2010 AFC South Training Camp Preview
Matt Schaub is entrenched as the starter and made it thru a full 16 games in 2009. Dan Orlovsky is his backup. RB is where it gets interesting as rookie Ben Tate was drafted to be the primary RB, but missed much of OTA’s with a hamstring injury. That left open the door for Arian Foster (who looked good down the stretch in 2009) to shine and now it will be a full blown competition between the 2 for the primary RB job. Steve Slaton is also in the mix, but even if he shows his neck injury has fully healed, it’s not likely he serves as anything more than the 3rd down RB. FB’s Vonta Leach and Justin Griffith are two of the better rushing/receiving FB’s in the game but neither will get enough touches to be fantasy relevant barring a slew of injuries. Andre Johnson is an elite WR and mans one of the starting positions. Kevin Walter will attempt to hold off Jacoby Jones for the other starting spot. David Anderson, Andre Davis, and rookie Dorrin Dickerson will battle it out for the remaining 2 spots. TE Owen Daniels may or may not be ready for the start of the regular season as he recovers from a torn ACL. If the knee holds up in training camp he’ll be the starter, but if there’s any problems with it, Joel Dreesen, James Casey, and rookie Garrett Graham will vie for the job. Last year’s rookie, Anthony Hill, is also rehabbing a torn ACL but his came later in the 2009 season than Daniels’ did and Hill’s expected to miss all of training camp and not be in the mix. Kicker will be an open competition between inconsistent veteran Kris Brown and free agent signee Neil Rackers. Rackers has a slight edge, but this will likely take all the way thru preseason for a winner to be declared.
Peyton Manning is one of the top 2 starting QB’s in the league. His backups though are spotty as Curtis Painter will vie with Tom Brandstater to be the backup. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown are the RB’s in a committee and unless one of them really outshines the other, or falls flat on their face, it will just be a matter of which name gets the start in a 60/40 split of the duties. Both are full purpose RB’s and will get little competition from Mike Hart for playing time. Hart will battle, but should hold off, Devin Moore, Javarris James, and Brandon James for the 3rd RB job. Reggie Wayne is the only WR guaranteed his starting spot. The healthy return of Anthony Gonzalez will mean it will be a 3 man competition between Gonzalez, Pierre Garcon, and Austin Collie. It’s probably the best top 4 WR combo in the league and whoever emerges as the starter opposite Wayne has value, as does whoever turns out to be the #3. Garcon is considered the favorite, but it will be an open competition and any of the 3 could win it. Dallas Clark is the best pass catching TE in the league and behind him are Tom Santi, rookie Brody Eldridge, and a couple of H-Backs (as the Colts use their TE depth for H-Back purposes instead of employing any FB’s) in Gijon Robinson and Jacob Tamme. Kicker Adam Vinatieri is aging, but is the favorite to beat out Brett Swenson for the job.
It would take a major flop by starting QB David Garrard and a really great training camp by Luke McCown for Garrard to not be the starter. But Garrard is on notice as he hasn’t produced as hoped. Maurice Jones-Drew proved he could be the feature RB in 2009 and is one of the top 3 RB’s in the league. Rookie Deji Karim is expected to compete with Rashard Jennings to be MJD’s top backup. The two are polar opposites with Jennings being a big pile driver and Karim being a smaller explosive RB with good pass catching abilities. FB Greg Jones has proven to have problems staying healthy and although he was once considered as a guy who could get a lot of carries a few years ago, he’s not on the radar for an expanded role. Mike Sims-Walker is entrenched as one starting WR with it being an open competition opposite him. Mike Thomas is considered the favorite, but will need to hold off Troy Williamson, Jarett Dillard, and Tiquan Underwood. There’s also a chance former Charger Kassim Osgood could figure into the mix. Marcedes Lewis is the starting TE, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations and could be pushed by second year TE Zach Miller. Ernest Wilford (a converted former WR) is also there but offers no upside. If Miller can make strides, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him beat out Lewis for the starting job. Josh Scobee is a lucky kicker as the Jaguars brought no one in to really compete with him, but his inconsistencies (he’s missed 16 of 53 FGA’s the last 2 seasons) could make the team rethink that if he doesn’t show improvement in training camp.
Vince Young has reclaimed the starting job at QB, pushing Kerry Collins back to being a backup. Collins is being paid a lot of money, but unless Chris Simms shows remarkable improvement, Collins should be safe as the top backup. Rookie Rusty Smith has wowed in OTA’s, but he is only going to be the 3rd QB at best. Chris Johnson is the starting RB and showed he can hold up despite heavy workload in 2009. How long he can hold up like that is in question for a smaller RB, but a 2,000+ yard rushing season in 2009 makes him one of the top RB’s in fantasy, if not the top. Underrated Javon Ringer is his backup and could get some decent playing time as the Titans may try to not press their luck with Johnson being relied on too heavily again. Alvin Pearman will attempt to hold off undrafted rookies LaGarrette Blount and Stafon Johnson for the #3 RB spot. The starting WR spots are supposedly locked in with Nate Washington and Justin Gage, but if Kenny Britt gets his head on right during training camp, or Lavelle Hawkins continues to impress like he did in OTA’s, or rookie Damian Williams exceeds all expectations, that could change. Those are the top 5 WR’s to beat and it would be a surprise if any of those 5 weren’t on the active roster over the other veterans, rookies, and camp bodies the Titans have. No doubting Britt has the biggest upside in 2010 after his surprising 2009 season, but he has been inconsistent and lazy in OTA’s. Bo Scaife is the starting TE, but he’s been unspectacular and he could be pushed by second year TE Jared Cook. Cook has a lot of upside, but hasn’t figured out how to make it happen on the field. Craig Stevens is a blocking TE and will likely beat out Sean Ryan for that job. Rob Bironas is one of the best kickers in the league and is in no danger of being beat out by anyone in training camp.