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  1. Out of curiosity, who do you think will be starting over Okereke? I think we'll see a lot of dime/nickel packages which will make him or Walker come out of the game.. but if I had to guess, I'd think the starting LBs this year will be Leonard, Walker and Bobby O (I think he's certainly capable of being an upgrade to Adams or Franklin -- and right now, https://www.colts.com/team/depth-chart#scroll-defense, the depth chart has him listed as our starting SAM). Rivers has played with Sproles and Ekeler and utilized them both very well... I think Reich said something about Hines having potential to develop into a Sproles-like player when he was first drafted.. I expect Hines and Rivers will form a solid bond and we'll see Hines (and Campbell) as kind of all-purpose guys on this offense. If he wasn't a pro-athlete and his uncle wasn't a HOFer, nobody would talk about what Kelly did. Not saying it's right or wrong, but I imagine many posters on this board have gotten drunk and did something stupid or regrettable at least once in their life time. Not sure how old you are, but I highly doubt you went through the ages of 18-22 without doing something questionable. You probably weren't a D-1 football player with a HOF Uncle, so nobody probably really cared to judge you on a public forum. ____________________________________________________ I think we're going to see a lot of breakout players this year. The thing Reich talks about a lot is that there will be some weeks where guys will play major roles and others where they will be pretty quiet. Reich and Sirianni seem to be very adaptable with their offense and they stress the fact that we don't have selfish players on the team. I think we'll see guys like Hines and Campbell play huge roles in some games and in others we'll hardly see them on the field. Here's my list: Hines -- not only as an RB/flex type of guy, but as a returner. He really became impressive late last year as a punt returner. If he keeps that up, I could see him being a pro-bowler as a return specialist. I also see Rivers being able to utilize him a lot better than Brissett did on offense. Campbell -- kid is a freak athlete. He showed flashes of being able to play a very versatile role in the offense when healthy last year.... he just needs to keep himself on the field instead of in the trainer's office. Ya-Sin -- he really came on late last year. With additions of Buckner, development from Banogu and Turay and our LBers, we have (on paper) a better pass rush. Should make Ya-Sin's life a lot easier. Tell -- I was mostly impressed by him last year and he made a position change from college. I think we'll see him on the field a lot more this year, and if I had to guess he'll be covering bigger TEs quite a bit. Braden Smith -- Big Q gets a lot of media hype and credit (well deserved), but I don't think Smith is too far off from being a pro-bowl caliber OL. With the addition of Rivers and the rookie RB, I think our whole OL is going to get a lot more credit this year. TY -- If he stays healthy, I think the improved QB play is really going to benefit him. Okereke -- I see him taking a starting role and really improving. He played very well last year, especially late in the season. With a better DL in front of him and more experience, I expect him to really blossom. Walker -- The addition of Buckner should make AW's life a bit easier.. again, Leonard gets a lot of well deserved credit and attention from our LB corps, but Walker quietly had a very solid year last year. Hooker -- Contract year and an improved pass rush should really help him out. Also, I expect the development of Ya-Sin and Tell, with a healthy Kenny Moore and the additions of Rhodes and others, Hooker will have more help from his DB unit as a whole. Willis -- he had a very solid rookie year, I think his athleticism has him near his 'ceiling' early in his career, but again, improved play in front of him should help him out. EJ Speed -- Ballard says he's as athletic of an LBer that we have, but came from a small school and was raw as a rookie. I don't know how much time he'll get on D, but I expect him to be on the field more there and also to excel on STs. Turay -- he was coming on last year... the addition of Buckner drawing attention from OLs should really help our entire DL. Turay's workout videos look as though he's really putting in work... hopefully he stays healthy. Banogu -- like Turay, the guy is a very solid athlete who was pretty raw coming out of college. I anticipate he'll make a similar jump in year 2. Xavier Rhodes -- not sure if I'd call it a breakout year, as he's been an all-pro before. Even though he was a probowler last year, it was his worst season to date.. I think he'll fit in very well with this D. Grover Stewart -- He was a project pick and really started to develop last year. I think having Buckner next to him will really help him step up. Autry -- Hunt played pretty terrible last year (or at least digressed from his 2018), and I don't think it had positive effects on Autry.. having Buckner and a healthy Turay along with Justin Houston and others should really help him out. Le'Raven Clark -- I don't know if he'll see the field, but I won't be shocked at all if replaces Glow, or if Smith moves to RG and Clark moves to RT. Trey Burton -- he's a Reich guy and (if healthy) I think he can be a very good fit on this offense. Asthon Dulin -- Don't think he'll be on the field much on O, but he was definitely improving last year. I do, however, think he'll crack our roster and contribute significantly on STs. Reece Fountain/Pascal -- I think these guys will be in the 4-6 WR roles, but, with improved QB play and with the addition of Pittman and Patmon, and the hopeful healthiness of TY and Pascal, I think when these guys are on the field, they'll have a lot better chance of being put in favorable matchups. I thought Pascal played well last year, but with JB digressing as the season went on and with him sometimes being utilized as our #1 WR, I don't think he had the best situation. Marlon Mack -- I don't know that his stats will go up, per se... but I think with the addition of Taylor (both taking workload off Mack and being a different type of back), that when Mack gets his number called, he's going to be very successful. *I won't be shocked if Fountain and/or Dulin don't make the team, but if they do, I think they'll be all right for us and improved from last year (maybe not 'breakouts', but certainly should be in better positions with improved QB play and supporting cast).
  2. Very glad to see how much influence Mathis has had on Turay. It's always cool to see an ex-Colt great contributing and helping out our young talent. Seems as though Reggie helps a bit, but I don't recall anyone like Mathis who remained so involved with the horseshoe and helping develop young talent so much. Also, very cool to hear how appreciative Turay is of Mathis. He seems like a good dude.
  3. Part of what makes a player great over his career is longevity. The rule of thumb I have always heard for HOF selection is 'a decade of dominance.' Unless you really change the game, you have to have ~a decade of being an elite player to get in (an exception may be a guy like Megatron, because his combo of size, speed, power, hands, etc. in some ways revolutionized the game of football). Leonard is certainly off to a good start.. and by a stats comparison, a better start than Lewis. Lewis was not an all-pro (first or second team) as a rookie. He was 2nd team in his 2nd and 3rd years, and again in 2010. He was first team 7 times. Leonard was a first team all pro as a rookie, which is very rare. He was 2nd team in year 2, a year in which he missed 3+ games. Leonard was the defensive rookie of the year (Simeon Rice got that award when Lewis was a rookie). At the same points in their careers, Leonard has proven to be better at causing turnovers (his INT numbers are outstanding for a LBer)... but, he also plays in a different scheme and a different position (most of the time), so that's hard to really judge. Lewis was a 2x NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Leonard has not done that yet. I don't doubt that he's capable of it, but he hasn't. Lewis was a 2x Superbowl Champion and a 1x SB MVP, both things which Leonard hasn't accomplished. Lewis was a 13x pro-bowler.. like Leonard, he missed out his rookie year. Lewis is also on the 2000's all-decade team as the best at his position during that decade. In terms of off-field stuff, Leonard seems to have less baggage than Lewis did at a young age. That said, Lewis did seem to clean up his act after that alleged murder incident. He also seems to be a pretty solid guy now and has several charities and does a lot for young minority communities. In terms of on-field leadership, Lewis was outstanding. I don't know how long that took, as I don't follow Baltimore as intensely as I do Indy (i.e., was he a captain in his second year and a tremendous leader of men as a rookie? I don't know). Leonard, was named team captain in his 2nd year, and he was a leader right out of the gates. From all interviews and things I've read, his coaches and teammates view him as the leader of the Indy D and seemingly have after just a few games as a rookie -- that's rare. In short, Leonard is off to a heckuva start to his career.... but, let's hold off on comparing him to a first-ballot HOFer. If he keeps it up for another 8-12 years, this thread deserves to be revisited.
  4. I hear you, but I don't think Rigo had the luxury of only kicking coffin corners last year. And, yes! It would be great if our punter never had to take a snap.
  5. Rigo wasn't very good last year. His 44.4 yards per punt were 28th in the league (should probably be a few spots higher as a couple of guys ahead of him had very small sample sizes) and his net of 41.2 was 21st in the league. In 2018, he was 8th in the league with 46.1 yards per punt and 5th with a 42.7 net yards per punt. In Patty Mac's last year, he was booming kicks at 49.3 yards per punt.
  6. Joe "The Swiss Army Knife" Haeg can also play C and G.
  7. Agree on Kelly, but think gets paid more. Wait and see on Houston. He looked like he had plenty in the tank last year, but nagging injuries can make a guy fall off real quick when they're on the wrong side of 30 (Mathis had his best season ever at 32, regardless of if it was steroid induced, got hurt at 33 and was not close to his former self at 34 or 35). Walker and Leonard have very solid chemistry. I think Leonard will probably be telling Ballard to bring Walker back. Also, Ballard generally seems to like Walker when he talks about him..... that said, I think the x factor here is EJ Speed. Speed is a better athlete than Walker (IMO), but more raw as a football player. If Speed develops, we'd upgrade our athleticism with Leonard, Okereke and Speed and Leonard can play inside or outside... and noway is Walker not going to get paid after posting multiple 100+ tackle seasons... if Ballard and Co. think Speed's good enough as a football player with another year under his belt, I could see them trying to short change Walker and him leaving. Hilton -- again, wait and see. I like the guy a lot. However, he's had nagging calf injuries that have kept him out of games or severely reduced his play on the field the past two years. It'd be weird to see him retire or go elsewhere, but if he can't stay healthy and if our younger guys play well, it may be time to move on or see if he'll take a major pay cut. I have a hard time believing we'll bring Mack back if Taylor really shines. Maybe, but he's going to want starter money and I don't see Ballard offering that to him if Taylor's taking significant reps from him. Rivers and Ballard both said he's hoping he'd play here for 2 years. Unless Rivers gets hurt or Eason really develops quickly, I think we're going to bring him back. Agree with you on Rhodes (may be a bit steep on contract considering his age), but he seems to have really declined last year from what he was 3 years ago. If he has some sort of revival out here, I'm for bringing him back.. but I think with his one year deal last year Ballard is gonna need to see him prove it. Stewart was a project pick and IMO he really started to improve last year. I think Ballard likes the guy and if he continues on the up and up, I'd like to see him come back. The nice thing with Buckner, Day and Autry on the team, even if Stewart plays very well, he'll likely not put up big numbers so hopefully that keeps his price down. I'm interested to see Burton's health. If he's healthy and has a good year, I think he might be more expensive than one may think.. but seems like Reich really likes the guy. Muhammad is a guy I root for.. but wouldn't be totally shocked if he doesn't make the team this year. Sounds like Lewis is moving to the outside.. we typically keep 8-9 DL... I'm going to assume Houston, Turay, Buckner, Stewart, Autry and Banogu are locks.. which leaves 2-3 spots for Lewis, Muhammad, Day, Gerri Green, Rob Windsor, Jegs Jegede and the 3 undrafted FAs.... 6-7 of those guys are getting the ax. Agree though, he'd be a cheap rotational piece. Agree on Autry and JB. Hooker, maybe not. I kinda took him not getting the contract extension as a 'prove it' message from Ballard more than a 'you're gone' thing, mainly because of Ballard's presser at the end of the year when he said Hooker played well early on but was dropping off late in the season. Ballard's very high on Blackmon, and has said multiple times he sees him as a starting FS in the NFL. That said, he's also said he likes Blackmon because he can play multiple spots in the secondary...and, we don't know how he's gonna hold up coming off knee surgery. Chances are, the earliest we'll see him on the field is late October, if at all this year... if he is a dud and Hooker balls out, I could see Hooker getting a mid-year extension.
  8. Yes, it's the only position besides K/P (I guess long snapper, too) where we don't have a single guy who was drafted on the current roster. And yes, you're probably right. As @shastamasta says below, he had Kelce in KC for a while then spent money to bring Ebron in here... and he wasn't exactly handed a very good team when he took over in Indy. He had major overhauls to do to every unit on the team aside from K/P/LS (until last year w/ Vinny) and he also was probably smart taking Eason this year, even if there was a TE on the board that he coveted.... doubt he saw Luck's retirement coming that early. Doyle was a probowler with 80 catches in 2017... we didn't have a lot of depth behind him, but it's pretty clear he was trying to help the D in that year's draft with 6 of 8 picks being on the defensive side. Sirianni, in a recent interview, said he plans on having such a good run game that teams are going to have to play a lot with a single high safety. He said Rivers will be able to pick that apart if it comes to fruition. "We feel like the addition of Pittman to our group of players and just Chris Ballard and his staff of adding just the talent that he's added to this with Jonathan Taylor. Then with the addition of our guys that we already have, that we'll elevate in that area with explosive playmakers that we have," Sirianni said. "Again, the more you run the ball, be able to run the football, the more they play one-high safeties, and we have one of the best big-play wideouts in the NFL with T.Y. Hilton. With the addition of Jonathan – with him and Marlon (Mack) being able to attack defense – and Nyheim (Hines) and Jordan (Wilkins), we just feel like again, you're going to see more one-high safety. We know that Philip (Rivers) can make them pay when they have that." https://www.colts.com/news/nick-sirianni-philip-rivers-ty-hilton-jonathan-taylor-media-conference-call
  9. It is sort of odd, especially considering the past 25 years of TEs on the Colts. Ken Dilger was a 2nd round pick in 1995 and was with us until 2001. In 2002 we had Pollard (undrafted, but had already solidified himself as a solid NFL player). Then in 2003 we used a 1st rounder on Clark who was around until 2011. In 2004 we got Hartsock in the 3rd round. In 2008 we took Tamme in round 4 and Santi in round 6. In 2010 we took Eldridge in round 5. Then in 2012 when Clark left, we took Fleener at 34 and Allen at 64. In 2013 we took Justice Cunningham in round 7. In 2017, Ballard's first year here, we had no drafted TEs on the roster (granted Doyle was coming off a 59 reception year and then had a pro-bowl year) . In 2018, we signed Ebron who was a former first round pick. Ballard seems to have his own 'rule book' in terms of what he thinks is important and what kind of traits he wants guys to have. Reich has typically had a very high profile TE on his teams since he's been in the league... maybe Ballard just doesn't value that position as much?
  10. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/colts-oc-reveals-what-sold-philip-rivers-to-indianapolis-over-any-other-team-in-free-agency/?fbclid=IwAR2bFaua1amRC6ITgVHowgyFxID-K3MP8QeLyERGFhvg1XmI5cpfBFimTWg Pretty good read there. "The big part of Philip being here is Anthony Castonzo. Quenton Nelson," Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni said in a conference call Monday, referring to the Colts offensive line (via NFL.com). "Ryan Kelly. Braden Smith. Mark Glowinski. Those guys are studs" "That's something that he just kept mentioning after we signed him of how valuable those guys were to him."
  11. I'm not sure that MAC had a 'down' year. That implies that at some point he had an 'up' year. He only played in 9 games and recorded 7 catches in 2018. He had more yards per catch, but so did just about everyone when Luck was the QB compared to Brissett. In 2019, Mo Alie-Cox had 8 catches. I know he's a good athlete, being a former college basketball player and all... but he's still never proven to be more than a project in the NFL. He seems to hold his own as a blocker and he's made some very nice/athletic catches, but over 2 years he only has 15 total catches... given the lack of depth we have at TE right now, I expect he makes the team unless we sign someone else, but I am certainly not ready to put all my eggs in one basket on him ever having an 'up' year.
  12. I don't think anyone knows this answer yet. Tomlin is calling for all teams to open up facilities at the same time (which I don't disagree with). I know in NJ they are opening up beaches (at least certain ones) only to season badge holders, at least to start the summer. We're going to know a lot more in the coming weeks/months about what states are doing on a state-specific basis and if there are any national protocols handed down in terms of 'social-distancing' and restrictions of access to public areas. We likely won't have much of an idea until mid-Summer about what's going on in terms of 'flattening the curve.' I, for one, right now am just hoping we have a football season so I don't have to watch reruns of Sports. I thought the UFC was cool the other night (I actually liked that you could hear through TV how hard those guys are hitting eachother, what they are saying to eachother, and what they can hear from coaches and announcers during their fights). I think it'd be weird to see the NFL play in games without fans or without somewhat packed houses... but, I'm sure Goodell and owners are having these conversations daily and they'll do what's best for the country and fans. While it doesn't seem like it, this is still a long ways away. We'll all learn more in the coming days. Stay safe, Colts Nation!
  13. Agreed that several of our WRs will play on other teams after not making the '55' man roster. I don't disagree about our group being talented last year, but several of the guys that will get cut this year and were playing as #1, 2 or 3 WRs on our team last year will be 4-6 WRs on other teams. I know we didn't resign Chester Rogers, and would guess he'll get picked up by some other team and make a roster as a 4-6 WR - which is what he is. As I see it, we'll have TY, Pittman, Campbell, Pascal as 'locks' to make team. I'd bet Patmon is the 5th guy and we'll keep 6 total. I think Patmon, Dulin, M. Johnson, R. Adams, D. Fountain will all be on NFL rosters to start the year... the question is which ones do we keep as our 5-6 WRs. I also think C. Williams and D. Harris (more as a returner/flex guy) have good shots at making it in the NFL. I don't see A. Scott or M. Henry as much more than practice team guys, but also won't be shocked to see them on our PS or another team's PS. I like Pascal.. but he's a 3-4 WR at best (IMO), with TY, Funchess and Campbell all missing time to injury last year, he was asked to be our #1 for chunks of time. To me, that's a bit much.
  14. Every player in the league is 1 hit away from needing a backup. Rivers has proven incredibly durable, and we have a much better line than what he's used to, so I am not very worry about injury (my main concern on injuries this year, league-wide, is more to do with the fact that players are missing OTAs, mini-camps, and may have a reduced training camp prior to the season). Irsay said the year we went 2-14, which Peyton missed, that he'd never put himself in position again to not have a backup that can keep us competitive. Brissett can certainly win games on this team. We were in the hunt for AFC South champions until the end last year, and we lost 3-5 games due to poor kicking (coupled with injuries on both O and D), it's not farfetched to think Brissett could win 8-10 games (or more) on this team this year -- he won 7 last year with poor kicking keeping him from having 9-11 wins. Newton's still a FA. Dalton's older and in a new system. He's a reliable backup, for sure. The past couple of seasons he was showing he's a questionable starter. He's a game manager at this point in his career, not too dissimilar to JB. Winston, as the writer of the article pointed out, has the 'best arm' of backups on the list. He makes very questionable decisions, though. JB gets knocked for not making quick decisions, but he protects the ball very well, as evidenced by starting last year with a 14TD:3INT ratio. In our system, we have a good enough OL and 2 solid RBs in Mack and Taylor, and capable guys in Hines and Wilkins (assuming we keep 4 RBs). You hope your backup doesn't get COVID and can fill in and win a game or two while the starter is out. JB has already dealt with being a starter and going back to the bench the year Luck missed. He was a great teammate then and many players said he was a leader of that team even though he was the backup. Reich and Ballard have called him a total professional. Of course JB's a bit disappointed not to be the starter.. but I doubt there will be major locker room or QB room issues. We have too many solid leaders on this team for that to happen. Prior to COVID, the league already implemented a plan to increase roster sizes. We should have no problem keeping 3 QBs and stashing one on the practice squad with the new rules.
  15. I think he's got a lot of potential to be our kick return specialist (with Hines handling punt returns). I think he's also got a lot of potential to be a very solid gunner for us with his speed and athleticism, very early on. If he makes the team, I see him as the backup nickel and used in situational packages. He seems to have a knack for creating turnovers. He plays bigger than he measures. Likely, if he plays D at all (I project him more as a return guy and gunner, at least as a rookie), it'll be in a nickel or dimeback situation... he's not going to be on the field that much (at least as a rookie), so I doubt he'll get 'broken'. If you're talking about Derrick Henry (one of the only LB sized RB's in the league), there are very few defensive backs that can take him down 1 on 1 consistently throughout the entire league. We've got a fast defense that swarms to the ball... and more likely than not, Rodgers will be playing fairly close to the line of scrimmage if he's on the field, so he should have safeties and outside corners behind him... regardless, if Henry gets to the 3rd level of our D (or any team's D) it is going to be trouble. Well, good thing Rodgers ran a 4.28 forty. If he bulks up 10-15 pounds and moves to a 4.38 forty, he's still one of the fastest dudes in the league.
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