Scouting the Colts

Unit-by-unit roster analysis of the Indianapolis Colts

QUARTERBACK: Starter -- Peyton Manning. Backups -- Jim Sorgi.
    The Colts kept just two quarterbacks on the regular-season roster a year ago and that may be the case again this season. Manning runs the show, but Sorgi has shown flashes this preseason of being able to step in if needed. Betts has got a strong-arm but is continuing to develop in running the offense.

RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Joseph Addai. Backups -- Kenton Keith, Luke Lawton (FB).
    Addai will see the ball a little bit more than he did as a rookie in 2006. His carries are expected to go up about 10 per game, but he will probably be utilized more as a pass receiver out of the backfield as well. The jury is still out as to who will eventually win the No. 2 job and split time with Addai. Keith would appear to be the frontrunner. Lawson is strictly a fullback, a position which hasn't been utilized much by the Colts in recent years.

TIGHT ENDS/H-BACK: Starter -- Dallas Clark. Backups -- Bryan Fletcher, Ben Utecht.
    One of the deepest positions on the team from a talent standpoint. Clark was probably the team's MVP during the Colts' postseason run a year ago. When healthy, he can be a matchup nightmare as he can line up at tight end, H-back, or as a slot receiver. Fletcher and Utecht are the primary backups and will see a lot of playing time this season.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne. Backups -- Anthony Gonzalez, Roy Hall, Aaron Moorehead.
    Harrison and Wayne give the Colts one of the best one-two punches as receivers in the league. Both could catch 90 or more passes this season. Gonzalez's ability to find open spaces in opposing defensive coverages could open things up for both of them. Moorehead just goes out and plays when given the chance.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Starters -- LT Tony Ugoh, LG Ryan Lilja, C Jeff Saturday, RG Jake Scott, RT Ryan Diem. Backups -- C/G Dylan Gandy, T Daniel Federkeil, T Charlie Johnson, T Michael Toudouze, G Matt Ulrich.
    A veteran offensive line, led by Saturday, Diem, Lilja and Scott. Ugoh is the new kid on the block, but his development is key to what the Colts do offensively. Lilja, Diem and Scott have been consistent performers for Indianapolis. Saturday is the on-field leader of the group and is becoming known as one of the better centers in the league. Gandy and Johnson figured to be the primary backups.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Starters -- LE Robert Mathis, LT Ed Johnson, RT Raheem Brock, DE Dwight Freeney. Backups -- DE/DT Keyunta Dawson, DE Ben Ishola, DT Dan Klecko, DT Quinn Pitcock, DT Darrell Reid, DE Josh Thomas.
    If Johnson can step in and play at a high level, the Colts may not feel the effect of the loss of Anthony McFarland. But that's a pretty big if. Johnson has played relatively well during training camp and the preseason as he has stepped in as an undrafted rookie. Mathis and Freeney give Indianapolis two of the best pass-rushing ends in the league. The depth along the defensive line may be better than some people realize.

LINEBACKERS: Starters -- SLB Rob Morris, MLB Gary Brackett, WLB Freddy Keiaho. Backups -- LB Rocky Boiman, LB Ramon Guzman, LB Tyjuan Hagler, LB Clint Session.
    Brackett and Morris are givens. Both are experienced linebackers in the Colts' defensive system, especially with Morris making a successful transition from middle to strong-side linebacker. Keiaho looks to be on target for a breakout season on the weak side. Indianapolis has some good young linebackers as backups, like Hagler, Boiman, Guzman and Session.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Kelvin Hayden, RCB Marlin Jackson, SS Antoine Bethea, FS Bob Sanders. Backups -- CB Melvin Bullitt, CB Michael Coe, S Brannon Condren, CB Tanard Davis, S Matt Giordano, CB Daymeion Hughes, CB Tim Jennings, CB T.J. Rushing.
    Hayden and Jackson give the Colts a new style of cornerback -- big and aggressive against the run. If that style can carry over to pass defense, Indianapolis may very well be set at those positions for several years to come. Bethea and Sanders form a pretty good safety combination. The key, however, will be for Sanders to remain injury-free for the bulk of the regular season and the playoffs. Giordano, Jennings, Davis and Rushing are young backups who could earn increased playing time. Hughes, Coe and Bullitt, an undrafted rookie free agent, have a chance to be pretty good.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Starters -- PK Adam Vinatieri, P/H Hunter Smith, LS Justin Snow, PR T.J. Rushing, KR T.J. Rushing.
    Vinatieri was rested for the early portion of training camp and the preseason. But he remains one of the NFL's most prolific and clutch kickers. Smith is also closing in as an elite punter in the league and is perhaps the best holder around. Rushing is the heir apparent as the Colts' punt and kickoff returner. But if he gets hurt, there might be returns by committee from a group that includes RB Kenton Keith, WR Craphonso Thorpe and CB Antonio Perkins.


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