QB Josh Betts
Unfortunately for him, Josh Betts is the new Tom Arth. For those of you who
don't recall him, Arth was Bett's predecessor, the team's young, intelligent
quarterback who spent three years associated with the team -- one on the
reserved/non-football injury list and the next two on the practice squad --
never rising above the practice squad. And like Betts, it's wasn't a matter of
talent or the ability to understand the offense, it's the fact that if you're
the number three quarterback in Indianapolis, you're in trouble. You're going to
be on the practice squad and see very few reps weekly throughout the season,
making it more difficult to develop your timing and any sort of chemistry with
the receivers. Expect Betts to be a top priority for the practice squad, just
like last year.
RBs DeDe Dorsey and Clifton Dawson
After watching the backs in this year's preseason action, I'm not sure it
mattered much which one they kept. Dorsey -- a talented, quick running back out
of Lindenwood College who was on the 2006 roster -- was waived/injured on
Saturday, so he may be heading to injured reserve. He can catch the ball, he has
breakaway speed once he gets into the second level, but he struggled at times to
get through the muck and chaos at the line of scrimmage. Dorsey should develop
into a good pro running back, but it appears that it won't be this season.
Clifton Dawson averaged 4.0 yards per carry during the preseason and showed
good confidence for a rookie. But the Colts apparently were more impressed with
Kenton Keith's 5.3 yards per carry, and even more likely gave him the edge
because he has shown up big in some games as a professional already in the CFL and did some nice work as a kickoff returner.
The emergence of FB Luke Lawton, a practice squad player last year, gives Indy a
good inside runner who also has pretty good hands out of the backfield.
Dawson could get a call for the practice squad, providing the team doesn't have
their eye on someone from the available pool of talent released on Saturday.
WRs Trent Shelton, John Standeford and Craphonso Thorpe
As much as I like John Standeford, and think he has shown progress every season
he's been with Indy, he seemed to always hit his head on a glass ceiling. It's
hard to tell why it's there. He runs good routes, he has good hands. But for
some reason Indy never saw him as a 53-man-roster caliber of player for a full
season. Standeford is out of practice squad eligibility, but his release will
likely pay off for him. He's good enough to be a fourth or fifth receiver for
another team with less talent depth than the Colts.
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Trent Shelton was a pleasant surprise during camp and the preseason. He
simply got crowded out and as an undrafted newcomer will be expected to pay his
dues. If he doesn't make the practice squad, expect the Colts to make him one of those
guys who is signed to the practice squad periodically for a few weeks here and
there to provide him with some money and keep him associated with the team until the Colts can sign him to a free agent deal next year for another training camp run.
If the Colts don't sign Craphonso Thorpe to their practice squad, it will leave
people wondering if he said something bad about a close relative or friend of
Colts President and GM Bill Polian. Thorpe, a former star receiver and returns specialist out of
Florida State, was the team's preseason leading receiver in touchdown catches
(3), yard (135) and tied Standeford for the most catches (13). And he topped
that off with a team leading 11-yard average on punt returns on eight attempts
and 31-yard average on kickoff returns. While he did that against backup-level
talent, he showed enough skill in all of those areas to warrant making him a
priority for the practice squad.
TEs Mark Farbotko, Jonny Harline and Gijon Robinson
The athletic tight end out of Harvard, Matt Farbotko, was unlikely to make the
final cuts simply because the Colts are so stacked with talent at the position
and he had already been released once before just prior to training camp.
Harline is a very good receiver, but the knock on him coming out of BYU was
that he wasn't much of a blocker. Robinson has a well-rounded skill set and is
the most likely to get a practice squad nod. With just three true tight ends on
the roster, you can bet that one of the eight practice squad positions will be
for a reserve tight end.
OL Joe Lobdell, Sam Wilder and Matt Ulrich
Lobdell and Wilder were toss-ups for the first round of cuts. When the team released Rick
DeMulling I thought he might have a chance at staying on the active roster this
year. He's a good, solid player who is developing into a reliable and valuable
reserve. I thought he had practice squad eligibility, but since then confirmed that he doesn't, which makes this a puzzling move. The Colts opted to keep former fifth-round pick Michael Toudouze on the roster instead.