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A Look Around The AFC South: 6.15.17

Posted Jun 15, 2017

Intro: Colts.com’s Andrew Walker offers a comprehensive look at the latest offseason action around the AFC South Division.

INDIANAPOLIS — The offseason is finally over.

But while we’re still six or so weeks away from training camp beginning for the players on each NFL team, the coaching and personnel staffs will continue the grind until that point (after a little break, we hope), trying to ensure their rosters are in as tip-top shape as possible heading into the start of the regular season.

Each team, whether it is the reigning Super Bowl champion or the organization picking first in this year’s NFL Draft, has something it hopes to improve or add clarity to when it picks things back up in late July, with Week 1 just around the corner.

NFL Media’s Elliot Harrison recently compiled a list of what he believes should be each team’s No. 1 question heading into training camp. You might remember for the Colts, Harrison wonders if the team can carve out a solid role for rookie running back Marlon Mack, who has the potential to add another gear to the team’s already-potent offense.

But, as we know by now, it’s also important to keep an eye on the Colts’ rivals in the AFC South Division, which is drastically improved from where it was at this time last year. So what do those squads need to button up heading into camp? We take a look at Elliot’s list:

Houston Texans: When will Deshaun Watson become QB1?


Well, Bill O'Brien and staff will probably make sure Watson ingests plenty this offseason. How much he absorbs is anyone's guess. The reviews are mixed on rookie quarterbacks sitting versus playing right away. Peyton Manning swears by getting in the lineup immediately, even if a freshmen QB delivers 28 interceptions like he did. Manning sells pizza and Outlaw Country (Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and more) now anyway, so take his advice with a grain of salt. Aaron Rodgers sat for three years. Philip Rivers ... two. Each quarterback should be handled on a case-by-case basis. If the Texans could make the playoffs with Brock Osweiler, they could ransack the AFC South with Tom Savage. Oh yeah, and J.J. Watt is coming back. Fun.


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Jacksonville Jaguars: If Blake Bortles continues to struggle, will the team stick with him?


It's been a strange offseason in Jacksonville. Team owner Shad Khan brought in Tom Coughlin to oversee the operation, while giving interim head coach Doug Marrone three seasons. Coughlin, Marrone and GM David Caldwell's deals all run the same distance, meaning that none are married to Blake Bortles as the franchise quarterback. While the team gave Bortles a vote of confidence (sort of), the Jags were also rumored to be considering quarterbacks in the draft, and even Tony Romo at one point. Bortles took a step backward in 2016 after a productive -- if far from perfect -- sophomore campaign. I get that he is a young QB. But after tossing 51 picks with a sub-60 percent completion percentage over his first three seasons, shouldn't he have to compete? Know when to say when.


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Tennessee Titans: How far along is Marcus Mariota?


Mariota said last week that he was a week or two from full on running. Yet, wondering where he is as a player stretches far beyond the health of his right leg. He seemed to progress last year; though, in the game he got hurt, the Titans were playing for a postseason spot and getting taken to school by the Jags before the injury. That's precisely the spot in which Mariota and Co. must play their best football this season. In order to do that, the franchise QB and the Titans' top pick this year, receiver Corey Davis, must get on the same page mentally as soon as possible. Davis' development becomes more integral to the team's success if Tajae Sharpe's off-field issue causes him to miss time.





The analysis from those producing content on Colts.com does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by Colts.com content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.
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