We talked about the defensive players who have stood out in camp so far. Now, we focus on the guys who have yet to showcase anything, or, quite honestly, who've looked like crap.
The positive here is that there aren't too many players on defense who struggled in a truly obvious way this week. Oh sure, not everyone was perfect, but we Stampede Blue
troublemakers writers search far and wide along the Colts roster, looking for players who should be performing better. So far during this camp, we haven't found many.
This should make you fellow fans very happy. Ice cream for dinner kinda happy.
Players who have to prove something:
Pat Angerer, ILB
Angerer has started camp on PUP because he is still not healed from the two offseason surgeries he had on his foot. So far, he has yet to see the practice field. This foot injury hobbled him last year, making him a liability on passing downs. For much of 2012, Kavell Conner outplayed him, and Jerrell Freeman has already supplanted him as the team's best interior linebacker.
At camp, both Conner and Freeman have looked good, as has Kelvin Sheppard, the inside linebacker who was acquired when the Colts traded Jerry Hughes to Buffalo. In fact, Sheppard has practiced so well that he's now slotted as the starting inside backer over Conner even though, to Andrew Mishler's eyes, Conner has outplayed pretty much everyone at inside linebacker.
Seriously, what did Kavell Conner do to this coaching staff? Sleep with each of their mothers? All this guy has done is consistently look good out on the practice field and in games. I really wonder why the coaching staff seems to consistently devalue him. They needlessly benched him last season in favor of Angerer, and now Sheppard is getting more first team reps.
The Colts have also started using first-year player Josh McNary as an inside linebacker. The initial reports were that he'd play outside backer, but the move to the inside makes sense given his height. Lawrence Sidbury, acquired via free agency this offseason, was used as a "Joker" linebacker in Friday's practice,
All this means that the Colts have, effectively, found suitable replacements for Angerer regardless of whether he heals up soon or doesn't. The word out of Anderson is Angerer needs to get back on the practice field, and quickly too! If he doesn't, there's little reason to keep him on the roster as Angerer has next to zero value as a back-up inside backer because of his limitations as a special teams player.
Josh Gordy, CB
We praised Cassius Vaughn, Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, and Greg Toler earlier for how impressive they've played at camp. One name we've heard nothing about is Josh Gordy, the player the Colts traded for during preseason last year and who they re-signed as an exclusive rights free agent in April of this year.
Contrary to what some think, it's never a good thing when you hear nothing about a guy at training camp. Camp isn't a place to simply "lay low" and do your job. You've got to stand out, because if you don't someone else will and that someone else will likely take your job. Gordy isn't standing out.
On Wednesday, he had a terrible throw gifted to him by back-up quarterback Matt Hasselback. It's the kind of interception that, if you're looking to hold off anyone and keep your job, you make it.
Currently, Gordy is working with the second unit, but that's because Greg Toler has missed two straight days with a concussion. The Colts have moved Cassius Vaughn to the first unit, starting opposite Vontae Davis, while Darius Butler is cemented as the slot corner.
LaRon Landry, SS
For all the hype Colts players and coaches have heaped on LaRon Landy during camp and during minicamp back in May, frankly, we haven't seen it so far. In fact, we've seen Landry get burned more than a few times by tight ends like Coby Fleener.
Obviously, Landry's value is in laying big hits on receivers and knocking the football loose, but the days of safeties decapitating wideouts over the middle Bob Sanders-style are over. Landry's knock has been that he's a liability in coverage, and in the modern NFL your safeties need to be able to run and cover as opposed to stop the run. Too many teams can kill a defense far more effectively throwing he ball than running it.
Landry reportedly looked better in the Friday practice, knocking down passes and avoiding the scorch marks left on his ego by receivers killing him down the seam. Still, we want to see a bit more consistency. For all the money Landry was given and all "game wrecker" praise Chuck Pagano has lauded him with, the reality is Landry hasn't showcased any true playmaking skills in camp thus far.