Expect the Colts to lose the next two preseason games. Winning one preseason game is about the norm for the Colts. It was at home this year and we should be grateful for that. We got to see a good game by most of the Colts. It wasn't as ugly as the Vikings game and the team won't have to get as fake upset as they were last week. I saw a lot of positives and some growth by players but also some less-than-stellar performances. Here are some of my notes.
~Painter improved today, but he still had a couple of bad passes. He underthrew a lot of players and one resulted in a pick. He did show more poise and had some good passes under pressure. If he keeps on improving at this pace he will become an acceptable backup in this league.
~Don't look at the rushing yards per carry if you want an accurate depiction of how Lance Ball and the others played. Ball did the best possible with the backup offensive line blocking. There is no depth on the offensive line, and Ball getting more than 4 yards on any carries is amazing.
~Again, no one made any progress in the slot receiver battle. Garcon had 1 catch for 12 yards and Collie had 2 catches for 32 yards, but no one was that impressive. This is a battle that will come down to the wire.
~Out of all of the UDFA offensive players John Matthews has been the most impressive. 1 catch for 17 yards and some decent blocking. He seems destined for the practice squad.
~Kyle DeVan and Tom Pestock are not going to be on this team, and they don't deserve to be on it. They were very bad tonight and couldn't run block to save their lives. The lack of depth at offensive line is disturbing.
~Marcus Howard got consistent pressure on the QB. He is the best backup pass rush defensive end on this team, and I still believe that he could make a HUGE impact on this team. He's got blazing speed.
~The linebackers are very good tacklers. The starters wrapped up well. The second teamers didn't miss tackles. The scrubs even got them down without a fight. I am very optimistic about this group of linebackers.
~The starting defensive backs were unimpressive today. However, these guys aren't the regular starters, so there is no need for concern as of this moment.
~This was a very weird game for Pat McAfee. His first punts were perfect, but then he had a 39 yard punt with no return and a very odd punt where there was a bad snap, he had an awkward kick and the ball took an Eagles bounce for about 15 to 20 yards. He is still much better than Hunter Smith no matter how unlucky the bounces are.
~Shane Andrus was money tonight, but his kicks weren't that pretty.
~T.J. Rushing had beautiful punt returns with one returned 45 yards. The kickoff returns sucked though. Giguere returned them and couldn't get anything going.
My top 5 players and a new roster prediction are up after the jump.
5. Tony Ugoh, OT: Ugoh may not have been the fifth best player out there, but compared to Charlie Johnson he is an All-Pro LT. Ugoh was fine in pass protection and did a good job run blocking. There is no reason to why he isn't starting. Johnson is a fine player, but he is not capable of being a permanent starting tackle in the NFL. Ugoh is. If Ugoh is not starting against Jackson for Week One, I will be concerned.
4. Jordan Senn, LB: Senn was everywhere. It was actually pretty creepy. It seemed like there were 3 Senns out there. On one drive he seemed to always be getting the tackles and pressuring the QB. This is what I want to see from Wheeler and Session. Tackle well, pressure the QB on blitzes and never be out of a play. I think Senn should be on the roster for his contribution on special teams. Anyone who flies to the ball like him should be covering kicks.
3. Jacob Tamme, TE: Tamme was the top receiver in this game. Manning targeted him. Painter targeted him. Tamme had some trouble route running, but he made up for it with his running after the catch and consistency catching. With Gijon Robinson missing time, Tamme could easily jump him on the depth chart.
2. Jacob Lacey, CB: Lacey has been the player of the preseason. He had good coverage in the Vikings game and almost made my top 5, but he went above and beyond tonight. He was phenomenal. His only mistake was a dropped interception, but he still kept the receiver from catching it. He is great in pass defense and should make the practice squad.
1. Ramon Humber, LB: Shutdown. That is the only way to describe Humber tonight. He was flying around the field throwing his body around like Bob Sanders and had Gary Brackett like pass defense. I enjoyed watching him play tonight. He didn't have a lot of tackles, but anyone who watched the game has to appreciate what he did tonight. It won't earn him a roster spot on the Colts but it can raise the eye of some other teams and the UFL though.
QB Curtis Painter
WR John Matthews
WR Sam Giguere
OL Jaimie Thomas
DL Curtis Johnson
DL Adrian Grady
LB Ramon Humber
DB Jacob Lacey
This was very tough. Curtis Johnson is still eligible for the practice squad, but I would believe that he would be signed by another team quickly. Besides that I believe all of the guys on the practice squad have strong potential. This was a tough roster to cut down to 53. We are going to see a very good team this year.