There will be a lot of introductions going around NFL locker rooms on Monday morning as teams incorporate their rookie classes with OTAs continuing through the rest of the month.
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke posed a couple of question surrounding the Colts with rosters growing to 90 on the practice field this week.
Below are his two questions on the Colts and both Burke and I offer our analysis on the proposed issues.
- Burke’s Analysis: This sure feels like Vick Ballard’s job to lose after he led the team in rushing last season. Nobody on the depth chart appears on the cusp of stardom, though, from Ballard to Donald Brown to seventh-rounder Kerwynn Williams. Ballard’s 814-yard rookie year at least gives Indianapolis something on which to build.
- Bowen’s Analysis: I would have to agree with Burke’s notion that the running back job is Vick Ballard’s to lose. Ballard was productive in his rookie season and that was running behind an offensive line that has improved in the offseason and an offense that appears to be utilizing more of a fullback than last year. I could very well see Ballard being a consistent 1,000+-yard rusher for years to come. Donald Brown (speed) and Delone Carter (power) both fit a role at the running back position but it’s hard to imagine either of them supplanting Ballard as the starter. Kerwynn Williams’ first crack at making a contribution should be on special teams but the return threat also showed at rookie minicamp this past weekend that he can catch the ball out of the backfield and has a chance to find a role as a third down back.
- Burke’s Analysis: This ought to be an interesting one with Walden, arguably overpaid in free agency at four years and $16 million, taking on Werner, whom many thought should play DE in the pros. The winner gets to start opposite Robert Mathis at OLB in the Colts’ 3-4 scheme. Walden was underwhelming as a Packer, which is why Green Bay let him walk without any semblance of a fight this offseason. He could hold down the fort, at least early as Werner learns the ins and outs of playing linebacker.
- Bowen’s Analysis: First off, let’s make this clear that this is a great problem to have at the outside linebacker position. Pro Bowler Robert Mathis is the obvious starter at one side of the linebacker corps but the other side has two quality candidates. Walden has been raved about for his ability to set the edge and he was one of the bigger splashes the Colts made in free agency. Werner will get his first taste of veterans in the NFL this week during OTAs, after the Colts first round draft pick had a very solid start to his professional career at rookie minicamp. Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky made it clear that there will be times this year where all three will be on the field together and expect this specific battle to last well into August with two dynamic edge players, both of which will play a good portion of defensive snaps come the regular season.
Tags: Bjoern Werner, chuck pagano, Delone Carter, donald brown, erik walden, Greg Manusky, kerwynn williams, robert mathis, vick ballard
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Each morning Colts.com will take a look at the top headlines surrounding the Indianapolis Colts from around the globe. What is the local and national media saying about the Colts?
Take a look below at the top five pieces from Monday, May 13th:
By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star
The Colts 2013 rookie class doesn’t have to look far in the locker room this week to see a group of players that excelled in their first NFL season.
Last season’s rookie class led the Colts to an 11-5 record and the offensive players accounted for an NFL record 3,112 yards of total offense.
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows that the needs aren’t glaring with this year’s rookie class and frankly, that’s what he is looking for in years to come.
“That doesn’t mean to say some of these guys that we drafted or any of the tryout guys or college free agents can’t come in and contribute in some capacity, especially on special teams,” Pagano said. “With what we did in free agency, there’s not that many holes to fill.
“That’s means you’re getting closer from a roster standpoint and team standpoint to where you want to be.”
By: Mike Chappell, Indianapolis Star
It was a chorus of elation for the offense at the close of the rookie minicamp this weekend at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
Head Coach Chuck Pagano implemented a “Detroit scenario” with seventh round draft pick Justice Cunningham hauling in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Arkansas Tech quarterback Tanner Marsh.
“We try to do all these must-win mock situations,” Pagano said. “Fourth down, gotta have a touchdown and we hit a walk-off home run, if you will.
“It was a good way to end camp.”
Other factoids in Chappell’s notebook include Hugh Thornton working strictly at right guard during camp and Josh Chapman working as the No. 1 nose guard during OTAs.
By: George Bremer, Anderson Herald Bulletin
Bremer also takes a look at Cunningham’s heroics but his notebook piece includes a variety of topics.
The second notebook item is a roster move the Colts made following their rookie minicamp as cornerback Allen Chapman turned his tryout into a roster spot and he ironically takes the place of college teammate Nigel Malone on the 90-man roster.
Along with the note on Thornton working at right guard, Bremer mentions the success that first round draft pick Bjoern Werner received from defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.
“Usually, it takes players probably a whole offseason to get their feet underneath them,” defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. “For him, he looks good the first day I saw him out of a two-point stance. He’s been working, I know, down in south Florida. He’s been working on it a lot. Usually, the hardest thing is once they standup, they don’t shoot their hands, but he seems like he’s doing a pretty good job of it.”
Tags: Allen Chapman, Bjoern Werner, chuck pagano, Greg Manusky, Hugh Thornton, justice cunningham
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