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Colts Training Camp 2008: Piecing together answers to burning questions

Based on camp reporters from TheMatic and Aerostar193; articles posted on the Tribune Star and Indy Star websites, ESPN's own "blog"; and camp reports posted on, I'll do my best to piece together early observations of players many of you have questions about. I'll cite the sources at the end of article:

  • Philip Wheeler hurt is knee yesterday. After practice he was seen on the sideline with an ice wrap around his knee. This is a somewhat positive  sign that the injury is not too bad because if it was a pulled or torn tendon or ligament, he likely would not have been on the practice field sideline with ice on the knee. Apparently, the knee is "sore." Dungy elaborated on the injury (somewhat):
    "Wheeler has just irritation in the knee and [it’s] a condition he’s had that flared up. We’re hoping that it’s not too serious. Melvin Bullitt did have a little sprained thumb that they’re going to have to work on. He’s probably going to miss a few days, but nothing that should hold him out more than a week," the Colts coach said, adding that he doesn’t know how long Wheeler may be sidelined.

  • Day 2 saw the running backs stand out as the players put the pads on for the first time in weeks. The backs working with the starting unit are Addai, Rhodes, and Mike Hart. Noticeably absent from working with the starting unit: Kenton Keith. They are using Hart the way the used James Mungro from 2002-2005. Hart is small, but hits the gaps in the line hard and with explosion. He is essentially a hybrid short yardage back, fullback.

  • Mike Hart got his bell rung by Freddie Keiaho on one play. Fans in the stands cheered "Welcome to the NFL, rookie!"

  • Most have said Roy Hall has looked impressive. The only person I've read who was not impressed with Hall is Aerostar193, which is not to say Aerostar193 is wrong in his assessment. Everyone else though has raved about Hall.

  • Equally impressive has been Pierre Garcon. His routes are very crisp and his movement fluid. He is drawing comparisons to a young Marvin Harrison in terms of body type and route running.

  • Speaking of Marvin Harrison, the early assessment of his work at camp is that the old Marvin is back and the league better "watch out." Roy Hall and Pierre Garcon, two young players, were amazed at how fast and well conditioned Harrison has looked:
    "Marvin looked excellent," Hall said. "He didn’t miss a beat. He looked extremely healthy. His knees looked fine. He’s running faster than ever. He looks good. I was excited to see him back out there and happy to see him out there. Marv was just out there being Marv, catching the ball and making big plays. He’ll continue to do that throughout the season."

    "I don’t see anything wrong with him," Garcon noted. "He’s quick and fast, extremely fast."

    Both Dominic Rhodes and Jeff Saturday, who have played with Marvin Harrison for over 7 years, say Harrison has a big chip on his shoulder because people have written him off because of his age.

  • Eric Foster has drawn a ton of praise from both offensive and defensive coaches. He is especially stout against the run. More and more, Foster looks like a keeper and another undrafted rookie gem for Polian.

  • Rookie DE Marcus Howard and second year LT Tony Ugoh have gone at it the last two days. During drills, the two are battling against each other extremely hard. Ugoh has had trouble dealing with Howard's great speed and Howard has had problems getting past Ugoh's arms. Howard's speed has been the eye-popping "wow" many at camp have noticed. He seems unblockable unless you have someone fast enough to match him.

  • Clint Session was not at Day 2 practice because of a personal issue. Because Tyjuan Hagler, Philip Wheeler, and now Session were unavailable, the Colts used Ramon Guzman at SAM. Guzman played special teams and DE last season. No details on how he looked.

  • Jacob Tamme has been practicing his long-snapping for special teams. Tamme has also looked good blocking. Some have even questioned why blocking was a knock on him in college. He has looked solid blocking in drills and scrimmages. Seems the #2 spot is now Tamme's to lose.

  • Mike Pollak worked at OG for the starting unit on Friday, but so did Charlie Johnson. PhilB at the Indy Star still think Pollak will win the job. Pollak did not practice Saturday, and Johnson took most of the snaps at OG.

  • Most media have praised Jim Sorgi and how well he's looked in camp. PhilB still thinks Sorgi holds onto the ball to long, which has always been Sorgi's problem. Still, most have said Sorgi is leaps and bounds better than Gray and Lorenzen, but much of that has to do with Sorgi having known the offense for 4 years.

  • Tim Jennings has looked good. Damn good, in fact. He appears more comfortable as a Cover 2 corner, making quick reads and reacting fast. The entire Colts secondary has impressed, with Dante Hughes, Michael Coe, Brandon Condren, and TJ Rushing also standing out. The Colts seem to have an excellent secondary this season. Condren had an INT in morning practice on Saturday.

  • Raheem Brock will move back to DE, and only play DT on passing situations. The Colts are worried that starting Brock at DT every down will indeed wear him down. Expect to see more of Brock starting at DE against teams that like to establish the run first. Robert Mathis will start at DE if teams like to throw early. Keyunta Dawson is now starting at DT along with Big Ed Johnson.

  • Dungy is concerned that players are not used to practicing in pads:
    "I told the team afterwards [that] we have to learn how to practice in pads," the Colts coach said. "What we’re trying to do, you know, we’ve gone three months now and then the first two [training camp] practices [in jerseys and shorts]. So we’ve got to learn how to hit, deal with the contact and get done what we need to do without blowing each other up. So that’s something you always have to learn."

  • RB Clifton Dawson made several excellent plays during Day 2 practice.  He had two 15 yard sweeps for TDs, and broke several long runs in the morning practice. Joseph Addai and Dom Rhodes also had some excellent long runs in afternoon practice.

  • Not a peep about Kenton Keith. Not one single, solitary bit of news about how well (or poorly) he practiced. That's not good for Kenton, especially with the other RBs looking so good.

  • Samuel Giguere caught a 45 yard TD from Jared Lorenzen. Giguere has noticeably been working hard.

  • Freeney and Sanders have rehabbed while the rest of the team has done drills. Both are running fast. Freeney has been spinning and making moves. Between the two, Sanders looks the most ready to return.

  • Rookie TE Tom Santi had the exact same operation on his knee Peyton Manning did, only two weeks earlier. Santi has been seen at camp walking with a limp and a back of some kind on his knee. If Santi is the measuring point, we will likely not see Peyton Manning practice until the week of August 18th. Manning is still not at camp.

  • People have raved over Indy's receiving corps. Hall and Garcon were mentioned above, but Devin Aromashodu has also impressed. With so many receivers looking good, the Colts might carry 5 or 6 WRs into the regular season, with two of them (Hall and Giguere, perhaps) possibly playing special teams as gunners.

  • No information as yet as to who is returning punts and kicks.

Whew! Folks, this is the most information I've ever received about any stretch of training camp. Now, more than ever, people have a vested interest in what is going on at Terre Haute, and their desire to report that info back to fans is unrelenting. Special thanks to people like Aerostar193 and TheMatic for giving us first hand accounts just for Stampede Blue readers. Sources for all information bulleted are below. Click the links and read more:

IndyStar Blog

Tribune Star Article #1

Tribune Star Article #2

Areostar193's Fan Post

TheMatic's Twitter Fan Post