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Old 08-09-2011, 08:23 PM    (permalink
Dam8610
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Default 2011 Colts Preseason thread: Week 1 @ Rams 8/13

It's hard to believe, but the 2011 NFL season is almost here, and, as is tradition, there are four quasi-meaningless games to get out of the way first. Of course there's the intrigue of camp battles and determining the final few roster spots, but for the most part, I'm sure I speak for most when I say that I wish the season would hurry up and get here.

That said, a few things that I will be watching in the preseason are:

1) The Offensive Line - My biggest concern here is that the young players find spots to start on the OL, particularly (in order of importance) Castanzo, Ijalana, and McClendon.

2) The Defensive Line - There's a whole bunch of intrigue here this year. Will Jerry Hughes earn playing time? Will Fili Moala take the next step toward good or maybe even elite play? How exactly will Tommie Harris and Jamaal Anderson fit into this defense? All things that will hopefully begin to take shape in the preseason.

3) The Runningbacks - The position appears to be set, but the UDFAs the Colts brought in at this position are loaded with talent. I don't think they'll let Darren Evans get off the roster, which means Devin Moore and Chad Spann are likely out of luck...unless management decides that Donald Brown needs to get the axe. It's not likely, but it's an outside possibility.

4) Camp Battle: Lacey vs. Tryon -How is Lacey winning this at this point? I predict Tryon will overtake him by week 1.

5) Camp Battle: Bullitt vs. Lefeged - Honestly, I doubt this is a battle, I'm just desperately hoping it is. Bullitt is in his best role as a backup, and I think he'll be that again very soon, be it before the end of this season or the start of next.

That's all I can think of. I'm glad football is finally back, it's an exciting time. What are your thoughts?
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:17 PM    (permalink
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Agreed completely, Dam. Another intriguing camp battle is for the returner.

Also, Joe Reitz seems to getting a look at OG. Big dude.

Both Lacey and Tryon are at their best as nickel CBs. I'm hoping either Thomas or Rucker show something positive.
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Old 08-10-2011, 05:59 AM    (permalink
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Reading some reviews of Lefeged lead me to believe he isn't disciplined enough to start. I really see no battle there. I think he is going to be a special teams player on kickoffs.

Tryon most definitely needs to start over Lacey, but I honestly don't feel comfortable with either of them. I'm hoping that Hayden comes back for cheaper. Though I haven't kept up with the news on him.

I feel like the HB position is somewhere that we might have too much talent. If Chad Spann gets cut I'll be very disappointed. He seems like a great player. My ideal HB depth chart is 1. Jo Addai 2. Delone Carter 3. Chad Spann 4. Darren Evans. I honestly hate the way Donald Brown runs the ball. He runs with both hands holding the ball limiting his ability to squeeze into holes and is afraid to stiff arm. I hated the pick, but I tried to trust in the pick and to be fair his poor rookie season was an outcome of our useless O-line. I still really don't want him to have a spot over either Evans or Spann. How many HB's do we usually end up with?

The defensive line is exciting to me. I am excited to see Fili Moala step up and become a big contributor. I am anxious to see if the training camp hype of Tommie Harris is justified.

I am also interested to see Ernie Simms in our system. Low risk sign with a high ceiling in my opinion. His speed has kept teams interested. I want to see him use good instincts and I'm curious to see him in coverage. He has a chance to excel in our system.

As far as kick and punt returner, my prediction is to see David Gilreath literally run away with it. (:

On the O-line hearing that Ijalana was struggling in camp makes me want to see him play before I see Castonzo. I really just can't wait to see either them have an impact. I hope they can get into the starting lineup. Ijalana I feel like could help at guard and kick out to RT when he needs, but I hope Castonzo is the replacement we have been looking for since Tarik Glenn retired.
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:22 AM    (permalink
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Well, what did you guys think?

I didn't see the game, but from what I've read, some encouraging signs, some not so much.
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Old 08-14-2011, 12:17 PM    (permalink
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Well, what did you guys think?

I didn't see the game, but from what I've read, some encouraging signs, some not so much.
Roger Saffold molested Hughes the entire time. Didn't even get close to touching the QB. Sigh...
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Old 08-14-2011, 01:05 PM    (permalink
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Starting O-line was Linkenback, Reitz, Saturday, Pollack, Diem. Freeney didn't play at all, Mathis was out after the first series or two. Castonzo & Ijalana came in around the 4th series (the offense was pretty inept without Manning, so drives were very short).

Ijalana played really well. He was going against the #2s mostly, but he controlled his man well. Hopefully he'll get a chance to go against Washington's/GB's #1s to see what he can do.

Castonzo looked a little lost at times. A few plays, he got TE help & didn't have anyone to block. On stretch plays to his side, he was in front of the RB with a LB there, and he reversed to block a D-lineman trailing the play. Some correctable stuff, & perhaps giving him extra help gave him nothing to do.

Delone Carter did what we hoped he would do. Was able to push through the pile more then once.

For the defense: Not sure how much we'll get from Hughes. I think he'd be great as a 3-4 OLB, where he could blitz into the back-field without being the focus of the scheme. Maybe they have that Joker role in mind, which as I understand is a sort of delayed blitz. 3 down lineman pass rush, while he reads the protection to find the hole. Think he could do really well in that role, if that's what the Joker role is. To his credit, I remember one play where he did the spin move & might have beat Saffold, but the RB was right there to clog his path to the QB. It might be worth a shot putting him in at LE, since RTs are generally a little slower & he might be able to get around them faster then they can move. But as far as I can tell, if a OT gets his hands on him, he's got nothing to counter it. It's also possible that he was exhausted. I believe he was in for just about every snap fr the first 3 quarters.

Nevis & Harris in the middle did really well. On passing downs, we really had middle pressure. If we get them, Freeney & Mathis on the field at the same time, watch out. I remember a few running plays, where Nevis beat his guy, found himself in the backfield, but the running play went the other direction. With some luck he might get us a few 3-yard losses. I think Nevis will really contribute this year (not like Hughes/Moala as rookies).

On defense, I was focusing on Hughes and the D-line. On offense was watching the OTs, so didn't see much else.
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Old 08-14-2011, 08:35 PM    (permalink
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I'm hoping we can get decent QB play from someone this preseason. With an awful QB it is hard to evaluate players because of poor thrown balls and 3 and outs.

Also her in an hour and a half NFL Network has Indy on. Don't know if you all will see this before then.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:38 AM    (permalink
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Just a little bit of what I saw and my opinions on players:

DL
Jerry Hughes is a bust. I'm not dipping my feet any longer I'm just saying it.
The only time he created any disruption was when he came in with a huge blitz package. Otherwise he was useless.
Drake Nevis looked fantastic. He had trouble at times, but he played with impressive energy.

LB
Our LBs after our starters are flat footed and clueless. Except for Wheeler although he over pursues most runs and gets blocked on a cutbacks.

CB
I was impressed with the time Jerraud Powers put in. He had an impressive 3rd down pass break up on third down against the Rams first team.

RB
Chad Spann looked more comfortable at RB rather than returner. He lost the handle on two kick returns and consequently we started inside the 20.
Darren Evans looked pretty fantastic. He ran aggressively and was able to pickup tough yards. Delone Carter as well.
Donald Brown is disappointing. He has one cut and has trouble eluding defenders as he attacks a whole.
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Old 08-15-2011, 08:21 AM    (permalink
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I liked the Delone Carter pick. He runs hard and physical.
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Old 08-15-2011, 10:07 AM    (permalink
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OL: Ijalana looked solid. Especially on run plays. Castonzo looked solid blocking in space on run plays but got turned around some in pass protection. I think both will be good and will start this year. Did not notice McClendon or Reitz much, I tried to watch for them but just couldn't stay with them for some reason. Storm didn't help, I missed a lot of the 1st and 2nd quarters. Pollak is terrible again, time to let him go, we're not getting anything for that 2nd rounder.

RBs: I really like Evans and Carter. Spann was ok but I'm ok losing him. I wish they would cut Brown and keep Addai, Carter, Evans, and Moore. Carter can throw a block, which I didn't expect.

TEs: Trade Tamme for a 5th and sign McNeill. He would be a fine Clark backup. Need Eldridge to get healthy or someone else that can be a blocking TE. Wish we'd picked up Lee Smith in the draft somehow, or Michael Hoomanuai (sp?), I actually wanted him pre-draft last year.

WRs: Garcon looked good, Gonzo was in briefly but I didn't see much. Taj Smith is a bubble WR5/WR6 again, might be worth signing if White can't get healthy. Nobody else looked good.

QBs: who cares they all suck

DL: Harris was in for a limited time but collapsed the pocket regularly. Nevis was up and down but got a lot of good penetration, didn't look like a rookie. I'm cautiously excited about both. Mathews was more up than down, he doesn't look as big or strong as I expected and I don't see him as a NT. Hughes was disappointing. I think he could figure it out but it needs to happen this year.

LBs: Adrian Moten looks like a UDFA find. I'd like to see him make the roster. Wheeler looked better than expected when he was in. If he can play instinctively like that when it matters, maybe he takes back the SLB job.

DBs: I liked what I saw from Rucker, he is a man corner and fast. Thomas was better than expected in tackling, didn't see many coverage plays though, and he is a twig. I don't know how he'll hold up for 16+ games. Lefeged looked ok but not great. No other DBs were impressive.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:17 AM    (permalink
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I hope Reitz and McClendon step up as starters, I can't take another year of 'rag dolls' Pollak and Devan.

If they are playing well in pre-season, I would consider either Thomas or Rucker as starter at #2 CB. In our system starting CBs need to be good tacklers. Tryon or Lacey are really more suited for nickel CB.
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Old 08-15-2011, 11:25 AM    (permalink
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Well Max maybe that is part of my problem, IMO our system SUCKS and needs to be changed. CBs should cover receivers and their willingness and ability to tackle should be important but secondary. DLmen, LBs, and strong safeties should tackle RBs, not CBs. The CBs need to play up closer and give the receiver a bump or five at the LOS. When Hayden and Jackson were playing bump-and-run our secondary looked great. Lots of turnovers and incomplete passes.

Thomas is willing to tackle so I commend him for that but he looks like a popsicle stick in pads, he is not going to last. Rucker supposedly has the skill but not the sense to stay out of trouble. He looked good running stride for stride in coverage downfield. Still hoping for Hayden to re-sign for a reasonable contract.
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:09 PM    (permalink
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As I've said before, our defensive system can be frustrating, but it suits our team.

We are a parennial contender and always pick too low to get top talent at premier defensive positions. Plus we have way too much money tied up on offense.

Most positions in this system don't require top tier talents. Really, only DLs need to be among the most talented. Maybe FS also, that's really the guy who covers the deep routes in our system and needs to have good speed.

Cover-2 CBs, LBs and SS could be found later in the draft.

The only time during Manning-decade that we have had a crappy season, it gave us Freeney. We also got EXTREMELY lucky that both Mathis and Bethea came from small schools and were overlooked by scouts.

And this brings me to my last and the most important point. This scheme can produce a great defense, but it requires something which our team has had for only 4 games during this decade, a dominant DT, specifically UT.

This is the most important position for our scheme. It's a position that MUST be a big difference maker on all downs and in any situation.

Without it, QBs can step up in the pocket to avoid edge rusher and buy more time for the WRs to find open zones in coverage. Without it, RBs don't need to make extra cuts in the backfield, they just hit the hole as quickly as they can and it's up to our undersized LBs to fight through MUCH bigger blockers to make the play.

And this is exactly where our front office has failed over the years.

Tampa Bay had Sapp, Chicago had Harris, we have had Montae Reagor, Raheem Brock and Keyunta Friggin' Dawson.

The only time we had a dominant DT was an over-the-hill but very motivated Booger McFarland during the 2007 Championship run.

4 FRIGGIN' GAMES in the 13-YEAR Manning-era.

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Old 08-15-2011, 01:35 PM    (permalink
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No, Max. We've seen THESE GUYS play man and bump-and-run. I'm not saying go buy a Ravens defense. I'm saying make the CBs play up on the line on 3rd down. Why do we have $25 million per year tied up in two pass rush monsters when the QBs can just step up and throw for an autocompletion on 3rd down?

The cushion was frustrating when Dungy was here but back then we had nobodies at corner. Starting in 07, we got guys that could stay close to their man and make plays on the ball. In 2009, that is what they did up until the SB.

Playing with Coyer's enormous cushions, when these guys have the talent to press and actually help Free and Mathis get pressure, is not merely frustrating. It is stupid and it's bad strategy.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:32 PM    (permalink
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No, Max. We've seen THESE GUYS play man and bump-and-run. I'm not saying go buy a Ravens defense. I'm saying make the CBs play up on the line on 3rd down. Why do we have $25 million per year tied up in two pass rush monsters when the QBs can just step up and throw for an autocompletion on 3rd down?

The cushion was frustrating when Dungy was here but back then we had nobodies at corner. Starting in 07, we got guys that could stay close to their man and make plays on the ball. In 2009, that is what they did up until the SB.

Playing with Coyer's enormous cushions, when these guys have the talent to press and actually help Free and Mathis get pressure, is not merely frustrating. It is stupid and it's bad strategy.
I agree completely here. I wish we would play bump and run cause it would give Freeney and Mathis more of a chance to get to the QB. As far as stuffing the run we are just atrocious.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:37 AM    (permalink
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I feel kind of optimistic about run defense, I think our DTs will be a lot better this year. I'd still like another NT but already the rotation looks better.

It is not hard to figure out that playing with a huge cushion nullifies our pass rush. I hope the coaches get it right this year. But I guess I shouldn't count on it.
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:09 AM    (permalink
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I'm not that confident about the run defense this year.


The run support and gap control for the Cover 2 defence is actually relatively simple. The Defensive Ends will check the Offensive Tackles and control the C Gaps. The 3 Tech will cover the Offensive Guard and control his B Gap, while the 1 Tech will cover the Centre and Offensive Guard and control his A Gap. That leaves the Mike and the Strong Safety to cover the remaining A and B Gaps, while the Sam will cover the Tight End and control runs to the outside. Additionally, the Mike will have secondary responsibility for the Safetyís B Gap, while the Will will have secondary responsibility for the Mikeís A Gap. This is because there is a good chance that there is a Full Back flying through the Gap before the Running Back. The Mike takes up the Full Back, while the Will tackles the running back and similarly with the Mike and SS in B Gap.

The most telling characteristic of the Tampa 2 defence is that it isnít actually a Cover 2. It is for all intents and purposes a Cover 3, with the Safeties taking the wide thirds and the Mike taking the deep middle. Because both the Mike and the SS are expected to play both the deep third of the pitch as well as help in run support means that the Tampa 2 deeply susceptible to Play Action. In order to remove this weakness the Colts automatically send one guy at the Quarterback, even on obvious run downs. That guy is normally Dwight Freeney. It is why you will see Freeney frequently overshoot on run plays. That is because he isnít going for the Running Back; heís going for the Quarterback. So in order to cover for this the Will has to cover the outside run to the weak-side as well.

So this means that the Tampa 2 requires a number of players to be key in run support.

1 Tech: The Nose Tackle is the only player on the defence asked to take on a double team in run support. Invariably this means that he has to be able to not only take on a double team but he has to force the issue and force the double team. It is why the Colts run defence worked so well in the Superbowl run because Booger was one of the best Tampa 2 1 Techs in the game and was constantly able to force the double team and allow all his teammates to do their job.

Mike: The Mikeís primary job is to diagnose the play quickly, not just deciding if it is a run or a pass. If it is a pass he needs to get into his zone and quickly. If it is a run he needs to decide is it coming up the A Gap or the B Gap. He then needs to be disruptive enough to be able to fight through the block from the Full Back and make a tackle.

SS: Similarly to the Mike the Safety needs to be able to diagnose the play quickly and decide if he comes into the box or not.

WLB: After the 1 Tech the Will is the most important run defender in the team. He needs to be able to diagnose what the Running Back is going to do with it and he needs to cover for both the Mike and the RDE in run support.

It shouldnít surprise anyone that those four positions for that great Tampa Bay Buccaneers defence held 3 Pro Bowlers. The only one of the four who didnít go to the Pro Bowl was Booger McFarland. Shelton Quarles, John Lynch and Derrick Brooks all went to the Pro Bowl, with Brooks being named All-Pro, in 2002, the year the Bucs won the Superbowl. Does anyone really feel confident that Mookie Johnson, Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt and Kavell Conner can do the job?
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Old 08-17-2011, 09:06 AM    (permalink
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Mook has set a precedent for immediately improving our run defense when he is in. I have confidence in his ability. Less confidence in his health. Brackett is a wildcard because he looked bad last year but he was hurt all season. If he is back to 2009 form, yes, I think he will do fine. Bullitt is another wildcard. He seems like he's bulked up in the long offseason which should only help him in run support. Conner looked as good as Session in limited time last year, in run support. Not pass coverage. So, yes, I feel alright about these players. And I'm not so sure Ernie Sims won't take the WLB job away from Conner when he returns.

I am less confident in the depth at these positions, especially NT and SS.
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Old 08-17-2011, 10:50 AM    (permalink
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Mook has set a precedent for immediately improving our run defense when he is in. I have confidence in his ability. Less confidence in his health. Brackett is a wildcard because he looked bad last year but he was hurt all season. If he is back to 2009 form, yes, I think he will do fine. Bullitt is another wildcard. He seems like he's bulked up in the long offseason which should only help him in run support. Conner looked as good as Session in limited time last year, in run support. Not pass coverage. So, yes, I feel alright about these players. And I'm not so sure Ernie Sims won't take the WLB job away from Conner when he returns.

I am less confident in the depth at these positions, especially NT and SS.
Mookie is not only injury prone but also inconsistent. I don't feel confident on either his ability to stay healthy or on his ability to consistently command the double team.

The key for the Strong Safety is not for his ability to actually help in run support. The key is for him to be able to diagnose the play. While I am confident that if he helps in run support that he will do well but the problem is that he doesn't have either the ability to diagnose the play ever time or the range to recover when he calls it wrong.

All in all I think our run defence will be decent. But with increasing concern with our offence (questions on the offensive line, Manning's health, questions about the receivers health etc) as well as questions about our pass defence then we need it to be better than decent.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:31 AM    (permalink
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Time to get this thread moving.

Things I'm watching for tonight:

RBs - Can Brown prove he is back on the right track after two years of poor play? I'd like to see him get a few more carries than last game. I'd also like to see more from Carter and Evans. With the way the NFL is treating kickoffs I'm not sure keeping Moore is important anymore.

WRs - Can Taj Smith finally break through the bubble and make the team this year? The guy has potential and works hard to make plays, especially on special teams, but has never put it together. He had a good TD reception that may or may not have been a broken play. Let's see if he can build on that. I don't expect anything from any other camp body receiver.

Offensive line - I really want to know who the starters will be. My guess is Castonzo/Reitz/Saturday/Diem/Linkenbach since that was the lineup seen earlier this week in practice. I'll also want to see who replace Diem and Saturday since neither will probably play much. I want to see when and if Ijalana and McClendon come in, and where each of them plays.


Defensive line - I want to see Hughes bounce back and get at least one sack and prove that he can do SOMETHING in this league. A lot of Colts fans have already given up on him, I haven't. But he has to show something. I also would like to see how the DTs rotate. It would be nice to see Jamaal Anderson and Fili Moala get some reps. Also want to see if Nevis and Harris look good again.

LBs - Probably too early for Sims to play. Can Conner improve in pass coverage?

DBs - Lefeged and Caldwell may end up being the backup safeties this year. I would really like one of them to at least push Bullitt for the starting job. Caldwell hits hard but can he read and react quickly? How long will it take Lefeged to get up-to-speed in the NFL?

I will also be watching for cushion size. At some point someone on the coaching staff needs to figure out that 10 yard cushions on 3rd and 4 are a bad idea.
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:06 AM    (permalink
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One thing that is working in Lefeged's favor for a roster spot, he seems to be a pretty good ST player.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:20 AM    (permalink
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I'm not sure what the exact rotation will be at DT, but Nevis MUST see a significant amount of snaps.

And Colts need a new backup QB. They don't have one.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:54 AM    (permalink
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With time Orlovsky might be OK. He is already better than Painter and Painter has over a year longer in the system. But yeah if Manning goes down they will have to either find a veteran FA or pack it in and enjoy a high draft pick next year.

I am pretty disgusted with the coaching staff. No game plan at all with this one, not even a basic vanilla gameplan. How could they even find things to work on or evaluate bubble players with this garbage?

Nevis did look good, and I thought Hughes showed improvement. Chick had some good pressure. I am going to rewatch a few plays to see how certain players did.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:02 PM    (permalink
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Falcons sign Hayden.

http://www.stampedeblue.com/2011/8/3...-kelvin-hayden

We'll have to go with Lacey.
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:50 PM    (permalink
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Or Tryon, if they want to put the best player on the field. But this is the Colts coaching staff so who knows.
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