Indianapolis Colts Early August Scouting Report
Hey there Colts’ fans! Here are some thoughts as the Colts prepare to kick off the exhibition season this weekend by hosting the Detroit Lions:
The Lions and Colts got ready for the preseason opener by holding a pair of joint practices this week at the Colts Complex. As the players and coaches always say, it is nice to hit someone else for a change. In the Colts’ case, this year the practices have reportedly been a little more physical and chippy than usual, so they definitely will welcome a new face to smack around LOL. As you might guess, seeing some other opposing personnel and plays makes the team and individuals react rather than predict like they have been due to familiarity. While it is hard to gauge much from preseason play -- especially with so many significant contributors being held out of the action – the play of the O-line against an above-average Lions’ front four will be key to watch in the opening series this weekend.
Of course the news of interest is on the offensive side of the ball where QB Andrew Luck has still yet to take a snap or make a meaningful throw in practice. The official line from the team is always "We don’t care about preseason; we are getting him ready for the Rams in week 1," for the first time this past week the GM Chris Ballard implied that Luck might actually not play in the season opener. Despite the subterfuge, I still believe that Luck is anticipated to be under center in that game for the sole reason that they have not yet signed an able veteran quarterback to fill a spot on the roster. Besides the fact that QB Scott Tolzien is not the answer to winning a few Luckless games….if Luck might be out they need to protect Tolzien for week 1 as well, so exposing him in preseason games is a huge risk. I suspect Luck’s absence is only keeping him fresher and allowing you to get a huge bargain with Luck in your fantasy draft. Honestly, the bigger concern to me is the minor shoulder injury to WR Donte Moncrief, since he missed so much time and effectiveness last year due to an injury in that same shoulder. He missed four days of work but returned this week to limited action, and surely will sit out Sunday’s opener. The rest of the receivers are in a battle for the #3 slot with WR Chester Rogers currently holding he edge but former 1st rounder WR Philip Dorsett finally coming on and veteran free agent signee WR Kamar Aiken making some noise as well. This looks to be a deep unit with some varied skill sets.
On the defensive side of the ball, the team released expected starting DL Kendal Langford this week after failing a physical. He injured his knee and missed the last half of 2016, missing a game for injury for the first time in his 8 year career. It appears that his knee is still not up to par, and he parted ways with the team. This could be a big blow as the biggest free agent signing on defense was former Giant DT Jonathan Hankins, but Hankins got his ankle rolled up this week as well and missed some time. Hankins has shed the walking boot but has not returned to the field, and like Moncrief is unlikely to see action this weekend. Top pick rookie S Malik Hooker has been in and out of practice with a hamstring injury, but has been making huge strides towards staying caught up in his limited field work. I suspect he will play this weekend and we will see what he has to offer, and so far the results have been very positive. Second pick CB Quincy Wilson is also pressing for a starting position and might have overtaken the field to start opposite CB Vontae Davis in week 1. He has barely stayed ahead of 5th round pick CB Nate Hairston who looks like a lock to be the slot/3rd corner at this time.
It will be interesting to see how the kicking game goes this year after being one of the NFL’s best and most stable groups. Obviously replacing Pro Bowl punter and kickoff master Pat McAfee will be impossible, but many might not know that he was also a top notch placeholder so the impact on PK Adam Vinatieri might not be small. The team also has a new long snapper after having the same one for several years in Pro Bowler Matt Overton. While the venerable veteran Vinatieri is still one of the best in the game and plays a favorable schedule with many indoor games…. until I see that unit working flawlessly, I have him knocked down a few pegs on my draft board.
On a personal note, it was nice to see several of my favorite recent Colts making an appearance at practices this week. Former captains Marshall Faulk and Gary Brackett each were in camp offering help to the new players, and Robert Mathis has been in camp working with the pass rushers and linebackers the entire time. Hopefully some of the greatness from these inspiring Horseshoes from the last decade will rub off.
That is all for now from the Crossroads of America. I will be back later in the month to look at how the preseason is going and to look ahead to the final roster. Until then friends…good luck in all your fantasy drafts and remember to remain….COLTSTRONG!!!
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