Monday was an odd and busy day at the Indianapolis Colts headquarters. The players returned, went through some workouts, and met with coaches. Oh, and on is 38th day as a Colt, center and free agent signee Phil Costa decided to hang up his cleats for good.
Retiring at 26, Costa leaves the Colts in a strange position, having cut last year’s starter, Samson Satele. From an outside perspective, the decision was completely unexpected.
Costa, who couldn’t seem to regain his form after losing his job to injuries in Dallas, has given no indication as to why he’s suddenly shutting it down. Whatever his reason for retiring – Health issues, a public breakup with a reality TV “star” (surely not), a Quinn Pitcock-style video game addiction, a new career in competitive knitting – the Colts now have very few options at center.
The strange news will no doubt motivate second year guard/center Khaled Holmes to prove he can be the starter for Indy in 2014. However, the Colts’ other options are as follows: former practice squad member Austin Thomas, a position change for a veteran player, drafting a center, or, of course, the free agency scrap heap.
Considering they believed in him and were high on him at the end of the season, and provided he stays healthy this time, my money is on Holmes. For now, anyway.
Meanwhile, all jokes and speculation aside, I wish the best of luck to Costa in whatever happens next. Retiring right when he finally had another chance could not have been an easy decision. Hopefully, it was the right one.
In other news, restricted free agent backup cornerback and solid special teams contributor Josh Gordy signed his RFA tender and will be a Colt for another year. For those unfamiliar with Gordy, watch some film of the Indianapolis special teams units. Watch for number 27. He’s one of those guys who always seem to be on screen when something good is happening.
After playing a prominent role with St. Louis in 2011, Gordy has played mostly special teams for the Colts, coming up with 12 tackles, an interception and two passes defensed last season.
Gordy never had a standout game by Pro Football Focus’s standards, but he didn’t have a bad one either. He finished the season with a +1.3 grade on defense and a +0.5 on special teams, not bad for a guy who only saw 249 defensive snaps.
According to PFF, when he did play in coverage, Gordy allowed an opposing QB rating of 68.3 on 27 targets. It may be a small sample size, but he certainly appears to have done well in the type spot duties where others have faltered.
Depth in the secondary is important, and Gordy provides quality depth to go with two years of experience in the Colts’ system. It’s good to have a guy like that back.
(Insert Colt Pun or Alliteration Here)
Indianapolis also continued their annual offseason trend of acquiring Eagles players you’ve never heard of by signing free agent safety Colt Anderson. Oh, how we’ve dreamed of the day Indy would finally sign a guy named Colt. Well, maybe not, but Anderson, who has Sergio Brown-like role on special teams since 2009 in Philadelphia, could be a smart addition.
Brown’s current job may be up for grabs this season as he, Delano Howell, and possibly a rookie will compete for the chance to start alongside LaRon Landry at safety.
With the position battle going on at the top, already having a new backup could also provide some decision-making freedom should the Colts decide not to draft a safety in the wake of their aforementioned sudden potential need for another center. (In other words, everything is connected, man)
Despite nearly all of his playing time coming on special teams, Anderson finished 2013 with 11 tackles, a pass defensed, and a forced fumble. He earned a cumulative Pro Football Focus grade of -2.1 on defense and -0.5 on special teams, where he unfortunately missed 7 tackles. It was a stark contrast to his 2012 season, where he had zero missed tackles on special teams and finished with a +5 grade.
If the Colts can get something closer to Anderson’s 2012 form, he may turn out to be a steal who can contribute on kick/punt coverage units and see some occasional spot time on defense.