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Monday, August 4, 2008
Hart looks to complicate Indy backfield


Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

 
 Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
 Owner Daniel Snyder of the Washington Redskins talks with coach Tony Dungy of the Indianapolis Colts before the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium.

CANTON, Ohio -- Is the reorganization of the Colts' running back depth underway?

A couple carries in the preseason opener aren't going to scramble the depth chart. But sixth-round draft pick Mike Hart out of Michigan started to make his case with four carries for 53 yards and three catches for 24 more in tonight's 30-16 loss to Washington in the Hall of Fame Game.

The depth chart says after Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes it's Kenton Keith, Clifton Dawson, Hart and Chad Simpson. Odds are the team keeps four and that beyond the top two it'll be a fluid situation to the final cuts.

"It's going to be very competitive, it has been that way in camp and they followed it up with a good performance today," coach Tony Dungy said. "We've seen that from Mike four years in college and we've seen it every day in practice, he just continues to run hard and block well and catch the ball and does the things you need to get done."

Hart was smiling after the game as he talked about getting booed, saying it reassures him that he did OK in college at Michigan if he's reviled when he arrives in Ohio. While he felt good about his game he also found some fault.

"My pass-blocking wasn't great today and I can do a lot of little things better," he said. "But running the ball I think I did pretty well. We didn't run too many plays, so the script was kind of easy. I was comfortable out there... It's hard. Everyone's real talented. We're all talented. Everyone has to come out every day and play their best."

How to decide about the backs over the remainder of training camp and four more preseason games?

"You'll have to ask Mr. Polian that question," Hart said, referring to team president Bill Polian. "I have no clue."