Observations

ColtPower's Jerry Langton provides the latest installment of "Observations" -- his personal and debate-provoking thoughts on the Colts and their players.

I always thought kick returners should be post-pattern guys with a big ol' second gear, like a receiver who can really makes lots of yards after the catch. And I always thought punt returners should be guys with great vision, reactions, and quickness, like a running back who can slash through garbage and follow his blockers. So, am I nuts in thinking that Roscoe Crosby and Anthony Davis, respectively, should at least be given their shots?...

...Crosby will take some time to develop; but if does, he'll give Manning his first truly hard-to-bring-down wide receiver. When he lowers his shoulder, he runs like a power back...

...In the offseason, Tom Moore and Peyton Manning agreed that the star quarterback missed about 15 potential touchdown passes, mostly on overthrows. Look for the team to use taller receivers in the red zone this season....Speaking of which, that 6'9 tight end prospect could turn out to be something. The coaches are really talking him up and I saw some tape of him on the basketball court and he's a heads-up guy. He's played a little football, but Joey Hawkins knows tight end like Jason David knows plus-size fashions...

...Even if Hawkins isn't NFL material, there's a potential for an embarrassment of wealth at tight end. If starter Dallas Clark can stay healthy, he's the among best deep threats at the position in the league. He's not much of an in-line blocker, but I've seen him do some damage on the move and that's probably more important in the Colts' go-go offense. The guy slated to be his backup, one Ben Hartsock, blocks like a demon either on the line or on the move and has velvet hands, but lacks the ability to gain separation against all but the fattest linebackers. He reminds me so much of Kellen Winslow's backup, Eric Sievers, it's scary. The third guy, Bryan Fletcher, has his fans, but I've yet to climb on that particular bandwagon. Lots of people went nuts for him when he batted around a few fourth-string safeties in the 2004 preseason, but I watched him at UCLA, in Chicago, in San Diego and in Europe and he seems like he's -- uh -- not the toughest character around. I hope I'm wrong. The fourth guy? I know people are tired of hearing about Ben Utecht before he's caught a single NFL pass, but he does have the potential (there's that horrible word again) to be something special. Watch some tape of him as a Golden Gopher if you can. He's not fast, but he has an uncanny knowledge of zones and some freakish elusiveness. Oh, and he's 6'6...

...If there's one thing new running back Vashon Pearson has going for him, it's an ability to make his yards even when nobody has any respect for the passing game. He won't have that problem in Indy...

...Keep a very close eye on the battle for the number three tackle job. Lots of fans remember Makoa Freitas' surprisingly solid 2003 when he filled in for an injured Tarik Glenn. Joaquin Gonzalez soldiered in anonymity, if not infamy, in Cleveland. But if you look at the tape and grade them out, it's a tough decision. Freitas had a quick-strike offense, a quarterback who gets rid of the ball almost before it's snapped and he also got lots of chipping help from backs and tight ends. On the other hand, Gonzalez was part of a confused offense where every man was out just to survive. His stats didn't look good, but he persevered. It will be interesting to see how they compare under the same conditions...

...Why did the Colts sign Marico Portis? He's not a bad player, but as a bowling ball type, he's totally out of place with the skinny, athletic guards this offense demands. Maybe if they cut him early, he can latch on with a more appropriate team...

...Sweet Pea Burns bursts out of his stance at the snap and was the second draft pick, after kicker David Rayner, to sign. Despite Anthony Davis' gaudy grade point average at Wisconsin, I think we all know who the two smartest rookies are. Don't be too surprised if the Pea does some brilliant things on the field this season...

...Y'know who's on the bubble? Nick Rogers. When Bill Polian was reeling off damage-control quotes after the season-ending New England loss last season, he pointed out that Robert Mathis didn't play and that there was nobody who could come close to filling his shoes. Ouch. Rogers was signed to do exactly that. Now he'll have to fight off Jonathan Welsh for a roster spot because the Colts have no interest in trying him at linebacker. He did manage seven special-teams tackles in six games, though...

...Lots of fans dissed Cato June last season, but he played better than I thought he would. I'd like to see him step it up and fight off his competitors and critics. I'm sure it would make lots of fans consider Gilbert Gardner and Kendyll Pope wasted draft picks, but if June can keep them off the field, it won't be their fault...

...I'm still rooting for Thomas Houchin to grab the strong-side job. That'd settle the weak-side argument -- it'd be David Thornton in a heartbeat...

...If the starting cornerbacks are who I predict — Donald Strickland and Marlin Jackson — there will be a sharp improvement in the Colts' overall defense and the number of bruised and battered wideouts in the NFL. Strick's not big, but he is vicious...

...I truly think Bob Sanders will have an immense impact this year, but am worried about the other spot. Joseph Jefferson is speedy and skilled but brittle, Mike Doss is hot-and-cold, Gerome Sapp is slow as molasses and Matt Giordano is the NFL equivalent of a preschooler. Let's hope Jefferson stays in one piece long enough so that Giordano can learn the ABCs of Cover-2 before he's thrown in there...

...From what I've heard, Dave Rayner has been kicking the stuffing out of the ball. I doubt he'll be another David Kimball...

...New number alert: Tackle David Porter is 62, defensive tackle Sean Guthrie is 67, safety Daryl Dixon is 41, Pearson is 31 and Crosby is 10.

Members can talk about Jerry's column and ask him questions about his points in our ColtPower Members' Forum!

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