Indianapolis Colts Complete 2012 NFL Preseason and Training Camp Guide

Matt MadsenCorrespondent IIJuly 20, 2012

Indianapolis Colts Complete 2012 NFL Preseason and Training Camp Guide

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    You've arrived at the complete guide to the Indianapolis Colts' 2012 preseason and training camp.

    Want to know how the Colts preseason will unfold? Welcome.

    Looking for what players to watch for in training camp? Read on.

    Curious about how Indy's depth chart battles will play out? You've got it.

    Basically, you've arrived at the quintessential Colts preseason manifesto. Now, I know what you're thinking.

    Awesome.

    Yeah, me too.

The Biggest Question Marks

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    Can Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis succeed as outside linebackers?

    The answer to this question will be a huge part in determining whether or not the Colts can get off the field on third downs this season. Any Colts fan can tell you how dominant the duo has been as defensive ends for the better part of a decade. But with the new 3-4 system coming to town, what can we expect out of the pair?

    I'm guessing it will turn out fine, but no better. Freeney, in particular, is likely just going to coast through the season. His contract is up after this season, and he's sure to move on from the rebuilding situation, barring a miraculous season from the team. I don't expect more than 10 sacks from No. 93. Mathis may produce similarly, but he may be more inclined to put forth an honest effort in making the switch, since he signed a four-year extension this offseason.

     

    Is Donald Brown a feature back?

    Before last season, the answer to this question would have been a definitive and laughter-filled "no." But he looked good in 2011. He looked really good.

    In fact, the former UConn Husky averaged 4.8 yards per carry on 134 carries. Yes, 33 players had more rushes than he did, but only eight of those players had higher YPC.

    The real question is whether Brown, not the biggest of halfbacks, can withstand the punishment of a full workload. If he can, this could be his season. Read more about why here.

     

    Will Jerraud Powers stay healthy?

    Through his first three seasons in the NFL, Powers has missed 14 games. He has never played more than 12 games in a single year, and it's getting old.

    The Colts secondary was atrocious last season, and that's being kind. They were dead last in opponent completion percentage and 31st in opponent passer rating in 2011, and Powers was a part of that. But for all his shortcomings, he's by far the most talented corner on the roster at present. Without him, they are helpless. With him, they are whatever is one step above helpless.

    That's one step in the right direction.

     

    When will Andrew Luck have his coming out party?

    When you have a player as talented as Luck, it's a matter of when he will start wowing us, not if. There's nothing to be said about him that hasn't been said already, so I won't waste your time with superlatives. Just know this, it won't be long before we forget about that last guy.

    What was his name again?

     

    Do the Colts have any starting-quality defensive linemen?

    The Colts have stockpiled a number of guys who seem to be on the right track but haven't quite achieved their full potential. Unfortunately, a number of them are now being asked to switch positions for the implementation of the 3-4 defense.

    Fili Moala and Drake Nevis in particular still seem to have unfulfilled potential. Is this the year? Will they ever have the year?

    We shall see.

     

    Is the Pat Angerer/Kavell Conner partnership going to last?

    When Gary Brackett was lost for the season in 2011, it did not look good. Backup linebacker Kavell Conner had played in only 12 career games, racking up 57 tackles. 

    But Conner did some good work for the Colts. At times, he looked completely lost. But other times he looked like a legitimate linebacker in the NFL. That potential bought him a 2012 starting spot next to Pat Angerer in the middle of the NFL's newest 3-4 defense. Is it a long-term partnership? Yet to be seen, but the ball is in his court.

     

    Which Austin Collie will show up in 2012?

    Will it be concussion-prone Collie? Perhaps the Collie who is afraid of scoring touchdowns? Or maybe rookie-year Collie will show up.

    In his first two seasons with the Colts, Collie scored 15 touchdowns in just 25 games. In 2010, he was on pace for 103 catches, 1,150 yards and a cool 14 touchdowns before having his campaign derailed by concussions at about midseason.

    In 2011, Collie played all 16 games but managed only 54 catches for 514 yards and a not-so-cool one touchdown.

    Some of that was probably due to quarterback play, but how much? Hopefully, Andrew Luck can answer that.

     

    How much does Reggie Wayne have left in the tank?

    Staying on wide receivers, it will be interesting to see what Wayne can contribute to the Colts in 2012. As of now, he is a stone-cold, lead-pipe lock as the No. 1 in Indy, but they lack any legitimate threat to his claim. Had Pierre Garçon stayed with the Colts, there's almost no doubt whatsoever that he would've assumed the No. 1 role.

    But he didn't stay. The Colts have no Garçon, only Wayne. What does he have left? My guess is that we will know by mid-October. Reports say he's looking good, though.

     

    Just how much of the 3-4 defense are we going to see this year?

    This is perhaps the most perplexing question on the list, since it's the only one that is virtually 100-percent speculation.

    While the Colts have certainly acquired players who allow them to line up in 3-4 fronts (Brandon McKinney, Cory Redding), they haven't done enough to do so on a regular basis. They possess only two legitimate 3-4 defensive tackles (McKinney and Josh Chapman), and one of them is a rookie. They have only one player who has played NFL snaps at 3-4 defensive end.

    Worst of all, there is simply no way the secondary can hold up in man coverage. The Colts are the worst team in the league at stopping quick outs and comeback routes. None of the corners on the team shows the aptitude or confidence to break on these routes and disrupt plays.

    For these reasons, I doubt we'll see a ton of the 3-4 this season. I expect to see it mostly on third down, with defensive coordinator Greg Manusky trying to create pressure in passing situations. They simply don't have the personnel to showcase it any more often than that.

Players on the Roster Bubble

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    Delone Carter, RB

    The second-year back out of Syracuse might be on the outs in Indy. This is a backfield full of mediocrity, and Carter doesn't add anything the Colts don't have in other backs. Worse of all for Carter, he performed poorly in his primary role of short-yardage back last season. He is definitely excess to requirements.

     

    Jerry Hughes, OLB

    Though he will probably make the team, Hughes has to be considered on the bubble at this point. After three seasons of virtually zero production, 2012 is the last straw for Hughes, if he even makes the squad. If Tim Fugger performs well in training camp, Hughes might be out the door. He's on his last breath.

     

    Jeff Linkenbach, OT

    Despite the fact he has played in every game since being signed two years ago by the Colts, starting 20, Linkenbach's roster spot is certainly no guarantee. The Colts traded for offensive tackle Winston Justice in the offseason and also signed former first-round pick George Foster. Clearly they are trying to upgrade along the offensive line.

     

    Antonio Johnson, DT

    Johnson played significant time for the Colts in 2011. He has been with the team since 2008 and has played in at least 14 games during each of the last three seasons. Unfortunately, he isn't as well-suited for any position on the D-line of a 3-4 defense as other players on the roster are. While the 3-4 might not be prominently featured this season, the coaching staff is already looking to the future.

     

    Griff Whalen, WR

    As an undrafted free agent, this isn't necessarily surprising. In fact, most UFAs are write-offs. Whalen is a player who could make the team due to his longstanding relationship with Andrew Luck. Whalen was one of Luck's primary targets at Stanford, and the rookie signal-caller could be pushing for his inclusion on the team.

     

    Deji Karim, RB

    Another running back in a backfield that just doesn't have room for all the barely differentiated talent taking place in it. The Colts acquired Karim (presumably) to push for the backup role to Donald Brown in 2012. He obviously hasn't lived up to expectations, causing the Colts to sign free-agent tailback Mewelde Moore. Moore has quite a bit of experience with OC Bruce Arians. 

     

    Justin King, CB

    The Colts currently have about 45 useless corners on the roster, and some of them will have to be cut sooner or later. They will have to keep some, but don't expect King will be one of them. Last season, King started for the St. Louis Rams, the second-worst team in the NFL. They saw fit to let him walk in free agency. He's not an upgrade over anybody.

     

    Drew Stanton, QB

    In five years as a pro, Stanton has played in a total of 12 games, ringing up a 63.1 career passer rating. For every touchdown he's thrown in the NFL, he has thrown 1.8 interceptions. Stanton has proven so little that he only got to throw 17 passes during the Detroit Lions' 0-16 season in 2008. They couldn't win a game, and they still wouldn't even give him a chance. Chandler Harnish will have to show up to camp in good form, but if he does so, Stanton will be on the streets of the NFL, again. 

     

    Seth Olsen, G

    Olsen has been a decent fill-in while the Colts suffered injury after injury. However, the offensive line is looking pretty crowded in Indy, and Olsen doesn't offer anything the Colts haven't got elsewhere. Joe Reitz, Ben Ijalana and Mike McGlynn all figure to be kept before him, and there's no reason he should be on the final roster.

     

    Brandon McKinney, NT

    This really only comes into play if Josh Chapman is cleared to play and performs well in training camp. Another option would be Drake Nevis, but he showed promise in 2011, his rookie season. It would be unwise of Indy to let him walk so soon. McKinney was never meant to be a long-term solution, and he may be gone before the season even begins. It's not likely, but it's a possibility.

Players to Watch

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    Andrew Luck, QB

    No brainer here. Luck is one of the most anticipated rookies in recent NFL memory, and Colts fans are going to have a front-row seat to the beginnings of greatness. Expect Luck to play more snaps than the average starting quarterback, since the team will be trying to get him as much experience as possible.

     

    Donnie Avery, WR

    The Colts acquired Avery to fill the burner role that Pierre Garçon vacated this offseason. While Garçon was far more accomplished, Avery was very highly regarded coming out of college before getting hurt. If he's fully recovered, it could be a sight to see.

     

    Coby Fleener, TE

    If Fleener is the next big tight end in the NFL, we could know fairly quickly. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski caught six touchdowns in his first nine pro games, including a three-touchdown effort against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fleener and Luck should click from day one.

     

    Vick Ballard, RB

    Donald Brown is penciled in as the starter already. The backups should get the vast majority of the preseason work, so we're going to get a good look at Ballard. If Delone Carter struggles to gain yards, as he did last season, Ballard will have a good chance of stealing his roster spot.

     

    Ben Ijalana, OT/OG

    Ijalana is still returning from injury, so it will be good for the Colts and their fans to see where he stands. He was injured early in the season in 2011, so we haven't seen much of the second-year player. If he plays well, he's a lock to start at guard.

     

    Winston Justice, OT

    The Colts traded for Justice in an attempt to shore up the offensive line. Reviews have been mixed on the former Philadelphia Eagle, so the preseason will give us a chance to see what he brings to the table.

     

    Kavell Conner, ILB

    Though we saw him play quite a bit in 2011, this preseason will give us the opportunity to see how he has progressed during the offseason. He's expected to start alongside Pat Angerer in the middle, and we should have some indication of how he will fill that role.

     

    Jerry Hughes, OLB

    The preseason is when teams will try all the things they want to implement in a given season. They will run trick plays, tons of situation plays and experiment with new formations. Hughes is virtually on his last leg with the Colts and needs to show he can succeed if he wants to remain with the team. His new role as a 3-4 outside linebacker may be just the change he needs.

     

    Cassius Vaughn, CB

    The Colts' stable of corners is plentiful in bodies but lackluster in ability. From Kevin Thomas to Justin King, there are a variety of players who have repeatedly shown their inability to cover anyone. Vaughn is a bit different, as he lacks the experience of some of the other corners. He's still young and could make an impact both as a corner and on special teams.

     

    Fili Moala, DE

    He has shown flashes of talent in the past but now faces a new challenge. He's being moved to 3-4 defensive end, which will be brand new for him. He hasn't been consistent at defensive tackle since coming into the league and now has to learn a new position, which could spell trouble. Here's hoping he's a quick study. 

     

    Dominique Jones, TE

    The Colts have come out and said they are planning to use as many as three tight ends at a time. Jones would be that third tight end (behind Fleener and Dwayne Allen). At 6'3" and 260 pounds, he's a big presence who could create mismatches with the opposition. Right now, the Colts need guys like that.

     

    T.Y. Hilton, WR

    Hilton was drafted by the Colts in the third round of the 2012 draft and figures to play an interesting role with the team. As an experienced punt/kick returner and wide receiver, he could potentially amass a high number of all-purpose yards playing a Percy Harvin-esque position with the team.

     

    Josh Chapman, NT

    One of the Colts' two defensive draft picks in 2012, Chapman plays nose tackle, a position the Colts are desperate to fill. He played most of the 2011 season with a torn ACL, so his recovery is something the fans would no doubt like to know more about.

Best Depth Chart Battles

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    Backup RB: Delone Carter vs. Vick Ballard vs. Deji Karim

    All three of these guys have the same issue: lack of experience and production. Between the three of them, they have three years of experience and two NFL touchdowns. Carter was a failure as a rookie short-yardage back, Karim was trapped behind Maurice Jones-Drew (and was hurt) and Vick Ballard has yet to play a down as a pro.

    This battle is wide open. Nobody would seem to have the upper hand, and it may even expand to include Darren Evans and Mewelde Moore. The preseason should shed some more light on where the carries will fall.

     

    Starting Guards: Joe Reitz vs. Mike McGlynn vs. Ben Ijalana

    Ijalana clearly has the most potential here and may even end up as the Colts' right tackle. In the mean time, we really don't know what we're getting with any of these players. Ijalana is still riding on the "high potential" tag he's had since being drafted. Reitz has been serviceable, and McGlynn is a former Eagle, former Cincinnati Bengals castoff who played in only seven games last season.

    The end result is nowhere near decided, and we'll have to wait longer to see how it plays out. The Colts are looking for diamonds in the rough this season, as they were playing with limited cap space in free agency. Next season we can expect more definitive upgrades. In the meantime, keep your eyes on this battle.

     

    Starting Wide Receiver: Donnie Avery vs. Austin Collie

    This is a hotly debated topic with Colts fans, despite the reality that probably neither is a great choice. Collie is more suited for the slot due to his middling size and athleticism. He's clever and a great route runner, which is perfect for a slot receiver. Of course, he also has a history of concussions, which doesn't mesh well with going over the middle.

    Avery is a former burner on the outside, but after suffering a severe knee injury, he never regained relevance. He was signed and cut by the Tennessee Titans in 2011 after missing all of 2010 and never really made an impact with the team.

    Expect both players to see a great deal of the field. They have very different skill sets, and Andrew Luck can and will likely benefit from both. As for who gets the "starter" label, the nod goes to Collie, the second-longest tenured Colts wide receiver.

     

    Starting Cornerback: Justin King vs. Kevin Thomas vs. Cassius Vaughn

    None of these three is the answer. The Colts secondary was Grade-A horrendous last season, and no player currently on the roster is going to be a game-changer in that department.

    King spent last season being humiliated by every team who played against the St. Louis Rams. Thomas has been with the Colts since 2010 but played in 2011 and failed to make a significant impact. Vaughn has seen only limited time, all with the Denver Broncos, but showed flashes of promise there. He's still only 24 years old and could be about to hit his stride.

    Nothing definitively separates one from the others, so I'd guess all three get their chance at starting. King has the most experience, so it stands to reason he'll get the first shot. As a fan, I'd like to see Vaughn with a real opportunity. He's the only one who hasn't yet proven he's awful.

     

    Starting Nose Tackle: Brandon McKinney vs. Josh Chapman

    As the only two nose tackles on the team, this should be a fairly straightforward battle. McKinney appears to be the front-runner in every regard. He's experienced in the NFL, has history with the coaching staff and isn't coming off surgery for a torn ACL. However, he has been only mildly successful as a pro.

    Chapman has the potential to be a starting NT, but we don't know where he is on recovery from surgery, nor how he will perform as a pro. If healthy, he will get a chance to take the spot from McKinney.

    McKinney is going to get the nod for the time being. As Chapman grows into the NFL, he will likely take the spot at some point. McKinney is a stopgap solution to a long-term problem, so you know the Colts will be looking to do something else at the position in the near future. Maybe Chapman is the answer, maybe not.

Full Indianapolis Colts Training Camp and Preseason Schedule

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    This schedule is coming to you straight from the Colts' official website.

     

    Training Camp

    Sunday, July 29
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Monday, July 30th
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Tuesday, July 31st
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Wednesday, August 1st
    No Practice

    Thursday, August 2nd
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Friday, August 3rd
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Saturday, August 4th
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Sunday, August 5th
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Monday, August 6th
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Tuesday, August 7th
    5:30 pm: Colts City Opens
    6:30 pm: Special Teams Practice
    7:00 - 9:10 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    9:40 pm: Colts City Closes

    Wednesday, August 8th
    No Practice

    Thursday, August 9th
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Friday, August 10th
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Monday, August 13th
    No Practice

    Tuesday, August 14th
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Wednesday, August 15th
    12:50 pm: Colts City Opens
    1:50 pm: Special Teams Practice
    2:20 - 4:30 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    5:00 pm: Colts City Closes

    Thursday, August 16th
    5:30 pm: Colts City Opens
    6:30 pm: Special Teams Practice
    7:00 - 9:10 pm: Offense/Defense Practice
    9:40 pm: Colts City Closes

    Friday, August 17th (Final Day of Training Camp at Anderson University)
    8:45 am: Colts City Opens
    9:45 am - 12:35 pm: Special Teams/Offense/Defense Practice
    1:05pm: Colts City Closes

     

    Preseason Schedule

    Sunday, 8/12 vs. St. Louis Rams: 1:30 EDT (NFL Network)

    Sunday, 8/19 at Pittsburgh Steelers: 8:00 PM EDT (NBC)

    Saturday, 8/25 at Washington Redskins: 4:00 PM EDT (NFL Network)

    Thursday, 8/30 vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 7:00 PM EDT

Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Information

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    The Colts will be returning to Anderson University for training camp this year. The school is located in Anderson, Indiana.

    This is the third straight year the Colts have held camp at Anderson since moving the event back in 2010.

    After the franchise moved from Baltimore in 1983, the team held training camp at Anderson from 1984 to 1998. In '99, the Colts decided to switch camp to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana.

    The two cities have been battling for the right to host the camp for years, though that may cool down now that the Colts no longer demand national media attention.

    This year's camp will begin July 29th and last until August 17th.

Full Indianapolis Colts Camp Roster

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    Here's a position by position breakdown of all the players who will be making the trip to Anderson. All information is coming at you from the Colts official website.

     

    Quarterbacks

    • Harnish, Chandler
    • Luck, Andrew
    • Stanton, Drew

     

    Running Backs

    • Ballard, Vick 
    • Brown, Donald
    • Carter, Delone
    • Evans, Darren
    • Karim, Deji
    • Moore, Mewelde

    Wide Receivers

    • Adams, Kris
    • Avery, Donnie
    • Brazill, LaVon
    • Collie, Austin
    • Cosby, Quan
    • Fayson, Jarred
    • Hilton, T.Y.
    • Ross, Jeremy
    • Sambrano, Jabin
    • Wayne, Reggie
    • Whalen, Griff

     

    Tight Ends

    • Allen, Dwayne
    • Fleener, Coby
    • Jones, Dominique
    • Miller, Kyle
    • Smith, Andre

     

    Offensive Tackles

    • Baker, Steven
    • Castonzo, Anthony
    • Foster, George
    • Justice, Winston
    • Linkenbach, Jeff
    • Tepper, Mike

     

    Offensive Guards

    • Anderson, Justin
    • Foster, Jason
    • Hicks, Hayworth
    • Ijalana, Ben
    • McGlynn, Mike
    • Olsen, Seth
    • Reitz, Joe

     

    Centers

    • Satele, Samson
    • Shipley, A.Q.
    • Taylor, Zane

     

    Defensive Ends

    • Aiono, James
    • Moala, Fili
    • Redding, Cory

     

    Defensive/Nose Tackles

    • Anunoby, Chigbo
    • Chapman, Josh
    • Johnson, Antonio
    • Mathews, Ricardo
    • McKinney, Brandon
    • Nevis, Drake
    • Ogbu, Ollie
    • Shirley, Jason

     

    Outside Linebackers

    • Addison, Mario
    • Brown, Jerry
    • Freeney, Dwight
    • Fugger, Tim
    • Hickman, Justin
    • Hughes, Jerry
    • Mathis, Robert

     

    Inside Linebackers

    • Angerer, Pat
    • Conner, Kavell
    • Edds, A.J.
    • Freeman, Jerrell
    • Harvey, Mario
    • Lumpkin, Larry
    • Lutrus, Scott

     

    Defensive Backs

    • Bethea, Antoine
    • Caldwell, David
    • Chism, Cameron
    • Fenelus, Antonio
    • Hines, Jermale
    • Jackson, Buddy
    • Johnson, Terrence
    • King, Brandon
    • King, Justin
    • Lefeged, Joe
    • Lindsey, Korey
    • Merletti, Matt
    • Newton, Mike
    • Powers, Jerraud
    • Rucker, Chris
    • Thomas, Kevin
    • Thomas, Latarrius
    • Vaughn, Cassius
    • Zbikowski, Tom

     

    Special Teams

    • McAfee, Pat
    • Overton, Matt
    • Snow, Justin
    • Stahovich, Brian
    • Vinatieri, Adam

Indianapolis Colts 2012 Rookie Class

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    Round 1, Pick No. 1: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

    There's nothing I can say here to blow your mind, because it's already been said. Luck was the starter the moment the Colts drafted him. He could literally tear his ACL, and he'd still be the starter.

    Believe it.

     

    Round 2, Pick No. 34: Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford

    The Colts came into the draft with the mindset that they were going to build a new offense. With Luck and Fleener on board, they were well on their way to doing just that. Fleener is tabbed as the next big thing at tight end, and big things are expected from him right away.

    At 6'6", 250 pounds, big things are nothing new to him.

     

    Round 3, Pick No. 64: Dwayne Allen, TE, Clemson

    The Colts want to run a single back, double tight end base offense.

    Sound familiar?

    Peyton Manning spent many years developing in this exact offense before evolving to more of a three receiver shotgun base look. Allen is a dynamic pass-catcher who is going to give nightmares to opposing defenses. Fleener alone would've been tough to stop, but paired with Allen, the Colts have themselves a winning combination.

     

    Round 3, Pick No. 92: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Florida International

    Hilton gives the Colts a dynamic threat with the type of speed Al Davis coveted. He catches the ball well and has unlimited potential after the catch. He also returns punts and kicks.

    The Colts haven't had a guy like this in a very long time.

     

    Round 5, Pick No. 136: Josh Chapman, NT, Alabama

    This is the type of guy the Polians have failed to identify or select over the past six or so years—low-risk, high-reward players who fit what the team is trying to do. The Colts needed to address the nose tackle position, and they were able to get a guy who not only has a strong winning pedigree with the Crimson Tide but also proved he can play through pain last season.

    This is about as much as you can hope for out of a fifth-round pick.

     

    Round 5, Pick No. 170: Vick Ballard, RB, Mississippi State

    This is a slightly curious pick. Not bad value for the SEC tailback, but he's a carbon copy of Delone Carter, who the Colts drafted in 2011. Carter was mediocre at best, which is why the Colts selected Ballard, but is one year enough time to say a guy needs to be replaced?

    Either Carter or Ballard will make the team, or perhaps both. I expect both to see a large number of preseason carries to determine the best course of action.

     

    Round 6, Pick 206: LaVon Brazill, WR, Ohio

    Brazill is pretty raw as a receiver. He has elite straight-line speed but lacks the nuances of route-running that make the great ones great. Needs some time to develop into a multifaceted pass-catcher.

    If he makes the team, it will be so he can make plays on special teams.

     

    Round 7, Pick No. 208: Justin Anderson, G/OT, Georgia

    Anderson is a massive human being who projects better as a mountain than as a starter on the Colts line in 2012.

    The Colts are already log-jammed along the O-line, so I don't expect Anderson to make the final roster.

     

    Round 7, Pick No. 214: Tim Fugger, OLB, Vanderbilt

    Fugger is an intriguing pick. Despite being a seventh-rounder, he actually has a strong chance of making the final roster.

    With Jerry Hughes switching to OLB and no other known quantities to compete with, there's a strong case to be made that he'll get solid playing time in 2012. Of course, he'll also be available for special teams duty.

    He could even be the first reserve at OLB if Jerry Hughes continues to waste every breath he takes with the Colts. The former TCU star is on his way out in Indy unless he does something quick.

     

    Round 7, Pick No. 253: Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois

    A dual-threat quarterback in college, Harnish is sort of like a poor man's Andrew Luck. He has limited athleticism, an undersized arm and a penchant for doing whatever it takes.

    He has a decent shot at being Luck's backup in 2012. Drew Stanton is his only competition, and while I would expect a veteran to beat out a rookie seventh-rounder, Stanton has proven he isn't capable of much. He and Harnish will duke it out for the right to be the next Jim Sorgi.

Indianapolis Colts 2012 Undrafted Free Agents

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    James Aiono, DE, Utah

    Formerly the No. 1 junior college prospect in the country, Aiono struggled with Utah. He started only two games over the last two seasons but did play in 23 games total. Could play DT or DE but really lacks the ability to do either at a professional level. However, the team lacks defensive ends and may end up keeping him out of necessity.

     

    Chigbo Anunoby, NT, Morehouse

    Great fit with the Colts' new direction but didn't consistently overpower the weak competition he faced at the collegiate level. At 6'4" and nearly 330 pounds, would be a valuable asset in the middle if he improved on his game. On a team as starved for nose tackles as the Colts, he's got a shot to make the squad. 

     

    Steven Baker, OT, East Carolina

    Has the frame you want in a left tackle. Stands 6'8" and tips the scale at 300 pounds. His reach, coupled with his above-average athleticism (4.9 40-yard dash) are enticing. However, he managed only 22 reps on the bench at his pro day. Could make the team in the future, but wouldn't expect him in 2012. Colts offensive line is pretty full at the moment.

     

    Jerry Brown, DE/OLB, Illinois

    Former Illinois DE/OLB that's sort of a "tweener." He's not athletic enough to play outside linebacker but lacks the size to be an effective defensive end. He most recently played football for the San Antonio Talons of the Arena Football League. If he goes Beast Mode in camp, he could make the team, but I don't see it happening. 

     

    Cameron Chism, DB, Maryland

    Chism is an undersized corner who lacks exceptional speed. His ball skills are below average and he struggles in press coverage due to his size. Has fluid hips but doesn't locate the ball well and easily gets out-muscled by receivers. Which corners make the roster is a toss up at this point, since none of them are very good.

     

    Antonio Fenelus, DB, Wisconsin

    Another undersized corner, but Fenelus sticks to his man well in man coverage. He displays strong technique in pressing bigger receivers, which allows him good positioning off the line. Has good but not great speed and average ball skills. Fenelus could make the roster on account of his experience and ability in man coverage.

     

    Jason Foster, G, Rhode Island

    A four-year starter at left tackle for Rhode Island, Foster is nothing if not experienced. While he projects better as a guard in the NFL, his experience and leadership will always be invaluable. The guard position is pretty backed up for the Colts already, but Foster definitely has a chance.

     

    Hayworth Hicks, G, Iowa State

    Huge get for the Colts. Hicks was second team All-Big 12 last season, and I'm not entirely sure how he managed to go undrafted. He's a mauler in the run game, which the Colts will look to feature this season. If Hicks doesn't make the final roster, expect to see him with another team. He will be sprung from the practice squad right quick.

     

    Buddy Jackson, DB, Pittsburgh

    Got off to a good start with the Colts, as he played with the first team defense during rookie minicamp. However, he ended up sustaining an undisclosed injury and was sidelined. He's a bit taller at 6'1" but never made a huge impact in college. There's a spot with his name on it if he shows well in training camp.

     

    Dominique Jones, TE, Shepherd

    Virtually a lock to make the team. Coach Pagano loves his size/speed combination and has already gone on record talking about the team experimenting with formations featuring three tight ends. This guy could be a difference maker.

     

    Larry Lumpkin, ILB, Carson-Newman

    Lumpkin was available during the NFL's supplemental draft but was not selected. Instead, the Colts were able to pick him up without sacrificing a draft pick. For a team that is severely undermanned at ILB, Lumpkin has a decent shot at making the cut.

     

    Matt Merletti, DB, North Carolina

    A kid with an awesome story, Merletti is in a pretty good spot. The Colts lack quality players (a trend) at the safety position. He's pretty undersized but plays with heart and contributes on special teams. If the team keeps a question mark at any position, Merletti would be a good gamble. 

     

    Jabin Sambrano, WR, Montana

    Sambrano was arguably the most impressive receive in minicamp, and he's got a decent chance of making the roster. He'll be fighting for the last spot with guys like Griff Whalen and Quan Cosby.

     

    Brian Stahovich, P, San Diego State

    Not sure why the Colts would sign another punter. Pat McAfee has been above-average since coming into the league and even possesses place-kicking abilities if Adam Vinatieri should get hurt. Doesn't make a lot of sense overall, and Stahovich probably won't sniff the roster.

     

    Latarrius Thomas, DB, Eastern Michigan

    After missing most of 2010 with injury, he came back and recorded 79 tackles in 2011. He was third team All-MAC last year. He's got more of the prototypical size than someone like Merletti but has never lived up to his potential, which also forced him to transfer from Louisville to Eastern Michigan. The team may keep one between Merletti or Thomas.

     

    Griff Whalen, WR, Stanford

    One of Andrew Luck's most consistent targets in college. He lacks the physical traits to succeed at the next level. Most likely, his body simply wouldn't hold up. Pretty good hands, but sub-par quickness and speed. Special-teamer at best.

Indianapolis Colts 2012 Free-Agency and Trade Additions

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    Kris Adams, WR

    He's been in the league just one season and has already been a member of three other franchises. Unless the Colts can find something in him that nobody else saw, he's not going to make it much longer.

     

    Donnie Avery, WR

    This former second-round pick could be a real pick-me-up for the Colts' passing attack. He's not going to replace Pierre Garcon's production, but Avery might be able to provide some of the speed the Colts lost when Garcon left for the nation's capital. He'll be competing for the No. 2 job across from Reggie Wayne.

     

    George Foster, OT

    A former first-round pick is getting another chance with the Colts. He played for the New Orleans Saints in 2011 after spending 2010 in the UFL. Not improbable that he makes the team, but he adds little in terms of talent.

     

    Winston Justice. OT

    Acquired by trade from the Philadelphia Eagles. New Colts GM Ryan Grigson is comfortable with Justice, being a former Eagles man himself, and felt that Justice would add some depth at right tackle. He'll be competing for the starting job with Jeff Linkenbach, as well as possibly Ben Ijalana.

     

    Deji Karim, RB

    Decent pickup, but the Colts will find him expendable. Couldn't stay healthy or be productive in Jacksonville and won't likely find a place on the Colts roster, either.

     

    Justin King, CB

    As a Colts fan, it's upsetting to see the team try to improve by signing castoffs from the second-worst team in the NFL. King was consistently torched in 2011 and I, for one, will be upset if the Colts retain him.

     

    Korey Lindsey, CB

    Lindsey has never played in the NFL to this point, so I can hardly offer an opinion on him. However, he has already been cut from two teams, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals. Given his less than glory-filled past, I doubt he finds a permanent home in Indy.

     

    Mike McGlynn, G

    McGlynn is something of a journeyman guard who started four games for the Bengals last season. He, too, played for the Eagles in the past, which undoubtedly influenced his signing. Nonetheless, he's a middling talent who certainly adds much-needed depth along the interior offensive line. He will compete for a starting job against Joe Reitz and Ben Ijalana.

     

    Brandon McKinney, NT

    Same story as McGlynn, essentially. He's a former Baltimore Raven who is familiar with new head coach Chuck Pagano. Desiring a switch to a 3-4 defense, the Colts needed bodies at nose tackle, and McKinney provided one at low cost. He'll probably be the starter until Josh Chapman proves he can man the spot or the team invests in another player.

     

    Kyle Miller, TE

    Cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars after last season, Miller is mainly a long snapper but can also fill in at tight end in a pinch. Given that the Colts have had Justin Snow as their long snapper for over a decade, it seems strange to sign another one. Doubt he makes the roster, as he was probably brought in for competition's sake.

     

    Mewelde Moore, RB

    Moore has been primarily utilized as a third-down back throughout his nine-year career. He's amassed just over 2,000 rushing yards in that time, along with over 200 catches. He was probably brought in due to comfort level with new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, who worked with him in Pittsburgh. If they feel Moore is a better pass-protector than Donald Brown, he may make the team simply to protect Luck on third and longer-than-twos.

     

    Matt Overton, LS

    Another long snapper, signed the same day as Kyle Miller. I can't claim to know what the Colts are thinking with these signings, but I doubt either of them make the final roster.

     

    Cory Redding, DE

    Redding, another former Raven, is another stopgap solution until the Colts can further address their defensive line issues. At worst, he's extremely experienced and has had some success in the NFL. He'll definitely be starting at defensive end in the 3-4 this season for the Colts.

     

    Samson Satele, C

    Immediate starter for the Colts, given that he's really the only player on roster with any experience at center. He's relatively young and could be a long-term replacement for Jeff Saturday.

     

    Jason Shirley, DT

    Has had extremely limited playing time in his three years in the league. Finished last season with the Carolina Panthers, where he recorded 2.5 sacks in the final four games of the season. Low-risk signing with moderate upside. Unlikely to make the roster.

     

    Andre Smith, TE

    Mainly a blocking tight end, Smith appears to be the replacement for Brody Eldridge. Not many teams would keep four tight ends, but the Colts may. Since the first two tight ends on the depth chart are 95-percent incapable of blocking, who can blame them?

     

    Drew Stanton, QB

    Stanton is the only quarterback on the team with any NFL experience. However, he hasn't made the most of it, posting a 63.1 career passer rating. I still have him making the team over Chandler Harnish, though.

     

    Zane Taylor, C

    Taylor has yet to make an NFL team for more than six months, despite having signed with four different franchises. Track record speaks for itself.

     

    Tom Zbikowski, S

    Another day one starter picked up in free agency by the Colts. Zbikowski was never able to find consistency and top form while playing for the Ravens, but he's certainly an upgrade over anything the Colts have. Not an upgrade over Melvin Bullitt, but he's the best they've got.

Game-by-Game Preseason Analysis and Predictions

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    Week 1: Indianapolis Colts vs. St. Louis Rams

    Key Matchup: Rams WRs vs. Colts secondary

    In Week 1 of the NFL preseason, there are no key matchups. The starters will play a series, maybe two, before donning their brand-new Nike sideline hats. However, the Rams and the Colts are so bad that many of the backups will actually end up being starters. These two rosters are wide open.

    The Rams' wide receiving corps is the worst in the league, and the Colts secondary is certainly up for worst in the league as well. It will be fun (read: a nightmare) watching these two units trip over one another in an exercise of futility. Because I believe bad defense usually overcomes bad offense, I predict only one touchdown pass for the Rams.

     

    Key Matchup: Andrew Luck vs. his first-game jitters

    Because of his situation, Luck will probably play more than two series in this game. Indy will want to get Luck as much experience as it can before the season opener rolls around, and he's going to be nervous. Rookies always are. This is the moment we've all been waiting for, and he knows it.

     

    Prediction: Luck comes up short in his first outing but tosses his first touchdown pass to Coby Fleener. Rams 17, Colts 14

     

    Week 2: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers

    Key Matchup: Colts O-line vs. Steelers linebackers

    Yes, it's the preseason. Yes, teams are going to come out looking extremely vanilla on defense. But that doesn't mean they aren't going to bring any pressure, especially against a rookie quarterback. The Colts line hasn't had a ton of time to gel together and will still be shaky during this game. It will be on them to come together and protect Indy's big investment: Andrew Luck.

     

    Key Matchup: Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner vs. John Clay

    The second preseason game is a bit more meaningful, but the starters still won't play too far into the second quarter, if they even play through the first. However, the Colts are going to have trouble scoring on the Steelers throughout the game.

    If Indy's starting linebackers can't contain the Steelers rushing attack, they will have a difficult time winning out. Clay is the backup tailback since starter Rashard Mendenhall is still sidelined with a knee injury suffered late last season. I doubt the Steelers take much risk with current starter Isaac Redman.

     

    Prediction: Luck is outmatched by the Steelers starting defense and throws two picks. Steelers 31, Colts 10

     

    Week 3: Indianapolis Colts at Washington Redskins

    Key Matchup: Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III

    Not a traditional matchup, perhaps, but this is what everyone wants to see. The top two picks in the draft going at it, in the most important preseason game, in our nation's capital. This is basically the Super Bowl of the 2012 NFL preseason, without the overrated commercials.

    Unfortunately, Washington is a much better team than Indy is. Their defense is far superior, and they've got some quality young weapons on offense. The competitive juices will be flowing in this game, and both quarterbacks are going to try to be the difference for their team.

     

    Key Matchup: Reggie Wayne vs. DeAngelo Hall

    Hall is by no means the golden standard of corners, but this matchup should give us a decent idea of where Wayne is. He's 33 years old, and this game could be an indicator of what level he's still capable of playing. If Hall puts him on lockdown, it will be clear Wayne has lost more than one step.

     

    Prediction: Indy looks good on offense but can't slow down the 'Skins. Redskins 31, Colts 27

     

    Week 4: Indianapolis Colts vs. Cincinnati Bengals

    Key Matchup: Chuck Pagano vs. Marvin Lewis

    Week 4 of the preseason is all about the reserve players. Coaches want to know exactly who they've got in each player before they make their final cuts.

    Nobody wants to let a hidden gem slip through the cracks, and that's what Week 4 is about. Of course there is a game being played, but all the coaches care about are the individual performances of each player.

     

    Prediction: Colts 24, Bengals 20

Projecting the Final 53-Man Roster

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    Quarterback

    • Luck, Andrew
    • Stanton, Drew

     

    Running Back

    • Ballard, Vick
    • Brown, Donald
    • Carter, Delone
    • Moore, Mewelde

     

    Wide Receiver

    • Avery, Donnie
    • Brazill, LaVon
    • Collie, Austin
    • Hilton, T.Y.
    • Sambrano, Jabin
    • Wayne, Reggie

     

    Tight End

    • Allen, Dwayne
    • Fleener, Coby
    • Jones, Dominique
    • Smith, Andre

     

    Offensive Tackle

    • Castonzo, Anthony
    • Foster, George
    • Justice, Winston
    • Linkenbach, Jeff

     

    Offensive Guard

    • Ijalana, Ben
    • Hicks, Hayworth
    • McGlynn, Mike
    • Reitz, Joe

     

    Center

    • Satele, Samson
    • Shipley, A.Q.

     

    Defensive End

    • Moala, Fili
    • Redding, Cory

     

    Defensive/Nose Tackle

    • Chapman, Josh
    • Johnson, Antonio
    • McKinney, Brandon
    • Nevis, Drake

     

    Outside Linebacker

    • Freeney, Dwight
    • Fugger, Tim
    • Hughes, Jerry
    • Mathis, Robert

     

    Inside Linebacker

    • Angerer, Pat
    • Conner, Kavell
    • Edds, A.J.
    • Lumpkin, Larry

     

    Defensive Back

    • Bethea, Antoine
    • Fenelus, Antonio
    • Jackson, Buddy
    • Lefeged, Joe
    • Merletti, Matt
    • Powers, Jerraud
    • Rucker, Chris
    • Thomas, Kevin
    • Vaughn, Cassius
    • Zbikowski, Tom

     

    Special Teams

    • McAfee, Pat
    • Snow, Justin
    • Vinatieri, Adam