Posts tagged Organized Team Activities
State of the Colts Franchise: Preseason Offense
The Indianapolis Colts have run just over 80 players through an absolute gamut over the last three weeks of training camp and the early preseason. During this process the front office and coaching staff have assessed and developed players who will eventually fill the Colts regular season roster and practice squad. All of the hard work, sweat, long days, and intense studying will come to a head on August 31 and September 4, when the NFL mandates that teams cut their rosters down to 75 and 53, respectively.
I had the amazing opportunity to watch eight of the Colts training camp sessions in-person, along with two preseason games on television — which I have broken down more than once. With this backdrop, the following story will discuss which players Colts fans can expect to make some noise in the remaining preseason games, and which players may surprise by making the final roster, or by failing to make it.
Gonzalez’ and Sanders’ Healthy Start to Colts Training Camp is Significant
The Indianapolis Colts have a long history of being extremely cautious with their star players. Any player who is likely to make a significant impact on the team’s success in a coming season will routinely start training camp on the physically unable to perform (PuP) list.
One player with a distinguished history under this policy is Bob Sanders. The fact that both Sanders and Gonzalez, who both had health questions or concerns leading to a great deal of speculation and discussion over the summer, enter training camp as active camp participants says a lot about how the team views their physical condition for the coming season.
The Real Reason to Fear an 18-Game Season
The off-season has been filled with discussions about upcoming changes to the NFL. Not only is the collective bargaining agreement in doubt for the 2011 season, there are some changes the League wants to make that will affect the future of NFL football.
One of the most debated discussions concerns an extension of the regular season from 16 to 18 games. There are numerous reasons to fear the extended season, as well as a handful of reasons to welcome the change. Although many fans think preseason games are “meaningless,” I argue that losing that time to develop young players will hurt the NFL most.
My Issue with Colts Statistical Analysis
Over summer, football fans are hungry for news. There is very little going on, particularly between organized team activities and training camp, so many will find numerous sources using statistical analysis to analyze NFL teams — and predict the likelihood of future success.
I think statistical analysis is a great tool for reviewing performance on a large scale. It allows fans to get a panoramic view of the kind of team the Colts, or other teams, were in the previous season. Statistics also serve as a tool for loose projections about future success.
The issue I have with statistics is that they do not go far enough to tell the whole story. Very rarely are they broken down into enough cross-sections or variables for an accurate perspective to form. Beyond that, no matter how many different ways they are broken down they can be misleading.
Colts Rookie TE Eldridge Makes Positive First Impression
If one thing has proved true about the Colts it is that getting information out of the team about players, particularly when it is not required, is a rarity. Additionally, when the team sings a young player’s praises early on, the outcome tends to prove them out.
Last year, Austin Collie earned early support from the team with a strong work ethic and promising future. He went on to be the most productive rookie wide receiver in the NFL. Rookie cornerback Jerraud Powers was lauded for his uncharacteristic maturity and attention to details. He earned a starting spot that he kept throughout the entire season, when healthy. Other young players, while not in their rookie seasons, who sparked attention from Colts front office ended up playing important roles in the team’s success. These players include Pierre Garçon in 2009, Eric Foster in 2008, Melvin Bullitt in 2008, Marlin Jackson and Kelvin Hayden in 2007, and so on.
After participating in the Colts organized team activities (OTAs) Brody Eldridge has been called a “diamond in the rough.” Pro Football Weekly reports that an unnamed source with the Colts organization stated, “He was really impressive in the OTAs. For a big guy, he is really athletic and showed a lot as a receiver. If teams forget about him, he could be a factor.”
Gonzalez Setback Unrelated to Knee-Injury
John Oehser posted an update through CBS Rapid Reports concerning Anthony Gonzelez’s setback that is worth noting.
“Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez missed time in last weekend’s minicamp with a hamstring injury, NFL.com is reporting. He missed all but one game last season with a knee injury, but this injury isn’t thought to be related.”
The Colts will break organized team activities on Friday and will not get back on the field together as a team until August 1, the start of training camp. Gonzo should have plenty of time to rest up and heal from his hamstring pull by then. He will need to get back on the field in a hurry if he has any hope of earning his starting spot back to open the season.
Don’t Forget Eric Foster
The Colts have been actively rebuilding the defensive tackle position. Not only did the team lack consistency at the position for many years, it also went through a pretty sizable transition in the kind of player it desired to play the role. It used to be commonplace for the defense to be considered small, fast, and under-sized compared to most NFL teams. While that is still true to a degree, the disparity is much smaller than it used to be.
One requirement that remains for the front four of the Colts defense is that the players must be quick enough, fast enough, and astute enough to gain penetration, pressure the quarterback, and wreak havoc in the opponent’s backfield. To that end, Indianapolis still retains smaller, quicker, players that are capable of achieving this end and one player that has started to establish himself in this role is Eric Foster.
No Cap in 2010 Making Colts Players Greedy?
Fans in Indianapolis have had to deal with unfamiliar surprises in the 2010 off-season. It is rare for Colts players to hold out for contracts, or to not participate in the team’s organized team activities for contractual reasons. Even more rare is for players who are playing under lucrative long-term deals to miss these activities while they try to negotiate pay increases.
So far this season, Colts fans have seen the long-term contract discussions with starting safety Antoine Bethea draw out, along with new contract demands from key players like Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne. What gives? What drives these formerly unimaginable actions?