Colts football is back! I have to admit, I now expect more out of this team than I did before the game and damn that's exciting!
Now of course this has just been one game, but this breakdown will keep in mind that we can only have 53 of these 90 players once the season starts. My main focus will be on players who are borderline in making the team. So without further ado...
Guy's Who Should/Will Make the Team
Donald Brown (RB):
Tough to base his play off of the limited time he was on the field, but we saw the speed he's always been advertised to have. The downside is we also saw mediocre pass-blocking from him. I expect him to be starting day one, so all this Mewelde Moore talk can stop.
Vick Ballard (RB):
Wow! What a pick by the front office! As the announcers constantly reminded us, his feet never stop moving. Look for that to earn him an injury by the end of the season, but for now he is the second best back on this team. If he improves his pass blocking, then this is the man I see overtaking Brown. Damn fine performance for a rookie.
T.Y. Hilton (WR):
Damn this guy is fast. He had a sideline catch that reminded me of Marvin Harrison. If he had done the toe tap, I would've swore it was him. Solid all game. I expect he and Brazill to split time as the 3rd wideout if Avery doesn't come back. He let a punt go in the 2nd quarter that he should have caught. It ended up costing the colts 15 yards.
LaVon Brazill (WR):
Very good game overall. Had one pass that was a bit high that went through his fingers. As far as I can tell, that was the only one he should have had but didn't. Showed great hands and speed otherwise. If he can show excellent route running, then I would look for him to overtake T.Y. Hilton.
Dwayne Allen (TE):
Although he wasn't seen much, he did show perfect run blocking on the Donald Brown TD play. He chipped a rusher, then broke off across the field to perfectly block the cornerback at the second level. However, his play as a fullback was less impressive. He was not nearly as good picking up defenders in the backfield. I expect this to change as he has more time to learn the system.
Samson Satele (C):
At this point I'm happy that the FO picked him up. He's no Jeff Saturday (obviously), but he was solid most of the game. I would blame his misses more to the fact that he had to try to cover for McGlynn at times.
Joe Reitz (OG):
I think this performance should shut up anyone who thinks he isn't the best guard on this team. Started the game at LG and was the starting block for the Donald Brown TD run. Showed close to perfection all night at guard. I don't see the knock on him, he looks like the best guard on the team by a mile right now. At one point in the 2nd quarter he lined up as a TE and was overthrown by Luck on a TD pass...completely missed that until I re-watched the game.
Antonio Johnson (NT):
Holy shit this guy can play! I've always liked Antonio Johnson, I can't give a good reason why. We finally got to see why he's starting at NT...he's great at it! He played with a ferocity that I've never seen from him. If he continues to play at this level against better offensive lines, then he will be one of the best players on our defense. Mark my words.
Fili Moala (DE):
A year ago, I would have questioned him being on this time. Today he changed my opinion of him 180 degrees. Played with more power than I'm used to seeing from him. He switched between 3-4 DE and 4-3 UT and it was obvious how much better he was in the 3-4. Loved the fact that he never stopped until the whistle blew. It looks like he and Redding will make a great DE pair.
Kavell Conner (ILB):
Here's the problem I see with Kavell Conner - he played a darn near perfect game when in run defense/blitzing. However his pass coverage skills are mediocre at best. I would seriously consider moving him to OLB behind Freeney if I were coaching. Questionable I know, but watch the footage and tell me he wouldn't be better there.
Guys I Want to See More Of:
Drew Stanton (QB):
Looked like he could start over a couple other teams QBs today. He made good calls and looked confident in the pocket. Really looked like he was playing with a chip on his shoulder. Should make for an interesting matchup for backup QB next year between he and Chandler Harnish.
Chandler Harnish (QB):
Looked every bit as good as Stanton today. Not quite as confident, but still got the job done. At this point I think he will get the nod over Stanton in the future just because of his age. He had a perfect throw to WR Ross for a TD. Good pickup by the FO.
Delone Carter (RB):
At this point I would put him as the 3rd running back. He showed much surer hands this season, and I expect he and Ballard to compete for the spot behind Brown.
Coby Fleener (TE):
2 dropped passes, iffy blocking. Definitely not as polished as I was hoping for. First game in the NFL though, so I'm not going to read too far into it thus far. A couple decent grabs despite some shaky points.
Dominique Jones (TE):
Good hands, decent blocking. Looks like a good backup to Dwayne Allen in the TE/FB role.
Seth Olsen (OG):
Put this guy in as the starting RG. He's by no means a starting guard, but he's the best we have after Reitz at this point. He was put in for McGlynn and showed a far bettter performance.
Jason Foster (OG):
Showed a decent performance today. I believe he takes a backup spot on the roster and keeps it throughout the season.
Jeff Linkenbach (OT):
I know he's listed as a guard, but he's just not. He's a terrible guard. I hope the FO realizes this. However, he was the best RT tonight. If he doesn't get the nod over Winston Justice for the next game, then the coaching staff needs to go back to the film. Justice either needs to up his game or else lose his starting spot. I honestly hope Linkenbach hasn't peaked, but I think this is all we're going to get out of him. If I were Andrew Luck, I wouldn't trust the right side of the line at all.
Brandon McKinney (NT):
Didn't look nearly as strong as Johnson this game. Not sure what was going on, but I expected more out of him. He will make a serviceable backup at this point. I'm not writing him off by any means, but he looks like he is still playing with an injury. I expect more next game.
Ricardo Mathews (DE):
Completely blocked out of the play at times. He should make the team, but only just. Right now he's the 4th best DE on the team (assuming Redding is as good as advertised).
Drake Nevis (DE):
We've heard he isn't a natural DE, which was apparent, but this guy has a non-stop motor. Ran 15 yards after a receiver to make a tackle downfield. He was completely blocked out of other plays, but right now I would put him neck and neck with Ricardo Mathews on the depth chart.
Jerrell Freeman (ILB):
Nothing flashy this game, but nothing bad either. Gotta see more of him before I can make an opinion. Seemed to be a solid backup though.
Moise Fokou (ILB):
Screwed up a punt return by David Caldwell by getting in his face. Showed solid run defense, but I didn't see enough snaps from him to make a call either way. Considering this is only his second week with the team, I'm sure he still doesn't know the system.
Jerry Hughes (OLB):
The Good news with the bad - he did get 2 sacks. However, on one of them he was unblocked, and the other he was clearly offsides before the snap. What I saw in replay however was just how quick he was on special teams. On one of the kickoffs that went out the back of the endzone, he was the first one down. This obviously would be a departure for him if he was able to make a presence as a special teamer. We'll have to wait and see.
Mario Addison (OLB):
Good backup pickup by the front office. Don't look to see him starting, but he does show some skill in his moves. If he can perfect his technique, he'll be much better.
Justin Hickman (OLB):
Showed strong bull rush power and almost had a few sacks in the 4th.
Chip Vaughn (CB):
Good on special teams as a gunner. Didn't see him much though. Will have to wait for next game before I can make an opinion.
Tom Zbikowski (S):
Looked solid in run defense, however he wasn't challenged much in the passing game. I'm still not sold on his decision making skills. However, his tackling was looking textbook this game.
Guys I Want to See Less Of:
Mewelde Moore (RB):
Had a decent game. Nothing great, nothing terrible. He looks like the oldest running back on the field (and is). I expect him to be a good backup, but I wouldn't play him over Brown, Carter, or Ballard at this point.
Winston Justice (OT):
Here's the problem, he's worse than what we had last year. Yes, worse than Linkenbach. I know how down people are on Linkenbach, but Justice's performance today was worse. If he continues to play like this, he deserves to lose his spot. I expect better or I expect him off the field.
Mike McGlynn (OG):
He needs to produce or be benched. He was by far the worst performer on the team today. He was consistently bowled over by his man and deserves to sit on the aluminum next game. Later in the game he was benched for Seth Olsen, who played a far superior game. If he doesn't step it up, he needs to get out.
Justin King (CB):
Bleah. He flashed some great plays, but was just burned on others. Had good run defense, but the coverage was tough to watch. Please please tell me we'll have a better option at CB before the start of the season. He is a serviceable backup, not a starter.
Guys Who Should be Cut by Start of Season
Darren Evans (RB):
One of the few that I would say need to be cut at this point. There's just too much talent ahead of him. Hate to say it about a hometown guy making his way up, but he's definitely the 5th running back at this point in a team that doesn't need 5. He has a terrible habit of putting his head down as soon as he gets the ball and runs right into coverage.
I obviously missed a good half of the new players. There was just so much going on in this game. It was tough to knock anyone, but the fact of the matter remains that only 53 of these men will remain. Saying that, I don't think there was any major difference in a few key areas. Specifically 2nd CB, Backup Safety, Backup CB, Backup ILB, Backup T, and BackIup WR. I hope the next couple games sees someone step up into each of these roles.
Please comment and let me know how I can improve for next time! I intend to write a post after each preseason game. Amen for a new start and Go Colts!!!