AFC South: Markelle Martin

The Tennessee Titans have their first three OTA sessions in the next three days, and Friday’s is the first open to the media.

Tinkering, particularly on defense, will be well underway by then.

[+] EnlargeTennessee's Scott Solomon
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsTennessee defensive end Scott Solomon will get some work at strongside linebacker.
Media and fans shouldn’t go crazy when they hear what some players will be working on as part of different packages, and as coach Mike Munchak, defensive coordinator Jerry Gray and senior defensive assistant Gregg Williams begin to get more complete assessments of what guys can, and cannot, do.

I just talked with Titans coach Mike Munchak:

“The big thing is, especially on defense, don’t get to caught up with who’s doing what and where,” he advised me. “We have enough numbers in a lot of spots, I think you are going to see a lot of guys moving around. We may be doing different things because of packages. As we start competing and with Gregg here now we start to see who works well together, who can do certain things. See what possibilities we can have with certain packages based on who we’re playing on offense and what they do receiver-wise.”

I asked him for some examples of what that tinkering might look like.

  • Defensive end Scott Solomon will get some work at strongside linebacker, where he could ultimately see some time if he’s comfortable there when Akeem Ayers moves forward to do some work as a rush end.
  • Defensive tackle Karl Klug may play some end, but it won’t be a simple move from 4-3 tackle to 4-3 end, he’ll work more like a 3-4 end would in some special, varied fronts. But don’t conclude the Titans are becoming a 3-4 because of it.
  • Starting ends Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley very much remain the starting ends, but they may not always be on the field at the same time as coaches see who works best together on each side of the pass rush. I presume Ayers will be a factor there, as will some ends who may be more early down run-stoppers who can save some wear and tear on the team’s best rush ends.

As for injuries ...

Right tackle David Stewart, interior offensive lineman Eugene Amano and safety Robert Johnson will not be participating at the start of OTAs as they continue to recover from injuries. (I believe Amano will be cut once his arm and knees are healthy.)

Several others will be limited or will start slow and be eased in: Linebacker Zach Brown (shoulder), guard Andy Levitre (who had a knee cleaned out after the season), Morgan, safety Markelle Martin (back) and defensive tackle Mike Martin (knee).

Middle linebacker Colin McCarthy, who recently rated himself as 80 percent, is good to go, Munchak said.

RTC: Jaguars have 14 key words

July, 26, 2012
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Reading the coverage…

AFC camp reports from Pro Football Weekly.

Houston Texans

The Texans surprised fans with a caravan around the city, says John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts signed tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, completing deals for their draft class, says Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

Five players beyond Andrew Luck to watch during training camp from Chappell.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Maurice Jones-Drew will not report to camp, says ESPN’s Adam Schefter. MJD is subject to a fine of up to $30,000 a day.

The Jaguars regularly see 14 key words that Mike Mularkey wants to reinforce, he tells Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union in this Q&A. “There’s seven racks in the weight room and you can work on either side of the rack. So on each side of the rack, there’s a term like physical, aggressive, violent, together ... there’s 14 words. I quizzed them on it. The second time [he quizzed them] it was much better. Even their keys to the hotel room will have the words on the key. Even when they’re putting them in the door, we’re trying to reinforce what we stand for.”

Tennessee Titans

Kenny Britt is starting camp on the physically unable to perform list, says John Glennon of The Tennessean. Not a surprise. Rookie safety Markelle Martin is on PUP too, and he had a knee scope on Wednesday.

AFC South links: MJD not helping himself

May, 19, 2012
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Houston Texans

Matt Schaub isn't in the elite Tom Brady-Peyton Manning class of NFL quarterbacks, but with the talent Houston has assembled around him on both sides of the ball, he's good enough to take the Texans to a Super Bowl. That, anyway, is the contention of SB Nation's Brian McDonald, taking issue with fans' grumbling about Schaub.

Indianapolis Colts

The NFL Network confirmed a Boston Globe report that former Colts tight end Dallas Clark worked out this week for the New England Patriots. But it looks like the Pats are just doing their due diligence, ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss writes -- noting that the team has signed a tight end since Clark's been on the market.

The team claimed Zane Taylor off waivers from Philadelphia -- the third offensive guard the Colts have so taken from the Eagles, Pro Football Weekly observes. They cut guard Matt Murphy to make room.

Jacksonville Jaguars

New offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski says skipping this week's organized team activities isn't doing Maurice Jones-Drew any favors. "It's certainly not helping him," Bratkowski, who's installing a new scheme, said of the running back, who often skips such OTAs, but this year wants a new contract. "Whether it’s hurting him or not, that remains to be seen."

With Jones-Drew absent, running back Rashad Jennings has been working with the starters, writes John Oehser of the team's web site.

Tennessee Titans

Safety Markelle Martin, a sixth-round draft pick from Oklahoma State, signed with the team, CBSSports.com reports.
Grading drafts is one of those things -- a ton of people object to the concept, but then they read every word eagerly.

Acknowledging that, we share what we can from the ESPN.com Insider file of Mel Kiper Insider.

Indianapolis Colts

Overall grade: A-

Kiper: "Think the Colts were concerned about building a supporting cast for Andrew Luck? They showed an unbelievable commitment to Luck, adding the top two tight ends in the draft in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen (Luck is used to two-TE sets), a burner in T.Y. Hilton who could become a gem in the slot and even got a possible late steal with Lavon Brazill way down the board. Josh Chapman hits a big need on the interior of that defensive line, and I've even heard really positive assessments of his health situation after he actually played some games without an ACL in 2011. Colleague Trent Dilfer noted that getting all these pass-catching pieces now is a good way to develop early chemistry and give Luck a chance to succeed earlier than we suspected given the state of the lineup going into the draft. I'd make this grade a good one with Luck alone. But the Colts did that one better. They had a plan and I came away impressed."

Jacksonville Jaguars

Overall grade: C

Kiper: "Give the Jaguars credit for hitting needs with their top two picks. Justin Blackmon isn't a guy you want to have to trade up for, but it didn't cost Jacksonville dearly, and the Jaguars had to find a receiver to complement Laurent Robinson. If they didn't get Blackmon or Michael Floyd, they would have been no closer to knowing if Blaine Gabbert can develop into a franchise quarterback. Andre Branch can start early. He's better when he goes wide -- he won't be able to rush through tackles -- but he's a viable guy for a team lacking any punch in the pass rush. Bryan Anger was the top punter on my board, but taking him in the third round, with several guys who profile as potential starting right tackles available? I didn't like that pick. The Jags also didn't adequately address the secondary. Their only pick at corner or safety was Mike Harris. He was my No. 27 corner prospect."

Tennessee Titans

Overall grade: C+

Kiper: "Tennessee goes into 2012 with a vastly improved group of wide receivers. I didn't see this as a top need, but with Kenny Britt back, the addition of Kendall Wright means Jake Locker has the necessary weapons to succeed if he starts the season. If you know you have the weapons, you can better assess if you truly have your franchise quarterback. I can see the strategy. Wright was no steal, however. I thought it was possible he could fall to Round 2. Zach Brown is an athlete, but he's not physical at all. He's better chasing down plays from the weak side than he will be taking on blocks. Taylor Thompson will be a fun one to watch as he converts to tight end. He caught passes there in high school, so it won't be a foreign concept. Coty Sensabaugh has a chance to stick, but I expected earlier urgency for a cornerback. Markelle Martin might be the best value pick for Tennessee at No. 190."

Houston Texans

Overall grade: B

Kiper: "I had Whitney Mercilus as a good fit at defensive end as high as No. 19 with the Bears, so he's a pretty good value at No. 26. He isn't Mario Williams, but the defense made a huge leap in 2011, and the Texans clearly want to make sure Wade Phillips has the tools he needs. He's not a great value at No. 68 overall, but I'm intrigued by the DeVier Posey pick. He had to sit out so many games last year I don't think scouts saw enough of him. He has really good hands, can create some matchup problems, and might be a little underrated in his ability to stretch the field. I also really like Keshawn Martin. He creates space and should stick with this team. Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks help the interior of that offensive line. I was surprised the Texans didn't get a linebacker. At one time I saw Jared Crick as a second-rounder. If he regains form, that's a good value in the fourth."

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