AFC South: Kasey Studdard

Tennessee Titans cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
6:30
PM ET
Most significant move: Marc Mariani came back from a vicious broken leg suffered in the preseason in 2012. A shoulder injury suffered in the preseason opener cost him the rest of camp and the preseason, and the Titans put him in injured-reserve Saturday, ending his season. He might have been ready as soon as Week 3, but the Titans clearly didn't like the uncertainty. They could have waived him injured, exposing him to a claim. In that scenario, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who was instrumental in the Titans drafting the receiver/returner out of Montana in 2010, might have wanted him. But the Rams or anyone else would have had to have added him without getting to examine the injury, and Mariani's not under contract beyond this year so a new team could have been at risk for picking up a year's salary and getting nothing out of him. If he wasn’t claimed, he would have reverted to Tennessee’s IR. By putting Mariani directly on IR, he is assured of his $575,000 base salary this season but won’t play anywhere. The move means Darius Reynaud is the returner. He showed himself to be only the team’s fifth-best running back during camp, but sticks to handle punts and kickoffs.

Wildcard: If Rusty Smith clears waivers, the Titans will want the fourth-year quarterback back on their practice squad. He’s not been on the active roster for nine games in any of his first three seasons, so he retains his practice squad eligibility. If Smith is claimed, the Titans will need to find a young quarterback for the spot, who they can work to develop as insurance and who will be able to offer an option as the No. 2 if Jake Locker or Ryan Fitzpatrick suffers an injury that results in any missed time. One team that won't claim Smith -- his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars.

What's next: I could see the Titans shopping for a veteran safety as they sift through cuts. Seventh-round pick Daimion Stafford is on the roster now, but the Titans are heavy with strong safeties and light at free safety. They’d probably like better balance and Stafford could ultimately land on the practice squad. With 10 defensive linemen plus strongside linebacker Akeem Ayers in line to play a good share of end, the last pure end -- Keyunta Dawson -- is hardly a lock at this point. Only one injured Titan, rookie linebacker Zaviar Gooden, is likely to miss the season opener at Pittsburgh.

Tennessee Titans cuts: S Al Afalava, T Daniel Baldridge, TE Brandon Barden (injured), DT Stefan Charles, DT Zach Clayton, TE Jack Doyle, LB Gary Guyton, DT DaJohn Harris, S Corey Lynch, FB Collin Mooney, DE Nigel Nicholas, RB Jalen Parmele, WR Rashad Ross, LB Tim Shaw, QB Rusty Smith, LB-DE Scott Solomon, G Kasey Studdard, WR Dontel Watkins, LB Jonathan Willard, CB Khalid Wooten, C-G Fernando Velasco

Placed on Injured-reserve: WR/returner Marc Mariani.

Titans confirm 10 cuts

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
5:39
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn -- The Tennessee Titans announced in a news release their first 10 cuts, eight of which had previously been reported by The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt.

The 10:

S Al Afalava
T Daniel Baldridge
TE Brandon Barden (injured)
DT Zach Clayton
LB Gary Guyton
DT DaJohn Harris
DE Nigel Nicholas
RB Jalen Parmele
G Kasey Studdard
WR Dontel Watkins

All of these moves were predictable.

Clayton was a seventh-rounder in 2011. Harris made last year's team as an undrafted free agent, and Afalafa was a veteran backup.
Titans offensive line coach Bruce Matthews always said he’d recuse himself on roster decisions involving his son, Tennessee interior offensive lineman Kevin Matthews.

It would have cost the Titans a tender of at least $1.323 million to retain his rights. With or without the input of Bruce Matthews, the Hall of Fame lineman, the Titans didn’t tender Kevin Matthews or interior offensive lineman Kyle DeVan.

Kevin Matthews and DeVan will become unrestricted free agents Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. At that point the Titans could sign them to deals at one-year base minimum salary. The third-year base salary minimum is $630,000.

It’s time, though, for the Titans to be finished with Matthews, the project who came out of Texas A&M in 2010.

The interior offensive line is expected to be revamped with two new starting guards. As they are brought in, via free agency and/or the draft, the team is likely to move on from two expensive veterans, Steve Hutchinson and Eugene Amano.

Leroy Harris and Deuce Lutui become unrestricted free agents Tuesday.

Tyler Horn was on the practice squad at the end of last season and Chris DeGeare was on the practice squad injured list.

The Titans now have Mitch Petrus and Kasey Studdard as their interior depth.

So Tennessee doesn't need only a couple starting guards. It needs a candidate or two to compete with Petrus and Studdard for backup roles as well.
Reading the coverage…

Houston Texans

Talk about how he’s getting old serves as motivation for Andre Johnson, says John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. (What’s with that Miami Heat hat?)

Contract uncertainty won’t distract Connor Barwin or Duane Brown, says Dale Robertson of the Chronicle.

The Texans exude a quiet confidence, says Randy Harvey of the Houston Chronicle.

As guard Thomas Austin has a hamstring injury, the Texans brought back Kasey Studdard, says McClain.

Indianapolis Colts

Chuck Pagano’s been part of 10 NFL training camps, but this one is the first to have his fingerprints all over it, says Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

Where have all the former Colts landed? Phil Wilson of the Star provides a run down. Forty of them, who presumably would like to be on an NFL team, are currently out of the league. Forty! Tells you a bit about the talent level on the recent roster.

The Colts would be a great trade partner with Pittsburgh for receiver Mike Wallace, and Indy offensive coordinator Bruce Arians knows Wallace well. But could they afford him? Brad Wells of Stampede Blue considers it all. I don't know if the Colts would court a guy who's causing a contract fuss.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Maurice Jones-Drew may be prepared to hold out beyond training camp, says Steve Wyche of NFL.com.

As Clint Session deals with post concussion symptoms, the Jaguars are uncertain about the linebacker’s future, says Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union.

Russell Allen, who would replace Session, says nothing’s changed, writes John Oehser of the team web site.

Mike Mularkey saw more mistakes in Day 1 of training camp than he would have liked, says Oehser.

Jaguars fans will be allowed to bring food into the stadium writes Drew Dixon of the T-U. Smart move by the team. Next up: Be at the forefront of a move to lower pries inside the stadium.

Aaron Ross has a great attitude, says Luke Sims of Black & Teal.

Tennessee Titans

Penn Stater Mike Munchak empathizes with the victims of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, says John Glennon. This notebook also includes details of Matt Hasselbeck’s boring vacation, Kendall Wright’s stalemate and reserve center Jon Cooper’s retirement.

A pre-camp prediction of the final 53-man roster from Tom Gower of Total Titans. One guy Gower mentions as having a chance, Cooper, has left the team.
Early thoughts on the Texans scheduled to become unrestricted free agents come March 13, with thanks to Mac’s Football Blog, where you can find complete team-by-team lists that include exclusive rights and restricted free agents.

Running back Derrick Ward -- A third-stringer who has good experience and could be important if Arian Foster is lured away with an offer sheet as a restricted free agent.

Tight end Joel Dreessen -- Though largely underrated from the outside, he’s been a nice contributor and certainly has value for the Texans.

OG Mike Brisiel -- A solid starter they’d surely like to keep in order for their very good offensive line to remain intact.

C Chris Myers -- A very valuable cog in the machine and a great system fit, he may have been the best center in the NFL in 2011.

Wide receiver Bryant Johnson -- He was a non-factor as the team’s fourth receiver and they need to upgrade the spot.

Linebacker Tim Dobbins -- Played well when he got on the field, but may find better opportunity elsewhere.

Outside linebacker/defensive end Mario Williams -- If the Texans can’t lock him up before March 13, he will become the biggest prize of the free-agent class. It would be a huge accomplishment to find a way to re-sign him.

Cornerback Jason Allen -- He’s been a virtual “co-starter” with Kareem Jackson and has typically outplayed him. But based on this list, he’s not close to a priority.

Kicker Neil Rackers -- Rackers has been a steady guy for the Texans, who surely would like to keep him rather than shopping for a replacement.

Also UFAs:

Observation Deck: Jets-Texans

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
11:33
PM ET
The Houston Texans are scheduled for only one prime-time game in the regular season, Week 16 at Indianapolis. But the new-look Texans got the Monday Night Football spotlight on the opening weekend of the preseason.

Viewers saw a team already thinned out at running back get thinner as a revamped defense did some nice things in a 20-16 win over the New York Jets.

One man's quick observations…
  1. The Texans lacked some of firepower, with Andre Johnson (finger), Arian Foster (hamstring), Brian Cushing (knee) and prize free-agent cornerback Johnathan Joseph (groin) sitting out. We saw more, sooner, of Jacoby Jones, Derrick Ward, Darryl Sharpton and Jason Allen as a result.
  2. Ward started and didn’t last long before suffering a head injury, leaving the team with only Chris Ogbonnaya and Javarris Williams as its running backs. Houston tried running Ogbonnaya inside too much, but got him going more as a bootleg pass target for Matt Leinart. He caught a short touchdown pass among his team-high six receptions for 67 yards. He ran for the game-winning touchdown from a yard out with just under 2:00 left.
  3. Ankle injuries to Antoine Caldwell and Kasey Studdard could mean the team could be thinned for a time at guard as well.
  4. Matt Schaub hit on just 2 of 5 passes before yielding to Leinart. Schaub was just a touch off and two of his targets, Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter, were unable to pull in balls they got their hands on.
  5. The Texans shouldn’t feel obligated to use James Casey as the first-string fullback just because he was the primary plan once Vonta Leach left. They later signed free-agent Lawrence Vickers. He shouldn’t be waiting until the second half for a chance to impact the game. He quickly had a 22-yard catch and run.
  6. Second-string inside linebacker Xavier Adibi had a nice night, though he was unblocked on one of his two sacks. Another No. 2, outside linebacker Jesse Nading, was also productive with a sack and a forced fumble. Second-round pick Brooks Reed looked good, showing good burst at the snap. He had one good rush followed by a nice recognition in which he stopped chasing to jump and knock down a pass.
  7. The late work of undrafted rookie outside linebacker Bryan Braman out of West Texas A&M is the sort that makes a guy impossible to hide for a practice squad spot. No matter the caliber of the people attempting to block him, he showed a knack for getting to the quarterback, even if he allowed rookie quarterback Greg McElroy to shrug out of a sure sack on the final possession of the game.
  8. Quintin Demps fielded kickoffs and punts early on without much affect. Trindon Holliday was out hurt and the team wisely didn’t choose to look at Jones and Danieal Manning, veteran starters who didn’t need to be exposed to injury risk on special teams.
The Titans and Texans have doled out their tenders offers to players who could wind up restricted free agents.

But if a new CBA reverts to a formula in which players with at least four years of service and an expired contract are unresticted free agents, only four of 13 contract offers made by the two teams will wind up having any meaning.

Mark Berman says Houston didn't tender linebacker Zac Diles and strong safety Bernard Pollard. That means even in a scenario most favorable to the team in which it could maintain control over their fates, the Texans don't want them.

So Houston doesn't view Diles as a fit in its new 3-4 front and will be looking for two new safeties -- it recently cut incumbent free safety Eugene Wilson.

Among the tenders that would stick in even the players' best-case scenarios, leaving them restricted: Houston guard Mike Brisiel, Titans linebackers Patrick Bailey and Tim Shaw and Titans tackle Mike Otto.

Other Texans tendered who are likely to wind up unrestricted based on service time: tight end Owen Daniels, quarterback Matt Leinart, defensive end Mark Anderson, offensive tackle Rashad Butler and receiver Jacoby Jones. Along with Pollard and Diles, the Texans didn't tender offensive lineman Kasey Studdard or defensive end Tim Bulman.

Other Titans tendered who are likely to wind up unrestricted based on service time: Linebacker Stephen Tulloch, fullback Ahmard Hall, defensive end Jacob Ford and guard Leroy Harris.

John Glennon reports the Titans passed on tendering linebacker Colin Allred, a played they could have held onto.

Greetings from Reliant Stadium

December, 13, 2010
12/13/10
7:16
PM ET
HOUSTON -- Greetings from Reliant Stadium where we’ll have a closed roof Monday night.

So that you are not alarmed when they take the field on your TV, here’s a public service announcement. It’s Battle Red Day, which means the Texans will be in head-to-toe red uniforms. They look good when they win in them.

As far as altering any national perception, a good performance by the Texans will get dented as the New York and Minneapolis markets will likely be watching the rescheduled Giants-Vikings game from Detroit. People with the full NFL package on DirecTV will also be able to flip between the games.

The Texans have Owen Daniels active, but will start Joel Dreessen at tight end. The Ravens have Todd Heap inactive and will start Ed Dickson at tight end.

Be sure to join our Monday Night Live chat.

Inactives:

Texans: QB Matt Leinart, WR Dorin Dickerson, CB Brice McCain, S Quintin Demps, G Kasey Studdard, G Shelley Smith, TE Anthony Hill, TE Garrett Graham.

Ravens: CB Fabian Washington, FB Jason McKie, ILB Jason Phillips, ILB Daniel Ellerbe, DT Arthur Jones, OL Bryan Mattison, TE Todd Heap, DT Lamar Divens.

Three things: Texans at Saints

August, 21, 2010
8/21/10
2:32
PM ET
Three things I’ll be looking for in Texans at New Orleans:

The cornerbacks: Kareem Jackson missed last week after a death in the family, so this is his preseason debut. How do Jackson and second-year guys Glover Quin and Brice McCain fare against Drew Brees, who’s got a nice stable of targets and can be as precise and take advantage of mistakes as well as any quarterback in the league?

Poise: The Saints defense looks to annoy, trying to strip the ball on every occasion, sometimes sacrificing sound tackling. Houston’s skill guys need to hold on to the ball and take advantage if there are opportunities to break a tackle. New Orleans will be amped up for the first time the team is at home since the Super Bowl. How do the youngest Texans respond in that atmosphere?

Interior line: Wade Smith gets a start at left guard instead of Kasey Studdard. The Texans need to make decisions and lock in on their starting guards pretty soon so the group can build some continuity. Smith is a prototype for the team’s system, and should have a good chance at a starting spot if he can perform well.
HOUSTON -- Four years and $12 million isn’t a monumental NFL deal. But when a team that’s struggled on the interior line gives that contract to its one significant veteran addition, you'd assume he’d be plugged right into the lineup.

Smith
Smith
It’s not been so for Wade Smith, the center/guard the Houston Texans brought in as a free agent from Kansas City.

The Texans sold him on opportunity and he bought the pitch. Now as the Texans near the end of their organized team activities, he’s been getting about half his snaps with the first team, playing at both guard spots and center, he said. Smith, left guard Kasey Studdard, center Chris Myers and right guard Antoine Caldwell and guard Mike Brisiel appear to be in a five-way battle for three spots.

“Wade is super athletic, the guy can really move around,” right tackle Eric Winston said. “You can really understand why [offensive coordinator Rick] Dennison and [Gary] Kubiak really like him. He’s not super big, but I think he plays with good leverage. I think he really hits a lot bigger than he is and moves people well enough where he can be a force in all sort of different runs.”

Smith is not at all disappointed to not be running exclusively with the first team at this point, as he was never told he’d be installed as a starter right away.

“It just depends on what day it is,” he said of whether he is with the ones or twos. “From what I’ve been told it’s three spots that are open, nobody is set in stone and everybody is competing to try to get a job. … They told me before I signed that they are not going to give me anything, that I could come in and have a legit chance to win a spot. They don’t give anybody anything, you’ve got to work for what you get in life, so I was all for it.”

I like Smith’s attitude about the openings, and I like the fact that the Texans don’t feel they need to establish a starting interior in June. The group needs to work as one, so a determination will have to come by about halfway through camp for the ultimate five to work together enough to be in sync for the start of the season.

I would think they’d like Smith to win a spot based on their investment in him, though Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. has said Smith would be a great insurance guy as a sixth lineman.

When Brisiel and Chester Pitts, a free agent they won’t bring back, went down for the year early last season, the Texans weren’t left with great depth. Myers played with a bad ankle for much of the year.

I think the worst thing that can happen is an offensive line gets riddled with injuries during the season,” Winston said. “I think the best thing that can happen the next year is that your offensive line got injury-riddled the year before.

“Because now we’ve got so much competition, we’ve got so many backups who’ve started so many games. I think our experience is going to help us.”

RTC: Hughes focused on learning in OTAs

May, 28, 2010
5/28/10
11:02
AM ET
Reading the coverage:

Houston Texans

The team agreed to a four-year deal with fifth-round draft pick Sherrick McManis, a cornerback from Northwestern.

Coach Gary Kubiak expects fourth-year receiver Jacoby Jones to compete with Kevin Walter for a starting job.

Richard Justine takes a look at Kasey Studdard, who entered the offseason as a starting guard but hasn't been given any guarantees.

Indianapolis Colts

Veteran offensive linemen Adam Terry and Andy Alleman, who both signed one-year deals for the veteran minimum this offseason, are hoping to find a home in Indy.

Organized team activities (OTAs) are more of a time for learning than competing for young players such as first-rounder Jerry Hughes.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Newly acquired guard Justin Smiley wants to show the Jaguars they made a good move to bring him in.

Tennessee Titans

Jim Wyatt outlines where things stand after May minicamp with some key players and positions.

Safety Donnie Nickey talks about his experience with the NFL's in-house internship program.

David Boclair explores Vince Young's affinity for nicknaming his teammates -- "Catfish," "Santa Claus" and "Pinball" are just a few.
Vince Manuwai, Wade Smith, Tony UgohGetty ImagesVeteran offensive linemen Vince Manuwai, Wade Smith and Tony Ugoh are expected to take on different roles or positions this season.
Be it running up the middle or stifling pass-rushers coming that way, the AFC South’s looking for change on interior offensive lines heading toward the 2010 season.

The Tennessee Titans, who blocked for just the sixth 2,000-yard rusher in league history, have made an alteration. The Indianapolis Colts, the defending AFC champs who allowed a league-low 13 sacks, are auditioning interior candidates. The Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars both identified the interior line as an area in need of improvement, too.

Yet of 32 draft picks by the four teams, just two were used on offensive linemen -- a fourth-rounder by the Colts for guard Jacques McClendon and a sixth-rounder by the Texans for guard Shelley Smith. And only three veteran additions seem like they can influence the mixes -- Justin Smiley in Jacksonville, Wade Smith in Houston and Andy Alleman in Indianapolis.

Said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc.: “Didn't anyone in this division address the interior offensive line during the draft with any pick of substance? That seems odd.”

So here’s a team-by-team look at what’s going on inside, with some thoughts from Williamson:

Jacksonville

The Jaguars appear willing to have true competitions to hash things out.

Last year’s interior trio of left guard Vince Manuwai, center Brad Meester and right guard Uche Nwaneri is back. But the team is willing to shuffle, and at least two others are in play now as well -- Smiley, a guard acquired recently from Miami in a trade for an undisclosed draft pick believed to be a conditional seventh, and Kynan Forney, a backup guard last year.

At minicamp the weekend following the draft, Jags head coach Jack Del Rio and offensive line coach Andy Heck had flipped Manuwai to the right side, figuring he and right tackle Eben Britton are the team’s best run-blockers. With the aid of tight end Marcedes Lewis and fullback Greg Jones, the Jaguars could send Maurice Jones-Drew that direction and dare people to stop it.

But at organized team activities (OTAs) this week, Manuwai wasn’t working with the starters and Del Rio was talking about how the torn ACL the guard suffered back in the season opener of 2008 was still a factor for him.

“I think he’s still a little bothered by that but at some point you’ve got to get beyond that and go and he knows that,” Del Rio said. “I think Vinny still has a ways to go. I think Vinny’s working at it. He’s got his weight down. He’s trying but he needs to play better. I think he knows that. He’s working hard it and trying …

“We clearly [come] out of last year saying, ‘Look, we’ve got to have better play with our line, period,’ and our two young tackles [Eugene Monroe and Britton] we know are going to grow and get better but our interior line needs to pick it up as well. And they are working at it and they are challenging and competing and we expect them to play at a much higher level for us.”

I honestly think it’s wide open, but I’d be very surprised if Manuwai, who can be a very effective run-blocker, isn’t in the starting lineup for the opener against Denver.

Williamson says: “Adding Smiley could pay dividends, as this offensive line (especially on the interior) really was a problem area last year. Their protection up the gut was really poor. While I have some real doubts any more about Meester, I do like Manuwai quite a bit and expect more from him this year.”

Houston

The Texans' run troubles were in large part because of their backs. But they lost guards Chester Pitts and Mike Brisiel early and it’s a tough order for any team to replace 40 percent of its line and keep plugging. Steve Slaton had a miserable year as he tried to deal with a neck injury, couldn’t hold onto the ball and wound up on injured reserve.

Pitts is a free agent who won’t be back and Brisiel has been working as a backup so far in OTAs. The team’s lined up with Kasey Studdard at left guard, Chris Myers and at center and Antoine Caldwell at right guard. But Smith’s been rotated in some early at center.

With offensive line guru Alex Gibbs gone, the team will still be using his principles. But the three remaining coaches who oversee the position -- John Benton, Frank Pollack and Bruce Matthews -- may have fresher eyes and a willingness to shuffle. And odds are it's second-round pick Ben Tate getting many of the carries behind that line.

We should see some real competition for all three slots. I’ve repeatedly hear good things about Myers. And because Caldwell was a third-rounder, I expect the team would probably like to see him stake a claim.

Gary Kubiak said Studdard and Caldwell have earned the right to say they are starters “right now.”

“We are as competitive in there as we’ve ever been as a team,” Kubiak said. “It’s going to be hard to hold a job, and it’s going to be very competitive to get one. So that makes the team better.”

Williamson says: “I thought Myers played real well and he is an excellent fit in this system. Their interior offensive line is loaded with no-name guys, but overall they are well coached and effective enough. Still, an upgrade at one of the starting guard spots would have been a real nice addition. … Smith is an ideal sixth guy, but not a liability as a starter.”

Indianapolis

The Colts paid him a bonus, but still cut Ryan Lilja who seemed pretty effective to me at left guard last season. Team officials have worked hard to deflect the idea the Colts made the move because they want to be bigger on the line. But it’s a sensible time for a change with Pete Metzelaars taking over for Howard Mudd as line coach and the team looking to be more effective in clutch third-and-short situations and the like.

Tony Ugoh, who lost out at left tackle, has worked at left guard in recent offseason practice sessions. Jeff Saturday is entrenched as Peyton Manning's guy at center. Kyle DeVan is the incumbent right guard, who came out of nowhere last season.

Presuming no other tackles are shifted inside and that left tackle remains Charlie Johnson's job, Ugoh and DeVan face their competition from Alleman, McClendon and 2008 second-rounder Mike Pollak.

Bill Polian has talked about throwing everybody out there and seeing what happens. With a new position coach, the fight for roles may not start with any true favorites. While they have to continue to favor pass blocking above all else, I do think it’s in their best interest to be a bit more determined to be able to call for and execute runs in key situations with more success.

Williamson says: “Saturday is obviously the leader and his symbiotic relationship with Peyton carries a ton of weight. He is smart and very technically sound. I do think his game is falling off ever so slightly though. I was shocked that they let Lilja go and thought he was far and away their best guard. Now, they really need to count on youngsters and those youngsters still have a lot to prove.”

Tennessee

[+] EnlargeEugene Amano
George Gojkovich/Getty ImagesEugene Amano will be taking over at center for Kevin Mawae.
The Titans had the least concern here as they considered their roster, but with Kevin Mawae getting older and Leroy Harris on the bench and ready to play, they decided to go with youth and size. So last year’s left guard, Eugene Amano, is replacing Mawae at center, with Harris taking over at left guard.

Tennessee loses leadership and experience in the equation, but gains significant strength. Harris is very much an interior guy, but he’s athletic and smart enough that he played effectively at right tackle in a win at San Francisco last season.

A Hall of Famer as a player, line coach Mike Munchak knows when a guy is ready, and he’s fully endorsed this plan or the Titans wouldn’t be going with it. Whether Chris Johnson or someone like LeGarrette Blount is running up the middle, I think they’ll find a bit more daylight. And Vince Young should feel less inside rush closing in on him.

Williamson says: “You have to wonder how much Mawae will be missed. It isn't that he played great -- and clearly he isn't what he once was -- but just from the standpoint of making the calls and especially from a leadership perspective. So, this interior line is in transition. Right guard Jake Scott probably hasn't quite lived up to what Tennessee was expecting to get from him when they signed him in free agency, but he is a quality starting guard. I think Harris has a good amount of ability and could surprise with more playing time.”
A lot of you send me notes asking for dirt on the other bloggers. I remain true to our code: Rip Tim Graham, protect all others.

These guys are very handy when I need someone to have a beer with the night before an NFL event, or if I want to poach an idea for a post.

So I have pilfered this one from NFC South ace Pat Yasinskas.

Here are four guys and one group of guys from the AFC South who should probably be a little nervous about what unfolds in the draft, though I am sure they are all saying bring it on.

Shaun Cody. The Texans need interior push, and they didn’t get enough of it with Cody starting alongside Amobi Okoye. The rush ends, Mario Williams, Antonio Smith and Connor Barwin -- need the help. While Smith kicks inside some, the Texans will be looking for an inside presence who can get in the backfield. (And if Okoye isn’t better alongside that guy, the clock on him starts ticking faster and louder.)

David Thornton. I believe the Titans believe he has reached his breaking point. Literally. His body can’t hold up any longer. I expect they will go with Will Witherspoon, Stephen Tulloch and Gerald McRath as their starting trio. Draft a good linebacker who can provide athleticism and Thornton could become more expendable. (No, I don't see them re-signing Keith Bulluck.)

Clint Ingram. Daryl Smith is an up-and-comer and Justin Durant can play. But the Jaguars appear primed to add another linebacker to complete the starting group. I can see them pouncing on Rolando McClain if he’s available at No. 10. Which wouldn’t bode well for Ingram, a restricted free agent who’s not yet signed his tender but is working out with the team.

Charlie Johnson. He’s signed his tender and is going to remain a versatile offensive lineman who has the coaches’ confidence. But the team could well grab a left tackle type who’s a better run-blocker than Johnson early in the draft. That could kick Johnson inside or it could mean he’s back to the top sub.

Texans’ interior offensive linemen. They ended the season with Kasey Studdard at left guard, Chris Myers at center and Chris White at right guard. Mike Brisiel will be back from injury, they’ve signed Wade Smith as a free agent and Antoine Caldwell should be better in his second season. Another interior guy in the draft will set off a full-fledged competition with some incumbents on the roster bubble.

Scout survey, part four

April, 22, 2010
4/22/10
12:12
PM ET
In recent days, I asked two AFC scouts and two guys with scouting backgrounds who are now in the media the same 12 questions.

As we count down to the Rams kicking off the draft Thursday night, here’s the fourth of four posts with their answers, which are largely a lesson in how many different views there can be on the same subjects. (Check out part one here, part two here and part three here.)

For the final piece, I focused on veterans the teams of the AFC South may overvalue, asking my respondents for a player a team isn't looking to replace but probably should be.

The Jaguars have false confidence in:

Scout A: David Garrard

Scout B: Running back depth

Matt Williamson, Scouts Inc.: Brad Meester

Daniel Jeremiah, movethesticks.com: Reggie Nelson

The Titans have false confidence in:

Scout A: Chris Hope

Scout B: Michael Griffin

Williamson: The cornerback position. I bet they think they need to find one guy here, but I actually think they need two.

Jeremiah: Stephen Tulloch

The Texans have false confidence in:

Scout A: Their corners.

Scout B: Amobi Okoye

Williamson: Their defensive tackles in general. Adding a nose tackle type (Dan Williams) would pay off huge. It would further free up Amobi Okoye and would also allow their exceptional linebackers to really run and hit.

Jeremiah: Kasey Studdard

The Colts have false confidence in:

Scout A: Charlie Johnson

Scout B: Jeff Saturday

Williamson: Curtis Painter

Jeremiah: Kyle DeVan

Lacey, Studdard earn extra cash

March, 23, 2010
3/23/10
10:18
AM ET
Just two players in the AFC South rate among the top 25 in the league’s performance-based pay program.

Both got the playing time that led to the financial rewards because of injuries to starters ahead of them.

Indianapolis rookie corner Jacob Lacey was 20th, earning an additional $263,563, while Houston guard Kasey Studdard was 25th with $247,983.

Lacey played a lot because of injuries to Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden. Studdard got in to the lineup when Chester Pitts went down early.

Some explanation from the league on how the performance based pay works:
“The program created a fund that was used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary…

“Performance-Based Pay is computed by using a 'player index.' To produce the index, a player’s regular-season playtime [total plays on offense, defense and special teams] is divided by his adjusted regular-season compensation [full season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives]. Each player’s index is then compared to those of the other players on his team to determine the amount of his pay.”

The league also put out a list of the top-25 earners over the lifespan of the program -- from 2002 through 2009.

C.C. Brown, the safety who played for Houston and the Giants, was fifth, Colts safety Antoine Bethea seventh and Houston tight end Owen Daniels 23rd.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Insider