The Colts have signed rookie tight ends Coby Fleener (left) and Dwayne Allen in time for training camp.
The whirlwind off-season that began on March 7th with Peyton Manning’s release will end on July 28th in Anderson, IN with the opening of training camp, and all of the “New Colts” will be there to participate. Last night saw the signing of both rookie tight ends Dwayne Allen (3rd round, 64th overall) and Coby Fleener (2nd round, 34th overall), just a few hours after rookies reported to camp. Fleener signed a 4-year deal worth $5.3 million with a $2.3 million signing bonus, while Allen inked a 4-year, $3.2 million deal with a signing bonus of $834,000.
Now the Colts can focus on what has been their rally cry this year: “Building the Monster.”
Honestly, though, the only thing that is likely to be monstrous this year is the team’s win-loss record. You’ve got a rookie quarterback set to start from day one, against a schedule of teams that averaged a .500 record last year. Now, that may not sound all that bad, but take into consideration that last year’s Super Bowl runner-up (the New England Patriots) and the team with last season’s best record (Green Bay) have a strength of schedule of .453 and .469, respectively. Got to love that parity, huh? Most of the national media is penciling in another 2-14 record (at best); I see a 5-6 win season, but we’ll get deeper into that with my pre-season predictions later on.
Right now the Colts need to focus on fundamentals more than ever. It is absolutely imperative that Andrew Luck develops the kind of chemistry between himself and his new receiving corps that is necessary for a team to have success. That being said, Luck will likely struggle early on, though I think you will probably see flashes of greatness as the season progresses.
But Luck getting all the training camp reps isn’t the only thing that Colts fans should be concerned with. As I touched on earlier in my Training Camp preview, the defensive secondary is a patchwork of inexperience. You have Jerraud Powers at one starting cornerback spot, than a big ol’ hot mess everywhere else. At the time I wrote that piece, the Colts had 11 different cornerbacks on the roster, and they have since brought in one more (D.J. Johnson in a trade with the Eagles for DT Ollie Ogbu). So it’s clear that GM Ryan Grigson does not feel that this is a great area of strength.
In other Colts news, OT Anthony Castonzo, OG Ben Ijalana, and RB Delone Carter have all been cleared to fully participate in practices. Castonzo and Ijalana being cleared is especially huge for the development of the new offensive line. NT Josh Chapman will likely start camp on the PUP (physically unable to perform) as he continues to rehabilitate an ACL injury from his senior season at Alabama.
Sure, this Colts team has its issues, but unlike last year’s Colts, they are mostly young and will develop. It will likely be another rough season, but keep the faith and enjoy watching the team (re)build this monster.
*Information from www.indystar.com was used for this article.
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