AFC South: Justin Anderson

ANDERSON, Ind. -- Interchangeable.

That's the word the Indianapolis Colts are using when talking about their defense. That has to be a good sign, especially when thinking back to last season's defensive unit.

It was 26th in the league in total defense, 29th and and 21st against the run and pass, respectively.

[+] EnlargeAaron Rodgers
AP Photo/Michael ConroyThe versatility that the Colts' defense provides has players such as Cory Redding excited.
Gone is Dwight Freeney, who spent 11 seasons causing havoc on opposing quarterbacks for the Colts. Freeney is now playing on the West Coast in San Diego.

Experience in the 3-4 defensive scheme combined with some faces has the Colts believing they'll be a better unit this season.

"What I like best is you’re not handicapping guys," defensive end Cory Redding said. "You’re not handcuffing them and telling them you have to do this and you have to do that. In this defense it’s interchangeable positions....all the guys on the defense have the freedom to do whatever they have to do to get the job done. That’s what I like about it. You just fly around. You never know who is coming and who is not. You can’t really key on too many guys because everybody is interchangeable."

Redding -- still talking about being interchangeable -- even joked that he could play free safety.

The Colts added Aubrayo Franklin and Ricky Jean Francois on the defensive line. Safety LaRon Landry -- the great human specimen, according to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky -- and cornerback Greg Toler are new in the secondary, and the team added Erik Walden at linebacker.

“I think we have the body size and the right type of people for the system,” Redding said.

The secondary, which includes Vontae Davis and Antoine Bethea --holdovers from last season -- has been aggressive in its coverage so far in training camp.

“I think they’re playing together as a unit," Manusky said. "Last year was a little bit different because it was all new to everybody. For right now they’re feeling comfortable with the calls, comfortable with one another and they’re feeding off each other, which is great as a defense."

Redding took it a step further.

“In my mind, it’s night and day," he said. "Last year, we did some good things, but still we needed a lot of work against the run, a lot of work against the pass, a lot of work at different things and scheme-wise. It’s night and day, man. We have the body size, the type of men that are built for this system and have played in this type of system around other teams, so all they have to do is learn the terminology."


• Tight end Dwayne Allen missed the morning walk thru, as he was having his foot checked out.

• Offensive lineman Justin Anderson has a "significant pec" injury and could end up having surgery.

• Offensive lineman Joe Reitz returned to practice after dealing with stinger, while safety Joe Lefeged is bothered by a strained calf and is using a walking boot.
Reading the coverage …

Houston Texans

The Texans' goals for organized team activities in the form of a slideshow from Dale Robertson. Building on the good vibe from last season is one item here. The question is: Can it be built on or does it have to be rebuilt from the ground up in a new season?

Strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith spoke with Nick Scurfield of the team’s website about where the team stands as OTAs commence.

Indianapolis Colts

Dan Pompei of the National Football Post sees the Colts' addition of seventh-round offensive lineman Justin Anderson as telling about their new direction.

Six overrated storylines from Colts offseason camps of the past, from Nate Dunlevy of Bleacher Report.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Some Jaguars consider the concussion issue but decide the risk is worth it, writes Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union.

Tennessee Titans

Titans rookies are coming into the league during an unprecedented time of concern over concussions, says John Glennon.

Tracking win probability over the course of the Titans-Saints game last season, with Dunlevy.

AFC South links: No 'Knocks' for Texans

May, 18, 2012
Houston Texans

The Texans became at least the fifth team to beg off of being the subject of HBO's "Hard Knocks" series, John McClain reported. The Texans join the Jets, Redskins, 49ers and Falcons as teams that have declined to be on the show.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts signed Justin Anderson, the Georgia guard whom they selected in the draft's seventh round, and David Legree, an undrafted quarterback from Hampton University. Indianapolis also waived tight end Brody Eldridge.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags' offense is primed for a big jump this season, at least from the vantage point of linebacker Clint Session. "I have never seen an offense since I've been here as precise and as accurate as they are now," Session told Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union. "They're looking like the greatest show on turf compared to what it was last year."

The Jaguars remain a candidate to appear on HBO's "Hard Knocks" for the first time. Jacksonville participated in a similar program that aired on NFL Network in 2004, and have said they would be willing to be the subject of the HBO show.

Mike Mularkey says he has learned to stop worrying about what he can't control in his second stint as a head coach, writes Ganguli.

Tennessee Titans

Citing the mad-scientist-like abilities of offensive coordinator Chris Palmer, receiver Nate Washington predicted that the Titans will be more pass-oriented than in the recent past. "Coach Palmer has been in the lab all offseason,” Washington told the Tennessean. “He’s been licking his chops to get back to us, so you can tell on his face that he has some different things up his sleeve. I think this is going to be a pretty explosive offense."

Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray finally gets a full offseason to install his own schemes, writes Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press.

The Titans want second-year linebacker Akeem Ayers to improve as a pass-rusher, writes John Glennon of the Tennessean.