With the season less now than two weeks away, here are some random thoughts about some of the storylines in the AFC:
* The Houston Texans are doomed for another long season. The team went in a totally different direction and didn’t address the offseason needs for playmakers on offense. David Carr will continue to have to run for his life behind a weak offensive line, and the defense will not be able to keep them in games week after week.
* The Titans are not happy with Billy Volek, and still want to season Vince Young before throwing him into the fire. That’s exactly why the team is talking in depth to former Giants, Panthers and Raiders QB Kerry Collins. Collins is the best QB on the market, and could steer the ship for awhile in Tennessee until Young is ready.
* Tonight could be the most over hyped preseason game in NFL history as Carson Palmer makes his return for the Bengals against the Packers. Look for Palmer to play all of 1-2 series, and if he can take a hit or two, it will be worth it for the coaches and team to see how he responds. If he gets hurt, you can pack Marvin Lewis’ bags out of town for playing the teams franchise QB in a preseason game.
* The Browns have been encouraged by the returns of TE Kellen Winslow and WR Braylon Edwards. Combine that with the solid play of QB Charlie Frye, and Browns fans feel they have something in 2006 to look forward to. But, before you get ahead of yourselves, just remember you have Ross Tucker as your starting center, and Frye is still going to make his share of mistakes as a full-time signal caller.
* Look for the Dolphins to look at Browns RB Lee Suggs carefully as the preseason draws to a close. They are looking for a backup to Ronnie Brown, and Suggs has already been traded once this offseason, only to be returned to Cleveland after a failed physical. If Suggs can show he’s 100 percent against the Bears Thursday, the Dolphins may make an offer.
* One player that will benefit greatly if Deion Branch is not in New England is Wide out Bam Childress. I remember covering Childress in high school, and he was a player that you knew if given the chance can make some plays. Now with a full year under his belt and an offseason and preseason working with Tom Brady, he may get a chance to be a big part of the Pats offense.
* The Colts can quickly put last seasons collapse in the playoffs behind them with a quick start. This seasons schedule points to that, as the first five games before their bye have them playing at the Giants, home vs Houston, home vs Jacksonville, at the Jets and home vs Tennessee. Can you say 5-0, or at worst, 4-1?