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  1. A knock on Hooker prior to the draft was injury history, so it was a major disappointment to see him miss >1/2 the season with injury. However, he was playing very well for a rookie safety on a team with as bad of a pass rush as we had. If he stays healthy, I think he will be a perennial pro-bowler moving forward. I agree with your assessment on the other guys. It'll be interesting to see what happens in this draft/FA -- if we take Saquon Barkley in the 1st, I am not sure how we would wind up using Mack. He definitely has big play ability, so you'd think he'd have to be put into the mix in some fashion. I think of the group you list as 'just guys', Hairston has the best shot at being a good/very good player in this league.
  2. I think Hooker can tackle. He was ranked as top defensive rookie on several outlets prior to injury. He is going to be a heck of a player in the NFL if he can stay healthy. His instincts were great for a rookie (who didn't start playing football until college). Wilson was inactive a lot of early games. Some rumors he had bad practice habits, others that he had a banged up knee, others suggesting both. Anyway, when he played later in the season, he did pretty well for a rookie CB. Wilson fits the mold of a CB Ballard wants in the system which will be implemented this coming year, probably moreso than the system Pagano had in place. I'm pretty confident he'll be just fine going forward. Basham struggled early but seemed to make some positive growth late in the season. Ballard called him out in late Oct or early November saying he wasn't developing fast enough, and then about a month later stated that Basham was really starting to develop nicely. I don't think he'll be a stud, but I think we'll see him become a 6-10 sack guy next year. Zach Banner was released and signed with Cleveland Browns. I was pretty hopeful about him, and given our OL struggles, I thought a 4th rounder from USC with his size was going to come in and maybe help improve our problems, so kind of a disappointment. Marlon Mack showed a lot of signs of having play-making skills. Still has a bit of work to become a complete back (mainly in the pass-protection game), but showed flashes as a runner and a receiver. With a better line, I think we can be OK with him and Turbin splitting time moving forward. Mack had 5 games where he broke runs for >20 yards, which was refreshing to see. I love Gore, but he only had 1 game with a run over 20 yards (21 yards) and long runs were not something we got a lot of from Gore (he was able to do it in San Fran, so it could be our line or his age, I tend to think it is our OL). Grover Stewart played in 15 games. I thought our DL was our top strength on D last year, so figured it'd be hard for a small school guy like him to crack the line-up much at DT. I expect he may be better suited for Ballard's new scheme than what we had last year, and think he'll be fine as a rotational guy with Hankins and others being starters. Nate Hairston played very well in the nickel. I think he'll turn into a fine player in this league and was a very nice pick in the 5th round. Anthony Walker only played in 10 games (with 2 starts). Too early to tell from a 5th round LB, but I don't see him ever being much more than a special teams guy and a back-up LB in this league. Nothing special from him, but for a 5th round pick, I guess it's OK. Our UDFA -- Rigoberto Sanchez came in and did pretty well as a punter. Aside from Luck, I thought McAfee's departure left some of the biggest shoes to fill and Sanchez did well enough to make it seem like we didn't miss McAfee too much. He's got room for improvement, but I was happy with him for the most part. Kenny Moore II played in all 16 games and got 5 starts at CB. He was terrible (IMO) in the beginning of the year, but did improve some moving forward. We need to stay healthy and add some depth at DB this coming season, IMO, as I hope we don't have to see Moore other than on ST or in certain dime packages moving foward. Didn't really see enough of the others to make any summaries about them.
  3. McDaniels rejects Colts.

    I agree in needing a coach who wants to come here to work with Ballard and build this team, regardless of Luck. That said, McDaniels may be a HC who will only have a great shot at surviving if he's got a top-tier QB. If there were lingering doubts about Luck's health going on internally, you can't fault him too much for backing away from the job. I hope that isn't the case and that Luck comes back healthy, but to be honest, this is a less-than-ideal place to be coaching with our current roster if we don't have a franchise QB. #thanksgrigson
  4. McDaniels rejects Colts.

    Or if previous rumors as to why Nagy didn't come here are true -- is Andrew hurt worse than we know?
  5. Sacks - we're bad at both ends I don't necessarily think Mel Kiper is the greatest, but he (and many others) think this Chubb guy is pretty legit. He's had 10 or more sacks in 2 consecutive seasons. At 6'4" 275 lbs., he's also got the frame to be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. If we are going to switch to a 4-3 D, he's a guy that could fit very nicely.
  6. Sacks - we're bad at both ends

    We haven't had a good/consistent run blocking OL for a long time. Gore is also not much of a 'home run hitter', he never really has been. Improving the OL should help greatly with both the run and pass game (more holes for the runners, more time for the QB). Kelly is a stud, if he can just stay healthy. I tend to think we've seen the last of Mewhort. I don't think Castonzo is great, but he's a solid player (I think he'd be an excellent RT and is an above average LT). LeRaven Clark I still think has upside, but I have no idea what the coaches see in him or what goes on behind the scenes -- Philbin was supposed to be the OL Whisperer and he didn't seem capable of fixing our problems. The Cowboys had, hands down, the best run blocking OL in the league when Zeke joined them. Not fair to assume a good RB will do great in our system unless we improve the OL. Still not even a lock Barkley doesn't go to the G-Men (Why did we have to win that last game???), as their new GM says he's looking at Eli to be their QB this year (the other logic is maybe they draft a QB early to be groomed by Eli for a year or 2). Depending on how the first 2 picks go, we will also have the opportunity to trade down and acquire more picks. Having 4 first and second round talents on our roster in three years may be better than having 2 (assuming we don't trade). There are 11 teams that need a QB (maybe 9 or 10 if you expect Redskins to resign Cousins and the Vikings to resign Keenum, Bridgewater, or Bradford). There are 3 QBs in this draft thought to be capable of being franchise QBs (Rosen, Darnold and Josh Allen), and another couple who are on the cusp (Mayfield, Lamar Jackson and some others). If Luck is healthy, we are the only team in the top 6 picks who doesn't need a QB (the Giants may also wait a year to find Eli's replacement). We are going to be in position to be able to acquire multiple additional picks in this draft. The question for Ballard is going to be "is there a guy at 3 that is more valuable than acquiring more early picks for?" See @coltsva post below -- we had a lead at half or in the 3rd in 11 games this year. I would say our offense never really put the fear of scoring into other teams, which could be a reason our defense didn't have a ton of opportunities for sacks (e.g., when Peyton was here we almost always played teams that knew they'd have to throw a lot to keep up and therefore Freeney and Mathis were able to pin their ears back and dial in on the QB -- Freeney was one of the worst run-defense DEs I remember watching, but only games in bad weather against top teams like Pitt or NE was he unable to be a single-dimensional DE). It is a team game... if the offense does well it takes pressure off the defense and if the defense does well it takes pressure of the offense (and if the STs does well hopefully it takes pressure off both by giving us good field position). I guess the point of me creating this thread was just to point out that we need help on both sides of the ball, in multiple positions. Ballard will have a lot of options when the clock turns to us -- it'll be very interesting to see what he does with the pick. Agreed!!
  7. Sacks - we're bad at both ends

    Just looking through some team stats we were 2nd worst in the league in defensive sacks (with 25) and worst in the league with sacks given up (56). With numbers like that, it is amazing we wound up positive on turnover differential. In my opinion, one of the best ways to generate interceptions/fumbles is through sacking and pressure from the defense. Hopefully Basham keeps developing and I think a healthy Sheard and Simon will continue to do pretty well overall as LBers, but it would really be nice to have at least one 10+ sack type of guy on this team (Sheard lead the team with 5.5). Maybe I am spoiled having had Freeney and Mathis for so long, but it was very nice to have a pass rush. While it seems tempting to take Saquon Barkley with the #3, I think the fact we see the need to majorly improve our ability to rush the other passer and protect our own is very evident. It will be very interesting to see how Ballard and Co. handle this draft/offseason.
  8. Something Interesting I Read The Other Day.

    I am not sure why he added the Brad Kaaya quote at the end. He was a 6th round draft pick, was cut by the Lions, then cut by the Panthers, then signed to the Lions' practice squad. If there are still concerns about Luck's shoulder next year, we're likely to need another body at QB along with Brissett. I don't think Kaaya signing before Pagano got the ax has any significant meaning into suggesting we're going to switch to a 4-3 on defense or that Ballard has already determined who the next coach is. The rest of the article was interesting, and many points seem valid, but I also wasn't sold on the speaking about the signings of Al Woods, Simon, Sheard, or Hunt. We needed a pass rusher and Sheard was probably the most affordable option in FA for us, we needed DL depth and Woods made sense. Hunt was a cheap signing in an area of need. Simon was also a relatively cheap signing in an area of need. If we are going to hire McDaniels (like many are assuming, especially with Mike Vrabel going to Titans) and McDaniels is going to bring in Eberflus from Dallas (like many are assuming) it is probably best to look at Eberflus and what he has done. Here is an interesting article regarding Cowboys defense: -- they played majority of base package (4-3) in a cover 3 zone (which the article writer suggests). It is interesting, they reduce the completion % in cover 3 compared to Tampa 2 or cover 4, but they allow bigger plays to happen. Who knows, if Hooker comes back 100% maybe we have the perfect guy for a cover 3, but without him I think we struggle mightily in that scheme (Green has the speed to be good here, but hasn't shown a whole lot otherwise to suggest he's going to succeed as a starter on defense -- I'm not writing him off yet but I don't really see anyone besides Hooker on our current roster who will fit the role of a deep safety in a cover3).
  9. film breakdown of Malik Hooker

    Anderson is a 300+ lbs. guy that puts most of his weight against other 300+lbs. guys every time he plays. A knee injury to a lineman isn't comparable to a knee injury to a safety.
  10. film breakdown of Malik Hooker

    Injuries and lack of FB experience (he was a basketball player most of his life) were the 2 main holdups on his draft grade. He clearly uses his basketball skills (point guard) to read plays and seems very smart and able to translate those skills to the free-safety position. He should be back to 100% physically from his current injury by pre-season (earlier)... keeping him healthy is going to be the problem.
  11. Stampede Blue: Theory that Ballard knows his coach already

    Not really sure at all as to why the author of the article is including signing a back-up/practice-squad QB as final evidence when most of the article is about running a 4-3 defense. Everything else we read is that Irsay is selling to future head coaches that Luck is fully healthy and we have our franchise QB. Some points in the article are worth considering, but the Kaaya thing makes the whole article bogus, IMO.
  12. Arians is 65 years old and has had some health issues (thankfully, it seems like he's put cancer behind him). Aside from what others have mentioned regarding him drawing up long plays which allow Luck to get hammered, I am a bit concerned about his age/health. I, for one, would like to see the new coach (assuming we get one) be a bit younger and one who will be able to spend the next 10+ years with a healthy Andrew Luck building this team into a dynasty. In Andrew's 5 years (excluding this because of injury) he's had 3 or 4 different offensive schemes he has played with, next year will likely be another one. He's a very sharp guy, so it may be easier for him to adjust to that than other QBs but boy would it be nice to have a coach come in here and give some long-term stability to offensive scheme and play-calling.
  13. Best offensive and defensive colt of the year

    Offense - Gore, with TY, AC, and a healthy Kelly being honorable mentions Defense- Simon pre-injury, with honorable mentions going to Hankins and if healthy the following players: Hooker, Bostic, and Melvin. Other guys on D I liked this year were Anderson (healthy he looked like he was getting back to his old self), Sheard, Mingo, Woods, Hairston, Desir and the past couple games I've been mostly impressed by Quincy Wilson. Moore II (I hated initially) has been half-way decent recently, and it seems like A. Walker, Basham, and Stewart have all made progress throughout the season. ST - Vinatieri still has it and I was very pleased with Sanchez (big shoes to fill w/ McAfee retired). If we can get everyone back and keep them healthy, we shouldn't be too far away from having a good team here in Indy. Unfortunately, several of our key players missed time due to injury this season (Anderson, Kelly, Melvin, Desir, Hooker, Bostic, Mewhort, Swoope, Moncrief, Geathers, Q. Wilson, Simon and Luck are a few that come to mind quickly).
  14. Early Tidbits Concerning Colts Picking 2nd or 3rd

    Allen is going to come out as a junior (I'm in grad school at UWYO, so I follow pretty closely) and have heard this from several credible sources (even Coach Bohl let Allen participate in Senior Day, acknowledging he's going to leave as a junior). He had a heck of a game out in the Potato Bowl, shredding CMU to bits. He has the best physical tools in the draft (he's 6'6", can make any throw on the field, and although he is built to be a true pocket passer, he has shown time and again he can run if the situation dictates it). He lost 4 offensive starters to the NFL (Tanner Gentry WR Bears, Brian Hill RB Falcons, an OL, and Jacob Hollister TE Pats) and his numbers didn't go through the roof this year, but he certainly showed he's got the physical skill set and improved his decision making. He missed the final game of the regular season and UWYO lost to lowly San Jose State (several think this was a blessing in disguise for Josh as it showed how little fire power we had on offense without him running the show). Interestingly enough, Craig Bohl was head coach at NDSU over Carson Wentz (and UWYO's offensive coordinator also was at NDSU with Wentz). It would be a pretty crazy thing to see them produce 2 top 10 NFL draft picks from North Dakota and Wyoming. Anyway, I graduated UDEL with Joe Flacco and I think Allen has his arm strength with the athletic ability of a Wentz. The NYG would be a perfect fit for him (one year to learn under Eli) and with a healthy Beckham and WR Corps that the NYG has he has the best arm in the draft to fire downfield and let his WRs make plays. I, for one, think the hype about Josh Allen is real and after his combine and workouts teams will see how much physical capability he has. He's also a stand-up guy and I'm sure will score well with her wonderlic and interview process.
  15. Most disappointing colts in the last 20 yr?

    They do say CB is one of the hardest positions to play as a rookie. Green does have athleticism, no denying that, and he's still very new to defense (started college as a WR). Wilson has been a little 'nicked up' according to Ballard, so we may see improvement from him, too. Among Hairston, Melvin, Desir, and the hopes of Wilson and Green panning out -- plus Geathers, Hooker and Farley at S -- we may have a very solid secondary next year (if they can stay on the darn field).