Dorsey's On the Move
As expected, since the Colts waived the pair of players over the weekend with an "injured" status, the team moved both running back DeDe Dorsey and rookie linebacker KaMichael Hall to the Reserved/Injured list. But less expected was how quickly Dorsey agreed to an injury settlement so that he could be released from the team, which is a likely indicator that the spirited young running back didn't feel that whatever was ailing him was a season-ending problem.
The Cro Thorpe Buzz
The most curious omission from the Colts' practice squad that created plenty of buzz amongst Indy fans was wide receiver and kickoff returner Craphonso Thorpe, who led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns, as well as punt return and kickoff return average while playing primarily against backup-level defenders. The Colts must have been so excited about the two young wide receivers they put on the practice squad -- Trent Shelton and Aaron Brown -- that Thorpe, who had a year of practice squad eligibility available, lost out.
I have to admit that I was pretty dumbfounded when I saw that head coach Tony Dungy, when asked during an interview this week at Colts.com about how tough it was to cut some players, stated, "Antonio Perkins, I think, has a chance to be a great returner and did some great things at corner."
Dungy also mentioned a handful of other Colts, but Perkins -- who didn't
return a kickoff during preseason action and who averaged just 1.3 yards per
return on his four punt returns opportunities -- was the only returns specialist
that Dungy referenced.
Now there's no doubt that the returns job deservedly belongs to a guy I think is going to do a great job for Indy this year, second-year player T.J. Rushing out of Stanford. And running backs Kenton Keith and Luke Lawton can certainly step in to handle kickoff duties if Rushing would miss any action this season. But the only two other players who handled punts during the preseason -- Thorpe and Perkins -- were released. Thorpe cleared waivers and is now free to sign with any team.
The RB Buzz
I know that the newest Colt -- running back DeCori Birmingham, who was added to the team's practice squad this week -- was a decent kickoff returns specialist in college, but when I looked up his NFL Europa stats with the Frankfurt Galaxy this year, it left me wondering why the Colts were so anxious to add him out of all the available running backs that flooded the free agent market after the weekend's cuts. Birmingham averaged just 3.1 yards per carry on 43 attempts and caught 15 passes for an average of 7.0 yards a pop. As a returns specialist, he only averaged 17.9 yards on kickoff returns and 5.6 yards on punt returns. And that was against NFL Europa guys. Nothing against Birmingham personally -- who also wasn't the strongest pass protector as a running back, by the way -- but I just don't get this move, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it pans out for the team.
Chris Graythen, Getty Images
Meanwhile, former Ohio State running back Antonio Pittman was on the market this weekend. So you may wonder why the Colts didn't grab him? Well, even if they would have thought that Pittman was worth a look, when the Saints waived their rookie running back the Colts waived Clifton Dawson on the same day. And the team likely expected to hold onto Dawson, making any possible acquisition of Pittman unnecessary. The same day the Bengals put in their claim on Dawson, the Bengals and the Rams both put in a claim on Pittman. The Rams had priority in the selection process (and would have even if Indy had put in a claim), so he ended up in St. Louis, Dawson landed in Cincy, and the Colts were short a running back -- and were a day late searching through the top available names.
Familiar Faces in New Places
Only two of the Colts who were released on Saturday have found new homes so
far. As we
reported on Sunday, the Bengals claimed former Harvard running back Clifton
Dawson off waivers. And yesterday, the Browns added former Brigham Young tight
end Jonny Harline to their practice squad.
Andrus Gets a Tryout
I checked in with former Colts kicker Shane Andrus on Tuesday when I heard that the Chiefs had brought in six kickers, including veteran John Carney, for a tryout. Sure enough, he was out there and had completed his tryout, but he said he was still awaiting a decision from the team. The Chiefs have a rookie kicker, Jason Medlock, and are concerned enough about his performance so far that they are considering using their last practice squad spot on a kicker if they don't opt for the veteran, Carney. As of last night, according to a source close to the Chiefs, the team still hadn't reached a decision.
Just when you were starting to memorize those jersey numbers, a few Colts reportedly decided to grab numbers that were now available after former teammates packed their bags over the weekend. Cornerback Tim Jennings is switching from No. 27 to No. 23, defensive end Jeff Charleston will wear No. 72 instead of No. 60, defenseive tackle Ed Johnson will sport No. 99 instead of No. 62, seventh-round pick and defensive lineman Keyunta Dawson picked No. 96 and turned in his No. 61 jersey, and defensive back Melvin Bullitt will switch from No. 39 to No. 33.
Don't expect to see terrific young offensive tackle Charlie Johnson this week against the Saints. Word out of Indy is that his sprained knee could cause him to miss the first two games of the regular season. The Colts have Dan Federkeil and Michael Toudouze on the roster as backups to Ryan Diem and rookie Tony Ugoh this week. Since the Colts probably knew that Johnson was likely to miss some action, it makes more sense as to why they put five offensive tackles on the 53-man roster. Once Johnson is healthy, you have to wonder if the team will re-sign OG Matt Ulrich and move Toudouze back to the practice squad.