Going into Day 4 of Colts training camp we’ve been through some of what I’ve seen firsthand on Day 3. There were some surprises as well as some excitement about those we hoped would be able to continue what they’ve shown in the past or improve upon what they brought to the table last year.
Today, after getting a taste of some of these surprises, I’ll be watching a handful of players very closely. Some will be due to interesting camp battles that I am expecting to continue throughout camp, and others simply because I want to see if they can continue the level of play that opened my eyes to begin with.
Of course I’ll be watching position groups as a whole to see who stands out, but here are a quick group of guys I’m looking forward to taking a closer look at today.
Powell showed that he is a versatile piece in the secondary. He’s been in between safety and cornerback and has rotated in with some of the starters. Powell intercepted a ball in the end zone on a 50/50 ball Tuesday and was in the right place in coverage through most of the day.
In this secondary, a versatile guy who can be used at corner and safety may make a stronger play for the roster over players who have high expectations but are struggling to separate themselves on the field. While it is too early for projections, Powell’s versatility could make life easier on cut day by requiring one less player in the secondary for the regular season roster.
As I mentioned, it is too early for projections so today I want to see him be as good as, or better than he was Tuesday. He’s got the tools, but improving is paramount when young players are trying to become “necessary.” If they don’t, they can just as easily become forgettable.
Adam Redmond/Jeremy Vujnovich
Adam Redmond was the only lineman that I noticed giving Johnathan Hankins any kind of resistance during the line drills. There is a very real competition on the horizon for depth spots on the roster behind the presumed starters. Denzelle Good wasn’t impressive by any stretch, Brian Schwenke isn’t there to compete right now, and the interior line is very much in need of a dependable backup.
Vujnovich was also pretty impressive. He, too, is in a battle to take a spot on the depth chart but, like Powell, his benefit may be versatility. He came in as a tackle, but has worked in at guard throughout the offseason. That trait might just give him the boost he needs if some of the others fail to stand out.
I will be looking to see if these two can stand out again today, or if another under-the-radar lineman catch my eyes.
With Al Woods and Johnathan Hankins standing out so much the other day, I didn’t really see anything that significant from McGill. He has been one of my favorites since coming to the Colts, but I want to see him earn the spot in the rotation that I’ve been suggesting he would obtain all offseason.
The talent level on the defensive line this season is such that any weaknesses will be noticed and ultimately could get someone dismissed especially with Kendall Langford and Hassan Ridgeway yet to take the field in pads. McGill isn’t really a player who fills up the typical stat sheet, but I still want to see him flash a handful of times through practice.
In drills there aren’t roles to play. He needs to show his ability to beat those across from him with some ferocity, and maybe make a few plays in 11-on-11 drills. Otherwise his hold on a roster spot could loosen up significantly.
Dorsett hasn’t cracked the top three at the position at all to this point and doesn’t really appear to be in contention at the moment. He missed a ton of important time through OTAs and minicamp and will need to be someone who turns a lot of heads between now and the first preseason game. He needs to start getting noticed for the right reasons, because he’s only been getting noticed for the wrong ones thus far.
I made an observation that might help provide some insight into his place on the roster, though. I think it is significant that he hasn’t been working with the return unit in special team drills. This likely indicates that he’s safe inside the top five at the position, which the team will most definitely be keeping on the roster.
If I start to see him working with the returners today, that may lead me to believe that the staff wants to see if there’s something extra that he can provide in order to keep him on the roster. Right now JoJo Natson, Quan Bray, Chester Rogers and Josh Ferguson have been with that group. If Rogers has earned the No 3 spot at receiver, he might become to valuable to return kicks.
I didn’t take away a lot from Basham on Tuesday. He did have coaches in his ear a little more than most at his position early in practice, but he showed off his bull rush and a nice initial move later on in pass rush/protection drills.
I know he’s a rookie, but this is the guy many of us hope to see as the future of the position. He’s had a day off of practice, he most certainly should be getting instruction from his position coach on his day off and have his head in the playbook. I hope to hear “YEAH TARELL” more than once from his coaches during some of the match-up drills.
I want to witness the speed and secondary pass rush moves that he needs to acquire sooner rather than later to become realistic backup materiel in the NFL. Maybe one practice is unreasonable to expect a noticeable improvement, but there isn’t a lot of time to make those jumps in camp.
I’ll be watching Krieger-Coble as I suspect the tight end battle will ramp up very soon. I’m interested in how he’ll be as a blocker and if he can be a reliable pass catcher. Erik Swoope looks big, fast and focused this year which makes me wonder just how important Brandon Williams would be as a third option at the position.
I haven’t seen anything other than rookie mistakes out of the rest of the tight end group and Krieger-Coble — if you read what the Denver press says about him — is fully capable of making the roster. This is a position that needs competition more than any, and I hope to see Krieger-Coble add to that sooner rather than later.
I’ve been wrong several times in my past player evaluation. I thought Jonathan Newsome was a pointless draft pick and didn’t see any upside with him at all. He proceeded to rack up 6.5 sacks in his rookie season. I thought Trent Richardson was going to be the real deal with a quarterback like Andrew Luck to work off of, but we all know how that worked out.
After being drafted, I watched what I could dig up of Stewart’s tape and was less than impressed. After Tuesday, I realized that I was so wrong.
Watching him come off the snap like someone 75 pounds lighter than he is, showing quick hands and power – even matched up against the Colts first team offensive line – was more than impressive. This defensive line needs a guy like Stewart to be as good as he looked Tuesday all the time.
Working with Hankins and Woods, and going against Ryan Kelly will do nothing but make him better and hopefully develop some consistency. I will be watching to see if he can repeat what he flashed on Tuesday, and I’d love to see him build on that performance.
To be perfectly honest I didn’t pay much attention to Sickels through most of Tuesday’s practice. He looked aggressive and I’d look down to see who wore the number and thought “good, he’s solid” but thought little else about it. But, that changed in the latter half of practice.
He was matched up against Good in the pass rushing drills and simply abused him. I took notice and watched his next few reps. Sickels continued to look good, strong and quick matching up against tackles and guards giving them all they could handle.
I am really interested if he can show more of that today mainly because the depth at the position is somewhat undetermined at this moment. I don’t think he’ll be an initial backup right now, however, that can all change with more impressive reps against the top offensive linemen the Colts can throw out there.