Indianapolis Colts Players Facing Make-or-Break Training Camps

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIJuly 17, 2013

Indianapolis Colts Players Facing Make-or-Break Training Camps

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    When it comes to the Indianapolis Colts, there are some exciting new faces on the team heading into training camp, but there are also some players that could be fighting for their jobs in the next few weeks.

    Training camp is a time for young and overlooked players to prove themselves in the NFL and potentially make a team's roster, but it's also a time for struggling veterans to be cut if they don't prove themselves.

    When it comes to the Colts, there are a couple of players that come to mind that have to really impress during camp in order to keep a spot on this roster.  These are players that have have either struggled, had off-field issues or even simply have too much competition at their position to survive the final cuts.

    Here are the guys that will really need to turn some heads starting at the end of July.

     

Donald Brown

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    Brown has been known as a guy with big-play potential, but the infrequency of big plays recently along with injury concerns make Brown one of the players under the most pressure entering camp.

    Knee and ankle issues kept Brown away from the field for a lot of the 2012 season, playing in only 10 games.  His absence gave Vick Ballard an opportunity to become the starter and he took full advantage of the chance, making some nice plays throughout the year.

    As if that didn't make Brown's future in Indy uncertain, the arrival of Ahmad Bradshaw now officially puts Brown on the hot seat.  The fact is that Brown has failed to break 700 yards in a season and averaged only 3.9 yards per carry when on the field last season. 

    While there's no guarantee that Brown is gone after the preseason, he certainly needs to surprise more than a few people if he hopes to be on the final roster to start the year.

LaVon Brazill

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    Although Brazill showed a lot of potential when on the field in 2012, his future with the Colts is uncertain due to recent events.

    Back in June, it was reported that Brazill would be suspended for four games due to violating the league's substance abuse policy.  He will be able to participate in preseason activities, but he will not be allowed back with the team once Week 1 begins.

    The Colts also have a number of young receivers that appear to be impressing in offseason activities.  Griff Whalen has returned and impressed once again after being injured in the 2012 preseason before getting a chance to make the team.  Nathan Palmer, a former receiver for the San Francisco 49ers, has also been turning some heads.

    With three locks at the receiver position in Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton, there are likely only a couple more openings for these guys to earn a spot.

    With the competition and recent suspension, Brazill certainly has quite an uphill battle to make the team.

Chandler Harnish

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    While the former Mr. Irrelevant pick doesn't exactly fill a huge need for the team, he does present a unique dilemma for the Colts.

    Should the Colts keep a third quarterback on the roster?

    Back when Peyton Manning was starting under center, the Colts usually had Jim Sorgi as the No. 2 guy with Hunter Smith, the team's punter, behind him.

    When it comes to Andrew Luck, the team can't be as certain that he will stay healthy.  Sure, Luck was able to play all 16 games last season, but he took an absolute beating in the pocket, and more abuse like that could see Luck sidelined at some point. 

    That would leave Matt Hasselbeck, who is currently 37 years old, to play under center.  He's been a productive QB throughout his career, but he's really come in just to help mentor Luck and not come in and take snaps as the starter.

    The situation may be out of Harnish's control, but if he can come to camp and make plenty of good plays, then the team will probably consider having him stay as the No. 3 guy.

Montori Hughes

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    Normally a fifth-round pick is under enough pressure to make the final cuts, but Hughes has a little bit of extra heat under him.

    The defensive tackle from Tennessee-Martin has plenty of competition heading into camp.  Players on the defensive line he will be going up against for a job include Josh Chapman, Aubrayo Franklin, Ricky Jean Francois, Fili Moala and Brandon McKinney.

    With so many players already at the position, Hughes can't feel safe.

    There have also been some questions of character regarding Hughes.  He was dismissed from Tennessee-Martin for multiple violations, and a number of scouts have questioned his stamina and work ethic.

    Chuck Pagano is a guy known for fixing character in players, so the questions about work ethic could be answered pretty quickly.  Still, there are a lot of players that have an edge on Hughes on the D-line, so he will need to have a really strong training camp in order to make the team.

Joe Lefeged

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    Under normal circumstances, Lefeged would be a no-brainer to make the team.  He was a strong special teams player last season and was able to come in and be a solid enough safety when called upon. 

    Things are a little more tricky now.

    Lefeged was arrested in late June on gun charges after having a loaded gun in his car while in Washington D.C. and then trying to escape from police.  He was released from jail a few days later.

    It's hard to tell what the Colts will do with him.  On one hand, he had a serious lapse in judgement, but on the other hand, he's a player that the team needs to provide depth behind Antoine Bethea and LaRon Landry while also playing on special teams.

    Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star provided his opinion on the situation, saying:

    It would be foolish, though, for the Indianapolis Colts to climb on a moral high horse now and dump Lefeged, a ­special-teams guy and backup safety, before his case is litigated.

    In this particular case, the Colts are properly inclined to let the wheels of justice churn and then make a considered decision based on all the facts.

    My guess is General Manager Ryan Grigson is wrestling with this, going back and forth in his mind:

    Do we send a tough message early and hope it permeates the entire roster, or do we ­acknowledge it’s Lefeged’s first offense, he’s generally been a model Colt and we provide young people with second chances?

    Regardless of what the Colts decide to do, it's pretty clear that this will be one of the hardest decisions for Ryan Grigson and the coaching staff to make in the preseason.  Lefeged will need to show that he can turn it around off of the field while impressing coaches on the field at the same time.