AFC South Notes: Skoronski, Colts, Hughes

The Titans’ offensive line was shorthanded for their Week 2 contest against the Chargers due to Peter Skoronski‘s absence. The first-round rookie was declared out in advance of Sunday’s game, but the reason why has since been revealed.

Skoronski underwent an appendectomy, as noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. That will lead to an absence of at least one week given his recovery including the team’s game today, though further missed games could ensue as well. The 22-year-old served as the Titans’ left guard starter in Week 1, confirming the team’s plans of using him on the inside to begin his NFL career. The No. 11 pick worked as a tackle in college, and his play at Northwestern has led to high expectations in the short- and long-term future for him on a Titans O-line which saw a number of changes this offseason.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC South:

  • The Colts made an early commitment to Anthony Richardson as their starter during his rookie season, naming him the No. 1 after a single preseason game. That move came as little surprise given owner Jim Irsay‘s remarks hinting he would see the field early and often, along with the work the team’s new coaching staff put in during the spring and summer to tailor the offense to his skillset. As SI’s Albert Breer notes, head coach Shane Steichen and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter quickly moved on from the split first-team reps approach in training camp to give full attention to Richardson (the No. 4 pick in the draft) as the focal point of the offense in part due to the limited amount of reps modern camps give teams in developing young players compared to years past.
  • Indianapolis saw Zack Moss return to the backfield on Sunday, but the team’s run game was still shorthanded with Jonathan Taylor on the PUP list and Evan Hull on injured reserve. The latter is sidelined until at least Week 6, but a lengthier absence could be in store. In spite of that, the Colts do expect Hull to be back in the fold at some point in 2023, as noted by Joel A Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. With Taylor’s future still up in the air, a return to at least a depth role would be a welcomed sight in Hull’s case.
  • In need of some in-season financial wiggle room, the Texans recently restructured the contract of defensive end Jerry Hughes, ESPN’s Field Yates notes. The 35-year-old is in the final season of his two-year Houston deal, and the move created $2.14MM in cap space. Hughes’ 2023 cap hit now sits at just over $4.1MM, though the team is also scheduled to have a cap charge of over $2MM next season due to the void years present on his pact. The Texans currently have just under $4MM in cap space to work with.
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