Four-Down Friday: What Has Been The Biggest Surprise And Disappointment Of Colts Camp?

Posted Aug 1, 2014

Intro: What’s on the minds of those in Colts Nation? Where does Hakeem Nicks fit into the Colts offensive depth chart? Is this defense improved from 2013?

ANDERSON – You asked them and we answered them.

Here’s “Four-Down Friday” which is a weekly Twitter Q and A piece that will run every Friday.

This week’s installment of questions focuses on the surprises and disappointments of camp, Hakeem Nicks’ role and the safety position next to LaRon Landry.

For me, the biggest surprise has been the presence of Art Jones up front. Sure, it’s difficult to consistently stand out in the trenches but Jones has blown up several running plays in 11-on-11 situations. In talking with linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman, they can’t say enough good things about Jones, and the Colts defensive line.

The biggest disappointment has been in the secondary and not getting a chance to see the first unit healthy. There was some uncertainty coming into Training Camp at the backend of the Colts defense and we don’t really know if answers have been found back there. Until Vontae Davis and LaRon Landry make their camp debuts, we will still be waiting to see what the makeup of the secondary will look like when the Colts take on two elite passing attacks to start of the 2014 season.

Every time Nicks gets a chance to talk with the media he reminds those that getting on the same page as Andrew Luck (or “Drew” as he calls him) is the top priority during Training Camp. You can tell that rapport is still being fine-tuned. Nicks has flashed with some impressive catches in camp but he hasn’t caught nearly the amount of balls as a T.Y. Hilton.

When the Colts have come out in a 2-WR, 2-TE set, Hilton and Reggie Wayne have typically been the two receivers. Nicks is obviously out there when the Colts go three wide and it will be interesting to watch if him and Luck continue to develop that chemistry with nearly two weeks of camp left. It’s a pretty good problem to have when you can afford to bring a 1,000-yard receiver at his own speed and not feel pressured in doing so.

I expect this question to be a constant for the next couple of “Four-Down Friday’s”. With LaRon Landry still sidelined, we just don’t have a firm answer. You can’t completely judge who’s going to be next to Landry until we see some action from the incumbent starter next to potential candidates.

So far in camp, we’ve seen three safeties get extended run with the first unit. Sergio Brown and Delano Howell were the starters throughout the first week of camp. Veteran Mike Adams has run with the first team the last two days and he’s an intriguing name to watch considering his 146 games of NFL experience. Brown is the surprise of the group. He made no qualms this offseason about wanting to be a starting safety in this league and has taken full advantage of open first team reps.

An intriguing question for a unit that has seen quite a few changes from last season. As long as the secondary can stay healthy, I do see this defense improving in 2013.

The secondary is the key in my opinion. Yes, the rush defense has been the focal point all offseason long but that unit has some key additions to work with in 2014. When ESPN came out with their preseason power rankings they threw out the stat of Art Jones no longer being in Baltimore. With Jones on the field, the Ravens allowed just 3.4 yards per carry in 2013. With him off the field, the unit allowed 4.6 yards on the ground. Combine Jones with guys like D’Qwell Jackson and a starting Josh Chapman, and I feel confident in the Colts run game improving in 2014.

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