HomeFootball DirtUpdates on AFC South: Taylor injury, Rankins signing, Colts news

Updates on AFC South: Taylor injury, Rankins signing, Colts news

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The Jaguars are retooling their defensive staff after their late-season collapse knocked them out of playoff position, but Jacksonville’s offense submitted a clunky campaign as well. Trevor Lawrence did not take the step forward many expected, battling injuries and producing an inconsistent third season. After finishing 10th in points and yards in 2022, the Jags ranked 13th in both categories (and 18th in DVOA) this season. As Doug Pederson fired most of his defensive assistants, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes some late-season buzz pointed to GM Trent Baalke taking a hard look into the state of the offense.

This effort is believed to have centered around OC Press Taylor, whom Pederson gave play-calling duties before the season. Pederson called plays in 2022. Pederson displayed loyalty to Taylor in Philadelphia, and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was not onboard with the prospect of Press Taylor — the younger brother of Bengals HC Zac Taylor — staying on as Eagles QBs coach and pass-game coordinator for a second season back in 2021. (The Eagles did not employ an OC that year, making Taylor Pederson’s top lieutenant on that side of the ball.) Nearly two weeks after the Jags’ season ended, Taylor remains on track to be the Jags’ OC for a third year. The coming season will be pivotal for the Jags, who may want to see a true leap from Lawrence before extending him.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Sheldon Rankins has now played out his one-year Texans contract, though the team has exclusive negotiating rights with the veteran defensive tackle until the legal tampering period begins in March. Rankins, however, said (via KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson) he would prefer to re-sign with the Texans rather than leaving in free agency. Working as a full-time starter, Rankins played well in Houston. The former Saints and Jets D-tackle registered six sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown this season. The Texans have part of their DT equation solved, having given Maliek Collins another contract (two years, $23MM) last summer.
  • Kenny Moore‘s Colts contract became an issue back in 2022. With the NFL still not placing considerable value on slot cornerbacks financially — at least, not compared to high-end boundary cover men — Moore expressed frustration about the four-year, $33.3MM deal he signed back in 2019. Moore has now played out his deal and is on track to be a first-time free agent. One of the NFL’s better slot corners over the course of his career, Moore became vital to a Colts team that did not feature consistent perimeter coverage this season. While the prospect of testing the market would seem appealing, Moore said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson) he wants to stay in Indianapolis. After an injury-plagued 2022, Moore returned to form this season. With Moore intercepting three passes and returning two for TDs, Pro Football Focus ranked the 28-year-old defender 17th at the position.
  • Ryan Kelly attempted to set the record straight recently, indicating (via Fox 59’s Mike Chappell) he is not considering retirement. The eight-year Colts center finished up his age-30 season, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ No. 8 overall center, and is under contract for 2024. The Colts shopped Kelly this past offseason. The final year of the Pro Bowler’s contract includes a nonguaranteed $11.4MM base salary.

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