AFC Position Battles

After talking about the NFC position battles, we now move on the the AFC. Let’s take a look at the AFC, division by division, and let’s see what position battles will be taking place during camps and the preseason games.

AFC South 

Houston Texans – Andre Johnson is not getting younger, and the Texans know this. The Texans went out and drafted both Keyshawn Martin and Devier Posey. They hope that one of them can become the #2WR with a strong offseason. The Texans also have Kevin Walter who was the #2WR last year, as well as training camp legend Lestar Jean. I expect Walter to retain his job as the #2WR early in the year, and Jean to be the #3WR this year,

Indianapolis Colts – Long ago were the days of Manning and James leading the Colts to the playoffs. The Colts have now let Manning go and handed the key to Andrew Luck. The problem is the Colts are still looking for their lead back. The Colts have tried out both Donald Brown and Delone Carter in hopes of finding their lead back. They are still hoping one of them can stand out, and I expect Brown to come out of the preseason as the lead back come week 1.

Jacksonville Jaguars – To say Blaine Gabbert struggled last season would be an understatement. Granted he was a rookie, he seemed to be lost most of the season, often not sure what to do when in the pocket. The Jags will give Chad Henne the opportunity the chance to impress them, but I expect the Jags to stick with Gabbert, and hope he improves immensely over the course of the season. If Gabbert continues to struggle, Henne will get the chance to lead the Jags this season.

Tennessee Titans – The Titans have searched for the QB of the future for several years since McNair left Tennessee. It appears the Titans have found their guy with Jake Locker. Locker had a great career at Washington, and had a solid rookie year last year for the Titans. Both he and Matt Hasselbeck will fight for the starting job. Will the Titans start Hasselbeck, and switch to Locker in the middle of the year? I think so. Though I would not be shocked if Locker won the job outright in the preseason, and starts week 1.

AFC West

Denver Broncos – The Broncos made the biggest free-agent signing when they signed Peyton Manning from Indianapolis. Along with Manning, Denver brought in TE Jacob Tamme, as well as Joel Dreeesen from Houston. Both Tight Ends proved to be good weapons for their respective teams last season. I expect Tamme to be the #1TE, but Dreesen should be on the field plenty in 2 TE sets.

Kansas City Chiefs – The Cheifs have a great WR in Dwayne Bowe whom Cassel can throw the ball too when in trouble. However they are still looking to find their #2WR. The Cheifs signed Breaston last offseason, and drafted Jonathan Baldwin. These 2 should fight it out to be the starter week 1, and I expect Breaston to be the starter when it’s all said and done.

Oakland Raiders – The Raiders last year had a backup running back who let the coaches not worry about McFadden. Michael Bush proved to be a capable starter, and helped the Raiders almost as much as McFadden could have helped them. The Raiders let Bush walk this offseason and signed Mike Goodson. They also have Taiwan Jones who could play well in the new Zone Blocking Scheme. I expect Goodson to be McFadden’s backup, and if McFadden gets hurt this season, Goodson should do a decent job as the starter.

San Diego Chargers – The Chargers are another team that knows how to score points. However when failing to score TD’s they need a reliable kicker. Once one of the top kickers in the game, Nate Kaeding, will have some competition this offseason from Nick Novak. I expect Kaeding to be the kicker for the Chargers this season.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills – The Buffalo Bills are on the rise. They think they found their QB for the next several years, and have 2 pretty good RB’s in their system. Both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller will get the right to win RB job in the preseason, though Jackson should get the nod week 1. Jackson was dominant all season until an injury forced him to shut it down. Jackson should get the bulk of the carries, but the Bills will find ways to get Spiller on the field, whether at RB or at WR.

Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins went on a long search this offseason for their franchise QB. After failing to land both Peyton Manning, and Matt Flynn, the Dolphins signed QB David Garrard. Garrard will not be handed the job and will have to fight off last year’s starter Matt Moore, who played well at times last season. The Dolphins also drafted their (what they hope to be) franchise QB, Ryan Tannehill from Texas A&M. All 3 will battle it out for the starting job. I expect Moore to beat them out, but would not be surprised to see Tannehill end the season as the starter.

New England Patriots – The law firm (BenJarvus Green-Ellis) has left New England, and there are still questions on who will be the lead back. Both Ridley, and Vereen are logical candidates to replace the law firm. From early reports, Ridley seems to have the lead, but signs point to this being a RBBC (Running back by committee). I expect Ridley to start in this pass-heavy offense.

New York Jets – The New York Jets traded for Tim Tebow this offseason, as they look for more options on offense. Well this is clearly Sanchez’s job, so this is not a battle. However when Sanchez fails near the end zone, some kicker will need to kick it in. Folk was solid last season, but the Jets brought in Josh Brown to compete with him for the chance to be the kicker. I expect Folk to win this battle and be the kicker.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco has been looking for more targets every offseason. The Ravens got him another WR this offseason in Jacoby Jones. Flacco, will have plenty of WR’s to throw too but is also looking for a TE to be his safety blanket. Both Dennis Pitta, and Ed Dickson will fight for the right to be on the field week 1, and I expect Pitta to be the starter.

Cincinnati Bengals – The Bengals went out this offseason and got themselves Mohamed Sanu. Many expect Sanu to be the #2 WR, but expect strong competition from others in camp, and Armon Binns. I expect Sanu to play well this preseason and be the starter opposite A.J. Green.

Cleveland Browns – The Browns wanted a change at QB this offseason and were happy when Brandon Weeden fell to them in the bottom of the first round. Weeden is already 28, so he could get the job week 1. Last year’s starter, Colt McCoy, will try to outplay him in the preseason to get his job back. I expect the Browns to move on from McCoy, and start Weeden from the get-go.

Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers have some really good WR’s for Roethlisberger to throw too. However all eyes will be on Mike Wallace and his contract status this August. If Wallace holds out into the season, expect Emmanuel Sanders to step up big time in his presence. If Wallace signs a new contract or his tender, then Sanders will be held to a #3 role, but could steal catches from Wallace, and the newly extended, Antonio Brown.

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About Yoni Pollak

Currently at Yeshiva University in NYC, studying Business Management with hopes of working in professional sports. I was born and raised in Houston. I am a die hard Astros, Rockets, and Texans fan! Root for the Dynamo and Longhorns as well! You can follow me @YoniPollak

Posted on August 2, 2012, in AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Tennessee Titans, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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