Arian Foster listed as day-to-day with uncertain playing status for Week 1

There seems to be a lot of crazy things going on in the AFC South division lately with players going down with injuries and getting cut at a moment’s notice. Over the past two days, the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars have been all over the top headlines out of the NFL due to the fact that four-time NFL MVP quarterback Peyton Manning will miss Week 1 and end his streak at 227 consecutive games and the Jacksonville Jaguars have cut longtime starting quarterback David Garrard just a few days before the start of the NFL regular season.

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These two stories out of the AFC South division are devastating to say the least for the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the two other teams in the division are focusing on Week 1 and the race for the AFC South division title due to this recent news. This Sunday the Tennessee Titans will face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars and will be looking to take advantage of new starting quarterback Luke McCown much like the Houston Texans will be doing with the Indianapolis Colts and their new veteran starter Kerry Collins, but the Texans will also have some injury problems of their own.

Arian Foster

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Reportedly, the Houston Texans look like they will be without Pro Bowl running back Arian Foster to start the season. Foster suffered multiple hamstring injuries in training camp and the NFL preseason which has kept him day-to-day and given him an uncertain playing status for this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Obviously, the Houston Texans aren’t freaking out as much as the division rival Indianapolis Colts are about their recently injured superstar, but it could turn out to be a major concern moving forward. Before Arian Foster burst onto the scene last season, the Houston Texans were considered to be a team on the rise in the NFL with one of the best passing games in the league led by Pro Bowlers Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, but having the league’s leading rusher coming out of the backfield definitely makes this offense that much more dynamic and explosive.

Much like Peyton Manning, there has been no timetable set for Arian Foster’s return to the gridiron for the Houston Texans, but the consensus right now is that this team will be able to come out on top against the Indianapolis Colts this weekend with or without Arian Foster.

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With all these changes and injuries going on in the AFC South division right now, there is no telling what team will end up as the division winner at season’s end. The Houston Texans definitely seem to have the edge right now with a team that seems to get better and better every single season, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Tennessee Titans in the hunt when the regular season comes to a close.

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Jacksonville Jaguars cut quarterback David Garrard days before season opener

The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team in the NFL with a lot of talent offensively and have the potential to be a playoff team in the AFC Conference, but never seem to get past a certain point or make it into the postseason. With one of the best running backs in the league in Pro Bowler Maurice Jones-Drew and tight end Mercedes Lewis coming off a breakout season, this year was looking promising for the Jaguars as they might have been able to contend for the AFC South division title.

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Unfortunately, despite everything they had going for them, the team made a drastic decision just days before the season opener against the division rival Tennessee Titans by cutting longtime starting quarterback David Garrard. It has been well known over the past few years that Garrard is a good quarterback in this league, but nowhere near a great quarterback like two other quarterbacks within the AFC South division in four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts) and perennial Pro Bowler Matt Schaub (Houston Texans).

Jacksonville Jaguars cut quarterback, David Garrard

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With that being said, the Jacksonville Jaguars never really pictured David Garrard as a long-term quarterback, but rather the guy to fill in under center until they did find the right guy to take this team to the next level. Ironically enough, Garrard is coming off one his best seasons for the Jaguars as he had five of his best eight games of his career last season and led Jacksonville to many come-from-behind victories.

Obviously, this wasn’t enough to prove his doubters in the front office in Jacksonville wrong as they drafted rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the 2011 NFL draft and now have cut him loose just before the beginning of the NFL regular season. This move to let the starting quarterback go surprised everyone around the league and the majority of the Jaguars players as no one thought that either Luke McCown or Blaine Gabbert had a shot at the starting job heading into Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans.

Despite this coming as a complete surprise to NFL analysts and fans around the country, this may have been something brewing in Jacksonville for quite some time as Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver has put head coach Jack Del Rio on the hotseat by saying that it is playoffs or bust this season and the team stood to save $9 million dollars by cutting Garrard before the first week of the season.

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So in essence this move has turned out to be a purely financial and a way for Jack Del Rio to start off what could be his last season in Jacksonville with a new starting quarterback. With the Jaguars drafting Blaine Gabbert to be the future face of the franchise under center the obvious choice was that the rookie would be the starter for Week 1, but it appears that Del Rio would like to start the season with Luke McCown as his starter and slowly work in Blaine Gabbert.

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Tennessee Titans sign Chris Johnson to four-year contract extension

Ever since the NFL lockout ended, a lot of teams around the league have had to kick it into high gear with not much time to re-sign players, make trades and get their hands on talented free agents around the league. Along with trying to improve their squads by looking elsewhere around the NFL, there are quite a few teams in the league that also had to lockup their superstars to contract extensions before the NFL regular season gets underway.

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With some pretty big-names around the  NFL like Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts), Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals), Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers), Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles) and Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans) looking for contract extensions, their teams had a tough task ahead of them, but four out of the six players above were able to get the extensions they wanted and secure their futures with their current teams.

Running Back Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans.

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The one player that seemed to be more suborn than any other superstar in the league about a contract extension was Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson. With Johnson wanting to become the highest paid running back in the league and then some, the Titans were debating about possibly trading their three-time Pro Bowler instead of agreeing to his high priced contract demands.

Fortunately, despite all the demands and the enormous contract that Chris Johnson wanted, the Tennessee Titans eventually caved in and gave their superstar running back exactly what he wanted.

Reportedly, the Tennessee Titans have agreed to sign Chris Johnson to a four-year contract extension worth about $53 million dollars. That is about $13 million dollars per season which is about $5 million dollars more than the highest paid running back in the league which is Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams ($8 million per season).

Not only has Chris Johnson secured one of the biggest contracts in NFL history for a running back, but if somehow or someway things don’t work out between the Tennessee Titans and the three-time Pro Bowler over the next four years, the contract has $30 million guaranteed. That is an enormous amount of money to guarantee a player at the running back position. With running backs going down left and right during the NFL regular season, it is difficult to sign players at this position for an extended amount of time as they usually can’t play at a high level for a long time in the NFL.

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Even though this may be the case with running backs, the Tennessee Titans must have come to the conclusion that signing Chris Johnson to a long-term deal at the amount he wanted was the better move that trading him during the regular season.

Personally, I believe that Chris Johnson is one of the best running backs in the league and could help this team get back to the playoffs over the next couple of seasons, but I don’t believe he is worth what they paid.

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Michael Vick signs a lucrative six-year contract with the Eagles

During the NFL offseason, no team in the league did more to improve their team on both sides of the football than the Philadelphia Eagles. Not only were the Eagles already one of the most talented young teams in the league with arguably one of the best head coaches in the NFL calling the shots on the sidelines in Andy Reid, but they went out and signed multiple Pro Bowlers and re-signed superstar quarterback Michael Vick to a six-year contract extension.

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The number one priority for the Philadelphia Eagles after the NFL lockout ended was to re-sign Michael Vick, but in the middle of their negotiations they sign free agent Pro Bowlers like running back Ronnie Brown, wide receiver Steve Smith, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and quarterback Vince Young. These additions alone would have made this squad a perennial playoff team with Super Bowl aspirations, but after trading Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie they needed to sign Michael Vick for the long term.

Michael Vick in a locker room interview follow...

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Fortunately, the Philadelphia Eagles were able to lock up Michael Vick for the next six years with a contract worth about $100 million dollars. Along with making more than $16 million dollars a year for the next six seasons, Vick’s new contract also has $40 million guaranteed. This is a lucrative deal to say the least for a player that hasn’t been able to play a full 16 games in a season throughout his entire career in the NFL. Granted, Vick has had a few 15-game seasons, but his style of play can be very injury prone as he likes to scramble and beat opposing defenses with his feet.

Despite being prone to injuries with his style of play, the Philadelphia Eagles were convinced that Michael Vick is the future face of the franchise after being so successful last season and becoming a NFL MVP candidate. Unfortunately, the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady won the NFL MVP, but everyone knew that Michael Vick was officially back as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

This season the Philadelphia Eagles will look to get some good production out of Michael Vick for the second straight season as the starting quarterback under center. As an insurance policy, the Eagles went out and signed quarterback Vince Young to be the new backup for Michael Vick which means Philly is about as talented at the quarterback position as any team in the league.

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It remains to be seen whether or not Michael Vick can continue to play at an MVP caliber level with the Philadelphia Eagles, but Andy Reid and company are confident that he can do just that, especially with offensive weapons like DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, Steve Smith and Ronnie Brown at his disposal.

With the new contract signed and a bunch of talented players surrounding him this season, Michael Vick will be the player to watch once again this year as the Philadelphia Eagles have their sights set on making it to the Super Bowl.

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Oakland Raiders sign Terrell Pryor to four-year deal

The Oakland Raiders are one of the few NFL franchises that tend to make the wrong decision every single year in the NFL draft. The most recent draft bust in Oakland was troubled quarterback JaMarcus Russell. Regardless of how many chances this struggling NFL franchise gave to Russell, the Raiders never saw the franchise caliber quarterback that they thought they drafted out of LSU. As a result, the Raiders cut their losses before last season by making a trade with the Redskins for Jason Campbell and releasing JaMarcus Russell.

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Even though Jason Campbell is no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, his improved play under center was enough to lead the Oakland Raiders to their best record (8-8) in almost a decade. Despite just missing the playoffs and a chance to win the AFC West division title, the Oakland Raiders were headed in the right direction with a vastly improved offense both in the air and on the ground.

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 21:  Terrell Pryor #2...

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The Oakland Raiders may be a predominantly running football team with running backs Darren McFadden and Michael Bush leading the way out of the backfield, but their offense is just one or two players away from being just as dominant in the passing game. It is still uncertain whether or not Jason Campbell is the right man under center for the Oakland Raiders, but Al Davis and company did something to give them a bit of an insurance policy this season by drafting Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor in the NFL supplemental draft.

Although there are quite a few NFL analysts and critics that believe Terrell Pryor will never be able to play the quarterback position on the NFL level, the Oakland Raiders were willing to take a chance on another hybrid quarterback with a tremendous amount of talent. Due to his problems with Ohio State before he made himself eligible for the NFL supplemental draft, the league has suspended the rookie quarterback for the first five games of the season. This means that Pryor cannot participate in practice or games until after Week 5 of the upcoming NFL regular season.

Despite the suspension and negative press surrounding Terrell Pryor, the Oakland Raiders have rolled the dice once again and as of today have signed the rookie to a four-year contract. After drafting Pryor, the Raiders said that they would use him primarily as a wide receiver or maybe even a tight end, but now new head coach Hue Jackson has changed his stance by saying that after Week 5 he intends to use his rookie as a quarterback.

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This will almost certainly put a lot of pressure on current starting quarterback Jason Campbell in the first five weeks of the season. If Campbell struggles during this time period and the Raiders’ record reflects that struggle, Jackson will probably make the change at quarterback or at least give Pryor a shot to show what he can do under center.

Terrell Pryor will make his first appearance as a member of the Oakland Raiders this Monday night against the New Orleans Saints and should play in the following preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.

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