We are finally here. Bills Game Day! Are You Ready? New season, new staff, new philosophy, new players. To start out the season right and get back into the season mode, Napstown Finest and BLD exchanged a Q&A for today’s game.
For those of you who don’t know, Napstown Finest is the Fansided page for the Indianapolis Colts. Sayre Bedinger, the Editor for the Colts page, was ready to go for the Q&A. Check out what the Colts guru said about his Colts.
1. What is the biggest position battle on the team?
This is a tough question. The Colts have various really important battles happening this offseason, but quite literally the biggest position battle or battles may be on the defensive line. Josh Chapman, a fifth round pick in 2012 who was out all of last season on injured reserve is competing with Aubrayo Franklin for the nose tackle position this season, and both have taken first team reps. At the DE position opposite Cory Redding, the Colts have an interesting battle between Ricky Jean-Francois and Drake Nevis while Fili Moala gets healthy.
The Colts don’t have a true star on the defensive line, but in their three-man front, they are actually pretty deep and have some good competition, especially for those last couple of roster spots.
2. Andrew Luck came in as a rookie last year, through camp thus far, is he on pace to build on where he left off?
Luck has been extremely impressive this offseason, by all accounts. His work ethic off the field is well-documented, but the way this guy improves on the field each and every play, every throw, and as the game gets more intense is truly something to behold. Luck is going to be counted on this year to get the Colts in position where they are nursing leads rather than having to make so many comebacks this year, and they may just have the defense and weapons to do it.
3. Who is the biggest disappointment thus far through camp?
This may be a cop out, but I’m going to say no one. If anyone, it would be the early disappointing returns on WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, who once again struggled with drops in the first week of practice. But as the week wore on, DHB started to warm up before injuring his knee. He’s now easing back into practice but we’ll see what kind of action he gets in the team’s first pre-season game.
4. Which rookie is poised to start and have a breakout season?
The Colts didn’t have a flashy draft class by any means, going without a second round pick and taking two offensive linemen in the third and fourth rounds respectively. Therefore, I’m going to have to say first round pick Bjoern Werner is the safest bet to eventually start AND break out.
Werner is currently the backup to the leader of the defense, OLB Robert Mathis. However, even though the team signed Erik Walden to start at the other OLB position, I am not so sure he has the pass rush ability to hold that spot down with Werner knocking on the door. Even though he was picked in the later portion of the first round, Werner was my top ranked defensive player coming out. He’s just a very well-rounded DE prospect who is now going to transition to OLB in the NFL in a defense that could really allow him to blossom as a pass rusher.
5. What Colts player is having the best offseason/training camp so far?
Depending on who you ask, most people are going to say second year TE Coby Fleener. Fleener, by all accounts, has made the most strides of any player on the Colts’ roster, and teammates/coaches/media all expect him to have a big second season. He was a bit disappointing in his first year, but Bruce Arians used more 3WR sets than 2TE sets, and Dwayne Allen was a better fit for what he was doing. Fleener also battled injuries.
Pep Hamilton was Fleener/Luck’s offensive coordinator at Stanford, and the scheme he is implementing is much more beneficial for Fleener’s skill set. Expect him to have a big year if he can stay healthy.
6. Which player to you think has the most to gain from the pre-season that hasn’t already been touched on?
Wide receiver Griff Whalen has had the best offseason of any player not named Fleener. The second year receiver spent his entire rookie year on injured reserve, and has been lighting it up. Whalen isn’t a speedy receiver, nor is he the biggest player, but he is going to be very valuable depth and he is going to get a chance to really show his skills in the pre-season with a QB as solid as Matthew Hasselbeck throwing him passes. That fact alone could really up his stock, but with the lack of depth the Colts have at WR, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Whalen lock down the #4 position pretty quick