Posted: Friday May 12, 2006 4:37PM; Updated: Monday May 15, 2006 11:47PM
Quarterback Vince Young has begun learning the Titans' offense and his development could be the key to Tennessee's season.
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JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS Key question: Who will replace Jimmy Smith? We've been waiting for Reggie Williams show his natural talent, but something always seems to be wrong with the 2004 first-round pick. Our bet is that Matt Jones benefits the most from Smith's absence. This offseason should be huge for Jones' development, although it's also likely that QB Byron Leftwich will have even more trouble connecting with his wide receivers.
HOUSTON TEXANS Key question: How super is Mario? Poor Mario Williams. Yes, he's making a lot of money as the No. 1 overall pick, but critics are itching to tear him apart. The underlying subtext to the messy story of GM Charley Casserly resigning is that someone's gotta take the blame if the draft strategy backfires. Could they pin it on Casserly? Not likely, especially since he's gone. New coach Gary Kubiak or owner Bob McNair will probably end up taking the most heat if Williams isn't a sack machine from the second he steps onto the field.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS Key question: Edgerrin who? The Colts felt running back Edgerrin James was replaceable. Now they have to actually do it. A gambling Web site gave Colts running back Joseph Addai 5-1 odds to be Offensive Rookie of the Year. But Addai will have to really shine this offseason to beat out veteran Dominic Rhodes, who has proven he can get the job done.
TENNESSEE TITANS Key question: How ready is Vince? I'd have no problem paying money to watch Vince Young in minicamp. His development will be one of the season's most intriguing story lines. The word out of Nashville is positive, although coach Jeff Fisher appears to be in no hurry to move the former Texas star up the depth chart.
DENVER BRONCOS Key question: Who's going to catch the ball? News that Javon Walker had a second surgery on his knee last month has dampened the mile-high euphoria about the newly signed receiver. Now disgruntled wideout Ashley Lelie wants out of Denver, but the Broncos might not get much for him. Luckily, Rod Smith refuses to get old. Hopefully, Walker and the Broncos won't rush his rehab to have him on the field for opening week.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS Key question: Where's the Law? By all appearances, Ty Law seems like a bad investment. He's 32, looked very slow last year and wants a lot of money. That said, the Chiefs have to sign him right now. Law used craftiness and incredible instincts to get 10 picks with the Jets last season, and he'd be a big upgrade for the Chiefs, who enter minicamp with Patrick Surtain and several guys they can't count on. It'd also be huge if rookie Tamba Hali could help create a real pass rush.
OAKLAND RAIDERS Key question: How good is Brooks? The Raiders are one of the teams that opened themselves up to criticism by passing on Matt Leinart. Aaron Brooks, the likely starter, is much better than his terrible numbers in New Orleans indicate, but is he good enough to win games in a loaded division? More importantly, is he good enough to keep Randy Moss happy? Everything seemed positive after the first minicamp, but we're anxiously waiting for signs of trouble.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS Key question: Is Rivers ready? Any draft that produces one successful first-round quarterback is a good one. Two successful first-round QBs is great. Three is very rare. The 2004 draft already has a couple of success stories: Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. Can Philip Rivers be the third? It's a great situation for Rivers, who has thrown 30 passes in four career games. This offseason is key for the young QB to establish that he's in charge of this team.