AFC South Weekly Recap: What Did We Learn This Week?

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistJune 1, 2012

Even the Commish wants one.
Even the Commish wants one.Al Bello/Getty Images

It's been a short week this week, but there's still plenty to learn about the AFC South.

Here's what we learned about the Texans, Titans, Jaguars and Colts, and more importantly, what it means.


Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck Have Hot-Selling Jerseys

Every year this story amuses me because people always miss the trend. The reason why most all the top selling jerseys feature players with new teams is because they are, in fact, new. 

The big seller every offseason is rarely Tom Brady. It never used to be Peyton Manning. The reason is because everyone already had those jerseys. Every Saints fan owns a Drew Brees. There's a whole state's worth of Aaron Rodgers hanging in closest.

This list never means anything more than, "Hey! Look who is on a new team!"


Dwight Jones Quit the Texans

I don't want to beat this story down any more than I already have. I bring it up to illustrate a larger point, and that is that wideouts are a big story for the Texans.

Steph Stradley wrote a rebuttal of sorts arguing that they aren't nearly the issue many think they are. We disagree about many things, but at the fundamental level the difference is whether you choose to be hopeful or skeptical about unproven players.

When it comes to the Texans' project players and UDFA receivers, I prefer skepticism. There is nothing I hate worse than unfair expectations about players. Jacoby Jones is a good example. He was the quintessential third-round pick. The Texans got very solid value out of him.

Still, Texans fans railed against him constantly for being an average player. The problem was not Jones, it was with their expectations. Average players are what you get in the third round if you are doing well.

Texans fans have a lot of pie-in-the-sky dreams about how well their receiving corps is going to work out. They may be right. Lestar Jean might be a star in the making.

It's just not probable.

It's much more fair to players to doubt them, then praise the ones who succeed than to irrationally expect greatness and be upset when it never manifests.


Blaine Gabbert Feels More Comfortable

I could have predicted these stories a month ago. "Gabbert is improving" stories are going to be rampant from now until preseason games start. 

They might be true. They might not be true. They will be written either way.

So much of OTA information is filtered through the team that whenever there is a young player on the spot, the team will try to pump them up in the offseason in the press. The Jaguars still need to sell tickets, so don't expect any douse-the-fire stories on Gabbert.

I'm not saying he's not improving. He may be a thousand times better than he was a few months ago. All I'm saying is that you can't take the reports seriously until he plays in some games.

All these stories mean is that the Jaguars are a smart team that is staying on message. There's nothing wrong with that.


The Titans Quarterback Battle Affects Other Players

I thought this was a great nugget today about how much pressure is on the wideouts because of the quarterback competition in Tennessee.

I don't want to overplay the issue, but instability is bad for teams. The Titans have a lot of motivation to make a decision expeditiously on who will play quarterback for them next year.

The longer they waffle between Jake Locker and Matt Hasselbeck, the harder it will be for the team to gel.

Where the fine line between open competition and outright chaos is, I don't know. What I do know is that everyone will relax once a decision has been made.