It’s really amazing how quickly things can change during a 6-day vacation. While I was away the Colts traded a cornerback (Kevin Thomas) and brought over two fringe linebackers in return. Two waived players (G Ben Ijalana and DT Eric Foster) return to the team on the IR list since they both cleared waivers – no real shock there. And now the team released its first depth chart of the pre-season. Being that we are still in training camp an approximately four weeks from “real” football being played, there should not be too much stock taken into this first listing of players, though there are still a few surprises. I’ll list the depth chart as it stands now (per Colts.com), then I’ll get into the things I think I think, to steal a phrase from the great Peter King.
POS First Second Third Other QB Andrew Luck Drew Stanton Chandler Harnish WR Reggie Wayne LaVon Brazill Griff Whalen Jeremy Ross
Quan Cosby LT Anthony Castonzo George Foster Ty Nsekhe LG Jeff Linkenbach Joe Reitz Jason Foster C Samson Satele A.Q. Shipley Zane Taylor RG Mike McGlynn Seth Olsen Hayworth Hicks RT Winston Justice Mike Tepper Steven Baker Justin Anderson TE Coby Fleener Kyle Miller Andre Smith WR1 Austin Collie Donnie Avery T.Y. Hilton Jabin Sambrano
Jarred Fayson WR2 Dwayne Allen Dominique Jones RB Donald Brown Mewelde Moore Vick Ballard Delone Carter
POS First Second Third Other DE Cory Redding Ricardo Mathews James Aiono NT Antonio Johnson Brandon McKinney Chigbo Anunoby Josh Chapman DT Fili Moala Drake Nevis Jason Shirley SLB Robert Mathis Jerry Hughes Tim Fugger Moise Fokou RILB Kavell Conner Mario Harvey Scott Lutrus Greg Lloyd LILB Pat Angerer Jerrell Freeman Larry Lumpkin OLB Dwight Freeney Justin Hickman Mario Addison Jerry Brown LCB Cassius Vaughn Justin King Brandon King Cameron Chism
Buddy Jackson SS Tom Zbikowski Jermale Hines David Caldwell Latarrius Thomas FS Antoine Bethea Joe Lefeged Mike Newton Matt Merletti RCB Jerraud Powers Korey Lindsey Terrence Johnson D.J. Johnson
POS First Second Third Other P Pat McAfee Brian Stahovich PK Adam Vinatieri Pat McAfee H Pat McAfee LS Justin Snow Matt Overton KR LaVon Brazill T.Y. Hilton Joe Lefeged Cassius Vaughn
Tom Zbikowski PR LaVon Brazill T.Y. Hilton Griff Whalen Tom Zbikowski
Now my initial reactions:
1. Dwayne Allen
It’s no shock that Allen is listed as starter, to be sure. But what kind of surprised me is that he is listed as a 3rd wide receiver versus a 2nd tight end. Now, this very well could just be a technicality of how the depth chart is laid out, but I am fairly certain you can list two starting tight ends. The reason this jumped out at me is that with Bruce Arians at the offensive helm, it is widely expected that the Colts will be running a lot of two tight-end sets versus 3 wide receiver sets. We’ll have to really keep an eye on where they line him up in the first pre-season game Sunday versus the Rams.
2. Delone Carter Listed Behind Both Mewelde Moore and Vick Ballard at RB
This almost has to be disheartening to Carter, who suffered various fumbling issues last year. Based on the depth chart, the coaching staff feels he’s not done enough improving to warrant a better spot. Having Mewelde Moore behind Donald Brown is no real surprise – Moore had success in Pittsburgh and gives a veteran presence behind Brown, who the jury is also still out on. But Ballard is a rookie (drafted in the 5th round) and has no NFL game experience, where as Carter does. While that normally might not make a difference if the rookie was an Edgerrin James, 5th round backs usually aren’t put ahead of experienced players before the first pre-season game.
3. Cassius Vaughn a Starter?
Really, no matter who is on the other side of CB Jerraud Powers this year, they will likely struggle. Barring a trade for a better player later in the year, the LCB position will be a revolving door of mediocrity. That being said, it is a little surprising to see Cassius Vaughn listed as the early starter over some of the other guys on the team. Vaughn, for his career, has played 28 games, but logged only 28 tackles, only 4 passes defensed, and 1 INT. I get the feeling that this is more of a way for the Colts to feel like they are getting a bit of a return on their investment (Vaughn was traded to the Colts by the Broncos earlier in the off-season). I have a feeling someone else will step up to the starting spot come the regular season.
4. Who is Korey Lindsey?
The better question should be “Why is he listed as Jerraud Power’s primary back-up?” Korey Lindsey has never played in a regular season NFL game. Last I could find was that he was on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad in 2011. He’s so obscure in fact that as of this writing the little “bio box” on his Wikipedia page shows he’s a Colts player, but the rest of the article still shows him as a Cardinal. So obviously when I saw him listed in the second unit, I did a double take and said “Wait…. what?” Normally, a back-up cornerback would not give me such a reaction, but he’s ahead of guys like Terrence Johnson and Chris Rucker who, while not great players, at least have played in a few games. Rucker I thought would be the next likely starter after they shipped off Kevin Thomas to the Eagles. I guess these guys are showing even less than I originally thought.
5. Josh Chapman Buried on the Depth Chart
Astute Colts fans will have already noticed that the 5th round defensive tackle from Alabama is listed in the “other” category of the depth chart. He’s listed behind such stalwarts as Brandon McKinney and Chigbo Anunoby (huh?). But Colts fans need not fear with this one. Chapman is still rehabbing his ACL injury and is still listed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Depending on how the rehab goes, I would still expect Chapman to at least play a few downs later on in the season.
I am hoping to make it to Anderson in the next few days to catch a glimpse at the team myself, so if my schedule allows it, I will let you know via Twitter, and will post my thoughts on what I see. Until then, I continue focusing on my Colts/NFL previews, as well as my inaugural Power Rankings, all which will be posted the week prior to the first game of the regular season.
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