This may be a little premature considering camp hasn’t started, so there is no real basis for my thoughts right now. However, I do have a method to my madness. After last season, there were a few players that many of us thought under performed big time- and if they were released or waived for whatever reason, none of us would have been surprised. However, it seems that Grigson and the coaching staff have a hard time letting people go that aren’t cut out for this team. Some of the players I plan to mention should be on the hot seat already- and if they don’t perform this season, then it’s hasta la vista baby, but they’ll more than likely get another chance to show what they can do.
Here is my small list of players so far that can feel the heat to perform or get out of town.
1. LaRon Landry
Yes, my numero uno pick is Landry. Of course right? I mean he has been talked about enough this off season about not being with the team and not doing the voluntary workouts. Yes, I understand what the word voluntary means, but you would think the veteran who has the potential to play with a younger, “unproven” free safety would want that time to gel. Even if you forget that stuff, his season last year was less than terrible. The whole free world saw his whole season summed up in one missed tackle in the divisional playoff game against the Pats when he whiffed on Blount.
This season Landry has much to prove to his teammates. With the horrific season before and his lack of presence during the off season, many of his teammates are going to want to see if he is all in or if he is all for him. It seems that Landry is one of those players that starts playing well on the last year of his contract so a team will snatch him up to a good contract based on one good year. He was a pro bowler two years ago and Grigson may have fallen for it. My hope is that this isn’t the case and Landry just needed to adjust and he will come out and be the player we all hoped he would be. If not, kick him off the bus next off season and find someone who is willing to buy in.
2. Greg Toler
This is another obvious choice for the hot seat. Toler didn’t play or show well for much of the season last year. He was brought in because he possesses the talent to be a decent 2nd option at cornerback. Well, yeah….nope, didn’t happen. I am one of the people who will say that when he played, he played fairly well. He was dealing with injuries but that is his modus operandi for his career. Can’t stay healthy, which is why so many people criticized Grigs for signing him to the 3 year deal he got. Nevertheless, the Colts didn’t bring anyone in to really compete with Toler for the #2 CB position so it’s really his to lose to Butler, Gordy, or one of the highly touted undrafted free agents brought in.
Toler had off season sport hernia surgery and all signs are showing that he is healthy so far and showed okay during OTA’s. With training camp coming up quickly, Toler will be put through the ringer to make sure he is going to be durable. Don’t be surprised to see Gordy steal some time from his during training camp and preseason games. If Toler cannot bounce back then the Colts must cut ties with him after the season, if not before.
3. Hakeem Nicks
The former Giants standout is coming off a very lackluster season. Less than 60 catches, less than 1,000 yards and ZERO touchdowns is what I call lackluster. After the ’10 and ’11 seasons where he posted big numbers and was a true threat week in and week out, he fell off big time. He suffered injuries that cut into his production and it was said by a Giants writer that last season, Nicks only seemed to care to stay healthy through the season so he could break the bank this year during free agency. Great plan huh?? 1 year-3.9 million contract isn’t breaking the bank at all. Yes, there is potential for the deal to be almost 6 million but Nicks must show he can stay on the field and produce.
We all are aware that this is a DHB-style deal. Bring in a receiver who has huge potential to help this team out this season and if it doesn’t work out, then bye bye. If it does, more than likely, bye bye. However, if Nicks under performs like DHB did last year, he will be hoping the CFL or Arena league calls him. Nicks knows that he has to be a good option out on the field or he can see the window on his NFL dreams close very quickly.
4. Pep Hamilton
Not a player, I know, but can you think of anyone else who can feel the fire on their butt more than Pep? I mean, look at the offense he called last year. How many of us hated on him for his horrid play calling? Come on, raise those hands cause you know you did. I admit that I did. He pushed a power run game without the proper talent to pull it off. Richardson isn’t what he was in college and if that’s what Pep is hoping for then he will be out of a job for sure. Now, the good thing is that he has come out this off season and said this will be a scoring offense. They will play to their strengths and mix in the power run game when it’s needed. That’s one of the smartest things I think he and the team could have said.
Pep has this season to prove to Grigson and Irsay that bringing him in from Stanford wasn’t as terrible an idea as many of us think it is. Pep will have weapons this year he didn’t have last season and the offensive line has some new blood. But if he continues to try and pound the ball with a running game that isn’t working, then be gone with him. We have a quarterback that can do almost anything you ask. Why not utilize that? Gun slingin, hard-nosed with a sprinkle of power run should be the look of this offense. If Pep goes back to ole’ reliable, he will be out of a job for sure.