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Stampede Blue Tweetbag: Should Jonotthan Harrison Start at Center?

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Stampede Blue's Josh Wilson answers questions about the Colts submitted by fans via twitter.

Andy Lyons

Answering your twitter questions about the Colts.  You can follow Josh @coltsfanwilsonand Stampede Blue @StampedeBlue.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> Do you think there&#39;s a reasonable chance we trade Hasselbeck to the Rams or is it just speculation?</p>&mdash; Tor Gonzalez (@tor187) <a href="https://twitter.com/tor187/statuses/504056887114231808">August 26, 2014</a></blockquote>

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I got this question quite a bit, and I think this is fan speculation.  The Rams could use a quarterback (though Shaun Hill isn't a terrible option) after Sam Bradford tore his ACL again, and the Colts have a top backup quarterback.  On paper, it makes sense.  But remember, Chuck Pagano has talked multiple times about how it's so important to have a good backup, and the Colts love Matt Hasselbeck (I mean, just look at that contract...).  If I were running the Colts, I wouldn't be in any rush to trade Hasselbeck, but I'd certainly be listening to offers.  I'm not even sure that the Colts - while they'll hear teams out - would be that open to trading Hasselbeck in the first place.  To me, this is just complete speculation.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> Harrison or Holmes? I assume Holmes due 4th round investment, but Harrison has played well this preseason.</p>&mdash; Drew Campbell (@ozew5) <a href="https://twitter.com/ozew5/statuses/504057797919924227">August 26, 2014</a></blockquote>

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I also received this question several times, and it's an interesting one.  Entering the preseason, a lot of fans were concerned about starting Khaled Holmes.  Then Holmes looked good on the first drive, was injured, and Jonotthan Harrison had two bad snaps.  Everyone held their breath regarding Holmes.  And now, Holmes is almost ready to return to practice and fans are wondering whether starting Jonotthan Harrison would be the right option.  My advice on this situation is to take a step back and take a deep breath.  With so much change of opinion, I don't think going off of the current feeling is automatically the correct option.  I do think that Harrison has done a great job filling in for Holmes so far, I think he's firmly secured a spot on the roster, he's a guy with a lot of potential, and the Colts love him.  This is no slight on Harrison.  But Khaled Holmes was the team's starter since day one of the offseason program.  There's a reason the only significant guy the Colts went out and signed in free agency was Phil Costa, and it's because the Colts felt comfortable with Holmes and were planning on starting him all along.  And actually, I thought that was the right plan.  The thing that concerned me a lot wasn't starting Holmes, but it was the lack of a backup plan in case it failed (in case Holmes struggled or got hurt), because we simply didn't know what to expect from him.  Now, there is a solid backup plan, and the Colts are still likely to start Khaled Holmes - only this time knowing they've got a guy they can turn to if things go badly.  But for Holmes to be ready to play health-wise week one and not start would be a big surprise, and would really be unfair to Holmes.  He's been the starter all along and looked good on that first drive.  Now, if he's not ready week one and Harrison starts and plays really well, let's have this discussion again.  But if Khaled Holmes is ready to play week one, he's the team's starting center - this time, with a backup option that looks solid.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> what D&#39;Qwell should we believe in? The &quot;Against NY teams&quot; or the terrifying last game one? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/colts?src=hash">#colts</a></p>&mdash; Marco Viana (@marcovianafilho) <a href="https://twitter.com/marcovianafilho/statuses/504065769064640512">August 26, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Both.  Take the D'Qwell Jackson that we saw in the first two preseason games and combine it with the D'Qwell Jackson that we saw in the third preseason game, and you'll get an idea of what to expect from him.  In other words, he'll be a good player, but don't expect him to be a star game-changer.  The missed tackles are going to go down (for both him and the team as a whole).  And the coaches better not try to pull the stupid D'Qwell Jackson covering Marques Colston in the end zone crap again.  But Jackson did miss tackles and did struggle in coverage some on Saturday.  During the first two games, he looked good, especially in the pass rush category.  I wonder why the Colts stopped doing that as much against the Saints, but furthermore I think what we see from Jackson is exactly what we expected coming in: a good linebacker who's clearly an upgrade over last year, but a linebacker who will have some missed plays and a guy who isn't a great player.  This isn't anything against Jackson, and I'll definitely take him as a starting inside linebacker.  One of the biggest things that will help him out will likely be the return of Jerrell Freeman to play alongside him, as it will make the linebacking core that much stronger overall.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/StampedeBlue">@StampedeBlue</a> will TY be the 3rd WR option behind a healthy Reggie and Nicks?</p>&mdash; Brad Thomas (@bradthomas555) <a href="https://twitter.com/bradthomas555/statuses/504056407109693442">August 26, 2014</a></blockquote>

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No.  T.Y. Hilton is the number one receiver on the Colts.  While the Colts have three guys (Hilton, Reggie Wayne, and Hakeem Nicks) who can function as a number one and who will all see a lot of playing time and targets, Hilton is the number one guy among the group.  He's poised for a huge year, and the worry about his opportunities going down shouldn't exist.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/StampedeBlue">@StampedeBlue</a> I keep reading things such as &quot;Richardson looking good&quot;. Preseason stats wouldn&#39;t suggest that. Wishful thinking from media?</p>&mdash; Mitch Mullis (@MitchMullis) <a href="https://twitter.com/MitchMullis/statuses/504057111970869248">August 26, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Well, I'm not sure many people in the media are actually saying he's looking really good in the preseason or anything like that.  But I do know that a lot of the positive talk about Trent Richardson came from fans and media during training camp who just wanted something positive to say about him.  Because while he did have a good camp, it's not saying a whole lot considering the lack of hitting the Colts were doing.  When it came to the games, Richardson hasn't been too impressive.  Now, the encouraging thing is that there have been a handful of runs that have been impressive, have looked good, and have given hope, but those have been the exception, not the rule.  We've seen a few very good runs from Richardson, which I guess means he's looking better, but I wouldn't say he's looking really good yet.  The improvement has been there, but it hasn't been huge.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/StampedeBlue">@StampedeBlue</a> do you honestly think the colts will win against broncos even after the Saturday preseason game?</p>&mdash; Aaron Andrew Hankins (@AAHankins) <a href="https://twitter.com/AAHankins/statuses/504058103772766208">August 26, 2014</a></blockquote>

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I've never said that the Colts would or wouldn't win against the Broncos in week one - you'll have to wait for my official season predictions, which are coming this weekend, and there I'll break it down game-by-game.  What I will say is this - the Saints game won't factor into my prediction at all.  The Colts definitely can beat the Broncos in week one.  Whether or not they will?  We'll just have to wait and see.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/StampedeBlue">@StampedeBlue</a> Any good takeaways from the Saints game?</p>&mdash; John Prosenick (@dukecolts) <a href="https://twitter.com/dukecolts/statuses/504063622578843648">August 26, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Actually, yes, and it probably sounds like a strange one: I was impressed with the secondary.  Yes, that secondary that Drew Brees dominated.  But here's my take: firstly, some of the bad plays were made by linebackers covering (such as D'Qwell Jackson attempting to cover Marques Coltson, etc.).  Secondly, some of Brees' completions reminded us just how good he is - there was one throw in particular in which Greg Toler had great coverage and Brees' just made an even better throw, putting it in his receiver's hands perfectly.  You can't defend that.  And then the biggest issue was the lack of a pass rush, as the Colts gave Brees all day to throw and make plays.  There's nothing that hurts a secondary more than a terrible or nonexistent pass rush.  So considering all of those things, I thought the starting secondary looked really good.  I thought that LaRon Landry, Mike Adams, Vontae Davis, Greg Toler, and Darius Butler all had good coverage overall and many of them made great plays on the ball to break up passes.  Despite playing Drew Brees and despite Brees playing well, I was impressed with the secondary.