INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –The Indianapolis Colts still are in the midst of offseason work, which means no contact and no full-padded practices.
Chuck Pagano and his staff remain in full evaluation mode.
And that means exhaustive individual assessment, not settling on anything resembling a depth chart. Anyone interested in deciphering who’s lining up where must do so at his own peril.
So, we will. At our own peril. And with a pencil, not a pen.
Pagano made it clear the on-going organized team activities (OTAs) and the Colts’ June 13-15 mandatory minicamp is no time for positional pecking orders to crystalize.
“There’s competition at every position right now,’’ he said Wednesday. “You guys probably know a couple, two, three starters. I know a couple, two, three starters.
“It’s too early. I’m not losing sleep over anything right now.’’
The bulk of an offense that a year ago ranked No. 10 in total yards and No. 8 in scoring returns with a few notable alterations. Tight end Dwayne Allen was shipped to New England in March, paving the way for Jack Doyle to prove he’s worth the three-year, $19 million contract he signed. The right-side of the line still is a work in progress, and no one should be surprised if fourth-round draft pick Marlon Mack plays a significant role in the running back rotation as a rookie.
The defense? Nametags still are a good idea. The offseason was all about getting younger and better – the ’16 defense was one of the least effective in team history – and could result in as many as seven new starters, including the entire linebacker corps.
The fluidity of the starting lineups, Pagano insisted, will remain through the early weeks of training camp. Players report to camp July 29. The preseason opener is Aug. 13 against the Detroit Lions in Lucas Oil Stadium.
“We’re going to see how they progress and obviously use the whole body of work from now until then,’’ he said. “Until it’s live bullets and we get to preseason games and you can actually hit a quarterback and (quarterbacks are) going to have to take a hit and avoid hits and run the offense against the defense that doesn’t have a 3-yard ‘halo’ rule, a lot can change.
“We’ve got a lot of competition at all spots right now. The offensive line is not solidified. We’d love it to be, but it’s not. Until we get the pads on and get to training camp, there’s a lot to be determined yet.’’
While Pagano has more important things on his plate than authoring an offseason depth chart, we don’t. That in mind, here’s our stab at aligning a two-deep. Again, we reserve the right to make changes early and often.
One caveat: our depth chart reflects certain injured players either being ready for Sept. 10 season opener against the Los Angeles Rams, or needing further rehab. For instance, we’re expecting quarterback Andrew Luck (right shoulder) to be under center against the Rams. But we’re not as optimistic with strong safety Clayton Geathers (neck).
Drum roll please. (* – denotes rookie)
QB: Andrew Luck, Scott Tolzien
RB: Frank Gore, Robert Turbin
LT: Anthony Castonzo, Jeremy Vujnovich
LG: Jack Mewhort, Adam Redmond
C: Ryan Kelly, Brian Schwenke
RG: Joe Haeg, Denzelle Good
RT: Le’Raven Clark, Zach Banner*
TE: Jack Doyle, Brandon Williams
TE: Erik Swoope, Mo Alie-Cox*
WR: T.Y. Hilton, Phillip Dorsett
WR: Donte Moncrief, Kamar Aiken
DE: Kendall Langford, Hassan Ridgeway
NT: Johnathan Hankins, Al Woods
DT: Henry Anderson, Grover Stewart*
Rush LB: Jabaal Sheard, Tarell Basham*
ILB: Sean Spence, Antonio Morrison
ILB: Anthony Walker*, Jon Bostic
SLB: John Simon, Lavar Edwards
CB: Vontae Davis, Nate Harrison*
CB: Quincy Wilson*, Rashaan Melvin
SS: T.J. Green, Mathias Farley
FS: Malik Hooker*, Darius Butler
LS: Thomas Hennessy*
P: Jeff Locke
K: Adam Vinatieri
KR: Quan Bray
PR: Chester Rogers