What’s up, Colts fans? What a glorious time for us football fans. College football begins in earnest tomorrow. The NFL preseason is almost wrapped up, and in a mere six days we’ll have a game that actually counts. By 4 PM ET tomorrow, teams must cut down to their (at least initial) opening day rosters.
You’ve probably read several roster projection articles by now, and guess what? This one will probably be as worthless as the others. Why? After teams meet tomorrow’s deadline, there will be about 1,200 players on the open market. Many of them will be undrafted free agents who never will make it, but many will be good fits for teams looking to shore up their roster. The Colts also have a couple of positions – RB- and LB – that certainly look to be very fluid as far as personnel is concerned. We could even see a trade. Last year on cut day, the Colts traded for Jacoby Brissett. Bottom line: There will be change. Lots of it.
Quarterback: (2) Jacoby Brissett, Phillip Walker.
Just checking to see if you were paying attention.
Obviously, it will be Andrew Luck and Brissett, but Walker played well enough to warrant a spot on the practice squad.
Running back: (4) Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, Christine Michael, Nyheim Hines. Robert Turbin will claim another spot when he returns from his suspension.
The team made a bit of a statement in last night’s final preseason game, as Wilkins was a healthy scratch like nearly every starter. Time will tell if there’s a reason for that statement beyond “holy crap, we only have two decent, healthy running backs,” but he’ll have his opportunity. With Mack’s status up in the air for the opening game, it will be up to Wilkins and Michael (who ran well against Cincinnati) to carry the load.
Hines’ spot is in jeopardy. Pretty much everyone had high hopes for him, but so far it just hasn’t worked out. If you’re a back and/or a return guy and you can’t hold onto the football, you’re not going to play. The kid has a lot of potential and I hope it works out, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he’s jettisoned in favor of Brandon Oliver or a waiver claim.
Wide receiver: (5) TY Hilton, Ryan Grant, Chester Rogers, Zach Pascal, Reece Fountain.
The first three players are obvious. It gets muddy from there. The loss of Deon Cain to a knee injury hurts. There’s no guarantee the highlights he showed on the practice field would’ve translated to real competition (See: Carter, Duron), but the potential is there and I like him over Pascal and Fountain.
KJ Brent has shown some flashes in practice, but he’s hurt. I think his loss is definitely a gain for Pascal and Fountain, who probably secured their spots last night. Brent is intriguing though, and the team may choose to go with six players at this spot or try to stash him on the practice squad.
Tight end: (4) Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Erik Swoope, Darrell Daniels
I feel like initially they will keep four here, but injuries to Daniels and Ross Travis may change things. I haven’t seen an official update on Travis, but his knee injury last night didn’t look good, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he lands on IR. Daniels also got banged up playing special teams. Swoope looked good last night and probably cemented his spot on the initial roster.
Offensive line: (9) Anthony Castonzo, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Matt Slauson, Braden Smith, Denzelle Good, Joe Haeg, Le’Raven Clark, J’Marcus Webb.
I think – does anyone really know though? – Good was projected to be the starter at right tackle, but he is nursing a knee injury, so right now it’s looking like Haeg will be the starter on opening day.
I’ll just move on.
Defensive line: (10) Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, Al Woods, Margus Hunt, Hassan Ridgeway, Denico Autry, Kemoko Turay, Ryan Delaire, Tarell Basham, Tyquan Lewis
I feel like Delaire earned his spot during the preseason. Basham did not perform badly last night and probably secured his spot as well, but did suffer what Coach Reich referred to as a “minor” knee injury. Lewis is the key here. The team likes him, but reports say his foot injury will cost him at least nine weeks of the season. Expect an IR with return designation. This injury may clear the way for Grover Stewart to make the cut.
Linebacker: (6) Darius Leonard, Najee Goode, Skai Moore, Anthony Walker, Zaire Franklin, Tyrell Adams.
The Colts are currently feverishly checking Indeed and all other employment sites, looking for some, any, all, help at this position. It’s possible they could keep Matthew Adams over Tyrell Adams, but who knows.
Hide your eyes.
Cronerback: (6) Pierre Desir, Kenny Moore, Quincy Wilson, Nate Hairston, Chris Milton, Lenzy Pipkins.
Lenzy Pipkins is a terrific name, and he’s actually played for an NFL team, so he gets a call here. Or not.
Safety: (4) Malik Hooker, Clayton Geathers, Matthias Farley, Robenson Therezie.
The Colts (finally) cut TJ Green. This opens up a spot (for now) for Therezie, who seemed to play well in the last preseason game.
Specialists: (3) The GOAT, Rigoberto Sanchez, Luke Rhodes.
So there you have it, folks. I’m right until I’m wrong.
In the meantime, while you may feel Adam Vinatieri is a lock to make the roster, I give you this to think about:
See you soon, Colts fans.