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Observation deck: Gonzalez making an instant impact

Rookie WR Anthony Gonzalez is one of the biggest acquisitions for the Indy offense in years, writes John Clayton.

Originally Published: August 1, 2007
By John Clayton | ESPN.com
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Five observations from Indianapolis Colts training camp, gleaned from the team's practices:

1. Gonzalez making an instant impact
First-round choice Anthony Gonzalez is the best addition to the passing offense in the past couple of years. Defensive coordinators used to lament to Peyton Manning how tough it was to defend him when Brandon Stokley was healthy. Stokley, in their eyes, was the best slot receiver and created mismatch problems when the Colts were in three-receiver sets. Coordinators put their third-best pass defender on Stokley, but Stokley was so shifty and so good at getting Manning's attention in the middle of the field, he opened the offense up for Manning's best season. Gonzalez could be equally dangerous. Even though he's still learning the offense, he looks like a natural. He worked the slot for Ohio State and has the knack of getting open in the first 12 yards from the line of scrimmage. After the catch, he looks like Speedy Gonzalez. He should be exceptional with his ability to run after the catch. Don't put Gonzalez immediately into the fantasy football mix. He needs time to learn this system. For example, he has to learn not to stop his route if Manning gets past his third progression. But fantasy or no fantasy, Gonzalez looks like a dream acquisition for this offense.

2. Discovery channel
Tony Dungy and Bill Polian keep finding linebackers. It's a good thing that they do because they figure to lose a lot of them to free agency because so much of the Colts' money is tied into keeping the offense together. Freddy Keiaho should be fine as the weakside linebacker. He has good speed and might be a little better at stopping the run than Cato June, who was an exceptional athlete. Over the past couple of years, the Colts have lost several good weakside linebackers: June, Mike Peterson and David Thornton. Dungy's Cover 2 defense is set up to feature the weakside linebackers because they become the playmakers. They have to have the speed to drop into coverage along with the range to run all the way across the field to tackle ball carriers. In practice, Keiaho made several romps across the field to get to anyone carrying the ball.

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