Indianapolis Colts Q’s: Friday, May 12

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Indianapolis Colts running backs Frank Gore (left) and Robert Turbin (right). (Darron Cummings / Associated Press)
Darron Cummings / Associated Press

This week on Indianapolis Colts Q’s, we actually have the NFL Draft (kinda) in the rear-view mirror! As much as I could talk endlessly about the draft, it is time to start focusing on the current team at hand. Let’s get to it.

 

 

First off, readers, don’t let the food-centric beginning surprise you. My mentions while taking questions for Colts Q’s every week always seem to take some sort of turn towards the culinary.

As for the Colts’ undrafted free agents… I have not done a full film study on any of them yet (will likely wait until right before training camp to see who is still around) but I have seen some here and there of what’s available on Draft Breakdown.

To me, the group of UDFA’s with the best shot of making the roster are RB Dalton Crossan, TE Darrell Daniels, OL Deyshawn Bond, OG Chris Muller, ED Garrett Sickels, CB Reggie Porter, P Rigoberto Sanchez and LS Thomas Hennessy.

Chris Ballard already mentioned Crossan, Daniels and Porter as a few guys to watch out for, so they are obviously among his favorites. Daniels could capitalize on a weak tight end depth chart. Brandon Williams is very bland, and Mo Alie-Cox is a long-term project who is likely to hit the practice squad. Bond and Muller are both very experienced interior linemen who could really compete with the lower-level depth guys. Sickels was also a productive edge defender at Penn State. He’s not fast, but he is effective. Hennessy is the only long snapper on the roster, so the job is his to lose. Sanchez will compete with Jeff Locke at punter, and Sanchez’s background as a placekicker and kickoff specialist makes him more versatile.

The receivers that the Colts brought in have impressed me in researching them, but they all face a huge numbers game. The Colts are already about six deep at receiver. Bug Howard, Jerome Lane, Trey Griffey and JoJo Natson could do enough in camp and the preseason to catch on somewhere else.

 

 

The idea James refers to is this:

“Peyton Manning statue should have solar panels on the forehead that power a voice box that shouts Omaha whenever onlookers change positions”

I do think people would get a definite kick out of it, but I am ready to put the “Omaha!” craze behind us all. I’ve got to pull the “party pooper” card on that one.

 

 

My two answers will kind of go hand-in-hand because I would like for the Colts to do what I actually think they are going to do anyway.

I think that Frank Gore will remain the starter. He will likely get the bulk of the early-down work. On third-and-short and in goal-line situations, I expect Robert Turbin to get most of those carries. Since he’s able to hold off rushers in pass protection and can push a pile forward, he should keep that role. Third downs with five or more yards to go may go to Marlon Mack. He is the fastest of the bunch and can also catch the ball. Mack and Turbin will likely still see carries outside of these situations within the rhythm of a drive, but to me, that makes sense as their base distribution.

 

 

The Colts front office has asked for patience, and I get it. There were massive changes made during the offseason. However, when I look at the roster as well as their schedule, I don’t see why they couldn’t get to nine-plus wins.

Now, how is Chuck Pagano’s job security affected by the season outcome? I think if the Colts regress, that’s big trouble for Pagano. There is no reason that they should do worse than 8-8. If they are a “good” 8-8 or better and are competitive but the ball just hasn’t bounced their way a couple of times, that’s one thing. But, if they’re giving away games and give away the division title again, that should be a problem for Pagano.

Young players also need to develop. That’s an organizational task, but Pagano is the face of players reaching their potential. It has been a problem in the past, so it needs to get fixed. I would also look at in-game coaching decisions. If these dumb, downright embarrassing gimmick flubs keep happening, it’s got to be time to say “goodbye”.

 

 

You could make an argument that inside linebacker is now the Colts’ biggest need. They’ve got some nice, young players who are still developing, but you never know how things will look a year from now. At this point, if Washington passes Ballard and Brian Decker’s vetting, then I don’t see why not. He should come cheap, and we have all seen that he has been a really good player before. In the spirit of competition, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. Can Washington have a bigger impact than, say, Luke Rhodes? I would imagine so.

 

 

I’ll go with Kendall Langford and Barkevious Mingo.

With Langford, his status is largely based on how he looks coming back from his injury-plagued 2016. What was supposed to be a relatively routine knee scope that kept him out four weeks last training camp was a problem all season. He was outstanding in 2015, but if he looks like he lost a step or cannot stay on the field in camp this year, then these younger players may kick him off of the roster.

I know Mingo’s not much of a hot take, but it would make sense nonetheless. He never caught on with the Cleveland Browns or New England Patriots. The Colts obviously feel like they can squeeze something out of him, even if it’s just special teams. However, if Jabaal Sheard, Akeem Ayers, John Simon and Tarell Basham are all playing well enough to earn reps and Mingo is fading into the background, what’s the point in keeping him? That’s also not taking into account if Sickels or Deiontrez Mount makes a name for themselves in camp.

 

 

When he was available to the media the other day, that’s basically what he got at. He doesn’t listen to anybody outside of the locker room when it comes to what he can and can’t do. Here’s a snippet from that conversation:

 

 

That’s a tough one. I can imagine that game would be a defensive struggle. Maybe something like 17-13. However, Colts backup quarterback Scott Tolzien did play relatively well against the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, and the Steelers are much better than the Rams. This will be Tolzien’s second straight year with quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. I trust he could get the job done.

The Rams roster is still a mixed bag, and they are working-in a new coaching staff. It may take a little while until they gel.

 

 

No matter how good or bad each team in the division is, anything is possible when it comes to divisional games. Familiarity and motivation play a big role in these matchups.

Until they actually start winning games, I don’t trust the Jaguars. But, I do think that both the Titans and Texans will continue progressing. In my eyes, although a lot of the Colts’ roster is young and inexperienced, it looks better than it has in the last couple of years. I expect them to finish above .500 over their 16-game slate. The Colts were 3-3 in the division last year and 4-2 in 2015. I expect them to fall in line with the last couple of years, finishing 4-2 overall in the division. The two losses coming at the hands of the Titans in Nashville (Week 6) and the Texans in Houston (Week 9).

 

 

 

Jake Arthur is the AFC South Division Manager, Indianapolis Colts Team Manager, Assistant Director of NFL Content and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. He is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @JakeArthurPFS on Twitter as well as on Facebook. Check out his other work HERE.

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Jake Arthur is the Indianapolis Colts Team Manager, Director of Fantasy Football Content, Assistant Director of NFL Content and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. He is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @JakeArthurPFS on Twitter!