Colts Stock Watch: Which Players Are Rising and Falling Through 2 Weeks of Camp?
The Indianapolis Colts have had a number of guys trying to impress during training camp over the past two weeks, and while some have done just that, others have struggled.
While the Colts have yet to play in a preseason game, fans and media alike have been able to get a good feel for this team during open practices. While no one is likely going 100 percent out there right now, we can certainly see some good things from these players, not to mention things that they are struggling with.
I've had a chance to attend four of the open practices for the Colts, and I've noticed plenty from these players. Thankfully, there have been plenty of other reliable reporters out at training camp on other days I haven't been able to attend.
So, which players have seen their stock rising, and which have seen it fall? Here's a look at a few of the guys.
Note: All observations, unless cited, were obtained firsthand.
Rising: Griff Whalen, Wide Receiver
There's a Griff Whalen hype train rolling through Anderson, and I'm getting on it.
In every practice I've been at, Whalen has shined. His good hands and impressive footwork make up for his lack of breakaway speed. In four practices, I've seen him drop one ball. He's spent time with both the first and second teams, showing the team's faith in him as a potential receiver.
In a recent interview, Chuck Pagano praised Whalen, saying "He's one of those guys that's becoming necessary," according to the Colts' official Twitter account. Jeremiah Johnson from FOX 59 reported that Pagano compared him to Welker, Edelman and Collie in their earlier days.
It's still early on, and he has yet to play in a preseason game at this point, but the hype surrounding Whalen is certainly legitimate.
Falling: Delone Carter, Running Back
After Ahmad Bradshaw was brought in for the Colts, the feeling was that Delone Carter was on the hot seat.
Based on what's happened so far at camp, things aren't looking very good for the 5'9'' running back out of Syracuse.
From the time I've spent at camp, Carter has been seeing fewer and fewer snaps as the days go on. He hasn't had very many carries, and he's had several drops on very easy passes, including a screen pass where the quarterback was about four yards away from him.
In theory, the Colts would use Carter in short-yardage situations, but with the emergence of a fullback in the offense, Carter is certainly an expendable back.
Vick Ballard and Donald Brown will likely be on the team behind Bradshaw, and a potential three-back rotation would leave Carter out of the picture.
Rising: Coby Fleener, Tight End
There were plenty of people, including myself, who firmly believed Coby Fleener would break out in 2013 after dealing with injuries in 2012. Based off of what we've seen from the new offense, there's even more reason to believe that Fleener could become perhaps one of the best tight ends in the NFL this coming season.
The new offense under Pep Hamilton has featured Fleener almost everywhere on the field. He's lined up on the line, in the slot and even on the outside at times. Andrew Luck has found him downfield quite often, and he's made some terrific catches.
Kevin Bowen from Colts.com reported that although Pagano has tried to steer away from praising specific players, he did mention both Fleener and Dwayne Allen. At 6'6'', it's hard to not like Fleener as a receiver down the field.
If the new offense uses Fleener like he was used back at Stanford, then this should be quite an exciting year for the young tight end.
Falling: The Interior of the Offensive Line
Although I would like to point to one player in particular in this area, it's sometimes hard to see who is at fault for blown assignments and letting guys go without the help of multiple replays and different camera angles.
Still, it's been easy to see that the pressure has been coming from the middle. While Donald Thomas can get the benefit of the doubt due to playing on a new team, both Mike McGlynn and Samson Satele don't exactly get that luxury.
Both of these guys struggled during the 2012 season, and seeing them struggle already in training camp is concerning. What's worse is that the guys behind them, draft picks Khaled Holmes and Hugh Thornton, are already dealing with injuries from camp, meaning that depth has become a serious question mark for this team.
I won't go into much more detail here, but the interior of the offensive line is still a concern so far for the Colts. If you want to learn more about it, you can read this from Stampede Blue from about a week ago.
Rising: LaRon Landry
Seeing LaRon Landry in a picture or video is one thing, but seeing this monster of a man in person is something entirely different.
Honestly, any time you can replace Tom Zbikowski in the starting lineup, you're going to win. What Landry brings to this team is a hard-hitting mentality and a desire to stop the run. Unfortunately for Landry, he does tend to struggle in pass coverage at times and can get burned and have receivers behind him.
It's been a very encouraging training camp so far for Landry, who has made more than a few plays in coverage. Tom James from the Tribune Star noted that Landry was his player of the day on Sunday's practice after making plays in coverage all day.
I've been pleasantly surprised by Landry in coverage from the time I've been there. He's learned to keep back in pass coverage and seems to be able to read the quarterback's eyes quite well. It may just be training camp, and old habits could come back, but Landry has looked much improved so far.