2012 will be a building season for the Indianapolis Colts, and that means that no position is secure.
Players have been battling it out at training camp to prove that they are worth the starting position on the Colts.
Last season left the Colts fragile and disheartened. Then in came head coach Chuck Pagano to clean up Lucas Oil Stadium. No player is truly guaranteed a starting spot and this gives each one a chance to show Pagano that they are the ones to lead the rebuilding team.
Let’s just hope they can actually pull it off.
Here are the latest updates and opinions on position battles inside the team.
This is a battle of the rookies between Coby Fleener from Stanford and Dwayne Allen from Clemson.
Fleener has the upper hand here because of one unique detail. Fleener played with rookie quarterback Andrew Luck at Stanford. The two are compatible on the field and have already developed a connection that can only come from shared experience.
Allen, on the other hand, won’t give up the position that easy. He has been putting up quite the challenge for Fleener in training camp. Albert Breer from nfl.com reports,
“Fleener's ticketed for a role as a "matchup" guy in Indianapolis' offense...Allen, on the other hand, will be the jack of all trades...learning a number of positions on the fly and displaying an ability to contribute in a variety of ways.”
The two will provide strong options at tight end and will likely be on the field together in many instances. But who will technically win the position battle?
For now, let’s go with Fleener. Paired with Luck, Fleener will flourish and provide great support to the quarterback. Fleener put up great numbers while playing at Stanford and is a strong receiver.
Who will be the one to provide for Andrew Luck? The running back position is surprisingly left with a question mark as the Colts continue with training camp.
Donald Brown is the more obvious choice here. Last year he led the team in rushing yards with 645 total yards and averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Not the best numbers in the league, but pretty good for the Colts’ sad 2011 season.
But Delone Carter and Vick Ballard could easily claim the starting running back position during training camp and even the first few weeks of the regular season.
Standing at 5’9” and 238 lbs, Carter is a strong running back who Luck would definitely want on his side. Should Carter improve in camp, Brown could see a real battle for his position.
And let’s not forget about Vick Ballard. He was a tremendous running back at Mississippi State last year, racking up 1,189 yards and averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
If he can translate those same numbers with the Colts, then Ballard could get some major playing time this year and give Carter and Brown a run for their money. So far though, Chuck Chapman from colts.com reports that,
“The opportunities to get noticed have been few so far for Ballard. He’s been mainly working with the third team offense along with Delone Carter behind quarterback Chandler Harnish. Ballard says that’s been the biggest challenge for him so far as a pro: ‘The biggest challenge for me is to stay on top of the game on the sideline. I’m limited in the touches I get, so I have to make sure to always be taking ‘mental reps’ while the other guys are out there,’”.
The prediction for this position battle? Donald Brown will win this one. According to an analysis on cbssports.com,
“The Indianapolis Star reports that coach Chuck Pagano said the Colts are going to be a power running team this season with Donald Brown as the starter”.
Looks like Brown has the title; he just needs to keep it.