Training Camp opens for the Colts in 33 days. Between now and then, we will need to identify the training camp battles that could define this team heading into the 2009 season. As many of you know, I'm a big proponent of camp competition. Regardless of a player's salary, reputation, or name, he must always earn his job in camp. Example: Peyton Manning, the best QB of his generation, approaches every training camp as if he were fighting for his job. If he is doing that, everyone should.
That said, it's time we start isolating the key camp battles. Obviously, these battles can change due to injuries, new player signings, and other variables. But, for now, these are the ones I see:
Third wide receiver in the "kings" WR set. This is either slot receiver, or a receiver who will lineup right while Anthony Gonzalez shifts to the slot when Indy goes 3 wide. Players: Pierre Garcon, Roy Hall, Austin Collie, Sam Giguere
Starting nose tackle. Players: Ed Johnson, Antonio Johnson, Terrance Taylor, Daniel Muir
Starting three technique DT. Players: Fili Moala, Ed Johnson, Adian Grady, Eric Foster
- Starting guards on the offensive line*. Players: Mike Pollak, Jamey Richard, Jaimie Thomas, Brandon Barnes
- SAM linebacker. Players: Philip Wheeler, Adam Seward, Tyjuan Hagler
- Second tight end. Players: Gijon Robinson, Tom Santi, Jacob Tamme
- Special teams returner. Players: T.J. Rushing, Austin Collie, Chad Simpson, Pierre Garcon, Michael Coe
- Nickel corner. Players: Tim Jennings, Jerraud Powers, Dante Hughes, Michael Coe, T.J. Rushing
- Third running back: Players: Mike Hart, Lance Ball, Chad Simpson
If there are other camp battles you think are vital, kindly list them.
* As someone in the comments noticed, I left Ryan Lilja off the guards spot because I am not 100% certain what his injury status is.