Colts camp has been going on for nearly a week now. If you haven’t checked out the team, practices are held in Anderson, details here.
There have been a number of takeaways from the first half-week of camp.
- Coby Fleener is vastly improved. His routes have been sharp and he’s not dropping passes. He has been working as the first option at tight end, even over Dwayne Allen. Allen, who was superb last season, has also been outstanding but as the better blocking, he will be featured in more blocking sets. Fleener and Allen have been lining up all over the field (in the slot, out wide, and in line) and it hasn’t slowed their production.
- More options for Andrew Luck. Bruce Arians’ offense was all vertical routes, and left few options underneath for Luck. That was great in terms of setting a rookie passer record and converting third-and-longs, but not so much in limiting QB hits. Now, under Pep Hamilton, Luck has more passing options in the shallow to mid-range and consistently has a checkdown receiver. This has led to fewer mistakes and a higher completion percentage.
- Better defense than offense? Right now, the defense has been winning more often than not, which isn’t that surprising. Offenses tend to take time to find a rhythm, especially when a new system is being installed. The Peyton Manning led Colts would take a week or two to find the timing, and it led fans to believe that the defense was far better than it really was.
- Breakout receiver. Griff Whalen has been very impressive in camp. The former Stanford player’s timing with Luck hasn’t changed, even after a season on IR. He has been catching everything that comes remotely close to him. He isn’t the fastest receiver, or the best route runner, but he has consistently been able to get open. He could leapfrog LaVon Brazill on the depth chart soon if Brazill doesn’t start performing better (keeps dropping routine passes).
- Improved front line. The defensive line has a lot of depth. Josh Chapman has been the big standout player. He has been demanding a double team, and that doesn’t appear to be all that effective. Chapman and Aubrayo Franklin will be a vast improvement over last years NT position. The D line appears to be getting the better of an offensive line that is getting hit by injuries. Defensive players are winning the battles in the trenches, and it doesn’t bode well for the offensive line. Hopefully it will translate to a good pass rushing attack in games.
- Rookie starting. Bjoern Werner has been playing the majority of the snaps with the starters. The Colts brought in Erik Walden to play outside linebacker, thinking Werner would take time to develop. But Werner has been on the field whenever Robert Mathis is out there. Walden doesn’t have a history of being a productive pass rusher, but he’s solid in coverage and against the run. Walden might see more time on the field on first down, but right now Werner is looking very good.
- Fewer drops. Darrius Heyward-Bey continues to improve in camp. He has fewer drops each day and his timing with Luck is getting sharper. Despite his history of drops, its not surprising that DHB is taking time to adjust to how Luck throws the ball and a new offensive scheme. He is showing improvement, but TY Hilton and Whalen have been playing better.
Don’t forget to follow us on twitter, @InkOnIndy.