After missing all of preseason a year ago, Manning will undoubtedly be champing at the bit and ready to go as training camp begins this season. He underwent a pair of medical procedures to remove an infected bursa sac in his left knee in 2008. The surgeries put him behind timing-wise with his receivers, something that wasn't completely rectified until midseason.
Sorgi remains as the team's primary backup, but he also suffered through some injury problems last season as well. The Colts added Painter, a local product, through the draft and signed Crane as an undrafted free agent this past spring. Painter and Crane will most likely battle for the No. 3 quarterbacking slot this year. Indianapolis has kept two quarterbacks on the regular season roster in recent years, but that may change in 2009.
Addai is hoping to return to form this fall
AP Photo/Amy Sancetta
Addai didn't see much work this past spring after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason. Injuries have bothered the team's former No. 1 draft pick and he hasn't shown the form that he displayed as a rookie in 2006 for the past year and a half. It's hoped that he will be able to get back to that level of play this year.
Indianapolis, though, added Brown with the team's first-round pick in April and he is expected to share the load with Addai. Brown is a good receiver out of the backfield and his cerebral approach to the game mirrors that of Manning and wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez.
The Colts also have Hart, a 2008 draft pick who was impressive as a rookie before suffering a season-ending knee injury in a midseason game with Baltimore. He appears to be close to full strength heading into training camp. Ball and Simpson both got expanded playing time late in the season and looked good in the process.
Clark is back after having a career year in 2008 (77 catches for 848 yards and six touchdowns). He remains a key cog in the Colts' two tight end offensive scheme and can play as a slot receiver if called upon. Robinson, who had limited playing time entering last fall, stepped in to become the primary No. 2 tight end. Both were used in the tight end/H-Back roles a year ago.
Tamme and Santi were 2008 draft picks who saw limited playing time as rookies due to injuries. They should both be ready to go this season. Petrowski was on the practice squad a year ago after coming over from the Tennessee Titans. He could push for an expanded role this year. Cloherty was an undrafted free agent who was signed this past spring.
After being referred to as the Colts' 1A receiver for the past several seasons, Wayne is now ready to become the team's primary pass catching threat. Prior to 2008, he had improved his stats every season since joining the team as a first-round draft pick in 2001. Wayne has become a leader both on and off the field and that alone should help the team better withstand the loss of Marvin Harrison.
Gonzalez will take over Harrison's spot in the lineup after bouncing between slot and outside receiver for the past two seasons. The big question, though, is who takes over as the regular slot receiver. It's a full field with Garcon, Hall, Collie, Giguere and Smith the primary candidates. Matthews, an undrafted free agent, will also get a long look.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters — LT Tony Ugoh, LG Ryan Lilja, C Jeff Saturday, RG Mike Pollak, RT Ryan Diem. Backups — T Brandon Barnes, G Kyle DeVan, T Daniel Federkeil, T Corey Hilliard, C/G Steve Justice, G Cornelius Lewis, G Tom Pestock, G/C Jamey Richard, G Jaimie Thomas, T Michael Toudouze, G/T Charlie Johnson.
Having a healthy Saturday (with a new contract) and Ugoh, along with the expected return of Lilja, should help bolster the Colts' offensive line heading into training camp. Johnson filled in at both guard spots a year ago but he is recovering from a shoulder injury that he suffered in the offseason. He is expected to be fine heading into camp, though.
Pollak was the team's top draft pick a year ago and suffered through injuries as a rookie. Richard, a seventh-round pick in 2008, was the major surprise starter for the Colts as he took over at center with Saturday sidelined. Justice, another 2008 draft pick, saw considerable work as a rookie. Among this year's first-year players, keep an eye out for Lewis (an undrafted free agent) and Thomas. Both could see playing time as rookies if they continue to develop.
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