There's little time between now and Saturday's 3 p.m. deadline for teams to fit under the 53-man roster limit, so information should be pouring in fast. With that being said, here is my final guess at the 2011 Indianapolis Colts' 53-man roster: QB: Peyton Manning, Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter (3) RB: Joseph Addai, Delone Carter, Javarris James, Darren Evans (4) WR: Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, David Gilreath (5) TE: Dallas Clark, Jacob Tamme, Brody Eldridge (3) OLine: Anthony Castonzo, Joe Reitz, Jeff Saturday, Ryan Diem, Jeff Linkenbach, Jacques McClendon, Ben Ijalana, Kyle DeVan, Mike Pollak (9) 24 Offensive Players DE: Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Jamaal Anderson, John Chick (4) DT: Antonio Johnson, Drake Nevis, Tommie Harris, Ollie Ogbu, Fili Moala (5) LB: Gary Brackett, Pat Angerer, Ernie Sims, Kavell Conner, Philip Wheeler, Adrian Moten (6) CB: Jerraud Powers, Jacob Lacey, Justin Tryon, Kevin Thomas, Chris Rucker, Free Agent (6) Safety: Antoine Bethea, Melvin Bullitt, Joe Lefeged, David Caldwell, Al Afalava (5) 26 Defensive Players K: Adam Vinatieri P: Pat McAfee LS: Justin Snow 3 Special Teamers Thoughts:
- Sorry for the abbreviated layout, I wanted to get this article posted as soon as I could.
- No Anthony Gonzalez. No Donald Brown. No Jerry Hughes. At this point, none of them have proven themselves to be contributors in 2011. I know Kyle Rodriguez wrote an interesting piece on this last week, and I agreed with most of his viewpoints. But after watching guys like Darren Evans, Javarris James, John Chick, and Jamaal Anderson outplay Brown and Hughes, I just can't see how keeping these guys would make our team better. Hughes has been man-handled all preseason, and offers absolutely nothing against the run. His lack of hustle and continued lackadaisical attitude have cost the team many yards, both on the ground and in special teams (he had a chance to stop Cromartie's return last year against the Jets, too). Javarris James hasn't run the ball very well, but he looked better than Brown both in pass protection and catching the ball out of the backfield, and can contribute to special teams. Darren Evans also impressed me. I don't like to use stats as a strong indicator of a player's performance, especially in preseason. In Evans, I saw a running back with extremely quick feet for a player with that kind of size and power. Reminded me of a much, much more talented version of Mike Hart (who can hopefully stay healthy). I don't expect Gonzalez to be cut this weekend, but I do think he will be before the start of the regular season: either to sign T.J. Houshmanzadeh, or another WR that is dropped by another team.
- I added an extra safety because overall, I was impressed with both Caldwell and Alafava, particularly in the run game. I did not notice Michael Hamlin at all, so I'm not sure why the Colts bothered to sign him.
- I expect Blair White to start the season on the PUP list, and be activated at some point in the middle of the season, either because of injuries or to add depth.
- Players like J. James, David Gilreath, Alafava, Caldwell, Joe Lefeged, John Chick, Adrian Moten all provide value as Special Teamers. Sorry, but Donald Brown, Anthony Gonzalez, and Jerry Hughes either don't play special teams, or don't play them effectively (Hughes).
- I'm sorry for all the negativity, especially surrounding the "Big 3" – I'm usually very optimistic about the Indianapolis Colts. But I've seen enough injuries to cut ties with A. Gonzalez, and I don't really see what D. Brown and J. Hughes offer over guys like Darren Evans, Delone Carter, Jamaal Anderson, and John Chick. I haven't even seen sparks of potential from the two former 1st rounders. Don't be fooled by Hughes' numbers (3 tackles, 1 sack) – one of his tackles came on special teams (yay!), and his sack consisted of him chasing a QB out of bounds. Apparently when asked about his sack after the game, Hughes had no idea he was credited with one.
- I really believe this is the roster with the best chance to make the Indianapolis Colts as good as they can be in 2011. And I think it's an extremely talented roster. I think we have a solid group of returning veterans – Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Dwight Freeney, Robert Mathis, Antoine Bethea, some fresh, new talent – Anthony Castonzo, Delone Carter, Ben Ijalana, Drake Nevis, Tommie Harris, Jamaal Anderson, Ernie Sims, Joe Lefeged, and a bunch of young players ready to make 'the next step' – Jerraud Powers, Melvin Bullitt, Pierre Garcon, and Pat Angerer.
- And oh yeah, we have a guy by the name of Peyton Manning, and I'm now hopeful that he'll be available for our week 1 matchup against the Houston Texans.