Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Indianapolis Colts' training camp awards
By Mike Wells
ANDERSON, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up training camp at Anderson (Indiana) University 40 minutes early Wednesday when special-teams coordinator Tom McMahon caught a kickoff. McMahon was immediately mobbed by the players because it meant they were able to head back to their homes in Indianapolis.
With that said, here are my training camp awards:
Best Comeback: The only question really remaining with receiver Reggie Wayne is how he’ll handle being tackled for the first time since tearing his ACL last October. That will happen at some point in the preseason. Throughout camp, Wayne was on the field making sharp cuts, catching passes in the middle of the field and being that security blanket quarterback Andrew Luck was used to prior to the injury. Will Wayne be the same player who had 1,000-yard seasons earlier in his career? That likely won’t happen because he’s almost 36 years old and the Colts don’t need him to be with the offensive weapons they have -- Hakeem Nicks, T.Y. Hilton, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. But just know that Wayne will be ready to make a play when the ball comes his way. Allen is a close second with this award because his return gives the Colts one of the best young all-around tight ends in the league. The Colts missed Allen’s blocking ability last season.
Tough Luck: Unfortunately, we’re not talking about how tough Andrew Luck is on this one. This is all about running back Vick Ballard and guard Donald Thomas. Both players were supposed to be significant players on offense this year, but their seasons ended -- again -- before they could even get tired of eating cafeteria food or looking at each other in their dorm rooms. Ballard tore his Achilles during a running back pass-catching drill and Thomas tore the same quad that cost him the 2013 season during practice.
Most Impressive Rookie: You can argue it’s Jack Mewhort because he has moved into Thomas’ starting position at guard, but I’m going with receiver Donte Moncrief. Moncrief, the Colts’ third-round pick, had a reputation for dropping passes while at Mississippi. That wasn’t the case during camp. He has deceptive speed, he’s tough and he often found a way to come down with the ball in traffic. Moncrief is positioning himself to be the Colts’ fourth receiver this season.
Most Motivated: Cornerback Greg Toler knows not many people believe he can stay healthy. Why should they? Toler has yet to play a full season in his five-year career. That’s why while cornerback Vontae Davis and safety LaRon Landry missed minicamp in June and the first part of training camp nursing injuries, Toler practiced every day except when coach Chuck Pagano gave his veteran players days off to rest. Toler’s aggressive style of play sets the tone for the secondary.
Biggest Question Mark: It’s the same question the Colts had entering camp -- the interior part of the offensive line. First Thomas goes down with his season-ending injury. Then center Khaled Holmes sprains his ankle on the first series against the New York Jets, putting him on the sidelines for a couple weeks. And then Mewhort didn’t practice the final three days of training camp because of an issue with his knee, which he had surgery on during the offseason. With that said, there’s no doubt there’s still legit concerns about the interior part of the offensive line.
Best Catch: Tight end Weslye Saunders can thank Nicks for taking this award from him. Nicks beat undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and made a one-handed catch on a fade pattern in the corner of the end zone. Saunders, in that same corner of the end zone, beat Landry -- on a fade, too -- during practice. Saunders added a little flavor to things by tossing the ball to Landry after the play.
Biggest Knucklehead: You didn’t really think Chris Rainey was going to get a pass? First Rainey was waived by the Colts for violating team rules. Then he went to Twitter and drew more attention to himself during the Colts’ preseason opener last week. He said he didn’t break a team rule and then added another tweet where he claimed fellow running back Daniel “Boom” Herron was playing around with the fire extinguisher, too, the night Rainey got in trouble. Rainey likely won’t have the trust of his teammates -- if he gets another shot in the NFL -- after he broke an unwritten rule of airing dirty laundry that's meant to stay in house. Oh yeah, Rainey also pulled the “Somebody else tweeted it” line that we’re accustomed to seeing when people tweet foolish things. Now do you see why he gets this award?