The Colts plan to insert some new players on special teams to bolster their return game, Caldwell said. In addition to defensive back T.J. Rushing, Caldwell said he anticipates wide receivers Austin Collie and Taj Smith and safety Jamie Silva may return some kicks and punts on Thursday against the Lions.
Barring any kind of setback with T.J. Rushing regarding his knee injury from last year, the man has won the punt returning duties. We saw it last week against the Eagles (who played last night; anyone watch?). Rushing could also return kicks, but it seems Caldwell wants to split those duties, or at least try to. It's also clear that Caldwell is not happy with the players who have been returning kicks of late.
Collie practiced punt returning during mini-camps and training camp this season. I have not seen him practice returning kick-offs. I'd be shocked if Jamie Silva could return a punt or a kick. He seems more of a gunner or up-man on kick coverage.
If Taj Smith can prove he can return kicks, then that is a huge boost for him. He is on the bubble, along with Sam Giguere. While I like Giguere, he looked horrible returning kicks last week; no moves or speed as he rushed forward. If Taj shows he can do the job, it wil be Taj in, Giggy out.
One player who I'm about 95% sure is out is Chad Simpson. Simpson's sole reason for being on this roster is special teams. He returned several kicks last year, and he was horrible doing so. He's had multiple chances this off-season and training camp to prove he can do the job, and he hasn't. It doesn't bode well for Chad that Caldwell is "adding more players" to a position and job Simpson pretty much did exclusively. Chad's also been out-played at running back by Lance Ball, who might win the job as the third back if Mike Hart starts the season on PUP.
Other news for the upcoming game against the Lions: Ryan Lilja is out with a bruised shoulder, and it's unlikely we will see Captain Pre-Season himself, Jim Sorgi.