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Indianapolis Colts 53-Man Roster Projection following week 3 of the preseason Cutdowns are  XML
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coming fast as the regular season bears down on us. The Colts will have a lot of decisions to make regarding who stays and who goes Matthias Farley Jersey , and there will undoubtedly be a flurry of waiver claims made to bring in fresh faces and new talent that will keep the roster fluid for a long while. However, it makes sense to take one last look at the roster and make some final predictions about how this thing all shakes out as we head into week four of the preseason, which will be the last chance for some players to make an impression and earn their spot on the team. Offense - 24Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesQuarterback – 2The Colts have the best quarterback situation in the NFL. Andrew Luck at his best is a top 5 quarterback, and Jacoby Brissett is a league average or just slightly less than average starter. Both quarterbacks have looked sharp in the preseason. Andrew LuckJacoby BrissettMissed the cut: Phillip Walker, Brad KaayaRunning Back – 4Before getting hurt in week one of the preseason, Marlon Mack looked greatly improved. His explosiveness, ability to make plays in space, and speed to the outside have always been strengths, but he seemed like a guy willing to follow his blockers and go up the middle when called on to do it. Frank Reich’s scheme seems like a perfect fit for what Mack does well. I also think Jordan Wilkins will have fully supplanted Robert Turbin by the time Turbin is off of his suspension. Assuming he stays healthy, I think we see a lot of these two. Hines will get use out of the backfield as a receiver and when he provides a favorable matchup, but he has a lot of growing to do. Marlon MackJordan WilkinsNyheim Hines*Robert Turbin *Won’t count against the 53-man roster until his 4-week suspension is completed.Missed the cut: Branden Oliver, Christine MichaelTight End – 5This is an encouraging group. With a receiving corps that seems a bit underpowered, they’ll need to rely on these guys for big production, and I think they can get it. Keeping 5 tight ends is unconventional, but given Reich’s proclivity for using tight ends and the lack of overwhelming talent at wide receiver, it might make sense to keep one more of your talented group on the roster.I expect Eric Ebron will be a hit for this team now that he has shed that pressure on him from Detroit. He has the potential to be a big-time playmaker and showed chemistry with Luck early on in training camp. Swoope, Travis, and Daniels all rate about the same but could all contribute to the offense in Reich’s system. As far as Jack Doyle, what more can you say? Doyle rules.Jack DoyleEric EbronRoss Travis Erik SwoopeDarrell DanielsMissed the cut: Mo Alie-CoxWide Receiver – 5This one could provide our first shocker. I’m just not sure that Reece Fountain makes this roster. Apart from the fact that they spent a 5th round pick on him, what does he have going for him? Ballard doesn’t seem like a guy who gets too hung up on sunk cost (See Zach Banner), and while I hoped Fountain could develop, missing on a 5th rounder is only compounded by clinging to that mistake. He is likely a guy who makes it through waivers and can spend time improving on the Colts’ practice squad.The starters are pretty straight forward. Hilton is the obvious top guy, Chester Rogers appears likely Luck’s second favorite target of the receivers. I am out on Ryan Grant almost entirely, but it seems like the Colts like him. I’m not sure Ishmael and Pascal have a huge role on the offense, but could be valuable special teamers. Note: I did not account for Robert Turbin’s suspension when writing this. That suspension likely keeps Reece Fountain around for at least four weeks, putting the receiver group at 6.T.Y. HiltonChester RogersRyan GrantSteve IshmaelZach PascalMissed the cut: K.J. Brent, Kasen Williams, James Wright, Dres Anderson, Krishawn Hogan, Seantavius Jones, Reece Fountain, Cobi HamiltonOffensive Line – 8The offensive line hasn’t looked very impressive so far in the preseason. Injuries have kept it a revolving door Authentic Nate Hairston Jersey , and the absence of Castonzo has been notable. In our Stampede Blue chat client, we were discussing recently that the line’s run blocking suffered from a defensive approach in the preseason that simply isn’t sustainable in the regular season. Selling out to stop the run with Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and Eric Ebron on the team is a good way to see the Colts put up big points on you quickly. This line needs to get healthy and figure out the right tackle position, but when Castonzo is back, this is the best line Andrew Luck has been behind by far. Anthony CastonzoQuenton NelsonRyan KellyMatt SlausonBraden SmithJoe HaegDenzelle GoodLe’Raven ClarkMissed the cut: Austin Howard, Nick Callender, Tyreek Burwell, J’Marcus Webb, Mark Glowinski, Jeremy VujnovichDefense - 26Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY SportsDefensive Tackle – 5There isn’t anything too groundbreaking about this group, and nothing that will really surprise anyone come cuts. Denico Autry has been a very pleasant surprise as far as the free agent class goes, and he and Al Woods seem like the obvious starters. Hassan Ridgeway has played himself into what I would consider as a lock for a roster spot by absolutely maximizing his preseason snaps. Grover Stewart has shown some promise and offers good depth with the opportunity to continue to grow, especially given the new system. Tyquan Lewis is a bit of a mystery. His injury, and the news that he is not that close to a return leaves the Colts without really knowing what they’ve got. He could come back healthy and be a huge impact player, or they could place him on IR designated to return and keep someone else. Denico AutryAl WoodsHassan RidgewayGrover StewartTyquan LewisMissed the cut: Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Tomasi Laulile, Brandon BanksDefensive End – 5The defensive ends group is a pretty interesting one. Jabaal Sheard will likely do well in this new scheme and remains the team’s most talented edge rusher. John Simon has more than proved he belongs, but he’ll need to continue to do so once the games count. Ryan Delaire has come in flashing serious potential. He has been a fun player to watch. If he does so again on Thursday, I think he is a lock for the 53-man roster. Kemoko Turay and Tarell Basham will round out the group. Turay is a virtual unknown but a guy that Chris Ballard believes can develop and be a real force on the outside. Basham is probably on his last shot. They may let him stick around for a little bit to see if he can grow, but if he can’t show them something, he likely won’t survive this season on the Colts’ roster.Jabaal SheardJohn SimonRyan DelaireKemoko TurayTarell BashamMissed the cut: Chris McCain, Margus Hunt, Anthony JohnsonLinebacker – 6The linebacker position is one of the most intriguing on the team. There is a very real chance that come week one, this unit will be manned by two rookies and a career backup. That is more than a little terrifying, but also, if you’ve watched Darius Leonard and Skai Moore, encouraging. 4 of these 6 linebackers in this group are rookies, which means that the likelihood they’ll make big mistakes is high. It also means that there are a ton of unknowns. However, that cuts both ways, because there is always the possibility that an unknown player blows everyone away and breaks out.Leonard was a relative unknown for many when drafted, but has looked like he has the potential to be one of the most exciting linebackers the Colts have had on the roster in a very long time. This unit might make some mistakes, but they’ll also likely make some incredible plays Youth Quincy Wilson Jersey , like we have already seen from this so far in the preseason.Darius LeonardNajee GoodeSkai MooreAnthony WalkerMatthew AdamsZaire FranklinMissed the cut: Tyrell Adams, Jeremiah GeorgeCornerback – 6So many questions remain at the cornerback position. Quincy Wilson is not a consistent player and has moments where he looks very good and others where he looks poor. Pierre Desir has been reliable but unspectacular as he was last season. Kenny Moore has been a surprise at the nickel position, showing significant growth from last season. Hairston may be the odd man out here, with Moore seeming like the natural fit for the nickel. However, if he plays well as he did last season, he may end up getting in the rotation somewhere. Milton makes a valuable special teamer, and Pipkins makes the roster because the Colts clearly thought enough of him to trade for him, even if it was with an asset they were likely going to cut anyway. Quincy WilsonPierre DesirKenny MooreNate HairstonChris MiltonLenzy PipkinsMissed the cut: D.J. White, Henre Toliver, Robert Jackson, Lashard Durr, Juante BaldwinSafety – 4The safety group is a strong one as far as the top three go. Malik Hooker is a freak, recovering from his ACL tear in great time. Geathers has looked like a game changer since returning to action. Matthias Farley is an admirable and balanced substitute for either of these guys and has proven that he is a more than capable starter when called upon. Ronald Martin might be able to give T.J. Green a run for his money, but I don’t think he has the upside that Green does, and Ballard likely goes with Green for the final roster. I’m not sure he ever really develops, but perhaps with a new coaching staff they can get him going in the right direction. Malik HookerClayton GeathersMatthias FarleyT.J. GreenMissed the cut: Ronald Martin, George Odum, Chris Cooper, Robenson TherezieSpecial Teams - 3Kicker – 1Adam VinatieriMissed the cut: Kicker Michael BadgleyPunter – 1Rigoberto SanchezLong Snapper – 1Luke Rhodes2018 Opponent Scouting Report: Jets defense, Jamal Adams isn’t human. OverviewOn October 14, 2018 the Indianapolis Colts will travel to take on the New York Jets. In this week six match-up I sought to understand our opponent and get a better idea of how they may attack our new look Colts. Since 2012 the Colts are 1-2 in games against the Jets. The last coming in December of 2016 when our Colts absolutely destroyed the Jets 41-10. Andrew Luck went 22 of 28 with 278 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. The Colts defense also racked up three interceptions. A lot has changed in the past two years, let’s just hope that the outcome looks the same.Let’s figure out what we can expect in week six.DefenseTodd Bowles has been a coach since the mid-90’s. In his time he has used every conceivable defensive scheme and seen every conceivable offensive concept thrown his way. He has used both 4-3 and 3-4 base fronts and has ultimately chosen the 3-4 to form the identity of his defense. With that said Bowles does borrow from 4-3 principals, choosing to have his defensive linemen play one gap instead of two. I guess what I’m trying to say is that when coaches say they want a defense that is “multiple” they mean they want to have a defense like Todd Bowles. At it’s best Bowles defense is aggressive and attacking and they aren’t only going to rush four. They want to bring a blitz more often than not and that’s evidenced by the fact that they’re currently tied for sixth in the league in sacks coming into the game. They play a lot of man to man coverage which should be expected considering their desire to blitz. In third and long situations the Jets are content to rush three or four and drop the rest into coverage. Let’s get into a few of the things I noticed watching the last two weeks of Jets footballuring the Broncos game I noticed early on the Jets were having a tough time maintainingtheir gap responsibilities on runs to the right. Exhibit b:Eventually the Broncos abandoned the run to try and keep pace with a Jets offense that put up 34 points. Had the Broncos continued to run the ball, moving methodically and keeping the Jets offense off the field they may have had a chance in this one. I’m not extremely well versed on all things Denver Broncos but Vance Joseph has to be close to losing his job, right? Andrew Luck is going to have to find Jamal Adams before every snap. He might lineup 15 yards deep, he might lineup as a linebacker, he might lineup at the line of scrimmage and I can’t find much that he’s bad at. Todd Bowles clearly enjoys having a weapon like Adams at his disposal, given how much he moves him around and tries to find ways for him to impact the game. The Jets will blitz a lot of DB’s and it doesn’t really matter who it is, on this play they send J.J. Wilcox which confuses the offensive line and running back and it results in a nice schemed sack. I say it doesn’t matter who they send because as of today J.J. Wilcox is no longer on an NFL roster. I’m going to pretend I don’t know who number 96 is for the Jets but he causes this sack. The thing that jumped out to me about this play is that it’s 3rd and 12 to go. Jamal Adams comes on a late blitz and the “other” safety Marcus Maye actually comes over and cleans up the play coming away with a sack. For those of you keeping score at home, on 3rd and 12 both of the Jets starting safeties were blitzing/playing very near the line of scrimmage.When I went back and watched the Jets vs Jaguars game the biggest difference that jumped out first was the quality of quarterback play. I can’t believe I’m about to type this in an un-ironic way but Blake Bortles played great. On the play above Bortles faced pressure via a DB blitz, and was able to calmly step up in the pocket and it a receiver running a shallow man coverage beating route. It helped that the Jags have a better offensive line than the Broncos so Bortles had a pocket to step into, even still he stayed calm http://www.coltsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-clayton-geathers-jersey , kept his eyes downfield and hit the open man. I hope Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni rip this play off. This is a 3rd and short play, the Jags send a man in motion and due to man coverage the two receivers routes create a natural, legal, pick that works like a charm. One thing to notice, the Jags sent a tight end out wide and Jamal Adams covered him. Using Eric Ebron as a decoy is a risky move considering he’s one of three offensive players who seem to be able to catch a pass, but by lining him up out wide it could take Jamal Adams out of the play before it even begins. This is the kind of play you run in the final minute of overtime on 4th and 4... too soon?This Jets defense is going to look to attack and Andrew Luck is going to have to play smart, take what the defense gives him, and move well inside the pocket. Losing Matt Slauson could be huge as the big man had been solid in pass protection and helping create a consistent pocket for Andrew Luck all year. I fully expect to see Jamal Adams all over the field, hopefully the Colts have a plan to limit his impact. Defensive Line So the Indianapolis Colts have gone against some really talented defensive lines so far in 2018 and if you would like, I could lie to you and tell you that the Jets d-line is soft. So if you want to hear they’re soft, they’re soft. If that’s what you want to hear, you should stop here and skip ahead to learn more about the Jets linebackers. For everyone else, this line sports Leonard Williams, Henry Anderson and Steve McLendon. We know about Leonard Williams (a former top 10 pick) and Henry Anderson (100% Chris Ballard’s biggest mistake as GM) but most surprisingly for me was how well Steve McLendon is playing from his spot at nose tackle. McLendon is going to keep Ryan Kelly busy all day. It’s going to be strength vs. strength and losing Slauson could be huge. In addition to those three is third round rookie Nathan Shepherd (no relation). Shepherd came out of little known Fort Hayes State and had I not lived in Kansas for the past seven years I would have no idea that school existed. Unfortunately I’ve spent some time in Hayes, Kansas and outside of tumble weed and armadillo’s the only things worth seeing used to include Nathan Shepherd. If you’re from the Hoosier state and you’ve never driven through anywhere that was once considered “the West”, driving from Kansas City to Hayes would be like driving from Evansville to Terre Haute only the hills aren’t really hills and you never see another living person. It’s a trip that only takes two hours but it feels like a lifetime. Nathan Shepherd was in the middle of nowhere this time last year, now he plays in New York and the bright lights haven’t changed much, he’s playing lights out for a rookie and looks to be a building block for the Jets future. I hate to do it but Henry Anderson looks really good again:Once again our Colts will face a challenge up front. The rotation of those four players alone might be enough to shake what had looked to be a very solid right side of the offensive line that was developing for the Colts. I don’t want Anthony Castonzo to rush back and re-injure himself, but I really hope he can finally play. I’ve said it before but the team needs him more than ever. LinebackersBrandon Copeland, Darron Lee, Avery Williamson and Jordan Jenkins are the names you’ll need to know. Darron Lee is playing very well and is an absolute stud in coverage. Avery Williamson came to the Jets from the Tennessee Titans. Williamson is better against the run but he has the ability to cover if he remains disciplined. If I were going to target Lee or Williamson, I’m not testing Lee in the pass game at all. With that said both are playing very well so far this season. Jordan Jenkins does a nice job setting the edge for the Jets but he’s not much of a pass rusher. The same could be said about Brandon Copeland, except he’s not actually good at setting the edge. If I were Luck I would find where Copeland was lined up before every called run and make sure the run is going in his direction. While it’s true the Jets are tied for 6th in sacks, they don’t have a pass rusher that scares anyone. They have consistently schemed their sacks and sent defensive backs to generate pressure. With a legitimate pass rush to combine with their solid defensive line and solid inside linebackers and this Jets defense could be scary. Defensive BacksMorris Claiborne, Parry Nickerson, Darryl Roberts are most likely the corner backs you’ll need to know. As of right now it looks like the Jets will be without Trumaine Johnson and Buster Skrine, both down with injury. Without Johnson and Skrine, Claiborne will need to continue his solid play while sixth round rookie Nickerson will need to step up in a big way. Darryl Roberts isn’t great and I feel pretty good about this matchup if T.Y. Hilton can play this Sunday. The safeties, we’ve already talked about but we’ll talk about them again because they deserve it. Jamal Adams is the best safety we’ve faced this far. There doesn’t seem to be anything he can’t do on a football field and if the Colts don’t have a plan to mitigate his impact, it will be felt all day long. Normally you feel good having your tight end block a safety:Marcus Maye is playing just as well as Adams. It shouldn’t be legal to get two safeties this good in the same draft yet the Jets seem to have absolutely killed the first two rounds of the 2017 draft.What to Expect from the Colts OffenseA lot of what we can expect to see will depend on how the offensive line reacts to losing Matt Slauson. If the Colts are able to protect Luck, I feel he might have another big day in the air. I don’t see any way the ground game gets going in this one. Either way we’re going to see a lot of picks and rubs and hopefully crossing routes to beat man to man coverage. Depending on how the defense holds up against Darnold will determine how important winning the time of possession battle will be. If the Colts can control the flow of the game and keep Luck somewhat clean I feel good about the ways they can attack this Jets defense.
 
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