Biggest concerns for afc south teams

By Anthony Wood

Which team in the AFC South can overcome their biggest weakness and win this division?

The NFL Preseason is coming to a close and each team’s final 53-man rosters will be known by this weekend. This preseason has thrown up a mixed bag of results for all four AFC South teams, with some coming out of it looking far stronger than others. With this in mind, here are the biggest weaknesses facing each team as they head into Week 1.

Indianapolis Colts

How could we look at any other position that quarterback? With Andrew Luck opting to retire last weekend, this throws one of the seemingly nailed down position groups into disarray. Jacoby Brisset, the incumbent starter, is far more capable than many give him credit for.

This team has one of the league’s premier offensive lines and a very strong receiver corps led by T.Y. Hilton. Despite losing Luck, they will be fine. Luck will be near impossible to replace, he is a generational talent.

However, Brissett is a solid starter in his place. He has experience in this system, Frank Reich is one of the best coaches in the league right now and has a long history of success not only coaching backup quarterbacks but acting as a backup quarterback.

The reason this is their biggest weakness is simply that despite Brissett’s abilities, this sudden loss marks an instant drop in quality at the position. I would still argue that they should be the favorites for the division title as they are such a well-rounded team, but a lot of this will depend on if Brissett can take the step up and become a true starter.

AFC South

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars have had a mixed preseason. Their defense shone at times and is absolutely loaded with talent all over, however, they were ultimately outscored over the four games 106-29. This shows the obvious weakness of this team, their inability to score.

The defense, should it come together and show its true potential, can only carry them so far. Outside of Dede Westbrook, this receiving corps is thin at best. Marquise Lee, D.J. Chark, Keelan Cole are all capable receivers, but none of whom are at the same level as Westbrook. And this is the biggest issue.

Their offense is unbalanced. Leonard Fournette can be one of the NFL’s best running backs when on his game, but can he stay both healthy and in the right frame of mind this season? Only time will tell given how he did in 2018.

Other than Westbrook and Fournette, none of their offensive weapons are on the same level as the backups on the rosters of their divisional rivals. If they can’t improve before Week 1, there is a real danger that they may lose out on another potentially strong year with this defense.

Tennessee Titans

The Titans finished a decent 2-2 this preseason, but there are some causes for concern. None more so than their inability to get to the opposing quarterback. Over the past four games, they managed just five sacks and 15 quarterback hits in total.

Their schedule includes the Colts, Saints, Chargers, and Chiefs to name but a few, all of whom have good offensive lines. If the Titans can’t improve their pass-rushing, they will have to rely more heavily on their offense, which given their uncertainty at the quarterback position, is a risk not worth taking.

Houston Texans

This is an obvious one; the offensive line. Their line allowed 62 sacks last year alone, they knew heading into 2019 that this was a unit that had to improve.

And yet, over the course of this preseason, they’ve lost their starting running back with an ACL injury due to poor blocking, their quarterbacks have been sacked 14 times, and hit a total of 21 times. Throw in the injuries to linemen Tytus Howard, Greg Mancz, Senio Kelemente, David Steinmetz, and Zach Fulton, for varying durations, and there is little reason to be optimistic that Deshaun Watson will be allowed to remain upright any more frequently than in 2018.

Unless they can trade Jadeveon Clowney for an upgrade at left tackle and perhaps find some bargains in the waiver wire, they could be in for a rough year.

Anthony Wood



Image credit: AP Photo/Michael Conroy