NFL Nation: Darius Walker
- Michael Oher's story is an improbable one, writes John McClain.
- Lance Zierlein ranks the top 10 prospects by position on offense.
- What's become of Darius Walker, asks Alan Burge.
- Peria Jerry and Evander Hood are possibilities for the Colts in the first round, writes Mike Chappell.
- No. 6 on John Oehser's list of the top 25 picks of the Bill Polian era.
- Bringing back Matt Giordano was a good move for the Colts, writes Oehser.
- A look at defensive end in the draft, from Oehser.
- Polian says he is rarely surprised by what unfolds in the first round, says Colts.com.
- The Jaguars got a No. 1 receiver in Torry Holt, writes Michael C. Wright.
- A breakdown of receivers in the draft, from Wright.
- Vic Ketchman's mailbag from Jaguars.com.
- Five players the Jaguars could consider at No. 8, according to Cole Pepper.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Hope you've got a half day, or better yet, the day off as you get ready for Thanksgiving. The AFC South Blog will be in Detroit for Titans-Lions and bring you everything we can get at Ford Field Thursday.
Here are this morning's headlines...
- Ahman Green is on injured reserve and with Steve Slaton and Ryan Moats banged up, the Texans have added Darius Walker.
- The Texans will look to show they aren't a weakling in their first Monday night game, according to Megan Manfull.
- A lot of big-time corners have given up more yards, catches and touchdowns than Jacques Reeves, writes John McClain.
- Jeff Saturday doesn't know when he will be back from his calf injury, writes Phillip B. Wilson.
- Punter Adam Podlesh is finished for the season, while George Wrighster and Jeremy Mincey are finally ready to play, says Vito Stellino.
- A Q&A with receiver Mike Walker.
- LenDale White said he lost his cool, according to Jim Wyatt.
- Wyatt's five things to know about Titan-Lions.
- Jeff Fisher is determined for the Titans to get back to running consistently.
- David Climer takes a look at Pacman Jones' last chance.
- Carrie Cecil, wife of defensive backs coach Chuck Cecil, shares her thoughts in a weekly column in The Tennessean.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Late change in travel plans. I'll spend one more day in Nashville, then hit Houston for practice Friday and Saturday night's Texans-Broncos game.
Now, the best stuff I found this morning on the division...
- Richard Justice says Gary Kubiak will keep riding defensive tackle Travis Johnson.
- Dale Robertson reveals that rookie Duane Brown will have a "few butterflies" before his first NFL preseason game.
- Mike Bell is dealing with a hamstring injury and isn't likely to play in Saturday's preseason opener, while Chris Brown (back) looks like he could, reports John McClain.
- Carlos M. Silva looks at another piece of the Texans' backfield, Darius Walker.
- Peyton Manning shared his thoughts on the Colts preseason opener with Jim Sorgi via text message, reports Mike Chappell, and also talked with Tony Dungy, Mike Chappell reports. Also, injuries are mounting at linebacker.
- Reggie Wayne is not perceived as Marvin Harrison's sidekick any more, but the idea that he's in Harrison's shadow still drives him, Chappell writes.
- The Colts' young offensive linemen have the team feeling great about its depth, reports John Oehser of Colts.com.
- Only Jim Brown and Barry Sanders top Fred Taylor in both yards per carry and yards per game. Which prompts Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com to wonder how Taylor is so misperceived?
- Paul Spicer isn't worried about the Jaguars rookie defensive ends, he tells Vito Stellino.
- Stellino also reports that the pace of ticket sales is lagging behind 2006, the last time the team was coming off a playoff season.
- Details on a five-play goal line series and offensive-defensive line one-on-ones at practice Tuesday.
- Keith Bulluck considers 2008 a decisive year for him. Going into the final two years of his contract, he can't help but ponder the awkward endings to the Titan careers of Eddie George and Steve McNair, reports Jim Wyatt.
- After his brother was paralyzed, Titans receiver Paul Williams wanted to quit football. Now the memory of Curtis Williams, who passed away six months after sustaining his football injury, drives Paul Williams, writes Gary Estwick.
- Titans notes from The Tennessean: Injuries creating opportunities for young guys with the first team, Leroy Harris gets a turn as starting right guard, the Rams visiting means Jacob Bell will matchup against Albert Haynesworth again.
- Wyatt provides five things to look for as the Titans square off against the Rams in practice starting Wednesday morning.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
|AP Photo/David J. Phillip|
|Ahman Green (30) runs during a training camp workout Saturday.|
HOUSTON -- I watched the Texans practice in pads this morning with the intention of answering the most popular question I've fielded from Houston fans: How do the running backs and the running game look?
I'll go chronologically through my notes, and hope to offer some tidbits that qualify as answers.
During positional work, D-line coach Jethro Franklin told his charges that Sunday they started well and finished poorly. If they are going to be inconsistent, he pleaded, he wants that pattern reversed and prefers a big finish.
• Alex Gibbs, the assistant head coach who's basically the run game coordinator, and John Benton, the offensive line coach, finished one period working exclusively with guards and centers -- eight guys in all. That's a 1:4 coach-to-player ratio, an impressive number for a practice in July. It has to help the learning curve.
Gibbs isn't as loud as the last time I watched him work, during Atlanta practices in Nashville a few years ago. But the intensity is the same. He offered small reviews on every little thing to multiple guys after each snap, at a breakneck pace.
Rookie Steve Slaton had 10, Ahman Green (the starter) and Chris Taylor had seven and Darius Walker had six. There seemed to be an effort to keep them all involved, a good mix of inside and outside stuff and a decent number of pass-catching chances. While some of Slaton's came at the end of each period with second- or third-teamers, I felt like they all got some chances with the ones on offense.
Two bad moments of note for Walker: On a play-action, check-down in a team period, he seemed very timid as he collected a short pass in the middle of the field. While he may have been expecting a lick, he lost a chance at additional yards as no one arrived immediately. On one bad play in 9-on-7, Walker got folded in half by safety C.C. Brown.
Chester Pitts told me Sunday the Texans are doing a better job of using the whole field in the run game, and I could see that is the case. It looks like everyone involved in the run game is making progress with the new zone-blocking scheme, though obviously the offensive line isn't cut-blocking teammates. I'll have another entry further addressing some of that soon.
• Matt Schaub was 4-for-5 in his first run through in 7-on-7 passing, hitting Owen Daniels on a nice midrange ball but overthrowing Green up the right side when the back had a half-step on linebacker Morlon Greenwood. Sage Rosenfels was 1-for-3 with a drop and a throw-away. Later in a team period, what I thought was Schaub's deepest throw of the day didn't make it to Andre Johnson as rookie cornerback Antwaun Molden stayed with him up the left side and broke it up. Offense was heavy on short stuff passing-wise. Based on it being my second padded practice, I can't tell you if that's a trend or was just the way the morning unfolded.
• I felt like Daniels did the most damage receiving-wise, pulling in a handful of midrange passes. He was a big part of last year's offense. He should be a bigger part of this year's. More to come on him. If you don't like to spend high fantasy picks on Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez, get a read on where Daniels is being drafted and take him a round earlier. [Disclaimer you'll see often: I never win my league.]
• Johnson didn't have a lot of balls come his way, but when they did, you can see how smooth he is. He just carries himself, runs and moves like a top-flight receiver.
• Play of the practice: linebacker Chaun Thompson made an excellent leaping grab in front of Daniels inside the 5-yard line near the boundary in red-zone work. A very pretty interception. I didn't write down who threw it, but as it was the fifth play of a period that lasted about 20, I suspect it was Schaub.
When the entire team was gone, DeMeco Ryans and Rosenfels were still around doing interviews. (Thanks to both.) Molden and fellow corner Derrick Roberson were the last two players on the field working, catching balls shot out of a Jugs machine.
I hope that provides some insight. I can't always look for everything you ask about, but when I have the opportunity to watch a session start to finish, I will certainly try to concentrate on the most frequently asked questions or some that are especially unique.
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