AFC South: Ted Ginn

Justin Blackmon was the best receiver available in the draft for a Jaguars team with a desperate need at the spot.

Kendall Wright was the sort of receiver the Titans were still missing as they look to become a more modern offense.

I like the additions for the Jaguars and the Titans, and at this point I’d certainly expect both guys to have good careers.

But I think early expectations for the two are unreasonably high.

Blackmon, still unsigned, is unlikely to pop in, learn the offense and make a bunch of plays for Blaine Gabbert on Sept. 9 at Minnesota.

Wright, just signed, is unlikely to take Kenny Britt's place if Britt isn’t ready or is suspended for the Titans Sept. 9 game against New England and produce like Britt could.

A.J. Green's 1,000-yard rookie year last season was the first for a receiver since Michael Clayton's for Tampa Bay in 2004.

Julio Jones made a big debut too, falling just 41 yards short of 1,000.

But receiver isn’t a spot where even highly-rated rookies generally get plugged in and make monstrous, immediate impacts. Maybe Green and Jones signified some sort of switch. But at this point I’m still inclined to see them as the exceptions rather than rewriters of the rule.

Per Keith Hawkins of ESPN Stats and Info, 16 first-round receivers who played as rookies in the last five years have averaged 44 catches, 615 yards and 3.8 touchdowns. That’s nice production from Green, Jones, Jonathan Baldwin, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree, Jeremy Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, Britt, Calvin Johnson, Ted Ginn, Dwayne Bowe, Craig Davis and Anthony Gonzalez -- but hardly phenomenal.

That’s as many catches as Mike Thomas had for the 2011 Jaguars.

It’s not far off the stat line of 2010 third-rounder Damian Williams for the 2011 Titans -- 45 catches, 592 yards and five TDs.

Can Blackmon and or Wright be impactful players for their teams this year?

It probably depends on your definition of impactful.

Comparably valued players have provided roughly three catches for 38 yards with a score once every four games in their first year in the league.

Certainly it’s possible Blackmon and Wright do more. Are they going to be Week 1 fantasy football MVPs because of the monster numbers they put up early?

If I was making a bet, it wouldn’t be on yes.

Thoughts on 49ers 37, Colts 17

August, 15, 2010
Some bullet-point thoughts on the Colts’ 37-17 preseason loss to San Francisco on Sunday afternoon.

  • The starters on offense put together a smooth and efficient 89-yard touchdown drive on their first chance. Peyton Manning hit on 8 of 10 passes for 91 yards, and got to where people want him in these games -- to the sideline with a ball cap on.
  • The front-line defense, minus some key guys who were held out, made plays. Philip Wheeler forced a fumble right out of the gate. Robert Mathis pushed rookie tackle Anthony Davis around. Jerraud Powers pounced on a tipped ball for an interception, and scared Ted Ginn into a drop.
  • Rookie linebackers Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner were both very productive. Angerer had a couple sacks, and Conner was in on a lot of tackles. Barring injuries, there should not be room for them on defense. But they should be impact special teams guys.

  • Curtis Painter was incredibly ineffective. Even with protection issues, his performance makes it impossible to say he’s improved on his rookie work. He was 9-for-19 for 64 yards with three interceptions. Yeesh. San Francisco third-stringer Nate Davis was more calm and collected than Painter and the Colts’ third quarterback, Tom Brandstater.
  • Everyone was looking for a chance to assess new returners, but we’ll have to wait at least until Game 2. Kickoff returns by Brandon James and Sam Giguere looked like the same old deal, and James only had a chance to field one punt.
  • Run defense in the second half against San Francisco’s bulky rookie Anthony Dixon was insufficient. He will head back to the Bay Area feeling very good about himself after 21 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown.

  • Reserve safety and special teamer Jamie Silva went down with what looks to be a serious knee injury.

Houston Texans

Donnie Avery gets to play in a game against his favorite player, Andre Johnson, says John McClain.

Bryan Pittman’s return could help Kris Brown, says John McClain.

David Barron looks back at the Shamrock Bowl.

Five key matchups in Rams-Texans from Battle Red Blog.

Gary Kubiak is in critical condition, says Clark Judge as he assesses coaches in trouble.

Indianapolis Colts

Individual goals remain for the Colts, says Mike Chappell.

Should they go for 16-0? More from Chappell.

We’ll all find out who plays and how much together, writes Bob Kravitz.

Handicapping the MVP race with Alex Marvez.

Bob Lamey calls games with passion, says Curt Cavin.

Eyes will be on Maurice Jones-Drew, says Phillip B. Wilson.

Considering playoff possibilities in the AFC, with Wilson.

John Oehser’s game preview.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars hope Thursday night is the beginning of the end of their ticket woes, says Gene Frenette.

It’s a prime-time challenge for Jacksonville, says Vito Stellino.

Young talent could get Jacksonville some notice, says Pete Prisco.

Greg Jones is going on injured reserve, reports Michael C, Wright.

The Fox affiliate got the simulcast of the NFL Network broadcast by being the highest bidder, says Jeff Elliott.

John Henderson and Mike Sims-Walker are expected to play and Rashean Mathis is doing better, says Wright.

The Jags will enjoy a break after a quick turnaround, writes Wright.

Thursday’s mailbag from Vic Ketchman.

Breaking down the Jaguars offensive line with Jonathan Loesche.

Tennessee Titans

Chris Johnson mic’d up.

Vince Young is likely to play, says Jim Wyatt.

Johnson says Ted Ginn backed out of a race, say Wyatt and Gary Estwick.

Nate Washington on hamstring injuries, from Wyatt.

Who the Titans need to win, from Music City Miracles.

CJ: Big Ten only made Ginn feel fast

December, 16, 2009
In a conference call with Miami media, Chris Johnson told a story about how Ted Ginn talked about being able to beat him in a race at a pool party last summer, then backed out.

Here’s Tim Graham’s take on it from AFC East headquarters.

(My aside on Timmy: He's a notorious video game and Zima addict; I spent a summer week calibrating myself against far less sedentary people, including, incidentally, Johnson.)

Johnson took it up a notch when the Nashville press spoke to him a bit ago, saying Ginn only thinks he belongs in Johnson’s class because of the football environment he grew up in.

“He’s pretty fast, but where a lot of people get it mistaken at, the conference that he played in, what was it, the Big Ten, they’re a slow conference,” Johnson said. “They don’t have fast guys in that conference so it automatically made him look like he was a real fast guy.”

Ginn is the most recently identified athlete who’s challenged Johnson to a race. The name that surfaced before that was Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo.

CJ had a suggestion for the basketball player.

“Rondo should call [Ginn], that’s what Rondo should do,” Johnson said.

To be fair -- Johnson said Ginn is fast, accepting that he's run a 4.4 40, just maintaining it can't match the 4.24 of the NFL's leading rusher.