AFC Notes: Fitzpatrick, Jernigan, Pats, Titans

The Texans waited until the fourth round of last month’s draft to add a quarterback (Pittsburgh’s Tom Savage), so it appears that they will head into the 2014 season with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting signal-caller. As Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle writes, many members of the Texans coaching staff have previously worked with Fitzpatrick, whom the Texans signed to a two-year, $7.25MM deal. Houston’s defensive unit is expected to be the team’s strength, but new head coach Bill O’Brien is confident in Fitzpatrick to lead the offensive side of the ball. “It’s about decision-making,” said O’Brien. “Not forcing the ball and understanding that you have a really good back out of the backfield in [Arian] Foster that you can always check it down to. … We believe in our system. But at the end of the day, Ryan, he needs to go out there and make good decisions and make sure he is doing what is best for the team.”

More from around the AFC:

  • Ravens rookie Timmy Jernigan, who is competing for the left defensive end spot in Baltimore’s defense, is off to a good start, writes Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “…[H]e’s flashing a lot,” said offensive guard Kelechi Osemele. “He’s playing fast, especially for being a young guy, and being thrown in there with the [first-teamers] every now and then and it being a new system and everything. He’s coming along really well.”
  • The Ravens might be set at right tackle with Ricky Wagner and Ryan Jensen, per Clifton Brown of Osemele is probably going to stay at left guard, so barring a veteran addition, the two second-year players will battle it out for the starting position.
  • Patriots cornerback Darrelle Revis will be playing more man coverage after failing to get comfortable in the Buccaneers’ zone scheme last season, and his presence will allow safety Devin McCourty (who is engaged in extension talks) to roam the defensive backfield, according to’s Jeffri Chadiha.
  • Following Alterraun Verner‘s departure, the Titans will hold a competition between 2013 third-rounder Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Coty Sensabaugh, a 2012 fourth-round pick, for the starting cornerback position opposite Jason McCourty, reports the staff of the Daily News Journal.
  • Browns head coach Mike Pettine didn’t list a particular reason for releasing linebacker Quentin Groves, writes Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “…[W]hen you have situations like that with a veteran player you are better off doing it sooner rather than later to give them an opportunity to catch on somewhere else,” said Pettine. My guess is the Browns, who are stacked at outside linebacker with the likes of Paul Kruger, Jabaal Sheard, and Barkevious Mingo, simply weren’t keen on paying Groves’ $1MM base salary.
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