Colts Blog: May 8, 2007

Woo hoo! The grand Gilbert Gardner experiment is finally over. After getting a close look at the linebackers in minicamp, the Cuts cut Gardner (and others). With Gardner gone, it shows that the team has more faith in the guys on the roster than the fans and media may have.

Good news for a football team doesn't always mean a new player. Sometimes it comes in another way.

Yesterday, the Colts have cut linebackers Gilbert Gardner, Mike Labinjo and Brandon Hoyte. Also waived was safety Trevis Coley.

Let's get the other guys out of the way first.

Labinjo: He's a good kid; runs fast, tries hard, chances into plays every once in a while. But he's not really NFL quality. He will probably get offers from the CFL.

Hoyte: A great college football player, but too small and too slow to be an effective NFLer.

Coley: He's just not smooth or agile enough for safety, nor stout enough for linebacker.

Gardner: I didn't like it when he was drafted in the third round in 2004, but I thought (as usual) that the Colts knew something everyone else didn't.

I, and they, were wrong. Gardner couldn't earn a starting position or hold one down after it was thrust upon him, and was replaced by failed middle man and former whipping boy Rob Morris.

Before Gardner's butt hit the bench, Colts apologists were writing in newspapers and posting to forums that he at least had special-teams value. They clearly weren't paying attention. Look at the tape: Gardner's biggest problem is open-field tackling. In fact, he was far better on defense than he was on specials.

If he couldn't win a starting job, he wasn't worth a roster spot.

Again I was surprised when the Colts tendered him in the offseason. Maybe they were anxious about the linebackers they had on the roster or could get in the draft. Or perhaps it was a ploy to see if some team had done so little homework that they would sign Gardner to an offer sheet and give the Colts a free draft pick. Who knows? Doesn't matter now anyway.

But one thing is definite. Colts fans should be overjoyed Gardner was cut. The fact that they know this early that they won't need him this season means that they are confident with the linebackers they have in camp.

* The Colts also said good-bye to former Army defensive end Cameron Craig after he failed his physical. It's too bad. Not only did the kid have a decent shot at a roster spot, he seemed like a great guy. Best of luck, Cameron.

• Craig's spot was taken by Harvard tight end Matt Farbotko. I'll write a complete report on the kid later on, but he's a good addition. Not just a nifty receiver, but another Harvard guy (undrafted free agent halfback Clifton Dawson is the other). These two are going to add even more brain power to the league's most cerebral offense.

• Another new face is Penn State defensive tackle Ed Johnson. Of course, there'll be a full report later, but I can tell you he's got an uphill battle ahead of him. While he has NFL talent and is the kind of one-gap guy the team likes, he was suspended from the Lions for sexual misconduct and has a rep as a bad dude with maturity issues. That kind of thing just doesn't play with the high-character Colts.

• I've heard that Tony Ugoh took reps at right tackle and both guard spots in minicamp. Don't let that mislead you. He may play there at the outset, but there is no way the Colts would have invested as much as they did in him if he was going to be anything but a left tackle.

* For all the draft yielded, the Colts are still looking for a solid No. 2 back. Team president Bill Polian has mentioned the need for a guy who can get the tough inside yards and he's not on the roster right now. Keep scanning the transaction agate, a big back is on the way.

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