If Cro Thorpe is going to make the roster, it'll likely have to be as a returns specialist. He's been a bit inconsistent in a crowded field of receivers, so that's not helping his case at that position. While handling kickoffs and punt returns, he's getting average marks so far. He dropped a couple of kickoffs during the special teams practice on Thursday afternoon.
Safety Brannon Condren is showing a real aggressive streak for a rookie that has helped him stand out during his first week in camp. That said, his aggression and emotions have led to him taking himself out of plays at times, something that can be disastrous in Tony Dungy's Tampa 2 scheme that counts on players to keep the ball carrier contained when he's in their area. It'll be interesting to watch Condren's progress in the coming weeks since he appears to have the physical tools and attitude to be successful at this level.
Shane Andrus, who spent the early part of this year in NFL Europa, is back for his second camp with the Colts. Special teams coach Russ Purnell got a good look at him during Wednesday night's practice, resting Adam Vinatieri, as Andrus hit field goals of 43 and 52 yards. And the 52-yarder had enough behind it to have been good from at least 55 yards out. Andrus is showing good leg strength and nice hang time on his kicks.
|Anthony Gonzalez pulls in a pass |
Defensive end Josh Thomas sat out the morning session, but had a good practice session that evening. He put a good lick on backup quarterback Jim Sorgi that forced a fumble.
It's obvious that offensive guard Rick DeMulling is happy to be back
in Indy and working in offensive line coach Howard Mudd's system again. He
worked with the first team earlier this week while Ryan Lilja sat out. DeMulling
got a bad rap in Detroit, falling out of the starting lineup after establishing
a strong track record as a starter in Mudd's system. Look for him to possibly
bump Dylan Gandy to the primary backup role as center behind Jeff Saturday while still providing depth at the guard position as well.
With Saturday under contract through 2008 and entering his ninth season, the Colts need to start developing his eventual replacement. And it could certainly be Gandy, who is in his third season with the Colts and who has shown his ability to be a reliable member of the starting front five while filling in for Ryan Lilja last season.
Harvard running back Clifton Dawson has been consistently showing off nice running instincts and burst that could help him land the power-back, short-yardage role. If he can step up, the Colts would have three dangerous, young backs that would allow them to match up to the down-and-distance situations nicely. Dawson is really making a good impression with his pass-blocking skills as well.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of camp so far is that T.J. Rushing has not only looked good as a returns specialist -- which the team obviously counted on -- since the team didn't re-sign Terrence Wilkins -- but he's been looking sharp as a cornerback. And while he was a solid contributor at that spot at Stanford, some questioned if he'd be able to play the position at the pro level. In his second training camp, Rushing is making the statement that he can hold his own out there as a pass defender.