Stampede Blue names the five unsung players of this 2012 season thus far.
Hi. I'm Brad. I'm the assh*le here who bosses everyone around here. I also bitch and moan a lot about which Indianapolis Colts players piss me right the hell off because... well, because it's what I do. Some fans look for positive, uplifting stories. Others, like me, want to know who SUCKS, why they SUCK, and what's the fastest train said SUCKY player can get sent straight outta town on.
Piss and vinegar, with about 65% piss.
That said, here's a list of players on the Colts I do NOT think that suck, mainly because they are either playing well, exceeding my expectations, or just giving their all to the cause. I've picked five at random. This doesn't mean I think these players are the best on the team. They're just players I like and have enjoyed watching this year:
5) Antonio Johnson, Nose Tackle
The first one listed is a bit of a shocker, huh? No, I don't think Mookie Johnson is the answer at nose tackle for years to come. In fact, if he's still on the roster next season, I'll be shocked. I like Mookie because he's been dependable all season long. Is he good? Is he a stud? Is he someone who can anchor this defense? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! No, a thousand times over for each question. However, what I do like seeing is his grit, which is an overused word in our sports media culture.
Basically, the guy seems to give 100% on every down. I like that.
He's not suited for this defense, but I am seeing him out there for roughly 60% of the defensive snaps each game. Each snap, he's playing his butt off. With the season-ending injuries to Josh Chapman and Brandon McKinney, Mookie has been thrust into the NT role and played about as well as anyone could have expected. For a guy who was drafted in the 5th round in 2007, and who the Colts signed off the Titans practice squad in 2008, Mookie has been the very definition of "solid."
4) Mike McGlynn, Offensive Guard
I've not always been happy with the results, but McGlynn is a fighter. I also like his honesty and frankness as recently evidenced in the form of his comments regarding the classless this past Sunday. After years of watching Mike Pollak get blasted off the line down after down, it's nice to see a guy like McGlynn battling down there. He's also a tremendous locker room leader on a young team starved for such players. The Colts right side has played very consistently all year long, and McGlynn is a big reason why.
3) Pat McAfee, Punter
Yes, his off-field goofiness wears thin on a grump like me, but it's hard to completely dislike McAfee. He does a lot of good in the community, and his performance as a punter this year should hopefully get him to a Pro Bowl. His average per kick is 48.4, and his directional punting has improved significantly.
Speaking of directional punting, remember this last year? HA! What a dick.
2) Donnie Avery, Wide Receiver
We wrote about Donnie earlier this week. Rookies like T.Y. Hilton and LaVon Brazill deserve a ton of praise as well, and they are getting it. However, Avery has been a bit of an unsung hero for the Colts in terms of his production. Without Avery, the Colts simply do not beat the Lions. His two touchdowns were critical. He's also the No. 2 receiver on the team with 49 catches, averaging 13.8 yards a catch. More so than Hilton or Brazill, Avery has consistently been getting deep and behind the opposing secondary. The reason we haven't seen more big plays from him is because Luck is either over throwing or under throwing the ball to Avery. Despite the miscues and the timing issues, Avery is having a career year. Seeing scrap heap players like this find new life in Indy is always fun to cover.
1) Cassius Vaughn, Cornerback
He's inconsistent, raw, and lacks playmaking ability, but I like what I've seen from Vaughn overall. Unlike Jerraud Powers or Vontae Davis, Vaughn has been able to stay healthy and do pretty much everything that's been expected of him. Also, unlike the others, I don't recall a play where we saw Vaughn really get torched. We've seen both Davis and Powers spontaneously combust with some of the players they've had to run with, most notably Alshon Jeffery and Josh Gordon. He's got 33 tackles and 6 passes defended. Yeah, he doesn't rank well using Advanced Stats Positive Win Probability, but this is one of the few times where I don't care what the numbers say. I've watched Vaughn's tape. I like him. He's not starting, or anything like that. I just think he's played well given the circumstances, and he probably has a place on this team as a slot corner.
Who are your top five unsung Colts of this 2012 season?