ANDERSON, Ind. – Colts Headquarters has left their home away from home, Anderson University.
After a little more than two weeks of work in Anderson, the Colts broke camp on Thursday morning and will now return to work at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
Even though we haven’t seen a preseason game yet, we’ve had some questions arise, and others have dug up some answers during the team’s time in Anderson.
What are the takeaways from the Colts 2016 Training Camp?
Defensive Line Jumble
The Colts avoided the catastrophic injury in Anderson. They did suffer a significant one though. Kendall Langford is going to miss up to a month after a knee scope earlier this week. It’s hard to imagine Langford actually missing a game, given his astonishing durability, but a three-to-four week timetable has Week One in jeopardy.
We have seen progress from Henry Anderson, but the Colts are still going to be without Arthur Jones for the first quarter of the season. All of these factors have forced the Colts deep into their defensive line bag. The Colts like what that group has from a depth standpoint. It still could be tested early on this season with backups possibly having to go from 15-ish snaps a game, to a fuller starting workload.
Starting Position(s) Settled?
Coming into camp, the right guard and inside linebacker spots were the major position battles. We have seen some separation at right guard. With Hugh Thornton still in a boot, Denzelle Good has been the starter there for over a week. For Thornton to re-enter the competition, he’s got to get healthy quick after having a setback with his injured ankle.
At inside linebacker, things are less clear-cut. Unlike past years, fans shouldn’t expect just two inside backers to play virtually every snap. The Colts view D’Qwell Jackson, Sio Moore and Nate Irving as starting caliber guys, so expect all three of them to be used in matchup-based roles. It’s been Jackson and Moore getting most of the initial starting looks, but Irving has rotated in frequently.
T.J. Green’s Emergence
You can add the safety position, next to Mike Adams, as a position to monitor for the next month. The injury to Clayton Geathers has opened up a gargantuan opportunity for Green, the team’s second-round pick.
Green needed first-team reps and he’s received them in Anderson. If the mental capacity for Green can match his physical traits, the Colts will have a safety of the future. Geathers’ return is going to flirt with the start of the regular season. That is going to allow Green plenty of preseason run to possibly secure a starting spot, if Geathers doesn’t return to practice before the calendar turns to September.
Healthy Skill Group
A real benefit to Andrew Luck’s time in Anderson has been the ability to work with a healthy skill group. The health concern on Luck was answered back during the spring. Now, he leaves Anderson with his starting skill group completely healthy, too.
One aspect of Luck’s game we saw more than once in Anderson was the deep ball. T.Y. Hilton (who Luck said was “probably the best player on the field” in Anderson), Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett all took turns showing that they can get behind a defense, with Luck never afraid to pull the lever for a potential chunk play.
Games Reps Needed
You don’t often have an NFL team go away for Training Camp and return to their facility, after two weeks, without playing a preseason game. That’s the case for the Colts though, after the painting malfunction in Canton.
Saturday night in Buffalo is going to be time for the young guys to really make an impression. Yes, the starters will play, but their extended action won’t come until the next two Saturday’s of the preseason (both games at Lucas Oil Stadium). This preseason opener is the longest the backend of the roster guys will play until the preseason finale, which comes after the roster has been wilted down to 75.