy, I sure would like to get them all back out there.”

I get to Houston on Thursday. Selfishly, I'd love it if the offense was closer to fully stocked during my visit.

RTC: Ruud means end for Tulloch

July, 31, 2011
Reading the coverage ...

Houston Texans

The Texans let Amobi Okoye and David Anderson go, says John McClain. Okoye landed in Chicago. Anderson was on his was to Denver.

Dan Orlovsky was set to sign with the Colts, says McClain.

It’s time for Wade Phillips to start cooking, says Alan Burge.

Indianapolis Colts

Jim Irsay says Peyton Manning’s new deal works for both sides, writes Mike Chappell.

If the Colts fail to win the Super Bowl now, it’s on Chris Polian, Jim Caldwell and the people putting the team together, says Bob Kravitz.

Competition, not money, drives Manning, says Pete Prisco.

Joseph Addai re-signed and Kelvin Hayden was cut, says Chappell. The Hayden move only saves the team about $1 million against the cap, so they must not think he’s deserving of the $6.105 million base salary due this season.

Jeff Saturday has leadership in his DNA, says Chappell.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tania Ganguli helps us get to know the six new Jaguars.

Dawan Landry and Daryl Smith played together at Georgia Tech, says Ganguli.

Jason Spitz had other options but chose to come home, says Vito Stellino.

Tennessee Titans

With Barrett Ruud on board, the Titans are moving on from Stephen Tulloch, say Jim Wyatt and John Glennon. I like the move and think Ruud brings the sort of veteran leadership the team’s been missing. Tulloch quickly landed in Detroit, per Sean Jensen and Adam Schefter.

Jake Locker was erratic early, but better later, says John Glennon.

Kenny Britt was talking football only, says Wyatt.

Britt also talked about his appearance on stage at a recent Britney Spears concert, says David Climer.

Coaches and players are all living the hotel life for camp, says Wyatt.

There is much to like in this David Anderson video. But if I had to limit myself to one thing, I’d pick the master bathroom wallpaper.

Enjoy the tour of his Manhattan Beach home. If you’re in the area and need a place to crash, I’d try knocking and asking about that guest room. (Kidding. Please don’t search him out.)
In general, we expect too much from late-round picks. (And from overall draft batting averages.)

In a recent conversation with former Denver general manager Ted Sundquist, he pointed to an article he once read in Ourlads by Joe Landers. Apologies, I couldn’t find the link.

“Using some common sense and a little investigative research, you'll find that it's rare, at least according to Landers’ study, to find a cornerback or running back or wide receiver that's really going to help you in the last three rounds,” Sundquist said. “And yet you'll find teams constantly take a reach on one of these positions.

“Evidence shows you're more likely to find a defensive tackle, offensive lineman, safety or tight end in the later rounds. Why? Most conventional wisdom says don't draft a safety or tight end high due to escalating rookie salaries and the going market at the position. As for defensive tackles or offensive linemen, it’s probably because of the greater numbers at the position. Both circumstances force down talented players at those positions.”

I went back and combed over the AFC South drafts since 2002, to see how many picks they spent on each side of the ledger Sundquist sets forth and how often the Colts, Jaguars, Texans and Titans did well with a fifth-, sixth- or seventh-round pick at those spots. This is, of course, highly unscientific. Metrics guys can probably shred it. But I thought it worth fiddling with.

Notables are players who played significantly, even if it’s been with another team, or recent picks who appear on track to contribute.

Houston Texans

WRs, RBs. CBs: 9

DTs, OL, S, TEs: 14

Most: Six safeties, four receivers, corners and defensive tackle

Notables: Colts

WRs, RBs. CBs: 7

DTs, OL, S, TEs: 13

Most: 13 offensive linemen

Notables: Jaguars

WRs, RBs. CBs: 12

DTs, OL, S, TEs: 9

Most: Five receivers, four offensive linemen

Notables: Titans

WRs, RBs. CBs: 14

DTs, OL, S, TEs: 16

Most: Seven offensive linemen, six wide receivers

Of the notables from the division drafted since 2002, 73 percent (19) have been from the positions Sundquist says teams should concentrate on late while 27 percent (seven) play positions he believes should generally be avoided.

I'd be fine with the Titans not wasting yet another late pick on a receiver and with the Texans using late-rounders on something other than corners and receivers for sure. But it's not like Houston's spending late picks on safeties or the Colts use of such selections on offensive linemen have paid huge dividends either.

I'd love to read your thoughts.
Williams/GarrardAP Photo/Phil CoaleMario Williams and David Garrard are two of the 53 players under contract in the AFC South slated to make more than $1 million this season.
After being struck recently with how the NFL's labor rift has been cast as billionaires vs. millionaires, I thought I’d look at some players' salaries.

Totaling-up career earnings is quite difficult, and bonus money can be hard to nail down and sort through.

We can still get an interesting snapshot by looking at scheduled 2011 base salaries. I suspect many readers will be surprised that the vast majority of players will earn less than $1 million this fall.

Here, according to the NFLPA, are the players from each AFC South team currently scheduled to make a base salary of $1 million or more in 2011. Keep in mind guys in line for some form of free agency are not part of things here.

Fifty-three of 216 players under contract are slated to make $1 million or more. That’s 24.5 percent of the division.

Houston Texans
Total base salaries of $1 million or more: 13

Total players under contract for 2011: 49

Percentage of roster making $1 million or more: 26.5

Indianapolis Colts
Total base salaries of $1 million or more: 11

Total players under contract for 2011: 57

Percentage of roster making $1 million or more: 19.3

Jacksonville Jaguars
Total base salaries of $1 million or more: 13

Total players under contract for 2011: 51

Percentage of roster making $1 million or more: 25.5

Tennessee Titans
Total base salaries of $1 million or more: 16

Total players under contract for 2011: 59

Percentage of roster making $1 million or more: 27.1

*Young will be cut or traded, the Titans have announced.

Counter-programming to Vick on Oprah

February, 14, 2011
Michael Vick is going on Oprah.

I’m sure we’ll get a couple good moments out of the hour. But he’ll be coached quite a bit, and no matter how good an interviewer she is, I expect we’ll see him guarded.

The announcement of his appearance, however, had me reminiscing about Peyton Manning’s excellent appearance on Saturday Night Live and contemplating who from the AFC South I’d like to see on what.

I think we’d get pretty honest looks at these four if they were booked on these shows.

Jaguars’ receiver Mike Sims-Walker on "Millionaire Matchmaker:" He’s heading for free agency after making a $1.101 million base salary in his fourth season. I don’t know that he will make the sort of money he’d like going forward, but he qualifies. He tweets a lot about a less-than-satisfying dating life.

Colts punter Pat McAfee on "Last Comic Standing:" Dude is funny. His Twitter account is @PatMcAfeeShow and his little bio ends with “Follow me so we can make sweet sweet Twove.” I’m unsuccessfully scouring the Interwebs to find when he talked about doing stand-up. But if he didn’t, he should have.

Houston receiver David Anderson on "Conan:" The Texan is a big fan of the big redhead with the big hair. He’s celebrated touchdowns with O’Brien’s string dance. Anderson didn’t have the profile to make it on The Tonight Show, but now that Conan is backed by The Basic Cable Band, maybe a couple more TDs and dances could get him there?

Titans right tackle David Stewart on "Ted Nugent: Spirit of the Wild" (on The Outdoor Channel): Stewart is as quiet a guy as you’ll find in an AFC South locker room. Give him an opportunity to provide a one-word answer and he will provide one. But give him a chance to talk hunting, and apparently he opens way up. I’d watch.

Texans put Mario Williams on IR

December, 15, 2010
The Texans and Titans have slim playoff possibilities, but they’ve waved the white flag in terms of having veterans push through injuries.

Houston put Mario Williams (sports hernia) on IR along with receiver David Anderson (shoulder) and right guard Mike Brisiel (shoulder), according to John McClain.

That means increased opportunities for Mark Anderson, Dorin Dickerson and Antoine Caldwell. No news yet on filling the roster spots.

The Titans put center Eugene Amano (neck) on IR Tuesday and defensive tackle Tony Brown (knee) followed him there Wednesday.

Fernando Velasco will take Amano’s place at center, while the Titans look to get Sen'Derrick Marks, Marques Douglas and perhaps Malcolm Sheppard, just signed off the Texans' practice squad, some time on the interior.

The Titans promoted interior offensive lineman Kevin Matthews off the practice squad. Matthews, son of Oilers/Titans Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, is an undrafted rookie out of Texas A&M.

Bruce Matthews is an assistant offensive line coach for the Texans, who play in Nashville on Sunday.

“It’s a great coincidence,” Fisher said. “Kevin gives us the ability to have someone who can play both center and guard since basically that’s what we lost in Eugene. It allows us to minimize moves if we have a problem up front.”

Wrap-up: Eagles 34, Texans 24

December, 3, 2010
Observations from the Texans' 34-24 loss to the Eagles on Thursday:

What it means: The Texans fell to 5-7 and sit alone in last place in the AFC South, awaiting the results of Sunday’s Jaguars-Titans game. The seven losses assure they cannot top last season’s 9-7 record.

The Vick factor: The Texans got quality pressure on Michael Vick at times, delivering some shots in the first half that served to slow him. But ultimately he was more than capable of making the plays the Eagles needed to win, throwing for 302 yards and two touchdowns and running for another score.

Crucial spot: Tight end Brent Celek was able to spin and stretch for the first-down marker to convert a third-and-19 on the touchdown drive that put the Eagles up by the final 10-point margin. He was initially marked short, but a replay challenge by Eagles coach Andy Reid was upheld. Celek landed on top of Kevin Bentley as he made the lunge, and safety Troy Nolan, the second player with a chance to stop him short, flew past the play as he tried for a hard shot rather than worrying about Celek’s location.

What I liked: The Texans’ ability to come back -- down 17-3 early, they were ahead 24-20 in the third quarter… Some good life out of Amobi Okoye (for the second week in a row) and Antonio Smith up front… Big third-and-long conversion catches by Joel Dreessen, David Anderson and Andre Johnson.

What I didn’t like: There were a lot of failures beyond Matt Schaub for the Texans, but he had at three especially bad moments. First was a brutal interception late in the first half on a short throw intended for Arian Foster. Then there was the bounce pass toward Kevin Walter on a third-and-7 when Schaub had room to run for a conversion (on the possession after Philadelphia retook the lead). And what about the play-call and/or Schaub decision on fourth-and-5 on Houston’s last best chance, a back shoulder throw intended for Walter up the right sideline?

What I couldn’t tell: If Schaub actually got hit in the helmet by Joselio Hanson on that fourth-down play, which would have warranted a flag and produced a first down. Schaub and Gary Kubiak certainly thought there was a missed call.

What’s next: The Texans host Baltimore on "Monday Night Football" on Dec. 13.