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2009 Position Battles: Where do people stand after second pre-season game

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Camp has broken and two pre-season games are down. It's time to re-visit the key positional battles.

Third wide receiver

This one is a bit mis-leading because the third WR battle is really a battle for who will play slot receiver. Both Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez have played slot, but both are much more effective playing on the outside. So far, Austin Collie has been the best, working solely as the slot receiver. Last night, Collie caught 2 passes for 32 yards and looked sharp running routes (save for one in the red zone in the first quarter). His main competition, Pierre Garcon, has shown flashes but has not been consistent. Garcon caught a five yard pass last night and swung around to gain seven more. But, he has dropped some passes... again. This is becoming a theme for Garcon, and a WR who drops the ball is a waste of space. Taj Smith and Sam Giguere have not really distinguished themselves.

Driver's Seat: Austin Collie

Starting defensive tackles

Antonio Johnson and Ed Johnson have started at DT for the last week, and both played very well in last night's game against the Eagles. Mookie is playing NT while Big Ed is at undertackle. Daniel Muir looked very good in camp, but didn't look good starting for Mookie at NT last week. Rookies Fili Moala, Terrance Taylor, and Adrian Grady have looked good at times, especially in some short yardage situations last night, but none are ready. I have seen very little of Eric Foster of late.

Driver's Seat: Mookie and Big Ed


Kick and punt returner

Jerraud Powers, Sam Giguere, and Chad Simpson have looked awful returning kicks. However, last night. T.J. Rushing returned a kick 45 yards, putting some nice moves on the Eagles' gunners in order to get to the sideline and gain yards. To quote the Indy Star's Bob Kravitz:

Good to see T.J. Rushing give the Colts the rarest of all commodities, a big-time punt return. T.J., the job is yours.

Driver's Seat: T.J. Rushing

Third RB spot

Mike Hart seemingly won this job in camp, but Hart has not been all that lucky staying healthy. He injured his knee last season, and after fighting back from that, last night he left the game early with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, Lance Ball ran with authority last night behind a poor o-line of back-ups, many of which will not make the final roster. Hart's ankle better heal quick, for his sake. Ball is making a strong case for the #3 RB spot.

Driver's Seat: Mike Hart