First Down And Tenn: AFC South News For Thursday
By Les Bailey
With OTA’s and mandatory mini-camps well underway around the National Football League, I thought it was time to see what’s going on with the Tennessee Titans closest competitors in the AFC South. Pro Football Focus (PFF) has released their latest team rankings, and other than the Indianapolis Colts, the news was pretty dismal for the rest of the division. The good news, at 30th, the Titans are ranked ahead of the Atlanta Falcons, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ranking the rosters of all 32 NFL teams – Sam Monson ESPN
Here is our 1-32 ranking of every roster in the NFL. The team at the top remainsthe same from a year ago, but nearly every other franchise made moves up or down the list.
Top five players: Jurrell Casey, Derrick Morgan, Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker, Jason McCourty
Starters who should be upgraded: Justin Hunter, Brian Schwenke, Byron Stingily, Coty Sensabaugh, Michael Griffin
Analysis: Few teams are leaning on rookies as much as the Titans heading into 2015. Quarterback Marcus Mariota obviously has the potential to transform the offense, but he’s an unknown quantity at this point, and fellow rookie wide receivers Dorial Green-Beckham and Tre McBride, and running back David Cobb, all figure to play big roles out of necessity.
Casey is the only star on defense, but he does have several good players alongside him, especially if Brian Orakpo can stay healthy. Heading into his third season, the Titans need a big step forward from cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson, who allowed six touchdowns last season and a passer rating of 110.8 when targeted.
Andre Johnson: Andrew Luck is ‘best quarterback’ in the NFL – Will Brinson CBS Sports
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And Andre Johnson‘s been absent a decent quarterback throwing to him for quite a while. No wonder he’s heaping praise on his newColts quarterback.
Johnson may have gone a little far in on Andrew Luck, though, calling him “the best quarterback” in the NFL.
"“He’s a hell of a player,” Johnson said. “I think he’s the best quarterback in this game.”"
Texans: Wilfork back home at nose tackle – Steve Palazzolo PFF
Once former Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork was released, the Houston Texans seemed like a perfect fit given their needs at nose tackle and old New England connections in head coach Bill O’Brien and defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. Wilfork has been an every-down player for the Patriots in recent years, playing a high percentage of their snaps while moving all around the defensive line, but with Houston’s depth up front, it looks like he’s primed for a return to nose tackle
Jaguars OTA’s: Depth is Always Most Important – Frank Scaduto Pro Football Spot
With Dante Fowler’s ACL injury in May, there is now two players who the Jacksonville Jaguars were counting on to make major contributions this season. Fortunately, the team has gotten used to the high injury level at One EverBank Place, and now in Year 3 of the Dave Caldwell/Gus Bradley regime has built some depth to withstand these setbacks.
Veteran lineman notices Titans more upbeat than before – John Glennon The Tennessean
It had been three years since center Fernando Velasco had participated in a Titans practice, so he wasn’t quite sure how to view his return – as a homecoming or a new opportunity.
"“I guess it’s a little bit of both because it’s a totally different feel, but it’s definitely home – this is where it all started for me,” Velasco said. “It’s an opportunity to live my dream. I feel like I’ve got some years left, so I just want to compete and help the team win.”"
Titans’ targets like how Marcus Mariota can vary his throws – Paul Kuharsky ESPN
Accuracy is the top thing a pass target wants out of his quarterback.
Tennessee Titans‘ pass-catchers have been high on rookie Marcus Mariota’s passing precision so far at organized team activities (OTAs).
But it’s more than anticipation and throws into good windows that they like.
They like his touch.
"“He does have different variations, he can zip the ball in there, he can finesse the ball to you if you’re running the shallow routes,” running back Dexter McClustersaid."
Next: Is 2015 The Last Chance For Justin Hunter?