Which player, coach or front-office executive in the AFC South is on the hottest seat this season? Our roundtable reporters give their picks.
Sarah Barshop, Houston Texans reporter: In a division where coaches and general managers have recently been given longer-term extensions (Texans), are new hires (Colts and Titans) or have had recent success (Jaguars), there aren't too many people on the hot seat. A player who could be, though, is Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. Yes, the Jaguars signed the former first-round pick to a three-year, $54 million contract extension, but after next season just $10 million of the remaining deal is guaranteed. Bortles got the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game, but with the talented defense that Jacksonville has built, if Bortles doesn't have a good year he could have some competition for the starting spot next season.
Mike Wells, Indianapolis Colts reporter: At some point Houston's Bill O'Brien is going to have to prove he can be one of the top coaches in the AFC, otherwise he'll be stuck in the category with Bill Belichick's other former assistants who struggled as head coaches. O'Brien is looking at potentially one of his healthiest rosters with the return of Deshaun Watson and defensive end J.J. Watt. The Texans have the talent to go from worst in the division last season to pushing Jacksonville for the top spot. A disappointing season should cause the clock to start ticking on O'Brien.
Michael DiRocco, Jacksonville Jaguars reporter: Andrew Luck has thrown a regulation football just once in his return from January 2017 shoulder surgery. He's done the majority of his throwing with weighted balls and a college football. Yet we're supposed to expect that he'll be able to handle the normal workload of an NFL quarterback during training camp? And if he's severely limited in camp we're supposed to expect that Luck still will be ready to play in the season opener as he said he would? Not buying it yet. Let's see him go through a full practice first. And then do it again, and again, and again. Maybe Luck will be fine. Maybe he will be throwing darts in August. But right now there's no assurances that will happen. Luck makes the Colts a team that can compete for the playoffs. Without him, they're a five- or six-win team and a franchise that's clearly the worst in the division.
Cameron Wolfe, Tennessee Titans reporter: Bortles. The Jaguars are the defending AFC South champion. The biggest threat to their crown, outside of the other teams in the division, is the play of Bortles. Jacksonville has a championship defense, proven by its appearance in the AFC Championship Game last season, but the offense has question marks. The Jags signed Bortles to an extension this offseason, gambling that they will get the playoff version of him. If he craters in 2018, it could force the Jaguars to move on from Bortles in order to maximize their championship window.