Thursday Afternoon Camp Thoughts

-So the CBA was not yet ratified?  I did not know that.  It appears it will get done today.  I only linked that article because it is the only non-twitter link I could find that mentioned it.  As far as the main assertion in that link – Adam Schefter seems to think Goodell will retain his power.  Whatever.  Let Goodell have all the power, the Steelers would run out of stuff to whine about otherwise.  By the way, are Ryan Clark’s 15 minutes not yet up?  Seriously, guy.  You threatened to retire last year, you should do it.  Show us how much you hate the NFL.

-A report from PFT shows that the Colts have $15.7million in cap space.   My first thought:  Wow, that is a lot.  I am pretty sure this does not include the recent FA signings.  I could be wrong.  Either way, it seems clear that the decision to not keep Charlie Johnson was not a strict cap issue.  It was most likely a – WHAT? YOU PAID $10.5MILLION FOR CHARLIE JOHNSON? issue.  This is why the Colts are a successful franchise.  Would Johnson have been useful?  Yes.  Was he worth $3+million a year over three years?  No.

I do not think this has any bearing on the Hayden contract.  I felt from the beginning that the Hayden contract was more about the remaining years in his contract than 2011.  Like ripping off a bandage, the team decided to do it quick and get it over with.  It may have only saved them around $1MM this year, but the savings will be much larger the next two seasons.

-A quick note from yesterday’s blog – I talked about Jamaal Anderson and how I thought he would play both DT and DE, with his snaps at end coming in more of a run-stopping role.  Saw a tweet yesterday where Anderson has lost around 20lbs.  Saw a picture of him – the guy looks like Chris Bosh.  This is great if you want to get caught on camera making funny faces, but not so good if you want to play defensive tackle in the National…Football…League. (I’ve always wanted to do that.  Actually, I haven’t.  NFL. NFL. NFL!)

The issue with his size is that at that height it becomes increasingly hard to get good leverage against linemen.  Most OL will easily get under him and push him back.  At closer to 300lbs I was hoping that he was big enough to at least eat a blocker, but quick enough to get occasional pressure.  At this height and weight, I think the Colts will leave him at end and hope that their great DL Coach (John Teerlink) can get him into form.  I would not bet against Teerlink, he is really good at his job. (see how I made it through that without a single teenage-level joke?)

-Some random camp thoughts:

Happy to read that Manning is throwing and running on the side at camp.  I suspect that this PUP stint is as much for rehab as it is to force Peyton to keep his ‘pitch count’ down for  the pre-season.  He has thrown the ball a lot in recent years and they may be trying to keep his arm fresh for the regular and hopefully post-season.  Manning is the one player that I do not have rhythm concerns with.  When the lights go on, he will be ready.

If you want instant updates from camp follow @Jamkel89 (Our own Jacob Crocker), @Coltszilla (our own Brett Mock, who should be at camp Friday), and @18to88 (Nate Dunlevy from  Jake and Nate were at camp last night and gave great updates.  Happy to hear that Hughes seems to be taking a step forward.  Obviously we have to temper our enthusiasm – it is only training camp and the Colts OL is dreadful – but progress is progress.  Perhaps four months into his career was slightly too soon to hint at bust status.  Just maybe.

Also excited to read about Drake Nevis and Butthead (I know, I know, it is NOT pronounced Nee-vuhs.  Still, I hear Chris Berman may retire in the next 25 years, I want to get my resume ready).  Multiple people have raved about his quickness, agility, and ability to beat OL not only 1-on-1, but in 1-on-2 drills, as well.  This is the kind of play the Colts have been dying for from the DT position.  If he can bring that kind of pressure in games it will take the entire defense to a new level.

Finally, I continue to hear that Pierre Garcon is still a dropping machine.  Garcon is a talented man.  He is big, powerful, and unusually fast for a man with his bulk.  All of these can combine to make a dominant receiver in the NFL.  None of it matters if you cannot catch the ball.  I do appreciate what Garcon has done in *some* big games, but when people make this argument they seem to forget his chances-killing drop in the biggest game of all (I, of course, mean the Super Bowl that never happened against that team from New Orleans).  No one wants Garcon to succeed more than me.  Fulfilling his potential means the Colts do not have to worry about finding a true #1 WR to replace Reggie when he moves on.  But until he can catch the ball consistently, he is a hinder to the offense.

-Coach Cadwell blinked (AND THEN SMILED!) and then declared that the Colts may not be finished in free agency.  There are still some names out there that could help the Colts, but I expect – and Cadwell hinted at this – that the Colts will wait for first cuts to see if there are any names out there they like.  They seem to have the room to add an impact player if the situation presents itself, and they seem to be more than willing.  If it were up to me, I would be happy with some depth at safety and offensive line.  Other than that, I am really starting to like the looks of the roster.  Ahh, pre-season, when optimism abounds.  Just wait for the first 24 hamstring injuries.

Some reading material for you.  This is a piece by Don Banks of on C Jeff Saturday and his role in the CBA negotiations.  Great read.

Be sure to listen to this week’s Check it to Pancakes Podcast with Dr. Blue (Laura Calaway) and myself.  If you have already listened and do not know what music I was humming at the end, here is a link for you.

With the CBA signed all new Colts players should be able to practice tonight (depending on what time the CBA is signed and what time the Colts hold practice) or tomorrow morning at the latest.  Exciting times.