In our Fourth of July edition of the AFC South news round-up, we’re taking a look at some of the biggest stories from the past week pertaining to the Tennessee Titans’ division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans.
In Houston, the Texans are now officially wrapped up in the Deshaun Watson legal situation. One of Watson’s accusers has filed a lawsuit against the team related to the alleged sexual misconduct of the Cleveland Browns quarterback.
For the Colts, we have a few articles that give some insight into what Indy may need to improve ahead of 2022, and one of their biggest needs mirrors Tennessee’s.
In Jacksonville, the honeymoon with head coach Doug Pederson continues, as players rave about what he has brought to Jacksonville thus far.
Read those stories and more in our latest trip around the AFC South to check in on the Titans’ division rivals.
Colts Wire’s Kevin Hickey listed Indianapolis’ 10 best moves of the offseason. Among them were the trades for quarterback Matt Ryan and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, and the signing of cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
Kevin Hickey of Colts Wire lists 13 free agents Indy should consider before training camp. The list is made up of wide receivers — including former Titans wideout Julio Jones — cornerbacks, safeties and defensive ends.
Running back lands in the top spot on this list thanks to Jonathan Taylor. Hickey believes the safety position is the weakest thanks to the unexpected retirement of Khari Willis, who will be replaced by rookie Nick Cross.
Taylor has notched himself a pair of ESPY nominations in 2022, including for “Best NFL Player” and “Best Breakthrough Athlete.” Taylor enjoyed a breakout year in 2021, leading the NFL in rushing.
The attorney for one of Deshaun Watson’s accusers has filed a lawsuit naming the Texans as a defendant. The claim is that the team enabled Watson’s behavior that led to 24 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct. Watson has since agreed to undisclosed settlements with 20 of the 24 women.
“Suffice to say, the overwhelming evidence collected indicating that the Houston Texans enabled Watson’s behavior is incredibly damning,” attorney Tony Buzbee said. “We believe the Texans knew or most certainly should have known of Watson’s conduct. Beyond that, we believe the filing speaks for itself.”
Texans Wire’s Mark Lane lists four things defensive end Jonathan Greenard must do in 2022 if he wants to land a long-term deal with Houston down the road. Greenard had a breakout year in 2021 with eight sacks.
Former Texans and Titans cornerback Johnathan Joseph says he’s “pissed” that Houston didn’t win a Super Bowl with all the big names the team had during his time there (2011-19). The Texans won six division titles during Joseph’s tenure, including four seasons with double-digit wins.
Former Houston Chronicle reporter and Texans beat writer John McClain believes this will be the last season for executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby, whose influence on the organization has waned since the team hired general manager Nick Caserio in 2020.
Former Texans head coach David Culley actually held out hope that Watson would still play for Houston in 2021 because of how well he fit in at practice and in meetings during his saga with the team.
From all accounts, new Jags head coach Doug Pederson is doing a good job changing the culture in Jacksonville, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence believes the Jaguars are “building something special.”
Jawann Taylor is also high on his new head coach. He calls Pederson “a great guy overall” and says the players “love him to death already.” There’s still a long way to go in this, but talk about a major 180 from Urban Meyer.
Jags Wire’s James Johnson lists four players who have the most momentum heading into training camp. Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne are among them.
Etienne is looking healthy ahead of 2022 after his rookie campaign was cut short due to a Lisfranc injury. And, with the uncertain status of fellow back James Robinson (Achilles), Etienne is in line to handle lead back duties, at least early on.