I'm not going to take the time to dive into every position on the roster, but I do want to share my thoughts on a few of the key battles that have played out throughout the preseason.
In my not so humble opinion, it would take seeing Peyton in a wheelchair with a neck brace for me to actually believe that he is going to miss a game. This guy lives to win football games, and unless he believes the Colts can win a game or two with Kerry Collins' corpse, there is no way he is not taking the snaps for his team.
As far as the back ups go, I'm not convinced that Kerry Collins' play in the final preseason game was deserving of winning the battle. However, it was a small sample size and his track record says he is the best option (not to mention his contract being $3+ million more than Painter's).
This might be the toughest position to decide when it comes down to it, and I think we are probably in for a surprise move. I will agree with Dan Dakich, who said on twitter "Darren Evans just looks and runs like an NFL running back."
Right now, I'm seeing them keeping four in the mix. Joe has to stay healthy and get the bulk of the carries, with a mix of Brown, James, and Evans backing him up. One thing to look out for is the front office deciding they've had enough of Brown's inability to make anybody miss.
The obvious keepers are Reggie, Austin Collie, and Garcon. After those three, things get pretty murky. Taj Smith and Chris Brooks both showed flashes of good and bad during the preseason, and there are different things that each brings to the field. David Gilreath showed that he might be deserving of a spot because of what he brings to the return game. Also, you have to figure if there is any indication from the medical staff that they believe Gonzo could stay on the field for a decent amount of time, he has to be the 4th guy.
Looks like a tough decision will have to be made, and if it was my decision to make I would go with Brooks because of the unique characteristics that he brings to the offense. I also think you have to keep Gilreath as your return man and 5th receiver. One thing is for sure, it will be sad to see Gonzo go (and with the luck of Colts fans he will go on to have a Pro Bowl career in Tennessee or Jacksonville.)
The Tommie Harris and Jamaal Anderson signings might turn out to be gambles that pay off. I liked what I saw out of both during the preseason and think that they are both deserving of roster spots. With the inconsistent play in years past from the defensive tackles, I wouldn't be surprised to see a total of nine guys make the roster on the defensive line (Freeney, Mathis, Anderson, Harris, Jerry Hughes, Antonio Johnson, Fili Moala, Drake Nevis, and Eric Foster.)
Anybody got a helmet and some pads I can borrow because I'm pretty sure even a schlub like me could make the roster at defensive back this year. Expect a leaky pass defense all season long unless one of the young guys turns out to be better than they have looked during the preseason.
That is all of the positions that I will cover, as the rest are pretty cut and dry. After watching four preseason games, reading the thoughts of the writers covering the team, and listening to ESPN radio all day every day, I am not sure what to think going into week one. As of right now this is where I stand on my predictions for the Colts, and the NFL season in general (I reserve the right to change them as many times as I want throughout the season):
Colts Record: 9-7, Wild Card
Offensive Rank: Between 6 and 10
Defensive Rank: Between 23 and 27
Team MVP: Kerry Collins
Real Team MVP: 18
Super Bowl: Falcons over Jets
League MVP: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Defensive POY: Ndamukong Suh, Lions
Offensive ROY: Mark Ingram, Saints
Defensive ROY: Von Miller, Broncos
With the Purdue season kicking off tomorrow against Middle Tennessee State, I will try to make an early morning post with some tidbits about the outlook of the Boilermakers' season. As always, thanks for reading.