Observations

Since the Colts didn't sign any veteran quarterbacks and decided not to offer contracts to rookies Sonny Cumbie and Reggie Robertson, the No. 3 job appears to be an open battle between Travis Brown and Tom Arth. Don't count the resourceful Arth out just because he's not playing in Europe. The Colts clearly like him....

...The way I look at it, one old coach — Hamburg's Jack Bicknell or the Colts' Tom Moore — has lost it. One guy believes Arth isn't good enough to play in the NFL Europe and the other thinks he can contest for a spot with the Colts. Since one runs a 4-4 minor-league team and the other oversees one of most potent offenses imaginable, I'd take Moore's word before Bicknell's....

....The whole scandal with Dominic Rhodes and his wife is just shameful and I hope it doesn't affect his ability on the field. Gotta feel for anyone named "Latrina," though....Rhodes' spot as No. 2 back could be jeopardized not by his own play, but by the potential of draft pick Anthony Davis. A more explosive back with great vision and a nose for the end zone, Davis rushed for 3,021 yards and 24 touchdowns in his first two college seasons before nagging injuries hit. If he's healthy, he could easily cut into the veteran's playing time. Interestingly, he hasn't always gotten along well with the fairer sex either....

....The Colts have 11 wide receivers in camp and only three can rest assured of roster spots. Everybody who didn't accumulate 1,000 yards receiving last season should be looking over his shoulder. The final spot will almost certainly come down to who is the best punt returner in camp....

....Bill Polian's habit of drafting injured college players may pay off again with tight end Ben Utecht. Seen by many as a third or even second rounder in 2004 before a hernia knocked him out of the draft and onto the Colts' IR, he could surprise this year. Smart and elusive, he had a knack for getting open deep in college (14.6-yard average and 15 scores) and he can catch and make extra yards like a wideout. He's not a big-time inline blocker, but he won't be asked to be. He's more likely to be a motion man who can jar defenders while on the move or get right into his pattern. Utecht has an excellent chance of developing into a major red zone weapon....

....With everyone talking about middle linebacker and cornerback, they may be missing the most dramatic battles of the summer. Neither of the guards who finished last season — Jake Scott and Ryan Lilja — has a lock on his position, and promising youngsters Dylan Gandy, Rob Hunt and Trevor Hutton could well make it a horserace. Considering that GM Bill Polian has a knack for finding unheralded offensive linemen and there is no better coach than Howard Mudd for developing them, it would be foolhardy to count out the other guys in camp either....

....If Raheem Brock's move to tackle is permanent, don't be surprised if Josh Thomas is at least a two-down starter at left end, as long as his knee holds up....Fans may say 230 is too small for a linebacker but the Colts are projecting 223-pound Jonathan Welsh as a defensive end. It'll be interesting to see how much those legs -- capable of a 41-inch vertical -- will help him explode off the line....Sweet Pea Burns will need to stay fresh and healthy, but should stiffen things up in the middle....

....Once I heard Kendyll Pope was taking reps at middle linebacker I knew the competition was over (provided he stays healthy). In football, there are some things you simply can't teach, and Pope has what all linebackers need most — instinct. Forget his size, he knows how to stop the run. He reminds me a lot of the Jets' Jon Vilma — not as strong, but with better technique....

....Keep your eye on DE Thomas Houchin outside. Although he's bigger than most Colts' defensive linemen, he can cover....

....The Colts currently have five cornerbacks on the roster who have started for them to go along with this year's top two draft choices. Adding to the wealth are Jermaine Mays and Willie Ford, a pair of speedy veteran free agents who have been looking like the second coming of Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes in the European league. Look for competition to be fierce. Mays, a former wide receiver who beat out Seattle's highly regarded Michael Harden for a starting spot for Berlin, is also a pretty good kick return candidate....

....We all know Donald Strickland can play a pretty decent game at free safety if he has to and Von Hutchins probably remembers his college days inside as well. Their skill may be necessary. The projected starters, Mike Doss and Bob Sanders, are both good players but neither is all that durable. The other pure safeties aren't that special, except for rookie Matt Giordano and he may not be ready to do much right away....

....Let's hope Dave Rayner succeeds where David Kimball failed. I'm so tired of cringing after every Colts' kickoff and would love to see a few touchbacks....

....Although there's been a crying need for a punt returner for a long time, there may be an opening on kick returns as well. Rhodes may be too busy with his duties on offense and Brad Pyatt may not be over his injury from last year. Keep an eye on Jerome Dennis, an undrafted free agent safety/cornerback prospect out of Utah State. When he's healthy, he can be frightening.

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