Behind Enemy Lines: Colts

The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up their first week of training camp with their annual Blue-and-White scrimmage between the offense and the defense. And the game further emphasized that they have some rookies who are capable of contributing right away as well.

"Some of our young guys made some plays all week," said head coach Tony Dungy. "I think we're going to be a fast team. We're going to be an explosive team on offense, so I see a lot of good signs."

Amongst the rookies who stood out were second-round pick Tony Ugoh, who has been unexpectedly thrust into the role of protecting Peyton Manning's blindside at left tackle. Indianapolis had expected to break him in at guard while Tarik Glenn played out the final year of his contract. But a startling retirement announcement a week before camp started changed those plans dramatically. Top draft pick and expected starter at slot receiver -- Anthony Gonzalez out of Ohio State -- is already showing a good command of the playbook and is getting into the flow quickly.

Another pair of offensive standouts after the first week of camp are undrafted rookie free agent running back Clifton Dawson out of Harvard and fifth-round wide receiver Roy Hall out of Ohio State. With Joseph Addai and DeDe Dorsey expected to get the majority of the carries this season, neither one is particularly known for being a powerful back that can run north and south in tough-yardage situations. Dawson is showing the burst to the hole inside that could help him land that role. And he's also a very effective pass blocker as well. Hall has already established himself as one of the more versatile rookies, getting reps at wide receiver, slot receiver, tight end and H-back. And on special teams, his combination of strength and speed has earned him a look as a gunner on punt returns.

Defensively, the rookie standout by far has been 7th-round pick Keyunta Dawson out of Texas Tech. During an interview with ColtPower earlier this year, the defensive end stated that he's drawn some comparisons to another former Texas Tech defensive end, Montae Reagor, who was released by the Colts during the offseason and who subsequently signed with the Eagles. The Colts obviously see it as well, because although he started the week as Robert Mathis' backup at left defensive end, Dawson was moved inside to defensive tackle by Friday. And during the scrimmage he showed that the change was a good fit, making two sacks and recovering a fumble.

The other big news of the week was that the Colts' new starting cornerbacks didn't line up where many people had anticipated. With the offseason departure of Nick Harper to the Titans and Jason David to the Saints, it was widely assumed that 2005 top draft pick Marlin Jackson would step into the left cornerback job, taking on the opponents' top receiver while the man selected right behind him in the second round of that year's draft, Kelvin Hayden, would assume the right corner duties. But when the team began working out, it was Hayden on the left and Jackson on the right. The move was particularly surprising since Jackson has not only had more time on the field since becoming a pro, but also in light of the fact that Hayden was a wide receiver until his senior year at Illinois. But by the end of the first week, it was apparent the Colts coaching staff knew what they were doing as Hayden played capably and didn't make any noticeable big mistakes despite working primarily against Marvin Harrison.

Two Colts started camp on the PUP list, including saftey Bob Sanders who is completing his rehab from offseason shoulder surgery. Sanders is in the final year of his contract with Indianapolis and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Also sidelined is special teams contributor and reserve linebacker Keith O'Neil, but both are expected to be available shortly after the team's first preseason game this Thursday in Dallas.

In terms of roster moves, the Colts made plenty in the span of the first week. But the one of most significance was the termination of defensive tackle Corey Simon's contract after he failed his physical. The move brought to an end a stormy and strange relationship between the club and Simon, who missed the entire 2006 season with a knee injury and then a non-football related illness. The team signed former Virginia Tech defensive end Noland Burchette to add some more talent to the defensive line.

Indianapolis ended the week with two players on injured reserve and a third likely to land there by early this week, but all were likely to be reserves or special teams players. The most notable was former Ohio State defensive back Antonio Smith, who finished second in tackles for the Buckeyes during his senior year. The Colts also released four rookies and one first-year player, former Colorado State center Albert Bimper, who was on the team's practice squad for part of the 2006 campaign.

Ed Thompson is our network's Colts team expert at and an NFL writer for He's also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America.

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