Indianapolis Colts: What Each Major Offseason Addition Must Focus On in Training Camp

Al Bello

We've been talking about all of the positive aspects of these free agents, but where could each addition improve?

The offseason has been crazy for the Indianapolis Colts over the past few months, but now training camp is less than a month away, and these guys have been doing as much as they can in order to make the transition into a new scheme.

There's been plenty of talk about what each of these picks do well, but at the same time there are other aspects of their game that they need to work on.

Obviously, the Colts didn't sign the next Hall of Fame player at each position, and players could always get better. Whether they can improve or not is a completely different question.

Only time will tell if these were smart moves, but for now we can look at the biggest weakness for each of these guys.

Darrius Heyward-Bey

Fans were glad to see Donnie Avery go and to see a potential breakout speedster in DHB come in, but how much better can Heyward-Bey be in regards to drops?

The first two seasons of DHB's career while with the Oakland Raiders make me want to cry. According to Pro Football Focus, his drop rate was 35.7 percent in 2009 and 21.2 percent in 2010. Luckily that number went down to 8.6 percent in 2011, but it went back up to 12.8 percent last season.

Some of that can be credited to a volatile quarterback situation while in Oakland, but those drops are always concerning. Simply put, drops can kill a drive. There's really no way to sugar-coat it, and the coaches will make sure a player knows that he dropped a ball when he gets back on the sideline.

Hopefully DHB can get that drop rate down a bit more, or we could be looking at Avery v. 2.0.

Donald Thomas

Regardless of Thomas' weaknesses, it's pretty safe to say that he'll be better than any guard was last season.

The thing that Thomas must focus on is pass blocking. He can be a very good pass blocker, but if gets beat then he's bound to be in big trouble. In particular, Thomas will need to make sure that he can do better in regards to recovering after getting beat on the snap.

It's not exactly the biggest weakness as an offensive guard, but it can be noticeable from time to time. Regardless, it's a bit relieving to know that there will be at least one consistently solid guard on the offensive line.

Gosder Cherilus

Where Thomas needs to work on aspects of his pass-blocking, Cherilus must work on his run-blocking.

There were times last season with the Detroit Lions where Cherilus was unable to gain leverage on run plays, and defensive linemen were able to eat him up and get penetration. He doesn't always get his hands on the inside of the defender's should pads and keep a hold on them while the running back tries to find a hole.

Since the Colts appear to be playing Cherilus at the right tackle spot, this could be a bit concerning. He's not a bad run blocker, but he cold certainly be better.

Ahmad Bradshaw

Above all things, Bradshaw needs to stay healthy.

When this guy is healthy, he's a monster. He can make plays on the ground and through the air, but he's also a mean pass blocker. In just 14 games last season, he had 1,260 total yards and six scores.

Unfortunately, foot problems have been bothering Bradshaw the past two seasons. The wear and tear of a season tends to wear him down, and he fights through them until he can barely walk.

The Colts may be able to minimize the workload for Bradshaw thanks to a possible rotation involving Vick Ballard and maybe another running back like Delone Carter or Donald Brown. If he can stay healthy, and that's a major if at this point, then he could be a great addition for this team.

Note: You can get an awesome analysis of Bradshaw's injury by Will Carroll here.

Erik Walden

This is one of the easier ones to talk about. Walden can be good, but he needs to stay focused on every play and stay consistent.

This play against the San Francisco 49ers is a pretty good example of why he needs to stay focused.

As much as everyone hates on Walden, he can have some good games. He had a nice game against the Detroit Lions in November, putting up six tackles and two sacks. His biggest game came in Week 17 of 2010, putting up 12 tackles and three sacks while helping the Green Bay Packers clinch a playoff berth.

This guy has the tools to set the edge and be a solid player for the Colts, he just needs to show that he can do it on every play.

Greg Toler

Just like Bradshaw, Toler needs to stay healthy. He's only played in 38 games in a career that started in 2009.

Along with injuries, Toler needs to work on his ability to recognize routes and understand what's going on around him. He sometimes tends to try and jump routes and get burned, but that's likely something he could have gotten better at by now had he been able to stay on the field consistently.

Hopefully Toler can stay healthy and play opposite of Vontae Davis this season, and hopefully a significant amount of time on the field will help him become a better overall player in 2013.

LaRon Landry

Last, but not least, is Landry, the dominating run-stopping safety from the New York Jets.

He's big, he's scary, and he can punish ball carriers.

What he's not good at, however, is pass coverage.

There's a reason Landry almost always plays in the box, and it's because he tends to struggle when playing in coverage. He struggles to turn his hips with a receiver and doesn't do a very good job at keeping up with receivers. He also tends to let receivers behind him when playing in a deep zone and have passes go over his head.

I think that Landry could eventually become a decent enough safety in zone coverage, but don't expect him to surprise anyone in man coverage. As long as he sticks to making big hits in the run game, he'll have done his job on this team and met expectations.

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