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AFC South training camp preview: 3 things to watch

Around The League's *Training Camp Preview series will identify three things to watch for the teams in each division this summer.*

Houston Texans

  1. All eyes will be on No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney. The 6-foot-5 physical specimen will have to overcome two obstacles. The first is coming off hernia surgery that kept him out of some offseason work. The bigger hurdle to watch him clear is the move to outside linebacker in Romeo Crenel's defense. Every drop in coverage will be scrutinized heavily during the Texans' camp.
  1. It will be a story if Andre Johnson shows up to camp and an even bigger brouhaha if he holds out. With or without the Pro Bowl receiver at camp, keep an eye on DeAndre Hopkins. The Making the Leap candidate has admitted to struggling to pick up the offense as a rookie and expressed difficulty adjusting to Bill O'Brien's scheme. Hopkins needs to prove he's figured out the offense and can be a dynamic playmaker in Year 2.
  1. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be picked apart as the Texans' starting quarterback. With every errant throw questions about his ability to be a full-time starter will be barked loudly. Case Keenum's progress under O'Brien will be interesting to watch. The young quarterback's spry playmaking could put some heat on Fitzpatrick if the vet struggles.

Indianapolis Colts

  1. Trent Richardson's career is under siege. The former No. 3 overall pick in 2012 was anemic last season after the trade to Indy. The running back needs to prove those troubles were the product of the in-season swap. We'll look to see if he as a better understanding of the offense -- as he's claimed this offseason. He must run more confidently and hit holes instead of indecisively dancing at the line of scrimmage.
  1. The Colts' 2013 offensive line was overwhelmed with regularity. Watch the interior offensive line during camp. Left guard Donald Thomas missed most of the season with injuries but has shown flashes in limited time. Hugh Thornton had an unspectacular first year and will battle rookie Jack Mewhort at right guard. Center is a wildcard with Khaled Holmes taking over.
  1. How Chuck Pagano uses free-agent pickup Arthur Jones will be intriguing to analyze. Jones is expected to move all over the Colts' front. Replacing Robert Mathisduring his suspension will also be key. Can Bjoern Werner show enough improvement to help keep the Colts' D above water during the sackmaster's absence?

Jacksonville Jaguars

  1. Blake Bortles won't be the starter, but we want to see the top-drafted quarterback against live action. The 6-foot-5 Bortles has tools to be a starting NFL signal-caller but also has a ways to grow. Thus far, his offseason has been a wavy experience. Watching him at camp will give a good idea of when the Jags can hand over the operation to their future franchise quarterback.
  1. With Justin Blackmonout of the picture, the Jags' offense will lean on second-round rookiesMarqise Lee and Allen Robinson to supplement Cecil Shorts' outside speed. How quick will the rookie duo pick up the offense? Both Lee and Robinson missed time with injuries this offseason, which could slow the process. Even with the run-heavy style Jacksonville will employ, relying on rookie receivers is never a sturdy proposition.
  1. Coach Gus Bradley's new front -- thanks to a Seattle pipeline -- has been discussed a lot, but watch the young players in the back seven. Speedy rookie linebacker Telvan Smith showed flashes in non-padded practices, and improvement from a bevy of young defensive backs -- John Cyprien, Dwayne Gratz, Josh Evans and rookie Aaron Colvin -- could be the key to the Jags' upward mobility.

Tennessee Titans

  1. Jake Locker begins a pivotal preseason. With Charlie Whitehurst and rookie Zach Mettenberger behind him, Locker's not in a battle for the starting job -- it's just for his NFL career. Coming off another injury-plagued season, reports indicate Locker has displayed good progress thus far. He'll need to continue to show he can pick up Ken Whisenhunt's offense and improve his accuracy. Oh, and stay healthy.
  1. Moving from a 4-3 defense to Ray Horton's 3-4 scheme means a lot of adjustments to track. The Titans' best lineman, Jurrell Casey -- noticeably thinner -- is moving from the three-technique to defensive end. Derrick Morgan is moving to outside linebacker, where he could be a better playmaker. And unproven corner Blidi Wreh-Wilson will try to replace Alterraun Verner opposite Jason McCourty.
  1. With Chris Johnson out of the picture after six seasons, the Titans' run game will rely on a combo of Shonn Greene and rookie Bishop Sankey. The one to watch during training camp is Sankey, who must show he's as slippery against padded NFL players as he was in college and in gym shorts. Some have already crowned Sankey as the rookie to get the most touches. Camp will be our first legitimate glimpse of his potential.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" bangs the table for Cordarrelle Patterson and predicts which stars will soon descend.

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