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2009 Colts Training Camp: New and notes from 8/10/09 Morning Practice (aka, Tony Ugoh not starting anymore)

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Well, the first week of camp was pleasant, uneventful in terms of surprises, and all-in-all enjoyable. Murphy's Law says the second week would be the opposite. So far, Murphy knows all:

Indianapolis Colts OL Charlie Johnson is now the starting left tackle, Colts Head Coach Jim Cadlwell said late Monday morning.

Johnson, after missing the first week of training camp with a pectoral injury, returned to practice Monday morning. He worked at starting left tackle during the session.

Tony Ugoh, a starter at left tackle much of 2007 and 2008 and a 2007 second-round draft selection, will work at right and left tackle, Caldwell said.

Don't sugar coat this, Colts fans. This is very much a WTF! decision by Jim Caldwell. Every report I've read and everyone I've talked to has told me that Tony Ugoh has looked good in training camp. The last two seasons, when Ugoh has played extensive time at LT, he has clearly outperformed serviceable utility lineman Charlie Johnson. Johnson is a fine player who can work at four out of five offensive line positions.

But a starting left tackle? No way.

In fact, Johnson is recovering from a shoulder injury, and this morning was his first day of training camp. Caldwell insists that this decision was made before camp, and the reason we are just now finding out about it is because Charlie was hurt. All Ugoh was doing was playing in Charlie's place.

Um, sorry. That's a load of bull.

If Johnson were the starting tackle, Caldwell would have (and should have) made note of that in his injury report as camp started. Replacing a high second round draft pick from 2007 (Ugoh) with a sixth round pick from 2006 (Johnson) is big friggin news. It sends the following message:

  • Ugoh is a huge bust. Likely, he is the biggest bust of Polian's tenure in Indy. Polian made a big mistake giving up their first round pick in 2008 so they could take Ugoh in the second round of 2007. Just FYI, if the Colts had the first round pick in 2008, a player like Matt Forte or perhaps Chris Johnson would be in a Colts uniform. That should make you feel good.
  • It means the Colts offensive line is THAT bad. Johnson is a nice player, but he is not a 16 game starter at LT. He is not a LT for a championship-caliber team. Colts coaches trying to sell the press or fans on it will look foolish doing so. We've seen a lot of Charlie, and while we like his moxie, he simply does not have the talent to shutdown speed rushers in this league. And without that kind of ability, any thoughts of a ring are day dreams.

Perhaps this is some sort of tactic to light a fire under Ugoh. I certainly hope not. Such tactics are childish and, quite simply, not worth doing. This is professional football, not college. If millions of dollars do not motivate you to play at your top form, you suck and aren't worth a damn.

So, in short, Jim Caldwell better know what he is doing. We better see a dominant player emerge in Charlie Johnson, because if we don't, fans will start to question Caldwell's judgment for benching Ugoh (yes, he is being benched, and anyone spinning anything else is simply totting the silly company line). 

Positive news from mooning practice: Marlin Jackson and Antonio Johnson are off PUP and are practicing again.