The Texans haven't been altogether surprised by DeMeco Ryans' quick progress during the offseason. The only surprise came in April when Ryans was still available in the second round of the draft.
Ryans, one of the most celebrated players -- on and off the field -- in Crimson Tide history, started 37 career games and ended his career ranked fifth on the all-time tackle list with 307 career stops.
Ryans is currently sitting behind Morlon Greenwood at outside linebacker and Wali Rainer in the middle. He is making big strides at both positions, however, and will be pushing for the starting jobs in training camp.
"We think he has a bright, bright future," defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. "And he's a young person that we feel can come in here and compete for a starting position on this team. But he's got to earn that spot. And that's what we're trying to get accomplished right now. We're trying to develop him into a starter. He brings youth, speed, and athletic ability to the position."
Housewives look for good bargains when shopping, especially when it's a buy one, get one free, two for the price of one.
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio took that approach during the off-season when, in a three-day span in mid-March, he signed free agent offensive tackles Mike Williams and Stockar McDougle.
Both are former first-round draft choices, but neither has lived up to that potential. Williams was originally the fourth overall pick of the 2002 draft by the Buffalo Bills. The 6-foot-6, 370-pounder has started 47 games in his four NFL seasons, but was only a starter in five games with the Bills last year.
McDougle, 29, saw even less time than that a year ago with Miami. He played in seven games in 2005 but only started twice after starting all 32 games at right tackle for the Detroit Lions the two previous seasons.
"We look at them as a two-for-one type of look," Del Rio said last week as the Jaguars took a week off from their organized team workouts. "We will often go after two guys in hopes of landing one. Things did not work out for Williams or the way Buffalo wanted them to, so now he gets another chance with us to get himself going, to get his weight in line and to be able to be a force with us.
"We made a small commitment in terms of what our risk is in going after him and giving him this opportunity."
The Jaguars put a similar investment in grabbing McDougle when the Dolphins released him. The seventh-year offensive tackle was originally the 20th overall selection in the first round of the 2000 draft by the Lions out of Oklahoma.
Del Rio wants to strengthen the offensive line. Quarterback Byron Leftwich was sacked 23 times in the 11 games he played in before suffering a fractured ankle against Arizona. Leftwich has missed a portion of each of the last two seasons after taking big hits from defensive linemen.
After the Steve McNair trade, the Titans have a bit more than $9.1 million of room under the salary cap and are feeling flush with freedom.
"With this move we will end up with more money than we've had over the last probably seven or eight years," GM Floyd Reese said. "We'll have money for injuries. We will have money to re-sign some of the 'core people.' We will have money to do the things that we have not been able to do for a number of years.
"It's been hard, and we all know that, but in one fell swoop here, we've gotten ourselves pretty healthy pretty quickly."
In regards to rumors that the Titans could use some of the savings towards signing free agent cornerback Ty Law, his agent Carl Poston said the Titans had not made an offer and he does not consider them a serious suitor.
Tennessee will carry $14.46 of dead money for McNair this season, then have him off the books for 2007. The Titans got a fourth rounder in exchange for McNair. Mistaken reporting was everywhere saying it was a conditional pick that could turn into a third-rounder. It cannot.
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