Salute the Colts' new outside linebacker, Dwight Freeney. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
With the Colts completing their second set of OTAs this week, Colts.com decided to update the roster with all the new names and (most importantly) the positions. Now, before the crusty, get-off-my-lawn crowd starts barking that OTAs don't matter, kindly remember that your opinions on this matter are, quite simply, wrong.
OTAs do matter. They might not matter to the degree that everyone ranks them at (like the people freaking out about Tim Tebow looking terrible at the Jets OTAs), but they do matter. Offensive and defensive coordinators install roughly 75% of their systems during OTAs. Also, coaches are always evaluating, and since we have a new coaching regime reworking the entire roster, OTAs matter for the Colts now more so than in years past. As coaches Chuck Pagano, Bruce Arians, and Greg Manusky work with players during these offseason practices, we begin to get a sense as to how these coaches plan to utilize the players in 2012.
Stampede Blue reader Hetfield recently perused the roster page of Colts.com, and made a FanPost listing some of the more noteworthy changes. These changes are, from what I understand, a direct result of work being done in OTAs.
Right off the bat, for those of you who kept insisting that the Colts were NOT going to move Ben Ijalana back to his more natural OG position, y'all owe me money. Send your money orders to Mr. BigBlueShoe, c/o Smartest Football Man On The Planet, 1547 Michael Corleone Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211.
With the front office trading for Winston Justice prior to the draft, moving Ijalana to guard was just logical. I talked to lots of people both at this year's draft and last year's (including SI's Tony Pauline), and all said Ijalana was a better guard than tackle. I'm sure he can play tackle in a pinch, but this notion that he was a fulltime starter at RT was another Polian fantasy. Ryan Grigson doesn't seem to be the type to shoehorn players into roles they might not be suited for. Thus, Ijalana is a OG.
Other noted roster changes:
- Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are no longer defensive ends (DEs). They are outside linebackers (OLBer).
- Jerry Hughes is also listed as a OLBer. This shift might save his career..
- Zane Taylor, who played guard with the Eagles, is listed as a center (which is what he played in college).
- Brandon King, who the Colts listed as a safety last year, is now a corner.
- Fili Moala is no longer listed as a defensive tackle (DT). He's a DE now.
- Interestingly, Ollie Ogbu (305 lbs), Ricardo Mathews (314 lbs), and Drake Nevis (300 lbs) are still listed as DTs, not DEs or nose tackles (NTs).
- Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner are listed as inside linebacker (ILBers).
- The NTs are Josh Chapman, Brandon McKinney, and Antonio Johnson.
- Chigbo Anunoby, who is so obviously a NT it isn't even funny (6'4, 324 lbs), is listed as "DT."
- Ryan Mahaffey is the only fullback listed
- 7th round pick Justin Anderson, a tackle in college, is listed as a guard (OG).
- Mike McGlynn is listed as a OG and as a center
Based solely on this new, updated depth chart (and, keep in mind, we are in late May), the starting offensive line looks to be LT Anthony Castanzo, LG Mike McGlynn, OC Samson Satele, RG Ben Ijalana, and RT Winston Justice. The starting defensive line is DE Fili Moala, NT Josh Chapman (if he's healthy), and DE Cory Redding. The linebackers are OLB Dwight Freeney, ILB Pat Angerer, ILB Kavell Conner, and OLB Robert Mathis. Hughes would seem to back-up Mathis.
Again, that's my opinion (for those of you who need that sort of stuff spelled out on an opinion blog) based on what the team is doing at OTAs. Overall, the changes make sense, and they give someone like me a little hope that we aren't in store for another 2-14 season.