A.J. Terrell

South Notes: Texans, Titans, Bucs, Terrell

Bill O’Brien‘s final weeks with the Texans were trying, with the team going 0-4 and the former head coach-GM’s near-universally panned DeAndre Hopkins trade benefitting the Cardinals early. But the since-fired HC also was involved in some internal turmoil, with Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reporting O’Brien engaged in heated disputes with J.J. Watt and first-year defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver at a recent practice (Twitter link). O’Brien also verbally sparred with other staffers in his final weeks, per Wilson. That can be expected given the Texans’ start, but the Watt argument may have been a tipping point. The dispute with Watt — arguably the defining player in Texans history — resulted in O’Brien losing the team, in the view of one source (via ESPN.com’s Dianna Russini). The O’Brien-Watt argument took place days before the Texans’ loss to the Steelers.

Here is the latest from the South divisions, moving first to more Titans news:

  • At least three separate Titans offsite workouts took place last week over a multiday period, veteran NFL reporter Paul Kuharsky notes. A group that included Ryan Tannehill was spotted working out Sept. 30 at Montgomery Bell Academy, an area high school, while Kuharsky reports a different group — comprised of defensive backs — worked out at a park near Belmont University that day. Multiple workouts took place at the park near Belmont, per Kuharsky, who adds that Mike Vrabel said during an Oct. 1 Zoom call he told players not to conduct offsite workouts. The NFL is now investigating the Titans for this, and punishment for the coronavirus-stricken team could be severe. Tight end MyCole Pruitt, one of the Titans’ positive testers, was not at the offsite workouts, per Titaninsider.com’s Terry McCormick (on Twitter).
  • Prior to the Titans being barred from their headquarters, the NFL showed images of players and staffers walking around the team’s facility without masks, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. Aside from players during workouts, team personnel are required to wear masks inside team facilities. Twenty-three Titans players and staffers have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Good news for the Falcons on the virus front. First-round cornerback A.J. Terrell returned to practice this week, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets. Terrell missed Atlanta’s past two games after being placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list just before the Falcons’ Week 3 game.
  • For the sect of non-Chris Godwin fantasy managers who might have missed this (and the narrower swath of LeSean McCoy deep-league GMs), both Buccaneers will miss Thursday night’s game against the Bears. The Bucs declared Godwin and Shady out. This marks Godwin’s third missed game this season; he is battling a hamstring injury. Mike Evans, however, will play, per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). Evans was a game-time decision because of an ankle injury.
  • Eli Apple is set to miss more time. After successfully rehabbing one hamstring injury, the Panthers cornerback has encountered another. Matt Rhule said the recent acquisition pulled his other hamstring, per Joe Person of The Athletic (on Twitter). Apple missed Carolina’s first three games because of his initial hamstring injury. He has played just six snaps (all on special teams) this season.

Falcons CB A.J. Terrell Tests Positive For COVID-19

Going into Week 3, the NFL has done well to prevent the coronavirus from making a major impact on its season — personnel-wise, at least. But the Falcons will be down their first-round pick as a result of the virus.

The Falcons placed cornerback A.J. Terrell on the reserve/COVID list Saturday. Players do not have to test positive to land on the list, but Adam Schefter of ESPN.com says Terrell did indeed test positive on Friday (Twitter link). The team found out about the test results on Friday night, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, who adds that Terrell was not at the team’s walkthrough Saturday (Twitter link). Terrell practiced Friday.

Luckily, as Schefter and others reported on Sunday morning, all tests administered on Falcons players and coaches on Saturday came back negative, so the club’s Week 3 contest against the Bears will go forward as planned (Twitter link). For now, the league has avoided a major COVID-related crisis.

Terrell, however, must now go through the protocols in order to return to the team. He will miss Sunday’s game, joining fellow Falcon secondary starter Ricardo Allen in that regard. The Falcons also promoted cornerbacks Delrick Abrams Jr. and Tyler Hall on Saturday. They also elevated linebacker Edmond Robinson from their practice squad.

Atlanta used the No. 16 overall pick on Terrell this year and turned to him as a Day 1 starter. The Clemson alum has played 100% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps for a team that enters Sunday’s game ranking 28th in DVOA pass defense.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Sign A.J. Terrell, Wrap Draft Class

It took a little while, but the Falcons wrapped their entire draft class in one shot. Per a club announcement, all six of their rookies have officially signed: 

1-16: A.J. Terrell, CB (Clemson)
2-47: Marlon Davidson, DT (Auburn)
3-78: Matt Hennessy, C (Temple)
4-119: Mykal Walker, LB (Fresno State)
4-134: Jaylinn Hawkins, S (California)
7-228: Sterling Hofrichter, K (Syracuse)

Per the terms of his slot, Terrell will receive a four-year deal worth $14.31MM – fully guaranteed. The Clemson star put himself on the radar in 2018 with 53 tackles and three interceptions, including a pick six at the expense of Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in the 2019 title game. After an All-ACC season in 2019, Terrell had little reason to return for his final year of eligibility. Some saw him as a second-round type heading into the draft, but the Falcons nabbed him midway through the first, giving them some help in the wake of Desmond Trufant‘s departure.

Hennessy, a Temple product, agreed to terms with the Falcons on Monday. That selection brought disappointment in Denver – the Broncos wanted him at No. 79, but the Falcons struck first and nabbed him at No. 78.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.