Who Impressed, Who Didn't? Colts v. Falcons

Who Impressed

Offensive Line:

Tony Ugoh – Looked like a beast run blocking, per usual. Looked much better in pass protection this week.

Dan Federkeil – Federkeil played well at RT tonight. The pressure Gray felt from the left DE on one of our failed trips to the red zone (no TD), was more a result of Gray’s choice to back out of the pocket instead of stepping up into the pocket. The tackles are taught to force DEs out of the pocket (behind or to the sides) and in this case, Gray left the pocket allowing Federkeil’s assignment to get pressure outside of the pocket.

Steve Justice – Noticed Justice also make an excellent play blocking downfield for Hart.


Quinn Gray – I guess Gray wins the "best back-up" performance of the day award against the Falcons. He failed inside the red zone, and it seems the coaches are forcing our quarterbacks to make something happen when the offense gets there. Gray’s play wasn’t "stellar" by any means but the throw to Tamme was strong and he looked more comfortable in the pocket than he has in previous games. Normally, with our strength at RB we could get the short gains of 1 and 3 yards on 3rd downs on the ground but again, it seems obvious the coaches are forcing the QBs and receiver to make plays and seeing who does best in this capacity. To this point, only Lorenzen has succeeded in the red zone but his play today was not as inspiring as last week. One pattern that has officially formed, however, is the QBs playing behind the 2nd string offensive line fair best in each game. Another observation worth noting, despite Gray and Lorenzen playing better than Sorgi overall this preseason in terms of production, neither has been given the opportunity to face 1st team defenses, well other than Gray on the first and possibly second series tonight.

Wide Receivers:

Pierre Garcon – Garcon performed very well again both as a receiver and a returner. To me, Garcon always looks dangerous returning punts and kicks and, despite Rushing’s strong performances returning this year, I would like to see Garcon returning over Rushing. As a receiver, still displaying great hands and athletic ability adjusting to make catches (like the bomb from Lorenzen). He’s making a play for the 4th WR spot, competing with Hall. He’s clearly a better receiver than Aroma, Jones and Roby. He is also a standout in his blocking ability, he looked amazing blocking downfield.

Courtney Roby – Roby made the most of his opportunities, turning one short reception into a long drive with an impressive spin move to make the first tackler miss and keep his momentum moving forward.

The choice for the sixth WR spot, should we carry six, is going to be very difficult for coaches. On the upside for fans, no matter what choice the coaches make we should carry the strong WR rotation every in Manning’s tenure and arguably the strongest 6 WRs collectively in the league.

Running Backs:

Mike Hart – Hart had another impressive day. He averaged 5 yards a carry, absent the one yard loss he took when the Falcons defense made a great play to stop a sweep. The comment was made in the game forum that Hart had a "bad run"… referring to that play of course. None of Hart’s runs were bad, that loss had nothing to do with Hart. And, I would add, he averaged 5 yards a carry, outside of that play, against Falcons 1st string defense. Additionally, although the play was negated due to a penalty, Hart was used as an emergency dump option, catching a pass with a swarm of Falcon defender around him, avoiding all of them untouched going for 6 yards. He was the most impressive back of the game for the Colts, for the third game in a row.

Clifton Dawson – To be fair, Dawson played better than Simpson or Keith. Simpson didn’t do much to advance his chance to earn a roster spot. Dawson is a better blocker than either Simpson or Keith and is the only one who brings potential value in short yardage or as a "fullback" of sorts.

Tight Ends:

Jacob Tamme – Tamme again looked like the receiver threat we hoped he would be when we drafted him. His long catch and run from Gray was in the Clark mold. He has great hands and a similar style with the ball after the catch as Clark. With his performance in this game I’m confident this is the strongest group of TEs we’ve had in the Manning era and possibly ever. Tamme also did a respectable job blocking, at least in pass protection.

Defensive Tackles:

Eric Foster – I saw Foster make a great play against the run. At first glance I didn’t notice much else. Much of our success defending the run after Turner left the game was due to LBs/DBs.

Keyunta Dawson – Dawson showed amazing speed tonight. His ability to see into the backfield and pursue the play, terrorizing QBs leaving the pocket and pursuing ball carriers who attempt to run outside was good to see.

Collin Ferrell – Made two nice plays against the run and showed awareness recovering the fumble Reid caused late in the game. It was encouraging to see good play from potential back-ups on the defensive line.

Defensive Ends:

Marcus Howard – Displayed his speed again getting another preseason sack. Definitely a solid situational pass rusher giving us the depth we lacked last year.

Curtis Johnson – Johnson was impressive again, penetrating the offensive line regularly, making strong plays against the run and getting pressure. He is very fast and, again, he impressed me more overall as than Howard because he does not play like he brings only pass rushing value but value overall.  Move Brock back inside now... we're totally stacked at DE, thanks.


Clint Session – Session looked strong in his first action as a starter, particularly against the run. I look forward to seeing him develop in the role as, like others, I feel like his abilities are more suited for the Will than the Sam. Good first impression.

Jordan Senn – Senn outplayed the other rookie linebackers tonight. Again making plays all over the field and doing well against the run.

Kyle Shotwell – Shotwell played well, but not as well as the last two weeks. He did not get credit for stuffing the run, Senn did, but if you watch the tape he made first contact with the running back again shedding/avoiding the blockers to do so. Another reason stat lines are misleading at times. He also was the first player down the field on one of our kickoffs in coverage (by 5 yards or more) and nearly made an amazing play to stop the returner inside the 10 yard-line. It’s unfortunate he missed but it was a great effort.  He did get a ST tackle though, finishing off the returner after he was tripped up by another Colts player in coverage. Shotwell disappointed a bit in pass coverage and that does not bode well for his chances at earning a spot on the roster over Guzman or Senn (should Senn succeed).


Kelvin Hayden – Hayden played a great game, always sticking tight to his receiver. He seemed to be searching hard for an opportunity to make a play on the ball, hawking passing lanes, and succeeded taking an interception back for a TD. Very promising for Colts fans.

Tim Jennings – Jennings did play well tonight, in terms of getting in on plays against the run and tackling well. In terms of coverage, however, it seemed like he played too loose and at least on one play he failed to read the Quarterback to make a play on the ball. At first glance, it seemed like a guy with his speed who was in the position he was on the field could have either deflected the pass or potentially intercepted it. Instead, the ball flew freely to the receiver who made the catch and got a six yard gain. Jennings tackle on the particular play was weak, grabbing at the receivers ankles, who got finished off by another Colts defender nearby.

Dante Hughes - Played really well at nickelback.  He layed out receivers and nearly got two picks, on in the open field and the other in coverage... the receiver made a great play on the ball to catch it.

Keiwan Ratliff – He finished the game with two tackles but I didn’t get a good read on his effectiveness otherwise. He showed real potential last week so if anyone has something to add it would be appreciated.


Brannon Condren – Condren continues to impress, hitting hard and displaying impressive speed. Tonight he reminded me a lot of Matt Giordano with his speed. Getting two interceptions bodes well for him and builds on what I feel has been the most impressive play at Safety in the preseason. I’m shocked someone has suggested that he will get cut. He is looking amazing and showing the kind of jump in ability that Dungy always talks about for second year players.

Jamie Silva – Silva again looked impressive. He deflected a pass, hit very hard, and was the best Safety I saw in coverage tonight, in terms of reading passes and hitting receivers as soon as the ball reached them. If he did not succeed in separating a receiver from the ball tonight it’s a bit surprising. I want to keep this guy if there’s any way we can.


Adan Vinatieri - GOOD GOD, V's leg is looking strong.

Adam Crossett - I still suggest that Crossett be considered to take Hunter Smith's spot on the roster.  If he can hold and someone else on the roster can hold should Crossett need to kick a FG (V injury)... he brings more value to the team and would cost the team less than Smith.  He also is less prone to out-kick his coverage, so his performance to this point would seem to suggest.  Handling the low snap and turning it into a kick that pinned the Falcons inside their 5 yard line was nice.

Who Didn’t

Offensive Line:

Darren Marquez – He sucks.

Wide Receivers:

Onrea Jones – Not because he played poorly but because he was targeted less frequently so was unable to be as productive as we would like. I hope he gets more chances next week.

Running Backs:

Chad Simpson – Simpson can’t block, can’t run up the middle and has showed nothing outside of amazing speed in his effort to potentially make the roster. I was excited to see him get an opportunity returning only to watch him fail to handle the kick, letting it drop in front of him. That was truly disappointing.

Tight Ends:

Gijon Robinson – Not disappointing because he played poorly but, like Jones, because he didn’t get any opportunity to do so. Tamme playing when he did suggests that he may be showing the skill/ability to take the 2nd TE spot, as some have hoped, making Robinson the 3TE and likely resulting in him getting fewer opportunities on a regular basis.

Defensive Ends:

Jeff Charleston – I’m sure some will argue with this, particularly those who listened to the game on the radio and heard people raving about his play. But in the game I watched, Charleston failed to get pressure on the QB, I can’t remember a play where he was actually effective in that capacity. He did make a solid stop on a run on one play but that’s the only thing I can think of that stood out. Actually, to be fair, he displayed good speed running down a play coming from the opposite end. So, maybe not unimpressive but I put him here because I feel like he got more credit than he deserved imo.


Ramon Guzman – I’m sure this will also be unpopular for some. However, Guzman did nothing in this game to display value as a LB. Some will say, but bamock… he made a great play in punt coverage recovering a fumble. I’ll say, lol, if having a ball "fall in your lap" off of a bounce as a result of the returner muffing the catch is "a great play" then I guess you can call me "hard to impress." Had the punt returner fielded the ball, it is possible Guzman wouldn’t have influence the play at all coming from the far side of the field. As it turns out, Guzman looks like a hero for again "being at the right place at the right time." If those watching the play didn’t recognize the difference between a play made because of individual effort/talent/ability and between "being in the right place at the right time," then I understand why Guzman his getting all the credit he seems to be receiving from announcers and fans.


Melvin Bullitt – Bullitt was the least impressive of the safeties. His coverage was loose, he never made a play on the ball and was not in the receivers faces as they caught the ball either.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.