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  • Seven Colts make the NFL Top 100 List
    by Carter Donnick on July 18, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    The off-season is the time to make outlandish takes - and many media pundits have taken advantage of just that. Whether it be ranking Marcus Mariota ahead of Tom Brady or even calling Julian Edelman a Hall of Famer, many “bold” opinions have left fans worried and puzzled. Thankfully USA Today’s Doug Farrar has put some sanity back into the football world, releasing his list of the Top 100 players in the NFL today. Now by no means will anyone agree on every ranking on this list. For starters, I’d probably move Andrew Luck up around 10 spots. Farrar pretty much nails the entire list though - and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a whopping SEVEN Colts listed. Let’s go through each and see what he had to say. *Full article can be found here.* 91. OC Ryan Kelly From Farrar: “Kelly has missed 13 games in the last two seasons because of injuries, and that may be the only reason he isn’t higher on the list. In any case, the 18th overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Alabama has been a highly touted player since his rookie season, and for good reason. In 885 snaps in the 2018 season, Kelly allowed one sack, three quarterback hits and eight quarterback hurries, and he put up strong performances when asked to turn on the power in the running game.” 74. CB Kenny Moore II From Farrar: “If you’re not a Colts fan, you may well wonder who Moore is. But in his second NFL season, the undrafted Valdosta State alum became a star slot defender in many ways. Moore was targeted 68 times in the slot in 2018, allowing 54 receptions for 429 yards and 265 yards after the catch. He gave up one touchdown to four interceptions, and allowed an opponent passer rating of 73.3.” 59. LB Darius Leonard From Farrar: “At 6-2 and 234 pounds, Leonard is credited with 4.7 speed, but he’s much faster on the field, and that’s what pops out when you watch his tape. He can cover sideline to sideline as a big safety would, but he tackles very much like an old-school linebacker. And his diagnostic abilities, which impress for a fifth-year player — never mind a rookie — allow him to be in the right place at the right time, nearly all the time. Leonard may have come out of nowhere in a relative sense, but nothing about his 2018 season was a fluke.” 55. FS Malik Hooker From Farrar: “In just his second NFL season, Hooker became the recipient of the ultimate gesture of respect given a defensive back — an extreme lack of targets in relation to his snap totals. He was on the field for 977 snaps and saw just nine targets all season. He gave up four catches for 51 yards, 25 yards after the catch, one touchdown, two interceptions, two pass breakups and an opponent passer rating of 60.2.” 52. WR T.Y. Hilton From Farrar: “One of the league’s most esteemed deep threats since he was taken in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Florida International, Hilton has taken the top off defenses even when Andrew Luck was injured. Last season, with Luck playing at a Comeback Player of the Year level after missing the entire 2017 campaign, Hilton caught 76 passes on 120 targets for 1,270 yards and six touchdowns. And as a deep threat, he was just about impossible to stop, with 16 catches on 17 catchable deep balls for 602 yards and two touchdowns.” 47. QB Andrew Luck From Farrar: “The Comeback Player of the Year last season after missing the entire 2017 campaign following shoulder surgery, Luck had little trouble getting back on track in 2018, completing a career-high 67.3% of his passes for 4,593 yards, 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Luck flourished in Frank Reich’s offense, the most diverse and effective he’s had since Bruce Arians ran things early in his career, and though he was a bit cavalier with interceptions on deep throws and under-pressure plays, he was good enough overall to rank seventh in Football Outsiders’ opponent-adjusted quarterback metrics and ninth in per-play efficiency.” 43. OG Quenton Nelson From Farrar: “There are those who believe it’s unwise to select a guard in the first 10 picks of a draft no matter how good that player may be. Those people may want to revise their opinion based on Nelson’s 2018 tape. Taken sixth overall by the Colts in the 2018 draft out of Notre Dame, Nelson immediately took a skill set that had me thinking he was the most talented player in his draft class regardless of position right to the NFL. In his rookie season, Nelson gave up two sacks early in the season and none thereafter, with 24 total pressures.&rdquo […]

  • Meshing Together: How Parris Campbell is a perfect scheme fit for the Colts
    by Carter Donnick on July 18, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Truth be told, I’m not the biggest Parris Campbell fan. Heading into the draft I labeled the OSU prospect as raw, one-dimensional, and your prototypical boom or bust wideout. I even went as far as to say that I thought his Buckeye teammate - Terry McLaurin - was a superior player. After all, Campbell showed little as a route-runner, wasn’t physical at the catch point, and played in a very limited role. In fact, according to Sports Info Solutions, a whopping 49.5% of Campbell’s receptions came on screens, jet sweep passes, or drag routes. That type of dependency on the short game wasn’t - and still isn’t - a good sign. With all that being said, it’s obvious to see the appeal with Campbell. A speedster with a blazing 4.31 forty, the receiver is a freak athlete and tested out of the gym in nearly every category this past February at the NFL combine. A high school track star, he’s as fast as they come - at a position that relies more on speed than ever before. And it just so happens that he went to the perfect team to accentuate his blazing skill set. Colts quick passing attack After seeing Doug Pederson use tons of short crossers and quick drags during the Eagles Super Bowl run, it was only natural for Frank Reich to bring some of those same concepts to Indianapolis. Helping a rehabbing Andrew Luck get rid of the ball faster, Reich implemented a ton of faster-developing play-calls during his inaugural season, allowing Luck with simpler reads while his arm continued to heal. A staple in the “Air Raid” offense, Reich used a plethora of different mesh concepts last season. Essentially two crossing routes combining with a natural rub, mesh concepts are simple - but also EXTREMELY effective when executed properly. 1) Here we have a Chip Kelly special with a designed RB wheel. We have both Ebron and Doyle bunched on the right side and a two WR set to the left. The far wideout clears out and Hilton runs a drag to his right while both tight ends cross left. Turbin runs a wheel out of the backfield and it puts the MLB (Bobby Wagner) in a tough situation. He has to take either Hilton or the wide-open Turbin - choosing the RB in this situation. Working through two rubs he can’t get there in time and Luck finds him for the easy completion. Frank Reich brought over the Chip Kelly mesh concept (he didn't invent it) that D Pederson used a lot during their SB run with Foles to Luck & the Colts.On 4&1, SEA plays man coverage. Wagner has to work through two natural "rubs".RB Marlon Mack sees open space & settles in— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) August 10, 2018 2) A similar play against Washington. RB once again goes on the wheel, this time clearing out the linebacker. Leaves the inside open and allows Luck to find Ebron for the quick completion. Brilliant design by Frank Reich here:- Bunch set on the right, have outside WR clear.- Doyle runs deep hook as a safety valve.- RB wheel opens up short right side.- Ebron and Hilton set up a simple rub to leave the right crosser wide open.— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) July 17, 2019 How Campbell fits in As mentioned previously, over 49% of Campbell’s receptions came on screens, jet sweeps, or drag routes. Part of that was because he wasn’t a developed route-runner, but it was also implemented to help use his freakish athleticism to the best of his abilities. Used frequently in Urban Meyer’s passing attack, Ohio State used tons of quick crossers and mesh concepts - almost to a fault. Dwayne Haskins was able to make clear and precise decisions with the football and the Buckeyes dominated the short passing attack as a result. 1) Here we see Campbell cross for a quick dump off. He hesitates ever so slightly to catch the LB leaning and is off to the races. He beats a 4.4 Devin Bush like he’s a pylon. Ohio St did a good job featuring Parris Campbell. He gets the ball on a crosser vs. zone. Finding Campbell in space like this led to a lot of big gains. Whoever picks Campbell needs to work these crossers to him into their play calls.— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) February 23, 2019 We see similar success on two more crosser designs here. 2) In a bunch set with teammate Terry McLaurin, Campbell runs a shallow drag to allow for the rub. McLaurin settles in the middle (like Doyle often does for Indy), and the top left receiver clears out - leaving Campbell to turn on the jets for the easy touchdown. 3) This time Campbell runs the deep crosser, with the soft zone coverage allowing him to sneak open. With the CB checking the RB in the flat it leaves Campbell on an LB - leading to predictably dominant results. Colts love them some MESH. Guess what was Parris Campbell's most productive route?— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) April 27, 2019 4) Finally, we have another variation of the Chip Kelly RB wheel. The RB lines up on the inside of a left stacked formation, running an outside wheel to open up the short left side. The top left wideout runs the rub route with Campbell, while both the top right receiver and middle stacked receiver clear. Campbell gets open with ease and picks up the first down. Ohio State LOVED the mesh concept. They ran it multiple times every game, with different variations of it too. Haskins knows it like the back of his hand.— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) April 26, 2019 Conclusion Ultimately it’s Campbell’s experience using mesh routes, alongside his fluidity and speed, that makes him such an intriguing underneath option - especially on a team that uses it as much as Indianapolis. Whether it be lining up on the outside, slot, or even in the backfield, Campbell is a prime yards after catch player, and the quicker you can get it in his hands the better. I remember stating in my Campbell report that “if he went to the right, quick-paced system he could make me look like a fool.” Well, I’m starting to get nervous, because that just might be the case. […]

  • Colts News: Frank Reich will Maintain Aggressive, Fearless Mindset in Second Season as Head Coach
    by Brett Mock on July 18, 2019 at 11:31 am

    Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images Frank Reich Will Maintain Aggressive, Fearless Mindset In Second Season As Head Coach | WFNI ESPN 107.5 / 1070 The Fan | Indy's SportsCenterHere are comments from Andrew Luck and Nick Siranni on head coach Frank Reich. Plus, what does Reich have on his mind going into his second season as head coach of the Colts. Howard Mudd Talks Blocking Technique, Quenton Nelson On ‘Move The Sticks’ PodcastIndianapolis Colts senior offensive assistant Howard Mudd joined host Daniel Jeremiah on his “Move The Sticks” podcast this week, where he discussed his own playing days, his approach as an offensive line coach, various blocking techniques and Colts guard 2019 Colts Training Camp Preview: Defensive LinemenWith the Indianapolis Colts set to begin training camp soon at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Ind., previews the team’s defensive linemen. Colts Defensive Back Burning Questions Heading Into 2019 Training Camp | WFNI ESPN 107.5 / 1070 The Fan | Indy's SportsCenterOur burning questions series is back on What are the major questions about the defensive backs of the Indianapolis Colts going into the 2019 Training Camp? 2019 Colts Season Preview: Colts/Dolphins, Week 10With the 2019 season just weeks away, we take an early look at the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins’ Week 10 regular season matchup. Colts Bucking The League Trend By Going Away For Training CampAt a time when many teams are deciding to hold most, if not all, of their training camp practices at their own facilities or stadiums, why is it so important to the Indianapolis Colts that they continue “going away” for camp? COLTS MEDIA "I want my name at the top of the charts." @dsleon45 joined the @NFLTotalAccess crew to talk about his 2019 goals.— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) July 17, 2019 .@Colts @dsleon45 was the DROY while leading the @NFL in tackles. He desires to have 200 tackles this year and wants to be the DPOY. I will never doubt his heart & intelligence. At 216lbs he uses long arms and speed to find the . Only in #FilmSessions. #BaldysBreakdowns— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) July 17, 2019 Brilliant design by Frank Reich here:- Bunch set on the right, have outside WR clear.- Doyle runs deep hook as a safety valve.- RB wheel opens up short right side.- Ebron and Hilton set up a simple rub to leave the right crosser wide open.— Carter Donnick (@CDonScouting) July 17, 2019 […]

  • Stampede Blue Presents: Afternoon Pancakes Episode 3
    by Jared Malott on July 17, 2019 at 8:36 pm

    Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images One week until training camp! Jared and Stephen wax on training camp, Madden ratings and talk at length about the rest of the AFC South. Here’s the link! […]

  • Colts rank 1st in ESPN’s 3-year future power rankings
    by Chris Blystone on July 17, 2019 at 2:30 pm

    Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images ESPN recently published their NFL Future Power Rankings projections, which attempts to rank each NFL team based on how they are set up for the next 3 years. Their methods are as follows: To project which NFL franchises are in the best shape for the next three seasons, we asked our panel of experts to rate each team’s roster non-QB, quarterback, draft, front office and coaching using this scale: 100: A+ (Elite) 90: A (Great) 80: B (Very good) 70: C (Average) 60: D (Very bad) 50 and below: F (Disastrous) After averaging the results from the panelists, each of the five categories was weighted to create the overall score -- roster (30 percent), quarterback (20 percent), draft (15 percent), front office (15 percent) and coaching (20 percent). The result is a comprehensive ranking based on how well each team is positioned for the future. In what might have come as a surprise to many, the Colts find themselves atop the list in the number 1 spot with a total score of 87.8 points. While many have begun to recognize that the Colts are an organization on the rise, such lofty aspirations for them are still a bit unexpected. To see how we arrived there, let’s look at where they ranked in each category. Roster Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images The Colts have come a long way in just a year, with the panel awarding them a 84.7 grade for their roster which is good for 4th in the league. Unsurprisingly, the Eagles topped the list with a 87.7, followed by the Bears with 86.0 in 2nd, and the Saints were 3rd with 85.7. Just a year ago this was a team few credited with having much (if any) talent. Through some major draft success and limited but successful endeavors in free agency, the Colts, under Chris Ballard, managed to turn things around fairly quickly. The roster is now one of the youngest in the league and should be competitive from top to bottom for many years to come. QB Photo by MSA/Icon SMI/Corbis via Getty Images Most everyone can agree that Andrew Luck is a special player. His ability to elevate the play of those around him and make clutch throws has been on display since he came into the league. Luck’s return from injury last season after a year away saw him raise his game even further, and the pairing with an offensive minded head coach let him flourish. With a second year in the same offense, Luck should continue to thrive. Perhaps that is why the team of ESPN’s experts gave him a score of 94, good for 3rd in the league. Patrick Mahomes took 1st with a 97.7 and Aaron Rodgers came in 2nd with a 94.3, which puts Luck in very good company. Personally, I think the Patrick Mahomes hype-train is off the rails a bit after what was admittedly a superlative first season. Regardless of where you come down on Mahomes’ ranking, being considered as a top 3 quarterback is a big deal for Luck, and goes a long way toward setting up the Colts as a long term contender. Draft Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images When you draft two All-Pros in one draft, in addition to a ton of other valuable role players, you get the reigning champion of this category. That’s exactly how it fell for the panel, here. The Colts took 1st with an 87.3 ahead of the Browns in 2nd with an 84.3 and New England at 3rd with an 83.3. This has been the Colts biggest strength and comes largely on the back of a fantastic 2018 draft class. It helps that several contributors from the 2017 class have continued to improve and play a role. If the 2019 class can at least provide depth and competition for the starters, the team should be set up to be deep and a tough roster to make. Coaching The Colts came in at their lowest spot on this list at the coaching position, which seems a bit counter intuitive, but they still received an 84.7 rating there, good for 8th. The Eagles ranked 6th with an 86.0 and Matt Nagy and the Bears were 7th with 85.0. The Ravens slotted in right behind the Colts at 9th with an 81.7. Unsurprisingly, the Patriots topped this category with a 95.0, and it is tough to argue that isn’t correct. This is an area that is likely to see improvement in year two. The Colts took a huge leap in play in large part due to good coaching. If their success continues to trend upward, Frank Reich and Matt Eberflus will get even more credit for the work they are doing with this young team. If they struggle in year two, that will be a different story. Front Office Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images In a big win for Chris Ballard, he lands himself the number 2 spot for building a great front office with a 90.7 score only trailing the Patriots’ front office who was 1st with a 91.3. This isn’t a huge surprise. Ballard was already a league favorite in terms of his talent and presence before he even took the Colts job. His calm and intentional style of management and his ability to weather some rough patches with complete aplomb have only served to bolster that trust. Most of all, he has found success in both his draft picks and his free agent moves. While teams have spent like crazy on big ticket free agents, Ballard has waited patiently and snapped up good scheme fits after the dust settles on the bidding wars. He has re-signed guys who earned new deals rather than overpaying for talent that is on the back stretch of their usefulness. Additionally, and just as importantly, Ballard has put his staff front and center in a lot of their media coverage. It is clear that he wants to build an atmosphere that rewards talent, and that extends to his front office employees. The culture that Ballard pitched to Jim Irsay when he interviewed for the job is now starting to show all the signs of flourishing, and that front office is all the better as a result. Conclusions All these ratings ultimately don’t mean much. They do, however, indicate how the Colts as a whole are viewed by the league at large. This is a team on the rise, and given that coaching was considered their weakest area, it seems like the Colts should expect to be on top for a long time to come. […]


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