Here are a number of whispers we've been hearing from around the AFC South:
• The way we hear it, a big part of Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez's frustration with his reserve role in the offense is due to the fact that when WR Pierre Garcon was injured during training camp, WR Austin Collie got most of the reps working on the outside. Collie really came on strong, leaving Gonzalez to feel as though he never got a fair chance.
• An evaluator speaking on condition of anonymity told PFW that RB Derrick Ward, signed by the Texans before the start of the season, runs physically, but his speed and conditioning are concerns. The Buccaneers released Ward in September. Ward, the Texans' third-string back, figures to see regular playing time on offense only if Arian Foster or Steve Slaton is unavailable, the way we hear it.
• The Jaguars rolled the dice when they cut veteran OG Kynan Forney and named OG Justin Smiley the starting left guard. The club is gambling on Smiley's chronically injured shoulder holding up this season.
• The Titans claimed LBs Tim Shaw (ex-Bears) and Patrick Bailey (ex-Steelers) off waivers in September to bolster their depth at a position that will be without starting OLB Gerald McRath (suspension) for four games and OLB David Thornton (PUP list) for at least six games. Also, Shaw and Bailey are very good special-teams players, and we hear they are expected to be bigger assets to the coverage units than 2008 fourth-round pick Stanford Keglar, who was waived as Shaw and Bailey were claimed.
• One surprising omission from the Colts' 53-man roster was DE John Chick. Team president Bill Polian pretty much said during camp that Chick would make the team, but Chick didn't produce enough throughout the preseason, especially given all of his chances with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis not playing a lot.
• DT Fili Moala's off-field problems — the second-year player was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated Sept. 3 in downtown Indianapolis — are obviously not what the Colts wanted after his strong showing this offseason. However, Moala seems to be a good kid who just used poor judgment; he's never had any other brushes with the law.
• Former Jaguars nickel back Scott Starks was cut in part because he is just too small (5-9, 178) to match up against some of the bigger tight ends in the division. Jacksonville needs someone to step up and solidify the position with the veteran Starks out of the picture.
• Word is Colts DT Mitch King made the team because of his versatility more than anything. We're still not sure if he will be used as a defensive tackle or fullback.
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