AFC South Training Camp Update

As training camps progress, the Indianapolis Colts hope an improved defense will compliment their explosive offense.

AFC South Division
In Houston, the story following the unfortunate retirement of offensive tackle Tony Boselli has been one of injury, more injuries, and many questions left to answer as training camp progresses. Coming off a 2002 season in which the Texans sported one of the worst offensive lines in the game, the 2003 season was expected to be a better situation. From the looks of training camp thus far, it could be another long season for second-year quarterback David Carr and the Texans offense. Donning a stable of linemen, many which are free agent pickups to have enough able bodies in camp, the Texans offense has struggled and David Carr has not impressed. Supplemental draftee, running back Tony Hollings has been limited to the number of reps and practices that he participates in, but has impressed the coaching staff with his speed and quickness, though the rookie running back has struggled in his pass protection responsibilities. The defensive side of the ball is where the Texans will thrive, behind a solid defensive secondary, a better than average group of linebackers, and a rookie linebacker named Antwan Peek that is a perfect fit for the Dom Capers defensive scheme. Peek has had a tremendous training camp and has shown the ability to get to the quarterback coming from the outside linebacker or standup pass rushing spot..........In Indianapolis, the Colts are placing a serious emphasis on improving their defense with youth and speed, one problem has been through the early days of training camp is that the rookies brought in haven't made much of an impact. Not to say that they won't, but the young Colts have struggled due to injury, holdout, and not knowing the scheme. Second-round safety Michael Doss was a late arrival to camp and has shown some flashes of brilliance and is improving daily. Cornerback Donald Strickland has been nursing a groin injury and is expected back no earlier than late in the week, but showed promise in the teams mini-camp and rookie orientation. Led by linebacker Rob Morris, the Colts defensive front-seven has performed well in camp, the problem lies in the defensive backfield where David Mackin has struggled and the rookies are unsettled. The offense in Indianapolis is never an issue, especially with weapons like Peyton Manning, a healthy Edgerrin James, and wide receiver Marvin Harrison..........In Jacksonville, the Jaguars continue to move forward without first-round draft selection Byron Leftwich. Leftwich, the quarterback of the future in Jacksonville is quickly ensuring that title, the future with his prolonged holdout, without a resolution in sight. In light of the situation, veteran quarterback Mark Brunell has had a very strong training camp and it is unlikely that Leftwich would have beaten him out for the starting nod. Surprisingly, the Jaguars offensive line has been solid in camp practices, led by Leander Jordan and rookie Vince Manuwai. Running back Fred Taylor was having a solid camp prior to suffering a bone bruise, in his absence rookie LaBrandon Toefield has grasped the opportunity and the coaching staff has been surprised to how well he has picked up the assignments. Defensive lineman Marcus Stroud and rookie Brandon Green have had solid camps thus far for a Jaguars defensive unit that is expected to be tough and physical, much like new head coach and ex-linebacker Jack Del Rio..........In Tennessee, the Titans may have created an issue for themselves before they even stepped on the field for training camp. Lingering thoughts remain prevalent in Tennessee regarding the release of starting middle linebacker Randall Godfrey. It hasn't helped the situation that the players in competition for the role have not done anything to prove they are ready for the task, especially coming off a less that note-worthy performance against the Miami Dolphins in a team scrimmage this past weekend. Brad Kassell may have shown the most promise of the three contestants, Frank Chamberlain appears to be more ready to play at this time and Rocky Calmus is destined to a backup role, especially now that he is sidelined with a groin injury. Rookie cornerback Andre Woolfolk has had a good camp and is expected to start at cornerback for the team opposite Samari Rolle. Defensive end Jevon Kearse has regained his pass-rushing form coming off injury in the 2002 season. The process has been slow for Kearse due to his having to learn to play with a steel plate in his shoe to provide support to his twice-repaired foot.

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