Texans seem determined to hang onto Barwin

PFW staff
Texans seem determined to hang onto Barwin

• The Texans extended the contract of QB Matt Schaub after talks with OLB Connor Barwin hit a snag, the way we hear it. The Texans still plan on having Barwin under contract in 2013 — even if it means slapping the franchise tag on the up-and-coming pass rusher. Outside of Barwin, of the remaining Texans with expiring contracts at the end of the season, nickel corner Brice McCain and starting SS Glover Quin qualify as the two most important contributors to the current club, though it is far from assured either player will be back next season.

• After seeing how natural Andrew Luck looked and what great success he had running the no-huddle during the Colts’ final drive in Week Two (it was Luck’s first fourth-quarter game-winning drive), it is only natural to ask why the Colts wouldn’t use the two-minute offense more frequently. The answer directly relates to what the coaching staff identified in the offseason as one of its biggest challenges: trying not to confuse their young players by moving at the uniquely advanced pace of Luck. Luck is clearly ready, but an offensive line in flux because of injuries and a lack of continuity and a young WR corps simply are not.
• Jaguars boss man Shahid Khan has quickly become a “rock star owner” and the new face of the franchise, but we still don’t know what type of owner he will be. If the Jaguars don’t make any progress this season — or even worse, take a step back — will Khan stay the course or feel the need to rock the boat? Daily team observers agree that it will be fascinating to learn how his tendencies as an owner compare and contrast from what has made him such a successful international businessman.

• A lot of the talk in the spring and summer in Miami focused on the role FB-TE Charles Clay would play in the offense. Joe Philbin liked Clay’s versatility, and the second-year player had some big plays in the receiving game last season. Through two games, though, we haven’t seen it. Clay was on the field for 14 snaps in Week Two’s win over Oakland and had one catch on three targets. We hear the team has plays for him, but consistency has been an issue. For a team looking for weapons in the receiving game, Clay is key going forward.
• Jets OG Vlad Ducasse could not take the starting OG job from Matt Slauson in camp, but he is getting his reps — he was in at guard for 10 plays against Pittsburgh. We hear that Ducasse, who had a very good summer, is looking better at guard than tackle, and the team continues to be pleased with his development. The extra reps could also be the team prepping for the future, as Slauson’s contract is up after this season.

• We heard that WR Deion Branch wanted to return to the Patriots, and that it would have been a shock if he played anywhere else, so no one was surprised when the Pats brought him back after Aaron Hernandez’s injury. Greg Salas, who was acquired in a trade with the Rams, had been an option on the outside, where Branch plays, but he ended up getting cut and signed to the Pats’ practice squad.
• Keep an eye on Broncos S Quinton Carter, who is battling back to full health from a knee injury. We hear he could be a starter at some point later on in the season. Rahim Moore won the starting job, but Carter, who started 10 games last season, is bigger and could provide more help in pass coverage.

• The Ravens’ OLB play continues to be an area to watch as the club tries to fashion a solution to a potential real problem. This is a work-in-progress, with rookie Courtney Upshaw still developing and Albert McClellan and Paul Kruger perhaps best as a platoon at the other OLB spot, we’re told.