AFC South: Mike Holmes

Reading the coverage ...

Houston Texans

Whitney Mercilus has caught on quickly to what the Texans are doing, says John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

The Texans are talking contract with Connor Barwin and Duane Brown, says McClain. There’s no telling how serious negotiations are or the likelihood of getting something done before the start of the season, when they’ll put any talks on hold.

Andre Johnson is a veteran guy for young receivers to look up to. He didn’t really have one of those when he was a kid, says Tania Ganguli of the Chronicle.

Indianapolis Colts

With inside linebacker Pat Angerer out for a while, we see how easily depth can be an issue for the Colts, says Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

Andrew Luck’s expecting a different kind of test in Pittsburgh, says Michael Pointer of the Star.

Donald Brown is only now emerging, says Phil Richards of the Star.

Things are looking better at backup quarterback, says Conrad Brunner of 1070 The Fan.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars continue to plan for life without Maurice Jones-Drew, as Montell Owens is now officially the backup to Rashad Jennings, says Vito Stellino.

Cornerback Mike Holmes, a local product, is thrilled to be getting a chance with the Jaguars, says the T-U’s notebook.

Olympic track star Jeff Demps could energize the Jaguars, says Hays Carlton of the T-U blog.

Tennessee Titans

A first-round pick, Derrick Morgan finds himself in a fight for a starting defensive end job with unknown Pannel Egboh, says John Glennon.

Linebacker Zach Brown reacts to the idea that he’s allergic to contact, via David Climer of The Tennessean.

Don’t panic over his carries in Seattle, says Chris Johnson via Glennon. The running back did say a lack of focus caused a couple drops.

AFC South links: MJD wants extension

May, 16, 2012
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Houston Texans

The Texans don't plan to hand the starting kicker's spot to rookie Randy Bullock, drafted out of Texas A&M in the fifth round. Rather, special-teams coordinator Joe Marciano told SportsRadio 610, Bullock will have to beat out veteran Shayne Graham. "He has to compete to make the team first," Marciano said, per the team's official site. "If he can beat Shayne out, then I think he’s going to be very good for us."

Defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo, a free-agent signee from BYU, hopes to impress coaches during upcoming rookie camps. “I’m excited to compete with a top-notch offense and defense,” Fangupo said. “I’m ready to learn all I can from coaches and players, and I believe being able to compete with such great players can help my game tremendously.”

Indianapolis Colts

Owner Jim Irsay, on Twitter, said he sees the franchise "taking shape" and that the Colts' defensive front seven "could impress" in the new 3-4 defensive scheme.

Indianapolis grabbed tight end Andre Smith off waivers from the Bears; he's expected to be part of new coordinator Bruce Arians' five-tight end offense, Brad Wells notes for Stampede Blue. The Colts also waived cornerback Mike Holmes.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, absent from the Jaguars' voluntary workouts, wants a contract extension, coach Mike Mularkey said. "I wish he was here. He knows we wish he was here," Mularkey said. "His teammates have talked to him about it. It's a personal decision. There's nothing I can do about it."

Tuesday's first day of organized team activities saw Jacksonville's first-round draft pick, receiver Justin Blackmon, going full speed with quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the first team, according to the Jags' official site. A sore foot that bothered Blackmon during rookie minicamps seems to have been helped by new cleats.

Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton apologized Tuesday for the club incident last month in which he suffered an eye injury that has kept him out of offseason workouts. Knighton said the vision in his injured eye has improved substantially. “It’s progressing a lot faster than they thought it would,” Knighton said. “I plan on being ready by training camp."

Tennessee Titans

A number of players, including quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker, have signed on for coach Mike Munchak's "Strikes to Stop Diabetes" charity bowling event, set for June 14. The tournament will pair a Titans player or coach with a four-person team, with proceeds going to the American Diabetes Association, the team's site reports.

Center William Vlachos, a free-agent signee from Alabama, has been impressed with the Titans' O-line after doing some film study. “I've been watching film for a couple days and my jaw's on the floor,” Vlachos said. “They're just so physical, the effort they bring every play is outstanding.”

Spots that still need attention

April, 30, 2012
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The draft is over, the rosters are filled up.

But what areas weren’t sufficiently addressed and where can we expect to see the teams of the AFC South continue to seek help?

Some thoughts.

Houston Texans

Veteran corner Jason Allen left as a free agent. He helped the Texans cover for Kareem Jackson, who played just 55.73 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in 2011.

Brandon Harris was a second-round pick out of Miami last year, but didn’t show anything. The Texans look to be counting on him to contribute more. They like Brice McCain, but he's a situational guy.

But corner is a spot where the Texans need some additional depth at the very least.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts loaded their roster with offensive players -- eight of 10 draft picks went on that side of the ball.

The defensive picks were on the defensive line.

Which means the Colts still have a ton of work to do in the defensive backfield.

Jerraud Powers is a quality corner and a good leader. But after him, there are no proven corners on the roster. Is the second starter Chris Rucker? Kevin Thomas? Mike Holmes? Brandon King?

That’s not a great group to be choosing from. Look for team to give some undrafted rookies a chance and grab a veteran or two as guys come free during camp cuts.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars believe a healthy Eben Britton will help fortify their offensive line and he should.

But they don’t have sufficient depth on the offensive line and should create a situation where there is more real competition.

They re-signed Guy Whimper, who is a swing tackle at best and had some bad stretches last season. They like John Estes as a reserve center, but it would be nice to have someone to compete with him for the right to take over for Brad Meester.

Tennessee Titans

The team has sent major mixed signals about its offensive line.

Tennessee courted all the top centers in free agency but did not land one. And then they didn't draft an offensive lineman. Coach Mike Munchak said it wasn’t a dire need and the team can win with what it has.

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reports that among the team’s undrafted rookies is William Vlachos. Perhaps the center from Alabama can scramble the mix. But the Titans should still be adding options on the interior.

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