Yea, I know I said this would be a weekly thing and I'm still hoping for that. I'm behind by a couple of weeks so I'll talk about all the things I've seen during the Pre-Season. This is meant to cover the Colts as well as the rest of the NFL so there's a number of things that surprise me.
The Indianapolis Colts:
Curtis Painter - While I don't think the Green Bay game made him a viable backup in the NFL, he did surprise me. The signing of Collins took all the pressure off of him and, after a couple of terrible series, we saw "Practice Painter." It doesn't change the fact that I never want to see him take snaps in a Colts uniform.
Delone Carter - I love this kid. Energy, fight, drive and power wrapped into one. I am excited about a Colts RB for the fist time in a long time. I'm not sure what he can do in the long run, but I'm glad we have a big bruiser for this season. I think Carter will surprise some Colts opponents too.
Jerry Hughes - I know it's a sore spot around here, but watching him overrun and whiff on the Packers TD just killed me. I expected more for this kid and would still love to see it. Surprised he hasn't used more of the opportunity he's gotten this pre-season.
Jim Caldwell and Preparation - I don't know if Caldwell wanted to get off the field so he purposely didn't send out anyone who could cover an onside kick or if he's just that incompetent. Either way, I knew the Packers would onside. It looked like Caldwell was surprised by it.
Revamped O-Line v. Packers 3-4 - This was a key for me in the last game. I wanted to see our young kids handle the 3-4 from the Packers as I expect we will see things like it from Houston next Sunday. The boys did well. Sacks were cause by QB issues, not line issues. Granted things weren't as exotic as they will be, but I was pleasantly surprised by that performance.
The rest of the Division and League after the jump...
The Chris Johnson Situation - First, I can't believe it got this far. The man is your best player and you said you would pay him. Do It Already! Second, can you imagine the Titans offense without him? That would be pathetic. Almost as bad as the Colts look without Peyton Manning.
[UPDATE] That's what I get for writing and then scheduling to post later. News broke that they listened and did get it done. Now I can be surprised at the numbers. Chris Johnson and the Titans agreed to a 4 year $53.5 million extension. It's not Larry Fitzgerald money, but it is about $13 million a year. Whew!
Arian Foster and Twitter - The Texans RB is either brilliant or not all there. If he allowed a Twitter war to goad him into sharing a piece of actual medical information about his status, he's not all there. If he "doctored" the image to make people think it was his, he's brilliant. I learn toward the first and hope the picture is clear enough for the Colts medical staff to gain some info and for the Colts tacklers to use that spot as they go to stand up from the bottom of the pile.
The Houston Texans and the 3-4 - As much as I hate to say it, the Texans D has looked solid so far. I know it's just pre-season, but the switch seems to be working for them. For as (insert Charles Barkley voice) "turr-i-bull" as Wade Phillips was as a Head Coach. The man knows defense.
Lions Defense - I know this is the in vogue thing right now, but I loved what I have seen of the Detroit Lions defense. Once Matt Millen got out of there, they started doing things the right way and boy does it show. I had gotten so used to the Lions as a doormat. I think they will turn some heads this year.
Tim Hightower and Zone Blocking - Yes, Mike Shannahan has had success with all kinds of RBs, but the rebirth of Hightower so far has been remarkable. I never thought he was going to do much, but the one cut and go seems to fit him nicely.
The Bungles and Carson Palmer - How long will Cincinnati be run like a bargin basement franchise? I understand setting an example by not letting everyone whine their way out of town, but Carson is by far the best asset you have on your team. Use him or trade him instead of wasting the value that he does have.
What has surprised you this pre-season? One of these or something else? Share and discuss.