I usually try to look at things with a glass half full perspective. That's especially true with football.
When I saw a few Colts players last week struggling in practice, I wanted to give them a couple of free passes. Maybe they would improve as the week went on.
Some of them did. And some didn't.
That's the reality of training camp. There are always going to be some Gilbert Gardners, Tony Ugohs and Quinn Pitcocks (remember how frustrating that situation was?). When the final roster is announced at the end of August, I can guarantee we'll see a few names among the final cuts that stick out as failed acquisitions more than the typical camp bodies would.
Until that time, we want to keep track of the players that are underperforming in training camp. Below are three players who fit that description over the first week of practices.
LaVon Brazill, WR
In a brief meeting with the media last week, LaVon Brazill seemed genuine in saying he was done smoking marijuana and was going to bounce back from his four-game suspension. His "money or marijuana" line was heavily publicized.
I've got a suggestion for a more specific one-liner. How about, "Play football well or marijuana"?
Through six training camp practices, Brazill didn't help himself on the field much. He dropped multiple passes while lining up exclusively with the second-team offense and was largely outplayed by other receivers like Griff Whalen and Jeremy Kelley.
That was before he sustained an abdomen injury that kept him on the sidelines for two practices. With Brazill injured, receivers behind him on the depth chart had an even better chance to stand out and potentially leapfrog him in the lineup.
Brazill needs to make the coaching staff eager to have him return to the team in Week 5. Even though he had a good practice on Sunday, I don't think the coaches have much reason to believe in him right now.
Brazill's suspension is even more frustrating given the news about Darrius Hayward-Bey's MCL sprain. This would be a perfect opportunity for Brazill to prove he deserves more playing time and possibly should even start the season opener if DHB were to be out that long.
Instead, he's irrelevant to DHB's injury, all because he couldn't follow the NFL's drug policy, even after he received a warning.
There isn't really a reason for anyone, including the front office, to be happy with Brazill right now. He's already put himself in a zero-tolerance situation, and he isn't backing it up with his play in practice. Ryan Grigson may soon be asking himself, if he hasn't a hundred times already, if keeping Brazill around is really worth it.
Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR
I'm going by a body of work approach instead of saying "what have you done for me lately?" in this article. So in analyzing the first week of practice, DHB gets a thumbs down.
Despite playing exclusively with the first-team offense, DHB was one of the worst players on the field through the first two or three practices. The difference between how he was playing and how Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton were playing was stunning. Poor routes, even worse hands and hardly any chemistry with Andrew Luck. It was an awful start for the player who was supposed to be the No. 2 receiver this year.
Fortunately, DHB picked it up by the end of the week. He was catching downfield passes, playing consistent football and receiving praise from coaches and players. But then his MCL sprain brought his stock back down to zero.
The team's comments about his injury being "not serious" can be good or bad depending on your perspective. From the coaches' view, DHB's injury won't require surgery, which would have been season-ending. That's great. But since this is a Grade I+ sprain, as reported by Will Carroll, DHB could be out for two to four weeks for all we know, if not more. That puts the timetable for his return right around the season opener against the Raiders.
In that situation, DHB would potentially start as the No. 2 receiver in the offense, even though he was struggling with drops and his chemistry with the quarterback throughout the first week of camp. I don't think you can fault me for being pessimistic about how DHB will perform in that scenario.
For now, he needs to keep soaking up as much of the playbook as he can and get more comfortable in the offense. That can be improved even when he isn't practicing.
Mike McGlynn, OG
As of right now, Mike McGlynn is the front runner to be the fan base's whipping boy for the 2013 season.
Between looking through Twitter, reading comments here and actually talking with people, I haven't found a single person who wants McGlynn to be the starting right guard this season. And yet, it's starting to look like that will happen.
That's not really a credit to how McGlynn is performing in camp. Most of the pressure put on Luck so far has come from the right side and the interior. Gosder Cherilus can be slightly blamed for letting pass rushers through in one of those areas. Samson Satele and Donald Thomas (who actually has looked very sound in pass protection) can accept blame for the other one. McGlynn, however, is the only player who you can point a finger at when it comes to pressure up the middle and on the right side.
I really haven't liked anything I've seen from McGlynn all camp. He looks like a back-up caliber player who has maxed out his potential. The problem is that I don't think Hugh Thornton has a good chance anymore to take his starting job, unless he comes back to practice in the next day or so. He's just missed too much time with his ankle injury. After that, there aren't any players at guard who I would rather see starting than McGlynn. Jeff Linkenbach or Justin Anderson? No thanks.
I'm trying to get used to the current first-team offensive line. I expect it to be the one we see when the offense takes the field against Oakland, headaches and all when it comes to McGlynn.