Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Wrap Up: Defense Is Still a Question Mark

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistAugust 17, 2012

The Colts need Angerer in the middle of things.
The Colts need Angerer in the middle of things.Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The Indianapolis Colts had their last practice in Anderson, Indiana on Friday, August 17th. Here are the major stories out of Indy in the last week of camp.


Injuries Hurt

The Colts are still reeling from the news that Pat Angerer will miss about six weeks with a broken foot suffered against the Rams. Chuck Pagano ran through a whole litany of injuries on Monday,

“(Scott) Lutrus came back, he’s got an ACL. They’re making plans to have surgery on him, and he’ll miss the rest of the season, unfortunately for Scotty. Pat’s (Angerer) got a fractured foot and it looks like he’ll go in and do a procedure on him. It’s looking like six weeks for Pat. Mike’s (McGlynn) got a high ankle sprain. Depending on, everybody’s different as far as coming back on high ankle sprains, his is not as bad as most high ankle sprains, so he’s going to miss a little bit of time. Mewelde (Moore) and (T.Y.) Hilton came in this morning and Delone (Carter) and they had some issues with rib injuries.”

The Colts had a successful opener against the Rams and managed to get positive buzz, but the injury list was long.

Losing Angerer is a potentially devastating blow to a defense that is already thin. The Colts have bodies to replace him, notably Jerrell Freeman, but no one has the experience to step right in.

The injury to McGlynn is also troubling. The Colts line did not play well at all against Saint Louis, and losing a starter has to worry the coaching staff. McGlynn is hardly irreplaceable, but again, Indianapolis does not have a deep roster of line talent.

The cliche about the preseason is that "it's a success as long as no one gets hurt" has never been more true than for the Colts in 2012.


Top Picks Bounce Back

Former first-picks Donald Brown and Jerry Hughes had big games in the first week of the preseason and have started to rehabilitate their image as busts.

In the case of Brown, one has to wonder how he ever got the label in the first place. Brown was one of the few Colts who took a step forward in 2011 and even finished the 2010 season strong with a huge game against the Jaguars. Criticism of Brown was largely driven by a contingent in the media who felt the need to attack every move made by former Colts boss Bill Polian, whose acrid style wore thin on the local media.

Hughes is a completely different story. To say he's been terrible since joining the Colts would be inaccurate only because he's been too invisible to be terrible. He's done next to nothing for Indianapolis since being taken in the first round of the 2010 draft.

Now, with his career hanging in the balance, Hughes came up large, at least for a week. It will take more than a couple of preseason sacks to redeem himself, but the Colts had to like what they saw last week.

With a $14 million salary due to Dwight Freeney about to become guaranteed, a strong preseason from Hughes could convince the Colts to move their All-Pro end.

While it's possible Hughes was just miscast as an NFL end and will find new life as a linebacker, the entire situation is difficult to believe. Brown's issues were obvious. He was hurt. Players often struggle when injured. Hughes had no such excuse. He was just bad.

If the Colts could get big returns from Brown and Hughes, their ceiling goes up for 2012.


Andrew Luck is Still Sharp

Inclement weather forced me to miss camp this week, and my chief regret was not seeing Luck throw. The Colts rookie wowed the NFL with his first appearance in a Colts uniform. It feels like missing a chance to see him in action in his first camp is a personal loss.

As Indianapolis Star reporter Mike Chappell noted, Luck has hit better than 70 percent of his passes in camp and threw the ball over 400 times.

All week, Luck continued to post big passing numbers both in terms of quantity and quality.

I expected Luck to be good, but he's much better than I envisioned. Everyone who saw him in action in camp will remember it for a long time.

Luck's comments on playing in his first game after weeks of camp were revealing,

“I think the game speeds are always different. Coach has done a great job here at practice of pushing us to get to that point, to that level, but it always kicks up a notch in a game. So it was a sense of relief after the first couple of plays, 'OK, I can handle this speed a little bit.’ So there’s hope.”

He already feels like he can handle the speed of the NFL? That can only mean one thing.

Yes, Indianapolis, There's hope.

All quotes provided directly to the reporter by the Indianapolis Colts.