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21 May 2009

Four Downs: AFC South

by Ned Macey

Houston Texans

The Texans’ 8-8 finish was the result of an explosive offense and a woeful defense, particularly against the run. The team properly identified their weaknesses and went about working for change. In free agency, they signed defensive end Antonio Smith from the Cardinals and also added linebacker depth in Cato June. Meanwhile, the Texans said goodbye to defensive end Anthony Weaver, linebacker Morlon Greenwood, safety Will Demps, and cornerback DeMarcus Faggins.

The defensive theme continued in the draft. In the first round, the Texans decided that Brian Cushing was the best of the three talented USC linebackers. The second round brought pass rushing end Connor Barwin from Cincinnati, and the fourth round brought defensive back Glover Quin. It remains unclear if Quin will be a cornerback or a safety at the NFL level, but he should get a shot to be the nickel corner this year.

Offensively, the Texans' offseason saw few changes. The starting lineup should be identical to last year. The Texans traded away backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels and signed Dan Orlovsky. The good and bad news about Orlovsky is that he was by far the best quarterback on the Lions last season. The draft brought guard Antoine Caldwell, who will provide much-needed depth for an offensive line that is unlikely to be as healthy as it was a year ago.

Undrafted Free Agents

The most interesting thing the Texans did was attempt to address their running back depth by signing both Tennessee running back Arian Foster and Oregon’s Jeremiah Johnson. Maybe it is my degree from the University of Michigan speaking, but I always thought defensive end Tim Jamison could play at the next level. The Texans went heavy for offensive linemen, and with little proven depth, those guys might have a chance to stick. Tackles Jason Watkins out of Florida and guard Brandon Walker out of Oklahoma obviously have pedigrees. NFL Draft Scout projected Watkins to be a fifth- or sixth-round pick.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts’ annual eschewing of free agency made the draft the first opportunity to see how the departure of Tony Dungy would change the way the Colts choose personnel. In the first round, the Colts showed that offense still rules the world, selecting running back Donald Brown. Brown will tandem with 2006 first-round pick Joseph Addai. Perhaps the Colts noted that their only Super Bowl championship during the Manning era came the one year the team had a true timeshare at running back.

While the first round showed no major change in philosophy, the Colts hinted at a new defensive mold with their second- and fourth-round selections of defensive tackles Fili Moala and Terrance Taylor. The Colts’ primary defensive tackles last season both weighed less than 270 pounds. Moala and Taylor are both over 300 pounds, with Taylor pushing 320. The Colts under Dungy only started a season with a 300-pound defensive tackle once, Corey Simon in 2005 (although Anthony McFarland was acquired midseason and started the rest of the year). The heaviest defensive tackle in recent years was Ed Johnson, whom the Colts cut for a marijuana arrest before last season. With a new sheriff in town, amnesty was extended, and Johnson was re-signed this week.

The Colts' most obvious personnel change is the departure of Marvin Harrison, who appears set on retiring after never regaining strength in his injured knee. Harrison has been a fixture since 1996, and as recently as 2006, he was the most valuable receiver in football according to Football Outsiders’ advanced DYAR statistics. Just three years later he will not be missed on the field, as Anthony Gonzalez is better than Harrison was last year, and fourth-round pick Austin Collie should serve adequately in the slot.

Undrafted Free Agents

Did you know that Jeff Saturday and Gary Brackett were undrafted free agents? It is an unwritten rule that both names must be mentioned whenever a new batch of undrafted free agents are signed by the Colts. This year’s most promising future stalwart is Cornelius Lewis, who could be a factor in the Colts’ evolving interior offensive line situation. Punter Tim Masthay has a chance to compete for the job with the departure of Hunter (the Punter) Smith. In my continuing effort to support U of M players, I will note cornerback Brandon Harrison was signed, but even I think he is a long shot.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars’ story is simple to tell. A dominant offensive line led them to a surprising 11-5 season in 2007. In 2008, that same offensive line was decimated with injuries and the unit’s struggles strongly contributed to a disappointing 5-11 record. Facing these facts, the Jaguars knew where change was necessary. In free agency, they added Philly tackle Tra Thomas, and their first two draft picks were also tackles: Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, who will start out at guard and wait for Thomas to slow down.

The other area of concern for the Jaguars was their perpetually disappointing wide receivers. They started fresh by casting off Jerry Porter and the troublesome Matt Jones and Reggie Williams. To replace them, the Jaguars imported Torry Holt, an all-time great who is on the downside of his career. Holt is an upgrade, but expecting him to be nearly the explosive presence he has been in the past is foolish. Holt will start alongside holdover Dennis Northcutt.

As much as anything, this offseason symbolized a turning of the page for Jacksonville, with the departure of a number of key players from recent Jaguars’ history. Gone are linebacker Mike Peterson, tackle Khalif Barnes, and guard Chris Naeole. Most unsettling -- although not necessarily negative on the field -- is the departure of running back Fred Taylor, the face of the franchise who slogged more than 11,000 yards during his 11 years with the team. Taylor’s declining skills and high salary mandated a change, making him the latest in a long line of cases who will retire for a team other than the one with which he will be forever associated.

Undrafted Free Agents

The Jaguars apparently feel they might have some holes, as they signed a whopping 18 undrafted free agents. My personal favorite is Cecil Newton out of Tennessee State, who profiles as a workmanlike interior lineman. The prolific mailbag producer Vic Ketchman of Jaguars.com has his eye on linebacker Russell Allen out of San Diego State, and he’s admittedly closer to the team than I am. Finally, quarterback Nathan Brown from Central Arkansas obviously did not play top competition, and his height is only 6-foot-1. Still, those are the reasons he did not get drafted. He has a strong arm and solid mobility and is certainly an intriguing camp arm.

Tennessee Titans

After losing Albert Haynesworth in free agency, the Titans had a gaping hole in the interior of their defensive line. Having started the Justins (Gage and McCareins) at wide receiver, the Titans had a yawning canyon at that position. Two picks into the draft, both situations were addressed. In the first round, the Titans took receiver Kenny Britt out of Rutgers, who should be a physical wideout the likes of which the Titans have not had in years. The second round brought Sen’Derrick Marks, a defensive tackle from Auburn who is extremely talented, if inconsistent, but should be an asset in the defensive tackle rotation.

Later choices allowed the Titans to work on depth. Third-round tight end Jared Cook provides insurance if Bo Scaife ever leaves and a low-cost replacement for Alge Crumpler if he stays. The third round also brought more need-filling as the Titans took cornerback Ryan Mouton, who could replace last year’s nickelback Chris Carr, now signed with Baltimore.

The rest of the Titans’ offseason has been decidedly uninteresting. They retained Kerry Collins and franchised Scaife. They added defensive line depth by signing Jovan Haye, and they replaced slot receiver Brandon Jones with former Pittsburgh burner Nate Washington. The 2009 team will look very similar to the 2008 squad -- with the obvious exception of losing its best player.

Undrafted Free Agents

Compared to the Jaguars, the Titans clearly have fewer holes they are trying to fill. As a result, they only signed eight free agents. The fun one is Chris Mortensen’s son Alex who is not really a prospect but has a good arm and a prominent reporter for a father. In terms of chances to make the team, Dudley Guice, a big wide receiver from Northwestern State, could fit in the Titans’ crowded but mediocre receiving corps.

Posted by: Ned Macey on 21 May 2009

45 comments, Last at 03 Jun 2009, 10:54am by Ana B


by TheSlinger :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 3:10pm

Nathan Brown for the Jags has already been cut. And the UDFA everybody is talking about it Pete Ittersagen.

by Sir Jason (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 3:32pm

Chris Carr was not the Titans' nickelback. He was the kick/punt returner and a backup corner. Vincent Fuller was/is the nickelback.

by Tom Gower :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 5:38pm

Yup, though Fuller is a slot guy only. Carr was the Titans' third corner and the replacement (along with the also-departed Eric King) whenever Harper or Finnegan missed time. That's still a hole that needs to be filled, and I wish I had confidence in any of Faggins, Mouton, or Cary Williams.

by boing (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 3:46pm

i don't get how the texans adding cato june helps with the run defense when they got no new defensive tackles. maybe antonio smith will help the run-D that much?

by shake n bake :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 10:52am

Cato June doesn't belong in the same sentence as Run-D.

GREAT cover guy though.

by Bobman :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 1:48pm

Agreed. In fact, for a team addressing a woeful run D, they signed no DTs and only one interior LB. Not sure if the DEs they signed are considered run-stoppers or pass rushers (or "balanced") but this approach to improving the run D seems to be mimicking the Colts.

Then again, so does the strong O and less-than-impressive run-D model they ran last year. Maybe they ARE "this close" to the playoffs....

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 1:22pm

Smith is a strong side DE who can rush the passer effectively, especially from the inside in nickel packages, but is a run-stopper first and foremost. Cushing was drafted primarily for his ability to shed blockers and make tackles - he should be a significant upgrade on the strong side if he can stay healthy. June will compete with Xavier Adibi and possibly Zac Diles for the starting spot on the weak side, but the team are certainly hoping and probably expecting that he will be a back-up and nickel linebacker.

Fundamentally, though, the hopes for improved run defense rest to a large extent with a combination of new scheme and coaching (new d-con and DL coach) and improvement over last season from two players already on the roster - Amobi Okoye and Demeco Ryans, both of whom were playing hurt throughout last season. Okoye is also still only 21, so improvement can reasonably be expected from him even aside from health issues. Whether this improvement actually materialises, of course, remains to be seen. I would expect a bigger step forward in pass defense than in run defense.

by T-Rac's Posse (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 4:10pm

I think the problems arisen by Big Al leaving will be minimized by Jim Washburn, the best D-Line coach in the NFL, and a really absurdly deep rotation. Their weak point is their Linebackers, who are getting old.

by Monkey Business (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 5:36pm

It's worth noting that Haynesworth didn't become a dominant force until a few years ago, when he started actively looking for a new contract. Moreover, he clearly played at the top of his game last season. It's highly unlikely that Marks will come in and provide even half the production of Big Al. Moreover, teams now have film on Chris Johnson and will adjust to his speed.

Out of all the teams, I think the Colts did the best job of addressing their needs and positioning themselves for a Super Bowl run. The addition of Brown gives them a solid north-south runner that will let them pick up those 3rd and 3's that ended their season in San Diego. The addition of Taylor and Moala, as well as the return of Ed Johnson (easily the best D-tackle on the roster at the start of last season), should bolster the run defense enough to take the pressure off the linebackers and prevent teams from running 3 to 4 yards a pop all day.

It's worth noting that Manning touches the football the least out of almost any QB in the NFL, yet still wins 12+ games a season.

by jonnyblazin :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 5:52pm

It usually takes at least a year for rookie interior defensive linemen to adjust to the NFL game and be productive players. Taylor and Moala might help the Colts down the road, but I wouldn't expect them to do much this year.

by Bobman :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 2:29pm

True, but in 2007 when they had a top-5 D, Ed Johnson started 16 games at DT as a rookie. Now since they cut him last year and nobody else signed him, I will assume he's not one of the best DTs in the league, but that was good enough to contribute to a top D. If the new kids are his equal or a little better, they'll certainly be an upgrade over what started 16 games for a 12-game win team last year.

The Colts rotate these guys a lot, perhaps more than other teams (maybe because they have no stars at these positions), so just being a competent player with fresh legs is a big deal. If they each play 25-30 snaps a game, that would be a HUGE contribution. (and in a Groucho Marx voice, I'll add: And if they play them well, so much the better.)

by the silent speaker (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 7:25pm

It's worth noting that Manning touches the football the least out of almost any QB in the NFL, yet still wins 12+ games a season.

The Colts obviously want to keep the football away from him. The reason is clear: he must not be very good.

by Noah Arkadia :: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 11:07am

I didn't understand that comment, either

by shake n bake :: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 12:03pm

The Colts are usually at the bottom or near the bottom in number of drives, because teams run the ball a lot against them. Both because the D is an undersized/fast one better suited for pass D and to keep Manning off the field.

by FourteenDays :: Tue, 05/26/2009 - 10:57pm

Yeah, but...the Colts are still 5th in the league in pass attempts/game (with 36.6), so it doesn't really make much sense to see that Manning doesn't see the ball much.

by Theo :: Mon, 05/25/2009 - 4:26am

Correlation does not always imply causation.

by *Legion* (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 5:42pm

According to unofficial sacks allowed stats, no offensive tackle pairing in the NFL was worse last year than the Texans' Duane Brown (11.5 sacks allowed, tied with Jason Peters for worst starting LT total) and Eric Winston (8.0 allowed, 29th out of 32).

Both are young guys and could improve, but it's mind-boggling that the team hasn't taken steps to keep this from continuing to boat-anchor what should be an even more dangerous offense.

by c_f (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 10:52pm

I barely watch the Texans, so I can't comment on the skills of Brown and Winston.

However, Houston's sack% by both FO's (6.1) and p-f-r's (5.5) metrics was very close to average (16th and 17th of 32 respectively):

That's consistent with Schaub's career sack%.

This indicates, as p-f-r can tell you, that Houston likes to throw the ball (7th in attempts), which makes sense with Johnson and Daniels catching passes from a good QB in Schaub.

Brown and Winston's totals are still really bad, so I think this indicates that they are below-average pass blockers, but they might not be quite as bad as they appear at first glance, because Houston passes so much.

If any AFCS fans want to step in and contradict me, please do so. I'm a Bears fan so I don't care one way or the other about the Texans.

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 1:29pm

Brown was a very raw rookie last year. He played TE for most of his college career, and is very much still learning the job. I think there's a good chance he'll develop into a useful player, especially with Alex Gibbs coaching him, but obviously it's far from guaranteed.

Winston the team are committed to for the long term: he signed a big extension last summer after an excellent second season. His play did drop off last year, but he's still, based on my watching of the team, probably the best run blocker in the squad. I would expect him to benefit this season both from protection schemes not having to be skewed to mask Brown's failings and from the drafting of Anthony Hill. No TE on the roster last season was even a competent blocker (Bruener was injured pretty much all year and has since retired. Hill is a true blocking tight end, and this offense definitely requires one of those.

by redcolt (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 5:52pm

as a proponent of legalization, I am in favor of the Colts bringing Johnson back. Perhaps you could say I have 'high' hopes for the d-line this year? hahahahahah yesssssss

by Dave0 :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 8:55pm

redcolt, the "hahahahahah yesssssss" really made this comment.

by BrixtonBear (not verified) :: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 8:31am

But shouldn't it have been 'hahahahahah duuuuude'?

by CNB (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 6:11pm

Really? Not a single mention of Mitch King as a player with a chance to stick with Tennessee? I know he's a 'tweener, but he was still the '08 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and much-feared by the rest of the conference.

Or was that the Michigan degree exerting itself again? (Kidding!)

by Tom Gower :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 12:43am

The problem is the Titans already have 5 guys at DT-Tony Brown, who'll start; Jason Jones, a second round pick last year; Jovan Haye, who got a big free agent contract; Sen'Derrick Marks, a second round pick this year; and Kevin Vickerson, who's been on the roster for the last 2 years. They carried 9 DL last year, but only 4 DTs and they return (and seem to like) all 5 of the DEs, some of them they will play inside. That's an awful tough numbers game to win, especially on a team that loves players with experience.

by witless chum :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 2:01pm

I was going to blame that for him calling Connor Barwin (A Mark Dantonio recruit) "Baldwin."

(also kidding)

by MJK :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 6:18pm

The Jaguars apparently feel they might have some holes, as they signed a whopping 18 undrafted free agents.

I said it in the AFC West thread and I'll say it again. Signing a large number of rookie free agents has nothing to do with a team feeling it has holes.

There is virtually no downside to signing an undrafted free agent. The amount of up-front money (signing bonuses) is generally negligible or zero. There are rarely cap ramifications for cutting one. They can be cut at a moment's notice if you trade for or sign a veteran free agent, or if you reach a deal with one of your drafted rookies.

And there are a lot of benefits to having as many as possible on the roster--you can evaluate a bunch of talent, keep your veteran reps down in mini-camps and early training camps, and you keeps potentially talented players out of other team's camps until you have had a chance to evaluate them yourself.

I believe the day or two after the draft, every team will sign as many undrafted rookie free agents as they can until they hit the roster limit (94?). So I would guess that the fact that the Jaguars signed 18 RFA's and the Titans only signed 8 doesn't mean that the Jags thought they had more holes than the Titans did...just that the Jags had 18 free roster spaces and the Titans had fewer. Now maybe that translates into the Jags having more holes, but not necessarily, since ultimately each team needs fill only 53 roster spots.

by Harris :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 6:21pm

Tra Thomas is an awkward fit in Jacksonville. He's an elite pass-blocker and a mediocre run-blocker. Unless the Jags are about to undergo a radical shift in offensive philosophy, this is a bad signing.

UM degree indeed. Harrison is a safety, not a corner.

Hail Hydra!

by c_f (not verified) :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 7:18pm

Not really relevant, but I think people here might be interested: a Yahoo columnist compiled an "all free agent team":

QB: Favre
HB: Edge, Deuce
FB: Cecil Sapp
WR: (Plaxico), Toomer, MarHar, Bennett
TE: Ben Troupe
OL: Levi Jones, Runyan, Tauscher, Kendall, Jeremy Newberry

DL: Kalimba Edwards, Ebenezer Ekuban, Kevin Carter, Ellis Wyms
LB: Brooks, Morlon Greenwood, "Pino" Tisoisamoa
CB: He says McAllister and Law, though Rod Hood is better than both at this stage in their careers.
S: Dexter Jackson, Lawyer Milloy

by Theo :: Thu, 05/21/2009 - 9:02pm

All star team if we were playing in 2004.

by Big-Hairy-Andy (not verified) :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 9:32am

I'd maybe, just maybe have Antonio Gates in at Tight End. Just maybe.

by Big-Hairy-Andy (not verified) :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 9:34am

Ignore that. I misunderstood the premise.

I'll get my coat.

by Bobman :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 2:10pm

Ned, Ned, Ned... you're repeating the old canard--albeit with some more clarification than I usually see--that Indy PREFERS tiny DTs. Or at least you are suggesting it by suggesting that two 300#+ DTs equate to a shift in philosophy. (The bigger FA LBs they signed maybe, but not the DTs.)

They need fast penetrators at DT. If they can find a BIG one, great, but those guys tend to be drafted in the top-20 and Polian sees no real value at DT after that until about the 5th round. And their last top-20 draft selection was about 7 years ago when they picked Freeney (regaled as a "reach" at #11).

The 5th round is where the fast 275 lb DTs reside. BUT in the past few years they have started (and paid heaps of money for) Simon who weighed just a touch more than my Suburban and Booger (who helped them to a SB). Both over 300#. They signed UDFA Ed Johnson (right around 300#) and when they cut him, they tried to get McCargo (also over 300#) but he failed his physical. Don't recall how heavy Pitcock was before his retirement at age 23 last year. That's 4 (maybe 5) in the past 5 years at or above 300#. Certainly they have no aversion to 300+ DTs (despite a quote I am too lazy to find from when Larry Triplett--300# but part of Mora's legacy--was losing weight to satisfy Teerlink. Fatso Teerlink said "The only one in this room allowed to be 300# is me." Triplett lost 15 lbs and had his best year before leaving for Buffalo.)

So no shift--they are happy to have 300# guys if they are fast and the value is right. This year they managed to snag 2 in the draft and one as a UDFA (from Louisville) plus bring back Ed Johnson. Instantly, their roster looks heavier! A trend! If they are comfy putting Raheem Brock back at end, his more natural position IMO, their top 5 DTs might average about 295-300#, up from about 280# a year ago. But last year's two DT departures were the anomaly. If Johnson and Pitcock stayed and the DT weight averaged 295#, would you still call this year's moves a departure in ideology? I wouldn't.

by shake n bake :: Fri, 05/22/2009 - 3:24pm

Really the only size change from last year to this year in the LBs was Seward (250lbs) replacing Bustah (240lbs) at backup MLB.

Whether they want to get bigger at LB under Caldwell depends on the Wheeler pick. Did they see him as a guy who fit their profile who happened to also be big and a pass rusher, or did Caldwell (who the Colts let into draft discussions last year in preparation for him taking the HC reins this year) push for a big LB who could blitz to start molding the D to the style of T-2 he wants?

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 1:31pm

Indy have changed defensive co-ordinator, though. I don't think it's absurd to think that Coyer may want to run a more blitz-heavy scheme with the DTs used more as block absorbers than as penetrators.

by shake n bake :: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 5:23pm

it's obvious they are going to head in that direction, but really only because it's nearly impossible to go further the other way. The Colts blitzed less and used DTs as penetrators over absorbers more than anyone under Dungy and Meeks.

The question is if the change is going to be slight or significant. The Wheeler pick last year, and the Taylor pick this year show there's going to be a bit of a shift, but right now they don't tell a whole lot about how big the shift will be and all the other moves can just as easily fit into them not changing as changing.

Wheeler, Moala and Taylor are the guys to watch to see if a shift is going to happen.

Is Wheeler is the clear starter at SAM and will they actually blitz him?
Is Moala is playing as big undertackle rather than an athletic nose?
IS Taylor's size and strength going to get him onto the field over more athletic and experienced guys?

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 05/24/2009 - 9:08pm

Couldn't agree more. From the coaching perspective, the question is whether Coyer plans to run something like the defense he implemented in Denver (a far cry from Buc-2) or something closer to the scheme he's been working in since he left Colorado (and by extension to Dungy's) - Monte Kiffin's system in Tampa. I somewhat suspect the latter, largely because it fits the Colts' personnel - and their broader personnel philosophy - better, and Polian, who is certainly no fool, knows this. I don't think Coyer would have been hired without convincing Polian that he intended to run a defense firmly grounded in the Tampa 2, at least in the short term.

by cjfarls :: Tue, 05/26/2009 - 1:26pm

Also its important to point out that Coyer's blitz-o-mania in Denver also was at least partially compensation for the lack of a decent pass-rush from the front 4. With Freeney and Mathis, this should be less an issue for the Colts.

by Jimmy :: Thu, 05/28/2009 - 8:50am

What if you think Coyer is a lunatic who will end up blitzing too much anyway?

I haven't been getting any memos from Colts HQ but my best guess has to be that any changes Coyer is planning must mainly be intended to stop the run better. Other than larger DTs there must be other schematic changes he is planning and I would guess it involves having Sanders (or his injury replacement) in the box a lot more and generally using run blitzes on early downs. Which means the Colts standard defensive look will either have to be single high, man coverage or cover 3. I can see the cover 3 stuff working but I would have thought the Colts corners a bit exposed if they are repeatedly left on islands in man coverage.

I can't see the point of sacking Meeks if they are planning on using the same scheme as last year.

by MDZ (not verified) :: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 5:58pm

As a Colts fan, the UFA that I'm keeping my eye on this year is LB Mike Tauiliili out of Duke. He's only 5'10 and 230 lbs, but was a great tackler and was in the middle of just about every play for Duke's defense last year. He put up 140 tackles with 3FFs, 4 INTs and 5 passes defensed in 12 games. He'll start out on special teams, or maybe the practice squad, but he's got the instincts, intelligence and leadership to be the understudy for Gary Brackett.

by shake n bake :: Sat, 05/23/2009 - 6:30pm

Though his "issues" make Ed Johnson's college antics look pretty harmless.

by lobolafcadio :: Mon, 05/25/2009 - 5:15am

The jags hope Northcutt will stay in the slot and Walker start opposite Holt.
But their true hope is to use a WR by comittee with the new draftees getting specialized roles in some formations.
Tra Thomas is expected to be an insurance policy for Monroe this year. I think the O-line will look like : Monroe - Mo Williams - Meester - Britton - Pashos. Manuwai is still injured but once healed could push Pashos on the bench, Britton sliding at RT. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if Pashos was traded or cut before the season if Britton is half as good as he thinks he is.

by Bobman :: Tue, 05/26/2009 - 7:42pm

Like some teams do with RBs and DEs in special situations, has any team ever brought in a LT just for passing downs? THAT would be epic! ANNOUNCER: "It's 3rd and 10 and in comes Tra Thomas for the Jaguars. Oh my, the defense responds with 4 DEs and seven DBs."

by TerryW :: Thu, 05/28/2009 - 2:46am

Bobman... you just made me REALLY want to see this.

by lobolafcadio :: Fri, 05/29/2009 - 7:29am

It would be great ! Everybody know you're going to pass, just put Thomas in and Britton out. Or put 4 tackles in there, like the giants and their 4 aces !

by Ana B (not verified) :: Wed, 06/03/2009 - 10:54am

Regarding the Colts: Doesn't it usually takes at least a year for any rookie interior defensive linemen to get used to an average fast paced NFL game? Taylor and Moala might help the Colts down the road. Yes, they weigh a significant amount more than last years primary defensive tackles, but I wouldn't expect them to do much this year.
-Ana B