Every NFL team has a lot of players who they like. If they could, they’d want to keep a lot of them on the team. Unfortunately, the reality is that only 53 of those players can stay on the roster. We will start by looking at the players who are on the bubble of making the roster and see if their performance on the field during the preseason warranted them a final roster spot or not. This time, we will look at the Indianapolis Colts’ final offensive roster as I see it.
Starter: Andrew Luck
Backup: Scott Tolzien
PS: Stephen Morris
No surprise here. Unless he gets hurt, Andrew Luck is undoubtedly the starting quarterback for the Colts week-in and week-out. He has looked sharp this preseason and finally has taken precautions to protect himself and the franchise as well by sliding down before taking hits. The offense is in good hands as long as No. 12 is in the huddle.
Behind Luck, the battle for backup is closer than expected. Scott Tolzien has been what we all thought he would be — solid but not spectacular. The big surprise, however, is Stephen Morris.
In the four preseason games that he has played in the Colts’ offense, Morris has completed 39 out of 61 passes for a 63.9 completion percentage, 531 yards, and a rating of 106.7. Morris is intriguing because he can make big plays as evident in last night’s game-winning drive.
Another thing that Morris brings that Tolzien doesn’t is the mobility factor. Morris can throw it, but also has the option to use his legs to get out of trouble. Morris added 50 yards on eight attempts and a touchdown in the preseason as well.
However, Pagano cleared the air on the backup quarterback situation and made it clear that Scott Tolzien was their guy.
Josh Wilson of Stampede Blue makes a case on why the Colts should really think about keeping Morris on the 53-man roster.
“Tolzien has been outplayed by Stephen Morris this preseason – and I actually think it’s been by a considerable margin, too,” Wilson says. “Morris has the arm to make NFL-caliber throws, has been poised in the pocket and in late-game scenarios (yeah, it’s preseason, but whatever), has command of the offense, has made smart decisions (for the most part, with his two-point conversion fiasco in week two being one of the few exceptions), and has made plays with his feetIt will be interesting to see what the Colts do with Morris. After a stellar preseason, they certainly don’t want to lose him to another team.”
I think that the Colts will try to further develop him on the practice squad if they keep him around. Like Wilson said, they certainly don’t want to lose him.
Starter: Frank Gore
Backups: Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman, Stevan Ridley
This is a tough call. I think that it’s almost certain that Gore and Turbin will make the roster. Both are proven players who are capable of playing at the NFL level. Beyond that, it’s wide open.
The Colts like Josh Ferguson, but he has not done much this preseason to prove a spot on the final roster with just 19 carries for 15 yards and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him end up being cut.
Jordan Todman has shown flashes, especially in the receiving game, and the Colts also signed Stevan Ridley. Right now, it’s a tough call, but I’ll give the final two spots to Ridley and Todman if they stay with four running backs on the roster.
Starters: T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Phillip Dorsett
Backups: Quan Bray, Chester Rogers
We all know that Hilton, Moncrief, and Dorsett are making the roster, but beyond that, it gets a little murky.
Because of his punt returning ability, Quan Bray will most likely make the roster.
What has been a two-way battle for the number four receiving spot between Chester Rogers and Tevaun Smith may have become a little more clear, though it could go either way.
This preseason, Rogers has lead the team in receptions and receiving yards and after his seven catch, 80-yard outing last night, I give the fourth spot to him.
However, the Colts may or may not go six wide receivers, which would bode well for Smith.
Starter: Dwayne Allen
Backups: Jack Doyle, Erik Swoope
Allen is the sure-fire starter here. Doyle is a solid and reliable number two and Erik Swoope has shown his ability as a pass catcher this preseason with 10 receptions for 103 yards.
I expect to see all three on the final roster.
Starters: (LT) Anthony Castonzo, (LG) Jack Mewhort, (C) Ryan Kelly, (RG) Denzelle Good, (RT) Joe Reitz
Backups: Joe Haeg, Le’Raven Clark, Jonotthan Harrison, Austin Blythe, Kitt O’Brien
This is tough to predict based on the injuries to Mewhort and Haeg, but right now I think that this is a safe bet for the final roster.
While Mewhort may miss a few games to begin the season, it will be interesting to see who fills the void at left guard. My candidates would be either Joe Haeg or Jonotthan Harrison, who has been working at guard.
You may notice that Hugh Thornton is not on this list. Right now with all of the injuries, the Colts can’t afford to wait on Thornton to recover from his injury which has held him out of the majority of the preseason. So unless he reverts to injured reserve, I’d say Thornton will likely be gone by last roster cuts.
Mike Chappell of Fox59.com commented this about the offensive line.
“Here’s where it starts to get dicey. Mewhort is expected to miss a couple of games, Haeg’s timeline for return is fuzzy and Clark doesn’t appear ready to play at this level. And as you undoubtedly noticed, we see no way the Colts can wait for Thornton to heal. That means they’ll be zero players from the 2013 draft still around.”
[Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images]