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ANDERSON, IN --- We've reached the first weekend of Indianapolis Colts training camp, and it's time to update which players are making a name for themselves in the early going, in an effort to make the 53-man roster and earn playing time.
STOCK UP - RB Ahmad Bradshaw - Chuck Pagano said Saturday Bradshaw has looked "fantastic" and looks like he "found the fountain of youth." He's gotten extra reps with the 1s as well, with Vick Ballard's season-ending Achilles injury and Trent Richardson's being held out as a precaution Friday and Saturday. Bradshaw hopes his foot injuries are in the past in his age 28 season.* Fantasy football people may want to make not of this too in the late rounds of their drafts*.
STOCK UP - RBs Dan "Boom" Herron and Chris Rainey - Again, Ballard's sad injury does open the door for other guys. Those guys are Herron and Rainey. Herron has seen extra reps with the first-team offense in team with Ballard gone and Richardson banged up. Rainey adds another dimension in the return game. Chuck Pagano agreed Rainey's ability to return kicks definitely gives him an advantage to making the squad. "Absolutely," Pagano replied. "He looks like the old Chris Rainey."
Pagano went on to tell a story about how he was getting ready to go back to coaching in college as defensive coordinator at North Carolina and was given a recruiting DVD of Rainey. He watched it with his youngest daughter. After a few plays, she told Pagano, "Go get that guy." "It looked like everybody else was standing still on the tape," Pagano replied. "That's what he looks like now."
STOCK UP: WR Griff Whalen - Literally, the only pass I've seen Whalen not catch was on a ball thrown behind him on a crossing route over the middle that he still almost tipped back to himself with one hand. Whalen's hands are as sure as any receiver on the team. With the Colts having waived LaVon Brazill, a spot in the receiving corp is there for the taking for Whalen.
STOCK DOWN: RB Vick Ballard - This is obvious, but you have to feel for Ballard. Two years, two fluke injuries in non-contact drills. First the ACL last year, and now he tears his Achilles. Pagano said it best: "It's a tough, tough pill to swallow."
STOCK DOWN: QB Matt Hasselbeck - The Colts' back-up quarterback threw three interceptions in team drills Friday. However, they were all in blitz drills and the first went through the hands of his receiver. He rallied with a deep TD pass to Griff Whalen. It was just a poor portion of one practice. He's firmly entrenched as a solid veteran back-up to Andrew Luck.
STOCK UP: S Mike Adams - The late veteran free-agent signing who played in Denver last year is competing with Delano Howell to start opposite LaRon Landry at safety. Friday, Adams picked off his first pass in practice, one of the three from Hasselbeck.
STOCK UP: Andrew Luck on 3rd Downs - Luck has stated improving on 3rd downs and in the red zone are his biggest goals this season. Friday he was very efficient in 3rd and 7 drills. 6-of-8 passing, four of those went for first downs, with the other two completed passes going to check-downs that could have easily gained enough for a first down. He also scrambled for a first down on a 4th and 5 situation, prompting DE Cory Redding to yell to the fans, "You know we can't touch him!" The crowd started laughing, but it was all in good fun, as Redding high-fived Luck (even if he could touch him, Luck still got the first down).