AFC South minicamp preview: Surprises ahead?

Scott Halleran

The AFC South is shaping up to be an interesting division in 2013, and teams will begin OTAs soon.

The Houston Texans are coming off back-to-back AFC South division titles, but they will face stiff competition to make it three straight division championships.

The Indianapolis Colts nearly caught the Texans for the division lead late in the season and were among the most active teams in free agency. The Tennessee Titans also made a splash in free agency and the draft, while the Jacksonville Jaguars should improve under first-year head coach Gus Bradley.

The teams won't battle for the division on the field for a few months, but official offseason workouts begin soon with OTAs and minicamps. Here is a closer look at the offseason schedule for the four AFC South teams.

Houston Texans

OTA: May 20-21, May 23, May 28-30, June 3-6

Rookie Minicamp: May 10-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 11-13

The Texans had a relatively quiet offseason and will open the season with largely the same roster from last season. Ed Reed will take over as the starting free safety, but a hip injury is expected to keep him out of offseason workouts and possibly the start of training camp.

The Texans have a veteran roster, although they did add some youth to the team in the NFL Draft. First round-pick DeAndre Hopkins will begin working into the offense during OTAs, while second-round pick D.J. Swearinger could play a significant role on defense.

With proven players returning at most of the key positions, young players attempting to play their way into a role will be the focus of Houston's offseason. Rookie Sam Montgomery could prove to be a steal, but it will be interesting to see how he takes to linebacker during workouts after spending his college career at defensive end.

More Texans coverage at Battle Red Blog.

Indianapolis Colts

OTA: May 20-22, May 28-30, June 3-6

Rookie Minicamp: May 10-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 11-13

Coming off a surprise 11-5 season, the Colts will still have plenty of work to do this offseason. Indianapolis exceeded expectations last season, thanks in part to major contributions from their young players. Those players, headlined by quarterback Andrew Luck, will continue to develop this season, beginning in offseason workouts.

The Colts were also one of the most active teams in free agency, giving Indianapolis a number of new faces to mesh on the roster. Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas will begin fitting in on the offensive line. On defense, the Colts will begin to break in a new secondary led by safety LaRon Landry and cornerback Greg Toler.

Some thought the Colts overachieved last season and a solid offseason would be a first step to avoiding a setback.

For more Colts coverage, head over to Stampede Blue.

Jacksonville Jaguars

OTA: May 13-15, May 20-21, May 23, June 4-7

Rookie Minicamp: May 3-5

Mandatory Minicamp: June 11-13

Offseason activities will look a little different in Jacksonville this season as a new coaching staff and front office takes over the reins. First-year head coach Gus Bradley will begin implementing his defensive system as the Jaguars transition away from the brief Mike Mularkey era.

The Jaguars are the lone team in the division with uncertainity at quarterback, as Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne vie for the starting job. Gabbert will begin his third NFL season under his third different head coach. It wouldn't be a surprise to see he and Henne continue their quarterback competition into training camp, but one player could begin to establish himself as the favorite during workouts.

Jacksonville has already completed rookie minicamp, but Luke Joeckel and others will work out with the veterans for the first time beginning with the first OTA session on May 13.

Complete Jaguars coverage can be found at Big Cat Country.

Tennessee Titans

OTA: May 29-31, June 3-4, June 6, June 10-11, June 13-14

Rookie Minicamp: May 10-12

Mandatory Minicamp: June 18-20

After a disappointing 6-10 season, the Titans have a re-tooled roster and will begin offseason workouts with some new faces at key positions. Matt Hasselbeck moved across the division to Indianapolis, with Ryan Fitzpatrick now backing up Jake Locker. Locker will play behind a relatively new offensive line as big free agent acquisition Andy Levitre and No. 10 overall pick Chance Warmack take over the interior of the offensive line.

Bernard Pollard, George Wilson, Shonn Greene and Ropati Pitoitua and others will also take part in their first official team workouts in Tennessee. Locker entered last season as the starter, but this will be his first offseason without Hasselbeck on the roster. How he reacts and what kind of leadership role he takes on could go a long way to determining what kind of season the Titans will have next season.

For more on the Titans, head over to Music City Miracles.

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