After roughly 2.5 weeks of training camp, the 2011 Colts look like an improved football team.
Follow , and
Aug 18, 2011 – Training camp for the 2011 seemed to fly by quicker this year than in year’s past. , it really does seem as if it were yesterday they were all reporting to their dorm rooms in a chariot line of golf carts. Perhaps the lockout, the excitement over the return of football, and the dazzle of the recent free agency period made the time zip by for many of us. Who knows.
What we do know is, after roughly 2.5 weeks of camp, the Colts look like an improved football team from 2010. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are still championship caliber, but it does put the Colts on the right track.
Earlier this month, for, essentially, dragging their feet during an unparalleled period of veteran free agency. While teams like the , , and got significantly better by adding free agent talent, the Colts sat still and stagnated. After we published our critique, the Colts started dipping their toes into the free agency pond, inking former-first round busts and . They also acquired and .
It’s no coincidence that three of those four players are noted defensive linemen, and all three can play the undertackle spot on the defensive line, an area of need for this Colts team seemingly forever. While I’m not so egotistical to think that our little critique of management prompted team general manager Chris Polian to open up owner Jim Irsay’s checkbook, it would be naive to think that the moves made by the Patriots, Eagles, and Texans did not motivate the Colts into improving their team via veteran free agency.
Contrary to the belief of some, there is nothing wrong with plugging ‘talent holes’ on your roster with veteran free agents. This is especially true when, like the Colts,.
But, despite the poor drafting, and despite quarterback taking part in ZERO training camp practices as he rehabs from offseason neck surgery, there is reason for optimism about this 2011 Colts team.
- The additions of Harris, Anderson, and Brayton add a much needed veteran presence to a defensive line that was, quite frankly, slapped around all last season. Anderson and Brayton are known as defensive ends who can stop the run while Harris, when healthy, is a potent pass-rushing threat from the DT position.
- Rookies Anthony Castonzo, , and have looked impressive both in camp and preseason. Nevis adds even more depth and talent to the before mentioned defensive line. However, the biggest weakness for last year’s Colts team was the offensive line, and already Castonzo and Ijalana have infused this area with improved play. Castonzo is already named the starter at left tackle, and if Ijalana continues to improve, he may start at right tackle.
- Rookie free agent has been turning heads at camp at the strong safety position. He is also an excellent special teams player. Depth at safety is a major concern with starter recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. If Lefeged continues to develop, he could provide that depth.
- is apparently wearing a new helmet made specially for him. While this does not guarantee that he will not sustain another concussion this year, it does convey that both Collie and the team are working proactively to keep him, and his noodle, healthy not just for his career, but for his life after football.
- The linebacking corps is showing improved depth, with rookie and veteran having an impressive camp.
If there are concerns about this team as they break camp, the horrid play of the back-up quarterbacks in preseason has to be high on the worry list. There is also a lack of healthy depth at wide receiver. With cut, depth at corner is also a concern. hasn’t been exactly wowing spectators with his corner play, and many feel that should be starting opposite .
Regardless of these concerns, the Colts seem to have improved. Their next preseason game is Friday against the . Staying healthy is paramount for this Colts organization. If they can do that, they stand a very good chance of contending in 2011.
For more on the Colts, check out SB Nation’s Indianapolis Colts blog .
Follow , and