This coming Sunday August 13th is a date which always lives in infamy, that is as far as the Boss is concerned (she will not be watching ever). At Lucas Oil Stadium, at 1:30 EST, the boys with the horseshoe on their helmets, our own Colts, will kick off the 2017 NFL season by hosting the Detroit Lions for their first preseason. For all of us who bleed blue, the waiting and wondering is over and the real worrying is about to begin. We will finally get the real skinny about the team. Will the free agent signers, such as pass rushing Jabaal Sheard and John Simon, make a difference? Will nose tackle Jonathan Hankins be the run stopper we hope for? What about the rookies? Our first round pick Malik Hooker is on the PUP list and has seen very limited action. And what about our returning veterans? Are lineman Jack Hawksworth and Henry Anderson 100% healthy? Strong Safety Clayton Gaithers is also on the PUP list. Will he be ready to play in the regular season opener? Then, of course, there is THE QUESTION. What about Andrew Luck’s throwing arm? Is it fully recovered from the off season surgery? Luck, too, is on the PUP. He has not throw at all in the off season and GM Chris Ballard has already said that Luck will not play in the preseason. Will he be ready for the first game of the regular season against the Rams? It’s possible that he could miss up to six weeks of the regular season. Backup quarterback Scot Tolkien has been taking the first team reps but apparently hasn’t blown anyone away with his performance. Any chance for a playoff run goes out the window if Luck isn’t under center for the first third of the season.
So is there any good news? Well, yes. The offensive line seems to be coming around. All the starters are currently healthy. Second year center Ryan Kelly is emerging as a real force for the offense. Second year guard Joe Hoag has apparently nailed down the right guard spot, which has been a real problem for the Colts for the past five years. Right tackle La’ Raven Clarke has improved a great deal from last year. A new name to take notice of is rookie running back Marion Mack from South Florida University. The 5’ 11’ 210 ponder has been turning heads with his training camp performance. His aggressive blocking and pass receiving have impressed both coaches and the media. But most importantly, it’s his running. The kid can really tote the rock. He could become a real weapon for the Colts and take some of the pressure off of Frank Gore and most of all, whomever is playing quarterback for the Colts.
We have got two of the oldest players in the NFL on our roster. Running Frank Gore who at age 34 is the oldest running back in the league. And then there is number #4. The man himself, Adam Vinateri, placekicker extraordinaire. The dude is 44 years old and that makes him the league’s oldest player.
More importantly he is still booming those 50 yard field goals and coming through in the clutch. He has a new holder and long snapper, new punter Jeff Locke, a free agent signed from the Vikings. Locke was signed after the surprising retirement of Pat McAfee.
McAfee was among the team’s most popular players and was named to two Pro Bowl squads. He will be tough to replace. Locke is considered an upper tier punter and will be effective. Former Pro Bowl long snapper Matt Overton is now with the Jaguars. Rookie free agent center Thomas Hennessy from Duke is his replacement.
So it’s tine for the fun to begin. The waiting is over. We can put on our blue and watch the boots with the horseshoes on their helmets fight to bring glory to Lucas Oil and Indianapolis.
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