AFC South

2012-07-10 11:41:25
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports

Brown eyes starting job

Titans

Tennessee seems close to having a breakout season, so this is a team to watch during training camp. Much of their season might depend on running back Chris Johnson, who is coming off a disappointing season but is a back capable of carrying a team. If Johnson looks like the Chris Johnson of old, the Titans could be a team to challenge for a playoff spot. Johnson and his teammates will get started July 28 at Baptist Sports Park in Nashville, Tenn.

Position battle: The Titans have an open competition at quarterback. Veteran Matt Hasselbeck was the starter last season but Jake Locker made some plays when given a chance to play. Locker has more upside and is the future at the position, so you would think he has a very good chance to start from day one this season. Locker just brings more to the table. But don't discount Hasselbeck, who was able to hold off Locker last season.

Injury watch: Receiver Kenny Britt tore his ACL early last season and was on his way to recovery but needed a second cleanup surgery during the offseason. This sets his recovery timetable back a little. He could still be ready for the start of the season but it is no longer a sure thing. He might be slowed a little early in the year. The Titans aren't going to push their star receiver unless he is ready to go.

Colts

The Colts were a mess last season but overhauled much of the roster and coaching staff in a big rebuild for the team. Things could be a little bumpy along the way the next few seasons but the Colts seem to be moving in the right direction after a dreadful '11 season. Much of their turnaround will be dependent on first overall pick Andrew Luck. He is the new face of the franchise and will be closely scrutinized going forward. Indianapolis starts camp July 29 at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind.

Position battle: The Colts continue to look for that No. 1 back. Donald Brown played well down the stretch last year and seems the favorite to start but his career to date has been far from exciting. A new coaching regime could have other ideas in place for the coming season. Second-year back Delone Carter will be the top competition for Brown. Carter has the skill set to start in this league but needs to make a lot of strides at the position if he hopes to unseat Brown. Carter had his struggles during his rookie season.

Injury watch: Starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo is really the only injury of note to watch for the Colts. Castonzo had offseason foot surgery but should be ready for the start of the camp. He should be about full strength for the start of camp and season. He is a player to watch as he is the top protection for the new franchise quarterback.

Jaguars

The Jaguars endured some change this offseason, most notably at head coach, hiring Mike Mularkey. He brings a fresh approach to the offense and should give a boost to a team that really struggled throwing the ball last season. Mularkey has a lot of work to do to get this unit up to speed offensively, though, so that might be the biggest thing to watch this training camp for the Jaguars. Jacksonville gets camp started July 27 at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

Position battle: Jacksonville invested a lot in Blaine Gabbert but after his dismal rookie season, nothing is 100 percent certain with his future. He most likely will open the season as the starter but will be on a short leash. And if he really stumbles in camp and preseason action, we wouldn't totally discount Chad Henne opening the season as the No. 1 quarterback. This could be a make or break year for Gabbert, trying to prove to a new coaching staff he can start in this league.

Injury watch: Maurice Jones-Drew isn't hurt or coming off surgery but is a player to watch this training camp. You have to wonder when or if he'll break down at some point in the near future. Jones-Drew battled a few knee issues last season but didn't miss a game. He is a huge key to the offense and a big-time fantasy player with a lot of carries under his belt to date.

Texans

The Texans finally made the playoffs last season and will be looked on to take another step forward this season. This is a team on the rise, especially with the defense playing better. The defense has a huge hole to fill, though, with defensive end Mario Williams gone. This might be the biggest storyline of camp, seeing how the Texans try to fill the big loss of Williams. The Texans quest for a Super Bowl begins July 28 at the Texans Training Facility in Houston, Texas.

Position battle: The starting spot opposite Andre Johnson at receiver seems to be the most heated position battle in camp. Kevin Walter has manned the spot for several seasons but has some younger competition for the job. DeVier Posey and Lestar Jean are considered the top competition for the job. Posey projects as the long-term option but won't be handed the job. He has to beat out the other two if he hopes to start.

Injury watch: Quarterback Matt Schaub missed a big part of last season because of a foot injury. He had surgery on the injury and is on the road to recovery. He thinks he'll be about 100 percent for the start of camp but you can expect the Texans to ease the veteran into action as he gets ready for the start of the season. The Texans need Schaub healthy and playing at a high level if they hope to improve on last season.

If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at jeff@rtsports.com

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