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AFC South Analysis

 

The 2003 version of the AFC South was a picture of perfect parity.  Two teams finished at 12-4 and two finished at 5-11.  Ok, so maybe it wasn’t perfect parity but you get the point.  Tennessee and Indianapolis both made the playoffs with their corresponding Co-MVP Quarterback but both run into a brick wall in Foxboro, MA.  Jacksonville did a lot of shuffling during the season but couldn’t hit their stride while Houston showed up as the bad team that nobody wanted to play.  I believe this division will not have such a wide gap between the haves and have nots in 2004.

 

Houston Texans (2003 Record: 5-11)

The Texans offense is firing on all cylinders.  They’ve played another season together and found a buried treasure in Domanick Davis.  Their focus during the off-season has been building a defense that will keep them in the game.  Ranked near the bottom of the league in many defensive stats last year, the Texans used both of their 1st round picks to bring in a couple of defensive studs who will be asked to contribute immediately.  With a new and improved defense, look for the Texans offense to spend more time on the field and lift their 2004 record above the .500 mark.

 

Added

TE Mark Bruener (Pittsburgh)

DT Robaire Smith (Tennessee)

OT Todd Wade (Miami)

 

Departures

OLB Charlie Clemons (released)

LB Steve Foley (San Diego)

QB Drew Henson (Dallas)

DT Steve Martin (Minnesota)

TE Dave Moore (Tampa Bay)

QB Mike Quinn (Denver)

OT Greg Randall (San Francisco)

S Matt Stevens (released)

 

Draft

1.10 CB Dunta Robinson (S. Carolina)

1.27 DE Jason Babin (W. Michigan)

4.26 SS Glenn Earl (Notre Dame)

6.05 CB Vontez Duff (Notre Dame)

6.10 FS Jammal Lord (Nebraska)

6.35 OLB Charlie Anderson (Mississippi)

7.09 DE Raheem Orr (Rutgers)

7.10 WR Sloan Thomas (Texas)

7.47 QB B.J. Symons (Texas Tech)

 

Indianapolis Colts (2003 Record: 12-4, lost in Conference Championship 24-14)

The Colts were pretty happy with their performance in 2003.  So much so that the biggest transaction of their quiet off-season was the signing of Co-MVP QB Peyton Manning.  Granted the size of Manning’s deal pretty much prevented the Colts from doing anything else, but I think it was pretty important for them to keep him on the roster.  Rather than spend money on the free agent market, the Colts tried to bolster the defense through the draft.  Four of the first 5 draft picks went to defensive positions, with a Tight End thrown in help out Marcus Pollard.  The Colts are looking for 2004 to look a lot like 2003, with a slight adjustment to the ending.

 

Added

 

Lost

DE Chad Bratzke (released)

CB Walt Harris (Washington)

QB Brock Huard (released)

CB David Macklin (Arizona)

OT Adam Meadows (released)

RB Detron Smith (released)

LB Marcus Washington (Washington)

WR Terrence Wilkins (Miami)

 

Draft

2.12 SS Bob Sanders (Iowa)

3.05 TE Ben Hartsock (Ohio State)

3.06 OLB Gilbert Gardner (Purdue)

4.11 OLB Kendyll Pope (Florida State)

4.29 CB Jason David (Washington State)

5.09 OT Jake Scott (Idaho)

6.08 CB Von Hutchins (Mississippi)

6.28 QB Jim Sorgi (Wisconsin)

7.28 K David Kimball (Penn State)

 

Jacksonville Jaguars (2003 Record: 5-11)

Jacksonville, Jacksonville, Jacksonville.  After a fourth consecutive losing season, the Jags really shook things up during the off-season and are really enthusiastic about 2004.  Is the enthusiasm justified?  We should know in about 4 months.  DE Tony Brackens was released and then re-signed.  If Hugh Douglas can add to his dismal 2003 numbers and Byron Leftwich can build on an excellent first year effort, the Jags might just reverse that 2003 record.  Ahhh…enthusiasm.

 

Added

CB Juran Bolden (Atlanta)

K Jeff Chandler (San Francisco)

OL Mike Compton (New England)

LB Greg Favors (Carolina)

FS Deon Grant (Carolina)

LB Tommy Hendricks (Miami)

QB Doug Johnson (Atlanta)

T Ephraim Salaam (Denver)

CB Lewis Sanders (Cleveland)

CS Dewayne Washington (Pittsburgh)

TE Todd Yoder (Tampa Bay)

 

Lost

QB Mark Brunell (Washington)

CB Fernando Bryant (Detroit)

LB Danny Clark (Oakland)

CB Jason Craft (Jacksonville)

OT Leander Jordan (San Diego)

C Jamar Nesbit (New Orleans)

 

Draft

1.09 WR Reggie Williams (Washington)

2.07 ILB Drayl smith (Georgia Tech)

2.23 RB Greg Jones (Florida State)

3.23 ILB Jorge Cordova (Nevada)

4.22 DT Anthony Maddox (Delta State)

4.24 WR Ernest Wilford (Virginia Tech)

5.05 K Josh Scobee (Louisiana Tech)

5.18 CB Chris Thompson (Nicholls State)

5.27 OT Sean Bubin (Illinois)

7.48 DE Bobby McCray (Florida)

 

Tennessee Titans (2003 Record: 12-4, lost in division round 17-14)

The Titans had a great run in 2003.  The problem is that we’re still talking about “great runs”.  Every summer, we talk about the Titans nucleus being a year older.  Do they have enough to make another run?  Can Co-MVP Steve McNair put the team on his injured shoulders again?  Will he have to?  They lost Jevon Kearse, Robaire Smith, Justin McCareins and Frank Wycheck.  In addition, they lost veteran retirees Anderson and O’Donnell, both of whom contributed significantly last year.  They will likely not have Eddie George (who was not released as of the writing of this article).  The Titans have a ton of depth, though.  Carlos Hall should fill in for Kearse, Drew Bennett was coming along just like McCareins, Erron Kinney will get the starting TE position he deserves.  Will the Titans keep on rolling in 2004 and make another run at the Super Bowl?  You can bet on it.

 

Added

 

Lost

K Gary Anderson (retired)

DE Jevon Kearse (Philadelphia)

WR Justin McCareins (NY Jets)

QB Neil O’Donnell (retired)

DT Robaire Smith (Houston)

TE Frank Wycheck (retired)

RB Eddie George (?????)

 

Draft

2.08 TE Ben Troupe (Florida)

2.10 DE Travis LaBoy (Hawaii)

2.25 DE Antwan Odom (Alabama)

3.08 DT Randy Starks (Maryland)

3.29 CB Rich Gardner (Penn State)

4.07 DE Bo Schobel (Texas Christian)

4.28 CB Michael Waddell (N. Carolina)

5.06 G Jacob Bell (Miami (Ohio))

5.33 OLB Robert Reynolds (Ohio State)

6.26 FB Troy Fleming (Tennessee)

7.29 DT Jared Clauss (Iowa)

7.38 C Eugene Amano (SE Missouri State)

7.40 FB Sean McHugh (Penn State)

 

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