Coltzilla has not spent a lot of time updating roster moves because the final cuts are never the end of the roster moves made prior to the regular season opener. Additionally, until the depth chart is released, there is little way to gauge whose spots on the roster are relatively safe and which players could be the first to go.
Now that a practice squad has nearly materialized and the depth chart has been released, it is time for fans to get a closer look at their 2011 Indianapolis Colts — with the caveat that it is likely moves will continue to be made early in the season. The Colts released a full depth chart, and ESPN 1070 The Fan has posted it on their website with notable changes that will affect who fans can expect to see on the field against the Houston Texans.Rookie running back Delone Carter is listed as the second running back, ahead of former first round pick Donald Brown. While there is a good chance the team will attempt to utilize all three backs for their unique abilities, Carter may see the bulk of carries behind Addai with Brown coming in as a change of pace.
Mike Pollak and Jamey Richard are both listed as backup centers behind Jeff Saturday — in that order. This makes the depth chart look sort of funny, because the team almost never has no backup guards listed. Of course both players could play guard in a pinch but it signifies where they are primarily looking at using them in the future. It still makes the decision to keep Richard over veteran Kyle DeVan or developing prospect Jacques McClendon seem rather odd.
Recent addition Chris Gronkowski is listed in the H-Back role behind Austin Collie and Jacob Tamme. He is not listed amongst the running backs and is not listed as a “full back” per say. In any case, it would be surprising to not see him line up in the backfield to block for running backs in short-yardage or goal line situations.
Another odd way to list players is at defensive tackle. Even though Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian indicated early on that rookie Drake Nevis would be Antonio Johnson’s backup at nose tackle, he is behind Fili Moala. This leaves Eric Foster as technically listed as the backup to Johnson. I doubt this ordering is indicative of the roles each player would play in the game.
Defensive ends Tyler Brayton and Jamaal Anderson are listed behind Freeney and Mathis, respectively. This pushes Hughes to third behind Freeney and signifies that he will still only be a situational pass rusher and will not see a lot of the field on defense. Brayton and Anderson will probably rotate heavily with Freeney and Mathis to shore up the run defense.
Undrafted rookie linebacker Adrian Moten is actually listed ahead of Ernie Sims on the depth chart. He is the second weak-side linebacker behind starter Kavell Conner. Despite this order, it would be a shock if Sims did not see the field before and more often than Moten in nickel packages on defense.
It appears that our friend Mitch Rose (presumably cornerback Terrence Johnson’s uncle) could have been completely accurate in his email prior to the release of final Colts cuts. Terrence Johnson is listed ahead of 2010 third round pick Kevin Thomas and 2011 sixth round pick Chris Rucker. He is the primary backup behind Jacob Lacey, while Justin Tryon is the primary backup behind Jerraud Powers.
If the listing is in the same order as the defensive tackles with the top player listed as the number one at his position, and the bottom player listed as the number two, it stands to reason Johnson is the third cornerback on the depth chart. If this is true, look for #23 to take the field in nickel packages.
Safety Joe Lefeged is the primary returner on both kicks and punts. Ultimately, the decision to let Gilreath go is likely because it makes less sense to place a great deal of emphasis on a player whose primary value is as a returner with the new kickoff rules. Lefeged has shown promising ability on defense, and could be a future starter at the position. Gilreath was not likely to be higher than fifth on the team’s receiver depth chart.
Even though running back Chad Spann made his way onto the roster after the final cuts, he was placed on the injured/waived list. This sparked a great deal of interest from fans who did not recall seeing Spann get injured in a way that would jeopardize his season. Spann saw it the same way, and the Colts reached an injury settlement with him to allow him to enter free agency.
It is sad to see Spann go as he is a local product with a great deal of potential. I have little doubt that the team could choose to sign him to the practice squad or back to the roster if injuries should hit the position. That is if another team doesn’t scoop him up.
For now, the practice squad confirmations are: QB Mike Hartline, DT Ricardo Mathews, DT Ollie Ogbu, OT Mike Tepper, WR Marshall Williams, WR David Gilreath, WR Chris Brooks.