The football pre-season is now among us and we need something to look forward to in these ‘friendly’ games, because the W’s and L’s don’t matter. Here are some position battles that may be interesting to watch through the month of exhibition games.
GM Ryan Grigson addressed the running back position in the off-season by signing free agent Ahmad Bradshaw from the New York Giants. Bradshaw will be paired up with second-year player Vick Ballard to make a solid duo at the top of the depth chart. However, running back is an injury prone position, and depth is especially important here.
Former first rounder Donald Brown, bruiser Delone Carter, second year player Devin Meggett and rookie return specialist Kerwynn Williams are all vying for a roster spot in 2013.
Brown is on the final year of his contract and should be desperate to prove himself this season. Seeing as he’s done nothing but disappoint Colts’ fans since he was drafted in 2009.
But if anybody is to benefit from the improvements Grigson has made to the offensive line this off-season, it would be Brown. He is known for being a speedster and, therefore, relies on the ability of his offensive line to create open running lanes more than others. Couple that with the fact that new offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, seems more inclined to use a fullback in his offense, and this may be the best situation Brown has found himself in, in his entire career. The potential of having a breakout season means Brown will make the roster behind Bradshaw and Ballard.
Speaking of fullbacks, the Indianapolis Colts acquired fullback Stanley Havili from the Phildelphia Eagles. He is a big back with decent speed and solid hands for his position. He has also been taking snaps as the goal-line halfback this training camp, which was formerly Delone Carter’s role. Carter has been, almost exclusively, practicing with the third team, and has not done anything to stand out to the coaches. Suffice it to say, Carter does not seem to be a part of the Colts’ future.
Filling out the bottom of the depth chart will be either Meggett or Williams. Bottom of the depth chart might as well translate to special teams contributor. Even though Meggett is currently listed ahead of Williams on the first depth chart of the season, which means little, Williams is a return specialist from Utah State, hence bringing a larger contribution than Meggett to special teams, and with it, a higher probability of making the final cut.
Kick returning is a big need in Indianapolis, especially after Grigson let go the best returner from last year (Deji Karim), and Williams can, potentially, cure that ailment. In fact, the only reason there will be a fourth running back on the roster is because of Williams’ returning ability. Meggett will be cut come week 1 and Williams will round out the running back position.
Projected running back depth: Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard, Donald Brown, Kerwynn Williams.
Yet another position battle to keep an eye on as we look to find some solace in the notoriously unexciting NFL pre-season.
For an analysis on the wide receiver battle click here.