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This year vs. Last year


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#1 ColtsFanMikeC

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 07:45 PM

I am going to break down our starters first based on depth chart:

 

      2013 First Stringers        2012 First Stringers          Analysis

WR1 - R Wayne                      R Wayne                           Neutral -- Same player, some might say he is getting older but he sure looked

                                                                                         good in preseason, and hopefully with another year with Andrew, he will improve.

TE1 - D Allen                           D Allen                              Improved -- Same player, some injury concern in preseason. 

                                                                                         New offense is more TE friendly, and a lot of players make big leaps from year 1 to 2.

 

LT - Costanzo                           Costanzo                          Neutral -- Same player, I think Costanzo will do a fine job and may benefit from new                                                                                     offense that seems to get the ball out of Andrews hand quicker.

 

LG -- D Thomas                     Reitz/Various                      Improved -- New player, IMO an improvement over anyone that we stuck at LG last                                                                                       year

 

C -- Satele                              Satele/Shipley                   Improved -- I think a healthy Satele is better than Shipley.  If he stays healthy, I think

                                                                                        this is an improvement from last year.  I think Holmes is our C for the future, and may

                                                                                        contend for some starts a little bit further into the season.

 

RG -- McGlynn                       McGlynn                            Neutral -- I think McGlynn is still our weak-link on OL -- hopefully Thornton takes this

                                                                                         spot over before long and turns it into improvement.

 

RT -- Cherilus                        W. Justice                           Improved -- I don't think I need to explain.

 

TE2 -- Fleener                        Fleener                              Improved -- Same player, but another year of NFL experience, a TE happy

                                                                                          passing attack, and his college coach calling the shots should see

                                                                                          Fleener thrive.  The biggest challenge will be keeping him healthy

 

WR2 -- DHB                            D. Avery                            Improved -- DHB is bigger, just as fast, and a lot more physical than Avery. 

                                                                                          His hands have been fine in games, so hopefully they will stay that way.

                                                                                          Either way, Avery had lots of drops, too -- I think DHB is a bigger deep threat

                                                                                          and will be better with YAC on shorter routes.

 

WR3 -- TY                               TY                                    Improved -- I had to put WR3 and TE2 on the starting O, just because I think we

                                                                                         will see a good deal of 3 WR lineups.  TY had a very solid rookie campaign, and

                                                                                          from the looks of it he has improved from last year.  I also think this offense

                                                                                          will let TY thrive on both short and deep routes -- DHB should command more

                                                                                         attention than Avery did, and with a more balanced attack, TY should have more

                                                                                         chances of being given the ball in open space.

 

RB -- Committee                    Ballard/Brown                     Improved -- I am calling this a committee, because I don't think it is going to matter

                                                                                         who we start.  Bradshaw should provide improvement, and a better line should

                                                                                          help all of our RBs.  I expect that the killer B's (Ballard, Bradshaw, Brown) will

                                                                                          have relatively equal touches at season's end -- I think we'll see what the defense

                                                                                          is giving us and use our RBs to different extents each game, with a different guy

                                                                                          leading in touches from one week to the next.  Health is the main issue here --

                                                                                          can Ballard withstand a 16 game season?  Brown and Bradshaw have enough

                                                                                          injury issues already -- hopefully, a committee system will keep them all healthy.

                                                                                          A full back cannot hurt these guys either, I think Brown improves the most with that

                                                                                          addition, as he is our biggest threat if we can get him thru the hole and into the

                                                                                         secondary -- Havili will hopefully blow some LBs out of the hole and let Donnie run

                                                                                         wild.

 

FB -- Havili                              None                                 Improved -- Havili looked to be a good blocker and pass catcher in preseason.

                                                                                         I think his addition is going to be very valuable to open up our run game, and help

                                                                                         in short-yardage situations and the red zone (I expect him to be up near the top

                                                                                         FBs when it comes to the pro-bowl selection)

 

QB -- Luck                               Luck                                 Improved -- A more familiar offense, a year under his belt, a better OL, improved

                                                                                         running game and improved receiving threats look to keep Luck more upright and

                                                                                         the new offense should see increases in completion % and decrease in INTs.

 

So, for offense -- I have 10 improvements and 3 neutrals (all of which could be argued improvements due to a stronger supporting cast) -- yes, that is 13 offensive starters because I included FB, TE2 and WR3 on the list as I think we will do all we can to get TY on the field with DHB and Reggie on the outside, though I think our base packages will see either 2 TEs or a FB on the field.  Our RB depth has improved, our OL depth has improved, our QB depth has improved, and I think our TE and WR depth are basically the same as last year. 

 

Now, onto defense -- here I am just going to break down the secondary as I think we will rotate enough with the front 7.

 

Last year, our D had a few injuries to the DL -- Maoli looked to be showing improvement and was starting before he went down with an injury.  He is listed as a back-up this year -- so that should be improvement at DT already.  Redding will remain our motivator and provide leadership to this line.  I am a little concerned about inside pass-rush without Nevis, but not that much.  I think the combination of Chapman and Franklin at NT is hands-down better against the run than what we had last year, and I expect to see RJF provide some interior pass rush depending where he is lined up.  If healthy, I think this line is hands-down better than last year's line -- RJF, Franklin, and Chapman should all be improvements to who we had last year.  While I am still not overly impressed with Hughes as a football player yet, I do think he is a physical specimen and is not a downgrade from anyone on last year's line (maybe a healthy Nevis).  Mathews was here last year, and hopefully improves with another year under his belt.

 

Now to LB -- Mathis is Mathis and has had a year  of the 3-4 under his belt, so I look for him to improve.  Freeney is just not made for a 3-4, so while it was sad to see him go, I think we got the best years out of him and don't think he will be sorely missed.  Walden looks solid against the run so far and I'd say a more 'true 3-4 OLB' than Freeney, I will call this a neutral improvement for now mostly because I don't want to say Walden is better for our D than future HOFer Freeney without seeing him make it through a season.  I think Werner is an upgrade at OLB depth, and like what I have read about Cam Johnson -- so I think our OLB depth has improved.  At ILB, I expect Freeman to continue to be a tackling machine, I don't know that he will break his total from last season, but he should have a chance with Chapman and Franklin eating up blockers better than our NTs from last year.  I hope Angerer stays healthy, I think he is a good fit in the 3-4 and can have a tremendous season.  I am also very pleased with Conner, Harvey and to a lesser extent Sheppard as depth.  I expect us to see a lot of crazy line-ups at LB across the board -- it seems like Conner is a very good run stopper, so I will not be surprised to see him replace Angerer/Freeman on short-yardage, and it seems like Harvey might be the best pass rusher out of the group, so I won't be shocked to see him in the line up on long-yardage situations.  I also like the idea of getting Mathis, Werner, and Walden after the QB all at the same time, and expect us to almost switch to a 4-3 in some cases.  Overall, I would say my biggest concern at LB is Angerer's ability to hold-up for the whole season -- but I think we have better depth than last year, and think we will see a lot of production from Mathis as a sack-artist this year with Walden containing the strong-side.  I expect to see glimpses of excellence and awfulness from Werner as he learns the 3-4 and gets accustomed to the NFL, but think he will be solid overall.  I would say we are slightly better at the LB position than last year, and depending on how fast Werner develops and how well Walden plays will determine if we become a much better LB corps as we get deeper into the season.

 

CB -- Vontae Davis is back -- he really came into his own as the season went on last year, I think he is top 5 talent in the NFL at CB and will continue to improve and continue where he left off.

CB -- Greg Toler looks to be a real ball hawk and physical.  I think he is certainly an upgrade at CB2. 

         *Note, Vaughn looks better to me this preseason than all of last season, and I don't think he is a terrible #4 or #5 CB.  I think Gordy is fine for a 4 or 5 as well.  Butler, I think, is a very solid #3.  If Davis and Toler stay healthy, I think we have a very, very good group of CBs.  I won't panic if Butler gets some reps as #2, but I hope we never have to see him and Vaughn on the field together as starters.  I think Mathis is going to be more of a pass-rush threat this year, so hopefully we will see the CBs making a lot of plays with pressure on the QB

SS -- Laron Landry -- huuuuuugggeeee improvement over Zbikowski (pretty sure Zbikowski got cut by the Bears and no-one picked him up).  Landry will solidfy our run game, strike fear into opponents crossing the middle, and will make Bethea's life a lot better.

FS -- Antoine Bethea -- I think Bethea is set to return to his pro-bowl form -- last year he had to compensate so much because of a * surrounding cast -- with the additions of toler and Landry, I think Bethea can get back to playing a true FS position and think that is where he shines most.

        *Note:  I don't understand why our depth chart lists Landry as FS and Bethea at SS because it looks like Bethea is going to be playing deeper of the 2.  Also, I was very impressed with what I have seen and read about Howell, and think Lefeged and Sergio are very solid back ups.

 

Overall, I think our secondary has the talent to be the top starting secondary in the league -- our front 7's ability to pressure the QB is going to determine if our DBs can live up to their potential.

 

ST

P - McAffee -- IMO, best punter in league and right up their for kick-off man

K - Viniatieri -- still looks to be a solid K, though I won't be shocked if he retires or lands elsewhere of Indy after this season.  Cannot argue that I would want anyone else kicking a FG in a clutch moment right now.

LS - Overton -- hopefully we don't hear much of his name, he was very solid last year and has an  underrated job in terms of importance and responsibility

KR -- Vaughn/Reed

PR -- Hilton/Whalen

Coverage -- Lefeged and Brown I thought were very solid last year -- I think Howell will be fine, too.  I have not seen Cam play any special teams, but it sounds like he has the size and speed to be strong there.  Gordy should be able to make some ST tackles, and hopefully we can fill the rest of our coverage unit with deep LB depth.

 

Overall, ST is what worries me about this team the most -- I think we are very well off with Overton, Vinny, and Patty Mac.  Vaughn showed glimpses of being an OK returner last year, and Reed seems like he'll be solid if healthy -- I won't be shocked to see Reed gone when Brazzill returns, and thought Brazzill showed some potential as a returner last year.  TY is dynamic, but I always worry about him as a punt returner because of the risk of injury and his tremendous value to our offense.  Whalen has good hands, I don't know that he could hold TY's jock in terms of play-making ability as a returnman, but I don't think he'll fumble or make any big mistakes back there.  Our coverage units looked shaky in week 1 of preseason and at times last year -- they seemed a bit better after game 1 of preseason, so hopefully that trend continues.

 

For the synopsis of the team:

 

I think we have improved or remained the same on every position on offense.  I think our only question to see if we have improved or not from last year on defense is OLB, I think we have, but time will tell.  I think our DL is definitely improved and that our secondary might be the most improved unit on the squad.  ST's we will see about our returners, but I don't think anyone can be unhappy that we've got Patty Mac and Vinny's legs and experience on our roster.

 

I say -- good job, Grigs and staff for fielding a team that has improved from last year's squad.



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#2 tony1287

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 08:21 PM

This makes me want sunday to get here even faster... great write up

#3 atapcl

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:02 PM

I don't think Cherilus is an improvement over Justice but he is more durable. Maybe Cherilus' preseason was a fluke and he will be better. At center I would call it neutral because Satele still looks bad. It will take Holmes a year to be ready to take over. I like the rest of the report.

#4 tony1287

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:10 PM

I don't think Cherilus is an improvement over Justice but he is more durable. Maybe Cherilus' preseason was a fluke and he will be better. At center I would call it neutral because Satele still looks bad. It will take Holmes a year to be ready to take over. I like the rest of the report.

Cherilus was rated and has been rated a very good pass blocker for a few years now. I think if justice was truly as good as gos then he would at least be on a team... injury concerns or not

#5 atapcl

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:16 PM

Cherilus was rated and has been rated a very good pass blocker for a few years now. I think if justice was truly as good as gos then he would at least be on a team... injury concerns or not

Justice did ok when he was able to play. Cherilus had a bad preseason no matter how he is rated. Maybe he will be better when the regular season starts.

#6 tony1287

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:24 PM

Justice did ok when he was able to play. Cherilus had a bad preseason no matter how he is rated. Maybe he will be better when the regular season starts.

Yes he was mediocre during the preseason and definitely didn't look like he was deserving of the contract he received. Hopefully he does improve and be the stud right tackle that we've needed since diem started to regress. Now all we need is mcglynn to step aside and let Thornton do his thing. Its unfortunate that hugh showed us more in his first game than mcglynn has shown his entire colts and possibly nfl career. Hopefully soon we won't have to cringe every time mcglynn is announced in the starting lineup

#7 atapcl

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:35 PM

Yes he was mediocre during the preseason and definitely didn't look like he was deserving of the contract he received. Hopefully he does improve and be the stud right tackle that we've needed since diem started to regress. Now all we need is mcglynn to step aside and let Thornton do his thing. Its unfortunate that hugh showed us more in his first game than mcglynn has shown his entire colts and possibly nfl career. Hopefully soon we won't have to cringe every time mcglynn is announced in the starting lineup
[/quote No argument here. Thornton would help Cherilus and Satele more than McGlynn could. Allen, Bradshaw, and Havili will help also.



#8 tony1287

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:54 PM

Yes he was mediocre during the preseason and definitely didn't look like he was deserving of the contract he received. Hopefully he does improve and be the stud right tackle that we've needed since diem started to regress. Now all we need is mcglynn to step aside and let Thornton do his thing. Its unfortunate that hugh showed us more in his first game than mcglynn has shown his entire colts and possibly nfl career. Hopefully soon we won't have to cringe every time mcglynn is announced in the starting lineup[/quote No argument here. Thornton would help Cherilus and Satele more than McGlynn could. Allen, Bradshaw, and Havili will help also.

Satele is one who needs a lot of help around him for him to play at a higher level. Hopefully thornton can provide that. I love the donald thomas signing... easily increases satele's play and might be our best o-lineman by the end of the year

#9 ColtsFanMikeC

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 06:58 AM

I don't think Cherilus is an improvement over Justice but he is more durable. Maybe Cherilus' preseason was a fluke and he will be better. At center I would call it neutral because Satele still looks bad. It will take Holmes a year to be ready to take over. I like the rest of the report.

 

I have not been overly impressed with Cherilus so far, but still think he is better than Justice.  I know this is a clip from his Philly days, but this kind of sticks in my memory whenever I hear Justice's name brought up 

 

I am hoping with Thomas (and hopefully Thorton) next to him, Satele's play will improve.  I don't think he is great by any means, but I think he is an adequate C and if he is fully healthy, can play well enough to help our offense move the chains.  I think Satele will look a bit better than last year if he stays healthy, I don't think he played a whole lot of football near 100% last year (I know, nobody in the NFL is 100% after week 1, but I don't think Satele was even close to there most times he was on the field as the season progressed).  I think (hope) that Holmes is our future at C (I won't be shocked if it happens after the bye week, but you are probably right that it will take until next year -- or maybe an injury -- for him to take over).



#10 Smonroe

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 07:32 AM

Nice write up.  The wildcard is always injuries, that's a given. 

 

Like the OP pointed out, we have a lot of new starters.   Sometimes it takes more than a couple quarters in preseason games for a team to gel.  Luckily, we're not facing a real strong team the first game of the season.

 

Yes, on paper we should be improved.  Then again, a few years ago the Eagles had the Dream Team.



#11 atapcl

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Posted 04 September 2013 - 10:14 AM

I have not been overly impressed with Cherilus so far, but still think he is better than Justice.  I know this is a clip from his Philly days, but this kind of sticks in my memory whenever I hear Justice's name brought up 
 
I am hoping with Thomas (and hopefully Thorton) next to him, Satele's play will improve.  I don't think he is great by any means, but I think he is an adequate C and if he is fully healthy, can play well enough to help our offense move the chains.  I think Satele will look a bit better than last year if he stays healthy, I don't think he played a whole lot of football near 100% last year (I know, nobody in the NFL is 100% after week 1, but I don't think Satele was even close to there most times he was on the field as the season progressed).  I think (hope) that Holmes is our future at C (I won't be shocked if it happens after the bye week, but you are probably right that it will take until next year -- or maybe an injury -- for him to take over).

Krueger made Cherilus look like that this preseason. Satele can not stop power rushers from penetrating the middle of the Offense and McGlynn is horrible. Holmes needs more upper body strength and some experience but the writing should be on the wall for Satele. I agree with you on Thomas and Thornton . Luck helps with his mobility and quick release.






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