8/9 AM Practice Observations

Hit up camp with a few buddies this morning. I'm not going to pretend that any of this is definitive - take it in the context of a single practice, not the bigger picture - but this is what I noticed:

  • Dudley Guice and Brandon James looked awful in WR drills. I expected James to have stone hands from previous reports, but man, I was genuinely surprised when he caught a ball. Must have dropped five right in front of me, and all in a drill with no defenders around (just a cone drill that finished with catching a pass.) Guice is a bigger concern because his sole value is as a WR and he dropped four or five as well. He looked visibly frustrated out there.
  • James and Ray Fisher were the only two returners today for return team drills, and I think that's what the Colts want. James fielded kickoffs and punts, Fisher just fielded kickoffs.
  • Trevor Anderson really stood out to me. I didn't figure him for anything more than a camp body, and he still isn't likely to make the roster. But he looked good moving in space today and supplied one of the practice's harder hits. No idea why he's listed as a DE; he looks and plays like a LB. I didn't expect this kid to surprise and didn't go with any intention of noticing him, but as soon as I got home, I had to look up #56 to see who had impressed me so much.
  • Brody Eldridge looks like the real deal, and again I didn't go with this perception in mind. His build is unusually solid for the Colts' TE position, and though I didn't see him blocking, he certainly looks like he can move people around. What has been most surprising, though, is how natural he looks as a receiver. Granted, nobody will mistake him for Dallas Clark (who sat today), but he's more than capable of catching passes when left open.
  • Speaking of Clark, other notable names sitting out were Anthony Gonzalez (individual drills), Clint Session, Pierre Garcon, Jeff Saturday, and Charlie Johnson (foot.) I get the impression that Session and Garcon are nursing minor injuries.
  • Curtis Painter might be bad, but he still looked better than Tim Hiller and Tom Brandstater. Brandstater has an arm but continually overthrew receivers and Hiller just didn't look to have as much zip on his passes as Painter.
  • Sam Giguere continues to impress me. Going back to last year, I've never seen him drop a ball in a drill. The ball hits his hands and seems to stick. It's going to be interesting to see who gets that WR5 spot. I have to think that Giguere and possibly Taj Smith (who also impressed, as he's done every camp) are favorites, but if the Colts really think James is a dynamic return threat, they might slot him at that position. Of course, the corps is deep enough to support six this year too. Just depends on special teams prowess, and I have to think Giguere is good there too, because he was one of the only players Rycheleski didn't call out today (as opposed to Jamie Silva and Ray Fisher who both got earfuls.)
  • Mike Newton has become the new guy to keep an eye on. Coaches continually praised his work today as he ran with the 2's. I kept forgetting his number, though, so it was difficult for me to tell him and David Caldwell apart. I did hear a lot of "nice work, Mike!" out there, though.
  • I'm hesitant to give too much praise in these light practices, but I thought Deshea Townsend looked phenomenal out there. He guessed wrong once, on an 11-on-11 drill which resulted in him slipping and a TE releasing for an easy catch in the spot he had vacated. But the rest of the day, he was right on his man and broke on a ball beautifully for a pick. Again, he's not anything better than CB4, but he looked right at home out there. Consistently, I thought that - next to Anderson - Townsend was the most impressive player during the morning practice.
  • The biggest applause for the day was not for Peyton Manning, but for Bob Sanders, who absolutely obliterated some poor RB. It was hard for me to tell who the victim was.
  • Say what you want about him, but Jacob Tamme looked great filling in for a resting Clark. It's too bad he hasn't proven himself to be a multi-dimensional player, because Tamme really is a fluid route-runner and has great hands.
  • Robert Mathis destroyed Ryan Diem on a speed rush.
  • The Colts ran a lot of three safety (Sanders, Antoine Bethea, Melvin Bullitt) defensive sets. I look for this to be a go-to package on passing downs. Bullitt, as previous camp reports had indicated, played closest to the LOS, while Sanders and Bethea backed off into coverage.
  • Also as camp reports have indicated, Eric Foster lined up a lot at DE.
  • Ricardo Mathews is huge! I don't mean fat, I mean he's just a giant. He's only listed at 6-3, but he still looked bigger than the rest of the DL. I loved his hustle today. His speed really caught my attention.
  • None of the UDFA CBs (Brandon King, Jordan Hemby, Thad Turner) did anything to catch my eye. Looks like there's a reason they brought Townsend in. FWIW though, the UDFA CBs seemed to get more looks than Fisher, who was only in (but in extensively) on special teams packages outside of a handful of plays.

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.