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Indianapolis Colts Late August Scouting Report
Chris Rito

Hey there Colts’ fans! Here is my final preseason report on the Indianapolis Colts as they are on the cusp of starting the 2022 NFL regular season.


The final roster cuts will be made tomorrow and there will likely be few surprises. The Colts are expected to keep their third QB Sam Ehlinger after a superb preseason, as he surely would not make it through waivers to get onto the practice squad. Likely this means that the team will not keep all three of WR Dezmon Patmon, WR Michael Strachan and WR Keke Coutee on the active roster. Coutee is the likeliest cut tomorrow as he will get through waivers the easiest, even though he probably has more value as the othertwo big young receivers basically are the same player and offer no special teams value. The biggest move of any fantasy relevance occurred earlier in the week when the Colts waived potential fantasy dark horse PK Jake Verity and decided to continue on with PK Rodrigo Blankenship for the 2022 season. As Verity was released the same day that the team replaced the injured P Rigoberto Sanchez, I have to believe that they made the decision on kicker to try for some continuity when they were already needing to replace their placeholder.


The preseason finale was really a microcosm of the entire preseason: we really did not learn much about the team on offense or defense, and a whole lot of questions remain. On offense, it was clear that the addition of QB Matt Ryan has had a calming effect on the team as they simply seem to be in more control while they play and less reactive. The first team offense did not produce a whole lot of sparks in the preseason, only getting six first downs on seven possessions, and some of the biggest questions were never answered in the game play. For example, WR Parris Campbell and rookie WR Alec Pierce rarely got targeted in three games and they really need to have at least one (if not both) of these two guys step forward and have an impact. RB Nyheim Hines also barely saw the field and was not featured in the game play as he has been in the media and on the camp practice fields. TE Mo Alie-Cox definitely took nearly every snap and route with the starting unit -- including all 13 snaps with the first unit in the final game -- but also did not show any sort of impactful presence. All in all, a very vanilla performance that is often not too surprising in the preseason, from a good team protecting their game planning and assets. Maybe the clearest picture that we got from all of this is the crucial importance that RB Jonathan Taylor holds in the way the offense looks and functions.


You could say that the defense also was playing against vanilla offenses as well, and yet they really did not seem to be as active or successful as one might have thought – especially after a huge turnover-fest that they caused in the preseason opener against a talented and well-coached Bills squad. This past Saturday, Tom Brady had a ton of time and did seem to carve up the defense easily. It is worth saying though that the defense did stop Tom Brady on both 3rd down attempts of the opening drive (all three, if you include the questionable pass interference call on a sweet play by CB Stephon Gilmore), but the defense has not shown that usual spark. Perhaps the same can be said for the defense as I mentioned for the offense – it simply does not look like the same dangerous unit without LB Shaq Leonard on the field.


Among all the teams in the NFL, the Colts have been perhaps among the least injured thus far in camp and the preseason action. Obviously Leonard being out definitely puts a crimp in the fantasy value of the Colts defense, and certainly the fantasy owner loses a high-end IDP option. Last season the defensive unit did not suffer much when LB EJ Speed stepped in for Leonard, so hopefully this depth will again hold true of the Maniac is out for any length of time. The timetable for Leonard will be hinted at later today or tomorrow when the Colts decide whether or not to leave Leonard on the PUP list. Otherwise, the only starter not looking ready for week 1 is P Rigoberto Sanchez, who sadly tore his Achilles tendon last week while running sprints at the end of practice. Sanchez is not only one of the best directional punters in the NFL, he also served as the kickoff specialist and the placeholder for this highly-regarded special teams unit. I was very worried about the impact of this loss on a strong fantasy unit like the Colts, but newly-acquired P Matt Haack was superb in the final preseason game, averaging over 50 yards per kick on his six punts and angling them all beautifully to preclude returns. He also deftly snagged a high snap on his first PAT hold to preserve that point, as well as on several FG attempts. Had the breaking of the Araiza story and his subsequent release by the Bills happened just a couple days earlier, the Colts would still be looking for a punter as Haack would still be with Buffalo instead (although obviously that is a nonissue when compared to the gravity of that situation). The only other injuries of note are OC Ryan Kelly who missed the last game due to a positive COVID test (since cleared) and return specialist and CB Isaiah Rodgers in the concussion protocol


Alrighty then, that is all for now from the Crossroads of America. Unless something weird happens in the final roster cuts or some big injury happens in the next 8-9 days, I will be back early next week to preview the Colts 2022 opener as they travel to Houston to take on their division foe, the Texans. May your fantasy drafts go perfectly this week!



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