Minicamp Mania: 6 Overrated Story Lines from Past Indianapolis Colts Minicamps

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistMay 21, 2012

Minicamp Mania: 6 Overrated Story Lines from Past Indianapolis Colts Minicamps

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    Fans miss football in the offseason and breathlessly await any update about their favorite team.

    Unfortunately, this desire for information often leads to fans fixating on story lines that are ultimately irrelevant and gleaning hope from reports of player development that never comes to fruition.

    Here are six story lines from training camps past that show why Indianapolis Colts fans should simmer down before getting too excited about players having good (or bad) minicamps.

Phil Wheeler, 2009

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    In 2009, people noticed that Phil Wheeler was taking a lot of snaps in minicamp and wondered if he might become the next starting linebacker for the Colts.

    Wheeler never nailed down the starting job. He did appear in all 16 games in 2009, starting seven. He had 36 tackles and a sack. In four years in Indianapolis, he started 24 games with two sacks and just 112 tackles.

The 2009 Run Game

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    The 2009 Colts were going to run the ball a lot more than in previous years.

    It was obvious, right? After all, they had just drafted Donald Brown in the first round.

    Jeff Saturday was all a tizzy about the new focus on the ground game.

    Only, it didn't work out that way at all. The 2009 Colts ran the ball 37.3 percent of the time. That was actually lower than in 2008, when they ran the ball 38.2 percent of the time.

    Of course, running the ball is overrated. The Colts stormed to a 14-0 start and made the Super Bowl.

Dominic Rhodes, 2008

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    Dom Rhodes is a classic Colt, but there was a little too much enthusiasm for his return to the club in 2008.

    He was a major force for the 2006 Super Bowl champion Colts, and his return to in Indy in 2008 drew a lot of attention.

    The problem was that he wasn't very good. He posted just 538 yards on 152 carries, good for just 3.5 yards per attempt and a DVOA of negative 4.9 percent.

Bob Sanders, 2010

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    Bob Sanders battled injuries throughout his career, and in 2010, fans were hopeful he was finally going to be healthy.

    He was fully participating in drills and felt really good. He had a hyperbaric chamber to help his recovery.

    He lasted about mid-way through the first quarter of Week 1 before going down with a season-ending injury.

    I guess he really was "feeling like himself."

Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne Hold Out, 2010

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    Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis staged a mini protest and held out of mini camp before the 2010 season. Both men let it be known that they wanted new deals.

    Some fans foolishly got upset about a simple negotiation tactic because they didn't understand that minicamp is not nearly as important as the NFL would have you believe.

    Wayne was obviously affected by his absence, as he only had a career-high 111 catches for 1,355 yards and went to the Pro Bowl.

    Mathis rued the day he missed that workout in May because he was so terrible in 2010, posting 11 sacks and making the Pro Bowl.

    To top it all off, both players received new deals from the Colts this offseason.

    I guess a minor contract dispute in May and June isn't really a story after all.

Anthony Gonzalez, 2010

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    Anthony Gonzalez had an incredible start to his career before injuries cut his production to nothing.

    In 2010, there was plenty of talk about how Gonzalez was getting healthy and would be back from a knee injury that ruined his entire 2009 season.

    Fans eagerly awaited his return.

    Alas, Gonzo played in just two games in 2010, posting five catches for 67 yards as he battled more injuries all season.