I don’t know about any of you but for some reason this upcoming training camp is highly anticipated for me. We get to see how Luck is doing and if he is back to old form and we also get to see how some of the younger guys have progressed this off-season. Just being able to watch Andrew Luck again is enough for many to go out to Anderson University and watch the Colts run plays in the blazing sun. However for me there are a few spots that I’m interested to see play out during training camp and the preseason. Most of the starting spots are filled, but the battles for the back-up roles and for long shots to make the team are even more exciting for me. As I said most of the starting spots are filled but not all and there are some guys just on the cusp of cracking the starting lineup or taking away time from a starter. These battles are going to be fun to watch.
Battle for starting right guard
I know it’s not sexy but for the majority of the Colts Nation we are all hopeful that the talent they brought in during the draft is enough to bolster the horrendous play of the offensive line. The other spots are basically filled but this one there are multiple names being thrown out that could land the starting role but will be pushed all season long. The heavy favorite right now is Denzelle Good. He played well at right tackle last season when he had to fill in and has continued to progress into a player that even the owner is in love with. He has been injured lately and didn’t get many snaps there during the off-season program but you can bet that he will get every chance to solidify himself as the starter in that position come training camp.
Hugh Thornton is the other favorite to hold down the right guard position. He has been injured a lot during his young NFL career and when has played it’s either been all good or all terrible. He has yet to find that middle ground of being a consistently good player which is his Achilles heel. He hasn’t been able to put together great tape to show the coaching staff that they can trust him week in and week out. He will be given the chance to fight Good for the spot but he will going to have to have an amazing camp. I think he will land as the back-up to Jack Mewhort when the season begins.
While Thornton and Good have been sidelined this off-season Jonotthan Harrison and Joe Haeg have been battling it out in this position. Harrison has been a center for the Colts since his arrival but has had some snaps at guard as well. He is much like Thornton. He has flashes but then he looks terrible. He has never been one the team can count on but have been forced to play due to lack of other options. Haeg however is interesting. He was an All-American in college and only missed one start out of 61 games in his college career. He was a tackle in college but it was for a smaller school. In the NFL he is a guard which is great for him. His pass protection is on point and he has a nasty streak that the Colts offensive line has been missing for years.
I see Good as the starter when the season opens but this group of guys are going to push each other every chance they get. This is a great thing to see when we all complained about the right side of the line in 2015 until Joe Reitz came to the rescue and Good stepped in without a problem. This year I don’t think we are going to have the same complaints.
Who backs up Frank Gore?
Ahmad Bradshaw is gone and so is Boom Herron. They flashed but couldn’t stay healthy. The Colts brought in Jordan Todman and Robert Turbin to battle it out for the back-up role. Todman flashed in Pittsburgh and Turbin has been a decent back-up option wherever he has played. Right now it would seem that Turbin would have the upper hand. However that may not be completely accurate. Tyler Varga is still with the team and he had his dreams trashed by injury in his rookie season. There was a ton of promise exuding from this guy until a bad concussion took him off the field. Varga will be coming in with a huge axe to grind and wanting to pick up where he left off.
If that were the three names that would be battling to be the back-up I would be fine with it but that’s not all folks. Rookie Josh Ferguson out of the University of Illinois has been making noise since signing with the Colts after the draft. Ferguson has been impressing everyone that has seen him play and it’s been awesome. Ferguson isn’t a power back. He is the change of pace back that the Colts desperately need. He holds the record at U of I for most receptions and yards by a running back in school history. If you can’t see it yourself let me spell it out for you. Basically the Colts landed a back like the great Darren Sproles. Ferguson is a smaller and fast back but with great hands and fantastic vision. This is something Colts haven’t had in awhile and could really use. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Ferguson make leaps ahead of people and end up as an actual option on game days.
There are other battles that will have an effect on the team but these two are the most interesting to me. The possibility of solidifying the offensive line finally and having a suitable back-up to the ageless wonder in Frank Gore I think will be the biggest impacts on the offense this upcoming season. What say you? You have a different battle that intrigues you and want to let me know about it? Feel free to follow me on Twitter @JustinTBF or you can find us on Facebook. Just search for True Blue Fans. Thanks for stopping by and GO COLTS!!!!