The Colts 2008 minicamp for veterans and rookies wrapped up yesterday, and all signs point to a very productive three-day event. Lots of info was revealed on why the Colts drafted the way they did, how the injury progress is going with players (like Dwight Freeney), and how certain players have grown and impressed coaches.
One thing I think we all fell pretty good about: This is a stacked team with a ton of depth at key positions, with the exception of the QB position. I still hold out hope that if a veteran like Chris Simms gets cut during training camp, the Colts will make a move to get a good back-up QB. Sorgi just can't do it, but we've been over that. Back-up QB aside, the Colts addressed almost all their off-season needs and look primed to make another run.
Dungy singled out Reggie Wayne, Dante Hughes, Ramon Guzman, Clint Session, Roy Hall, and Tony Ugoh as players who looked impressive during camp. Dungy typically does not evaluate players during minicamp, but these guys showed up ready to work and showcased some things. Roy Hall is the most interesting prospect. At 6'3, 240 pounds, he could add a very potent weapon to this offense if indeed he has taken that next step. The one thing Roy seems to have worked on is his hands. He went to a hands clinic over the summer, and seems dedicated to becoming a real, big time WR.
CB Dante Hughes, #20
Photo: Chris Hall
Dante Hughes seems ready to win the nickel corner spot from Tim Jennings. Jennings doesn't suck as badly as some suggest or say, but Hughes really excelled in the nickel as a rookie, and if he has made progress he should outright win the spot. Jennings still has value as a dime corner and a special teams player. I still shake my head when i think of how deep this secondary is.
On offense, I'll second mgrex30's post. Mike Hart might have been a major steal in the 2008 NFL Draft. And as much of a steal as Hart was, Dom Rhodes might be as big a steal in free agency. Teams needing a RB will regret not taking a shot at Dom after he was cut by Oakland. Since the beginning of the 2006 playoffs, Dom has turned it on. When given chances, he ran very well behind a bad Oakland offensive line. Here, comfortable in his back-up role and hungry to prove to people that he is a good back, he will help this team. Hart is shaping up to spell Addai on the goal line seeing as he never fumbles and is a battering ram in traffic.
Finally, there's Marvin Harrison. To quote Reggie Wayne:
"I can tell you it’s definitely hurting him not being able to be out there," Wayne said.
Rhodes also echoed Wayne's remarks on Harrison, and took them a step further. Dom said teams better "look out" because Marvin Harrison is very determined to prove he can still dominate. Marvin has never been one who has had to use his play to shut up critics. When someone has been dumb enough to criticize his (Keyshawn Johnson in Tampa Bay back in 2003), Marvin has a habit of exploding his production and making said idiots (Keyshawn Johnson) look even dumber than they normally do. Doctors also expect Marvin to be 100% ready for Chicago in Week One. For Harrison, it is important for him to come out of the gates fast. He needs to re-establish himself and prove he is healthy.
Other players that Indy coaches seemed to giggle with glee over are rookie free agent DT Eric Foster and rookie OG Mike Pollak. Foster is a high motor guy known for getting to the QB from the DT position. Pollak, learning a new position after playing OC in college, is challenging one-time OT Charlie Johnson for the starting OG spot. Johnson was magnificent in 2006, filling in numerous times at RT for Ryan Diem. In 2007, he took a step back and did not produce. Now, it looks like the Colts are trying him at OG. I like Charlie, and I think a virsital player like him is valuable for this team, but Pollak better beat him for the starting OG position. If Pollak doesn't, he's a wasted pick IMHO. Second round OGs better beat converted tackles for starting positions on the o-line.
DT Eric Foster, #68
Photo: Chris Hall
So, there you have it: the 2008 minicamp in review. Absent from practices were rookie Marcus Howard (rib), Dwight Freeney (foot), Bob Sanders (shoulder), Marvin Harrison (knee), and Gary Brackett (knee). It will be interesting to see how Howard looks at Training Camp, which is only two months away! Though it is only May, we Colts fans have to feel very good about this football team. Anything can, and likely will, happen in 2008, but Bill Polian has done his job creating a potent roster able to win another Super Bowl.