After getting to see several training camp practices, Coach C and I thought we'd put together our evaluation of the team so far and a few expectations for the pre season. On the grading scale, an A means that area is a definite strength of the team, possibly a top-5 group in the NFL, a B represents a good group, nothing special but definitely in the top half of the league, a C represents a group that is somewhat solid, it won't kill the team but it isn't really good, and anything worse is bad news. QB Lock for final roster: David Carr, Sage Rosenfels On the bubble: Cody Pickett, Quinton Porter Talent: B- Potential: B+ Depth: C+ I personally think David Carr has a ton of untapped talent and he's looked immensely better in Training Camp than he has at any point in his career. The system fits him better, he has much better talent around him, and his confidence is soaring. However, the only game evidence we've seen so far prevents me from grading him anything higher than a B- at this point in time, but I'm very confident he'll end up being better this year and I think he has the potential to grow into about a B+ rating this year. As for his backups, Rosenfels has been in the league for 5 years but has seen limited action, Cody Pickett has seen very little action, and Quinton Porter is obviously a rookie. Rosenfels has looked pretty solid for a backup thusfar in training camp, but once again I have seen little of him in actual games to this point, and the others are obviously in the same boat so I can't rate the depth as anything better than average. RB Lock for final roster: Domanick Davis (maybe on PUP), Antowain Smith, Vernand Morency, Chris Taylor, Jameel Cook On the bubble: Wali Lundy (likely practice squad if not active roster, likely not on active roster if DD is active) Doubtful: Damien Rhodes (possible practice squad if Lundy is not on it), Nick Luchey Talent: B- Potential: B Depth: C Domanick Davis' knee situation drops the grade on this group, although this is a RB-friendly system. Outside of him, we are left with a trio of RBs that have looked quite good in Training Camp, although two of them have limited or no NFL experience and the third is on the downside of his career, although he has been a solid runner when given the chance and has been a part of several winning teams. Taylor has been one of the biggest surprises of camp and could end up being a starter for much of the year. I personally think Morency has the most talent among this group but Taylor is a little more of a power runner, ideally I think the two of them split the majority of the carries if Davis can't go, with Smith seeing some short yardage or change of pace carries. Lundy has looked fairly solid but unspectacular in camp and should make the active roster if Davis starts out on PUP and also likely allow for Rhodes to stay on practice squad, but if Davis is on the active roster I don't see us carrying 5 active RBs which would bump Lundy to practice squad (assuming no other team picks him up) and bump Rhodes into waivers. Jameel Cook looks like a good fit at FB for their system, he can block pretty well and he can get out and either run or catch the ball out of the back field. While this system has a history of producing solid rushers and production out of less-than-stellar RBs and I expect it to do likewise here, the talent of this group has relatively lmited potential so I can only grade that a solid B. I think we have pretty solid depth and will make use of it during the year, but since so much of it is unproven at this moment I can't grade that too high either. WR Lock for final roster: Andre Johnson, Eric Moulds, Kevin Walter Probable: Derrick Lewis, Jerome Mathis (PUP to start the year) On the bubble: Derick Armstrong, Jake Schifino, David Anderson Doubtful: Kendrick Starling, Richie Ross, Donovan Morgan Talent: A- Potential: A Depth: C Andre Johnson and Eric Moulds are one of the top WR duos in the league. We are one of the few teams that have two legitimate #1 WRs, and both have looked phenomenal in Training Camp and David Carr is thoroughly enjoying having both of them together. Both should have great seasons, and Moulds should open things up for Andre and I expect him to have his best year yet, barring injury. As for depth, Kevin Walter has looked quite good so far as well and should be an excellent #3, although as with Carr he's shown fairly limited proof of stardom in real games thusfar. After Walter, Lewis has looked very good in Training Camp as a WR and KR, I'm quite sure he will make the final roster and will likely be our #4 WR option. Jerome Mathis will be out the first 6 weeks or more of the season, so he will start the year on PUP but should be activated after that, which might cause someone else to be dropped off the roster unless a spot opens up due to injury. I personally like Derick Armstrong, he has great hands, but he just can't create much separation from DBs at all and he's seen relatively few reps so far, so I'm not sure he makes the roster. Schifino has probably looked the next best at WR and has a good chance of making the roster depending on how many WRs they keep. David Anderson also has a decent chance, he is very small and not very fast but he's quick, he runs good routes, has good hands, and he's decent on special teams. Starling, Ross, and Morgan have not showed a whole lot of positive plays and I don't really see any of them making it, Ross probably has the best chance among them but I'd still be surprised to see him, although he or Anderson could be kept on practice squad. I think Johnson, Moulds, and Walter can end up being about as good as the Colts trio, maybe even as good, although they won't put up near the production because of different styles of offense. However, I am a little concerned about our depth and injuries to one or more of our top guys could really hurt us. TE Lock for final roster: Mark Bruener, Jeb Putzier Probable: Bennie Joppru, Owen Daniels Doubtful: Aaron Halterman, Patrick Hape Talent: C+ Potential: B- Depth: C+ Bruener and Putzier are definitely locks for our team. Bruener is still a premier blocking TE, and he has surprisingly decent hands, although he is really slow. Putzier is a nice pass catching TE and is an ok blocker, and he will help our passing offense a lot this year. Both Daniels and Joppru are also pretty good pass catching TEs that have a good mix of athleticism and hands, although both are somewhat small and not great at blocking. Both have seen time in the backfield as a FB/H-Back and will likely maintain that during the season. Halterman and Hape have also seen time in the backfield (especially Hape), but I think Joppru and Daniels have the upper hand as of this moment. Ben Steele was looking pretty nice until his season-ending injury. I think we finally have a solid group of TEs, but I can't really say they're anything better than average, although they will still be instrumental in our offense in many ways. We have decent depth and there isn't much of a drop off from Bruener and Putzier to Daniels and Joppru. OL Lock for final roster: Seth Wand, Chester Pitts, Mike Flanagan, Steve McKinney, Zach Wiegert, Charles Spencer, Fred Weary, Drew Hodgdon, Eric Winston On the bubble: Ephraim Salaam, Brad Bedell, David Loverne Doubtful: Chris Watton, Mike Brisiel Talent: C Potential: B- Depth: C- Our OLine looks a lot better than last year, and has looked better every day of Training Camp thusfar, especially in team drills where the whole line is working together. However, our individual talent is still not real great and I can't rate it anything better than average to slightly below average, although I think our scheme will help improve their production. Seth Wand looked horrible at the beginning of Training Camp, and he has been looking better more recently, but he's still the weak link on the OLine, and Spencer has been getting a lot of the 1st team reps at LT. I think Wand is more or less holding down the spot until Spencer is ready to be our guy there, spencer is much stronger, is at least as athletic, and seems much tougher, although he is still making some rookie mistakes and has some work to do before he's ready to be a solid starter. He has an amazingly strong punch and if he gets into the defensive player the battle is over, however he still doesn't sink his weight down quite well enough and tends to lean and reach for guys rushing around the edge rather than getting his body over there, but he's improving. Zach Wiegert has looked quite solid at RT, definitely one of the best at the 1-on-1 drills with the DLinemen and he's looked solid in the team drills too. He has been pretty injury prone in recent years, and if he does go down Eric Winston will be there to step in. Winston has also looked pretty good so far but he has made a lot of rookie mistakes and has some work to do before he's ready, although he's picking things up pretty quickly. He naturally has fairly short arms and he's letting guys get in close to him too much in pass protection, although he is very athletic for an OLineman and has looked solid in run blocking. He will be a very good OT for years to come, although he has some more work to do before I'm comfortable with him being a starter for us, so hopefully Wiegert lasts at least half the year. Winston has also seen some time at TE in goalline sets. Ephraim Salaam has looked ok but not very good, he definitely shouldn't be starting and is ok for depth, but definitely behind Winston and Spencer. Chester Pitts is currently our most talented OLineman and has played well. He has been solid in 1-on-1 drills and pass protection in team drills, and he's been good in run blocking and has shown good mobility and ability to get to the 2nd level. He's definitely a starter and needs to stay healthy for us. Steve McKinney has looked solid at times but bad at times. He has gotten destroyed by Weaver and Mario in 1-on-1s but has been pretty solid otherwise. He has looked pretty good in team drills, although he's not the OG he used to be. Fred Weary has seen a lot of action as McKinney has sat out some practices, and he's looked quite good in the opportunities he's been given. He has looked pretty solid in 1-on-1s and also is quite strong, and he's been pretty good in pass protection and run blocking in team drills. I wouldn't especially mind if he ends up taking McKinney's spot or if he has to step in for injury for him. Mike Flanagan has also looked quite good so far. He has been pretty good in 1-on-1s and has looked good in team drills, although he too has a recent history of some injury problems. Drew Hodgdon has not looked very good so far, he's been badly overmatched against our DLine in 1-on-1s and hasn't looked real solid in team drills against our 1st team defense. He needs to get a lot stronger and work on his technique some before I'm comfortable with him being our eventual starter. None of the other guys have looked very good, Loverne and Bedell have probably been the next best but hopefully if either one make the team they never have to play for us. I think our depth at OT is fairly good as Wand and Wiegert should be able to do pretty well until Spencer and Winston are ready to step in, but I am worried about our depth at interior OLine and that our C, RG, and RT have all had some injury issues.