Sapp settling in: In addition to hoping that Gerome Sapp can claim the
starting free safety position, the Ravens are expecting him to lift their
special teams performance as well. Last year the Ravens ranked
16th in kick return average (21.8) and 22nd in punt return average (8.7). Sapp,
tied defensive end Robert Mathis for the Colts' team lead in special teams
tackles in 2006, believes he can help the Ravens.
"Special teams really is the X-factor," Sapp, said recently. "The team usually with the better special teams will somehow win at the end either with a kick return or a good coverage that creates a fumble."
Mallard still working it: Back in 2002, defensive lineman Josh Mallard was the seventh-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts. Mallard had made a name for himself by posting 18 sacks as a pass-rush specialist at the University of Georgia. After he made twelve game appearances with the Colts as a rookie, he ended up in Cleveland and Miami. The Colts gave him another look last year year and made him one of their designated players to NFL Europe, where he played for the Amsterdam Admirals. Mallard is back home in Georgia, trying to make the Atlanta Falcons roster, and he's added long-snapping to his skill set in hopes of making their 53-man roster.
Sciullo heads north: Another former Colts draft pick, 6-foot-5, 320-pound guard Steve Sciullo has been signed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League. Sciullo was the Colts' fourth-round pick in the 2003 draft and started 13 games as a rookie. But he was a surprise ouster during training camp the following year and the Eagles added him to their roster. Over the past two seasons in Philadelphia, Sciullo appeared in 15 games and started five.
Edge up to his old tricks: Arizona's offensive line coach, Steve Loney, believes a great running back like Edgerrin James will at minimum make his offensive line look better. He claims that he studied Colts game film from last year and saw James make positive yardage even when it appeared that the linemen hadn't really opened much of a hole for him to run through. "No discredit to their offensive line, but at times there was (an unblocked defender) sitting there and you're thinking it's going to be a no-yard play, and it ends up being a six-or seven-yard gain, and we see it in practice," Loney said. "...there's no question that a running back can make you look better than maybe you are."
Bashir in the mix: Former Colts safety Idrees Bashir and rookie Daniel Bullocks -- who was a pre-draft visitor to Indianapolis earlier this year -- are both expected to provide a challenge to free safety Terrence Holt in Detroit for the free safety job.