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Colts Training Camp 2008: Special teams improvement

Naptown's Finest blogger (and longtime Stampede Blue reader) Colt Homer stopped by Terre Haute the other day to blog about the Colts in camp after the Carolina game. Around the net, there was a rumor that Jared Lorenzen was practicing with the first team offense and not Jim Sorgi. I kind of thought this rumor was fishy because though Sorgi has not looked good, Lorenzen has looked worse. One game against Carolina's scrubs does not make up for bad play all throughout camp and a horrid showing in the HoF game. I still think Quinn Gray can win the back-up job. "The Sorginator" has had his chance to shine and so far he's failed. I mean, it doesn't bode well when Sports Illustrated comes to town and their "Memorable Image from Camp" was Sorgi sucking:

Memorable Image from Camp

Jim Sorgi has never started an NFL game and doesn't figure to do so this year, unless Manning, who has never missed a game since entering the league in 1998, is unable to make a successful return from knee surgery. Two things struck me while watching Sorgi during Thursday's workouts: He throws a tighter spiral than Manning and he holds on to the football too long. During an evening passing drill, he would have been ground into the turf on at least two occasions had it been a real game. He has got to listen to that ticking clock in his head.

Since Colt Homer was at camp and did not blog about seeing Lorenezen with the first unit, I think it is safe to say this rumor is bunk. Here's a few notes from Colt Homer:

I don’t think Sorgi’s problem with holding onto the ball too long.  It’s ridiculous that he can’t find a target before the pocket collapses.

The team ran a two minute drill with all 3 QBs.  None of them could find the endzone.  Gray got the closest, but he threw an interception to Brannon Condren.  Sorgi turned it over on downs the first time he was out and threw a pick to Gary Brackett the second time around.  J-Lard turned it over on downs.


Gijon Robinson had a fantastic catch where he had to fully extend himself to get a hand on it.

Probably the biggest surprise for me in camp so far is Gijon Robinson. I think he was helped by Tom Santi's injury, as Santi seemed the front-runner to replace Ben Utecht. But Gijon has come into camp and played like a demon. It's kind of funny to see him out there, playing TE at only 6'1. He is also 255 pounds, looking more like a big RB or a FB than a TE. But Gijon can jump, and he can go up and get the ball. his hands have impressed coaches and fans the most. He's catching pretty much everything thrown at him, no matter how badly thrown. Also, I'm not sure but I think Gijon is also playing special teams.


Gijon Robinson: Biggest camp surprise

Photo via

And speaking of special teams, Tony Dungy has seen what you and I have seen. He's seen his special teams units play well for two straight games, and if you watch him talk about it he seems damn near speechless. Dungy made a special point to emphasize that both Hunter Smith and Adam Vinatieri were kicking the blal better. Interesting statement.

Vinatieri looks healthy this year, and is in the best shape of his life. Look for the Money Man to own like he always does. Last year was a fluke. This guy still has 2-3 years of great football left in him. Give him credit, he never blamed injuries (or his quarterback and coach) for him missing FGs. Vinatieri is a total stud, and still makes a difference as a kicker. Hunter the Punter has a great leg and can boom the kicks. He's also athletic enough that if you pulled a fake punt on someone, Hunter can run. We've seen it before.

Hunter's big, annoying, REALLY-PISSES-ME-OFF problem is he out-kicks his coverage. Now, part of me thinks that it is only logical for the punter to kick the bal as far away as possible, and if the coverage units can't get down there then they suck and are too slow and need replacing. But that's not the case in Indy. Guys like Ramon Guzman, Roy Hall, and Darrell Reid are not slow. Yet, routinely the punt is kicked so far, so fast, that the returner fields it, eats a ham sandwich, calls his mom, and then surveys the situation and makes adjustments in time to gain 20-30 yards on the return. So, if Dungy is now praising Hunter for his kicks, it must mean Punter the Punter is now out-kicking his coverage.


A little less focus on the Christian rock stuff

and a little more on actually kicking

the ball better, Hunter.

T.J. Rushing also got some praise. I think Rushing's only competition now at returner is Pierre Garcon. Chad Simpson may get a shot. Maybe. But Rushing has looked damn fine returning the rock, playing faster and understand better the angles he needs to take to maximize his returners. If Rushing displays a spark and starts making big strides returning kicks, that's a big weapon for Indy. SI also took note of Rushing in their recent visit to Colts camp.

Another DB who looked good on Thursday was T.J. Rushing, a seventh-round draft choice in 2006. He returned a pick for a score during a team session and did not allow a score during a one-on-one red-zone passing drill.


T.J. looking good so far.

Photo via

No, Peter King didn't write the camp evaluation. He was too busy eating corn beef at Katz's Deli with Brett Favre. BTW, if you ever go to New York and you love to eat, go to Katz's. I'm a veggie, but back when I ate meat Katz's was THE place for corn beef, Ruben, or any other kind of deli sandwich. They pile it on, and DAMN it's good. i'm off to eat my breakfast salad.