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Training Camp Position Battles

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Chris Ballard stressed in his introductory press conference the need for competition on the roster. He also made it clear that the defense needed to get younger. So the Colts released D'Qwell Jackson, Patrick Robinson and Art Jones and let veterans Mike Adams, Erik Walden and Trent Cole walk in FA. Robert Mathis also retired. Robinson was the only one of this group not over 30 but will turn 30 this season.

 

The Colts roster boasts a potential for 9-10 new starters on defense and a few new starters on the offense. That was before the Colts announced 5 players would start training camp on the PUP list with 4 being potential starters (Brian Schwenke being the lone exclusion). That leaves a lot of room for competition.

 

QB - With Andrew Luck having off season shoulder surgery and just starting to throw a week ago the Colts were confident enough in Luck's potential recovery (shades of 2011 anyone?) to not attempt to sign any QB outside of UDFA Phillip Walker. So Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris will compete to be Luck's backup and start the preseason games. Tolzien has a leg up on Morris because he has NFL game action both with Green Bay and Indy. But it's Morris who has some people in the Indy media salivating over his preseason play last year that makes some wonder if he might not win the job outright.

HB4 - Frank Gore, Robert Turbin and Marlon Mack are ALMOST 100% locks to go into the season as the top 3 on the depth  chart. The fourth spot will belong to the back who can compliment the other three the best. Josh Ferguson returns from last year where he put up decent numbers but failed to impress on occasions. Troymaine Pope was added after Christine Michael was placed on IR. And rookie Dalton Crossan has been compared to Patriots WR Chris Hogan so his potential on the passing game could merit a PS assignment.

WR3 - a healthy Moncrief locks up WR2 across from TY Hilton. It is the battle between Kamar Aiken and Phillip Dorset that people will be keeping a close eye on. It's easy to believe that both will make the roster and due to size Dorset would make the ideal backup to Hilton and Aiken to Moncrief but going to 3 wides will be determined by the winner of the battle. 

WR5 - you can also call this KR/PR. If Kamar Aiken and Dorset both make the roster then there will likely only be room for 1 more WR and that's likely to be the Return Specialist. In 2015 that was Quan Bray, in 2016 while Bray was out with an injury that became Chester Roger's job. Now they will compete for the return job but it's  going to be the best receiver that gets it.

OL - Castonzo/Mewhort/Kelly/Haeg/Clark that is the penciled in starting OL as of now. The only player who really has a good chance to disrupt that is Denzell Good. He started some games at RG and RT last year and could win a job if someone underperforms. Some people thought that Brian Schwenke could be a possibility to start but his failure to make the field during OTAs and now being on the PUP list have him on the outside of any potential starting job. 

Now the question becomes, 'How many OL do you carry?' After the starting 5 and Good and Schwenke you have 4th rd pick Zach Banner, OT Jeremy Vujnovich, and former 49er draft pick Fahn Cooper. 

 

NT - Al Woods, David Parry and TY McGill

This is going to be an interesting competition because Jonathan Hankins and Henry Anderson are going to be moving around the line so the winner of this battle is just assured more playing time then the others. Parry started here the last 2 years but an offseason arrest (and "competition") might have motivated the addition of Woods. McGill is a fan favorite who might be competing for a roster spot but his play making ability gives him an advantage.

DE - Henry Anderson and Kendall Langford - Langford is going to start camp out on PUP so this isn't really a fair fight but he has shown up when healthy so he'll get playing time. 

DL - as with OL the question of how many DL do you keep. Hankins, Anderson, Woods, Langford, Hassan Ridgeway and Parry are the top of the heap. McGill, 4th rd pick Grover Stewart and Margus Hunt are bubble players. 

OLB - Sheard and Simon are penciled in as starters. 3rd rd pick Tarell Basham is locked in. Akeem Ayers, Barkevious Mingo, LaVar Edwards and Deiontrez Mount will compete for roster spots.

ILB - Sean Spence, Jon Bostic, Edwin Jackson, Antonio Morrison and Anthony Walker - 5 guys/2 jobs. Jon Bostic has been the most impressive of the 5, Sean Spence and Edwin Jackson are similar in style to each other and likely competing to start next to Bostic. Anthony Walker could steal playing time and leverage that for a starting spot later in the season or next year.  Morrison could be the odd man out because Luke Rhodes is a favorite of the coaches and provides a lot of help on special teams . 

CB2 - Rashaan Melvin and 2nd rd pick Quincy Wilson are the likely competitors for this job with Darryl Morris and Darius Butler having an outside shot. (Butler is not good on the outside so slot CB/S is his best position. 

CB depth - counting Vontae Davis and the 4 above the other competition comes from Christopher Milton, 5th rd Pick Nate Hairston and Tevin Mitchel

FS - Malik Hooker and Darius Butler - Butler will fill in for Hooker while he recovers from the tweaked hamstring suffered during his first conditioning drill. 

SS - Mattias Farley vs TJ Green - Farley has been taking first string snaps from OTAs on into camp while Clayton Geathers recovers from offseason neck surgery. Green was not very impressive last year and needs to have a huge turn around this year. (Geathers will miss at least the first 6 games of the season on PUP) 

S - Outside of the 4 mentioned above roster spots will be battled between Lee Hightower, Tyis Powell and Tyson Graham

P - Former Vikings Jeff Locke and UDFA K Rigoberto Sanchez - its probable that Sanchez is just here because Vinatieri isn't going to be overworked during the preseason. Vinatieri won't be responsible for KOs. Something to keep in mind, Pat McAfee was a kicker in college. 

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Just an hour before practice today Coach Pagano asked T.J. Green if he wanted to play corner. Green said yes. 

T. J. Green is now a cornerback and he got some first team reps in practice today #whatisgoingon

In regards to injuries from Sunday's game : LBs Sean Spence and Deiontrez Mount both left with hamstring injuries. Haven't heard updates on them so I expect it was hydration issues or minor injuries.

the following players who sat out Sunday with injuries were all at practice today:Marlon Mack, Joe Haeg, Jon Hankins, Jon Bostic, and Phillip Dorsett 

 

 

TE Erik Swoope had his knee scoped and is Week to Week  

it was also reported that the Colts had C/G Jeremy Zuttah in for a cup of coffee. 

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