Get To Know Colts New QB Brett Hundley

This week, with the injury to QB Carson Wentz, the Colts signed former Green Bay quarterback Brett Hundley. Get to know Brett’s work and what you can expect from the new QB. Brett wore 7 previously yet will sport the number 3 for Indianapolis as he looks to make a new start.

Hundley fell to the Packers in the 5th after being projected as high as a 2nd rounder. Brett left UCLA as the schools all time leader in Touchdowns and total offense. Hundley won the backup job by beating out Scott Tolzien, sound familiar Colts fans? He wowed coaches with off the field maturity and his athletic ability. When Rodgers broke his collarbone, thanks to Anthony Barr, which allowed Brett to take the wheel. In the next 9 games Hundley went 3-6 with 9 passing TDs and 13 Interceptions. That wasn’t enough for the Pack as they went out and traded Hundley to Seattle for a 6th.

The next stop in Seattle was as memorable for Brett as every other backup for Russell Wilson is. Russ has that ability to just avoid injury that makes it almost magic which makes his backups unnecessary. After Seattle Hundley signed a 1 year deal in Arizona to back up #1 overall pick Kyler Murray. He saw limited action and did well because he earned himself another 1 year deal for the 2020 season.

Now with the injury to Wentz the journeyman makes his way to Indy where he may see substantial playing time depending on the severity of that injury. In the Era of the mobile QB Brett Hundley is an asset and an intriguing prospect. His ability to extend plays or create plays for himself is what allowed him to create those records at UCLA. His decision making needs work but with Coach Reich’s ability to simplify the Offense and the strong running ability of the team that should alleviate some of those concerns.

Colts Fantasy Preview

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It’s that time of year again where all the armchair general managers start building their teams for this season. Let’s take a look at the names you might want to familiarize yourself with before you huddle up with your buds and start claiming your perfect team.

Carson Wentz: Miss out on Mahomes, Lamar, or A-Rod? Wentz is so intriguing due to his shoulder. There is no denial that Wentz arm talent is top tier but he has struggled the last few seasons. That performance in recent years makes him a high risk yet high reward because, as I mentioned in a previous article, Wentz has upgrades everywhere around him. Everything is there for Wentz to carry your fantasy team the question is can he put it all together with his old OC Frank Reich. Wentz is a QB you want on that roster.

Jonathon Taylor: The year end explosion from Taylor helped many fantasy teams clinch gold as he went beast mode week 17 and set several franchise records as he topped 250 yards. Taylor has already started flying off the board early, lasting in a lot of drafts only until the 2nd round. If Taylor is one of your targets, make him your 1st. All signs point for the 2nd year man to continue his upward trend with Frank Reich already naming him the starter and the teams emphasis on running the ball. No brainer.

Marlon Mack: Marlon is an stash and pray player. If you were lucky enough to draft Taylor you need to grab Mack later in the draft. Stash him and pray Taylor stays healthy but this is your insurance right here. Mack is a proven rusher with over 2,000 yards in the last 3 seasons. If Taylor falters and Mack becomes the hot hand your team is still set. BOGO sale here

Nyhiem Hines: Hines time in the backfield may be short with the logjam of Taylor and Mack but he shines as a pass catcher. Hines has explosive speed combined with great hands to make him a major weapon running routes. Last season he was the 2nd most targeted pass catcher on the entire team, behind only TY Hilton. While the QB change may have an effect on his numbers the scheme the team runs keeps those numbers up. Hines is a boom or bust fantasy guy. He eclipsed 18 points 3 times last year but held solid around 7-10 per game. Need a bye week replacement? Hines is your guy. Late round stash or waiver wire pickup

Colts WRs: T.Y. was simply unplayable last season until week 12. The 1st 11 weeks he averaged 2.4 fantasy points per game. The last 6 weeks of the season he took off averaging 12.5, which was top 10 during that time frame for WRs. Despite that wild fantasy outlook he still lead the club in targets and receptions. If that trend continues he will be a great waiver wire pickup later in the year. Pittman had a few big games but fantasy wise was too unpredictable to roster a spot. Pascal has improved year after year but has yet to attain every week starter status. Parris Campbell needs to actually play. Bottom line is the Colts WR room leaves a lot to be desired. Waiver wire at your own risk.

Colts TEs: Jack Doyle will be the number 1 guy to start the season but that’s not the name to look at. Mo Alie-Cox has the potential to be a breakout star with his size and athleticism. Think 2018 Ebron level of breakout. Reich loves to use his TEs and Wentz best friend in Philly was Zac Ertz. Mo is the sleeper here. Look for him to start the season slow and build towards the middle. Dynasty guys a name to look for to stash and look for later is Kylen Granson. Reich pounded on the table for this guy and looks for him to be a prominent player in the years to come.

Colts Defense: Some leagues have defensive players and there are only 3 guys that are rosterable from Indy. Darius Leonard, Deforest Buckner, and Kenny Moore. Leonard has been a tackles machine with a nose for turnovers while his in game speed gets him sacks. He’s ranked as the 4th best LB by ESPN and lives that up on every snap. Buckner was also ranked by ESPN and he comes in as the 3rd best interior DL on that list. His long arms combined with his non-stop motor makes him a problem every snap. The league loves the slot WR and with the passing game numbers always climbing it pays for you to have the best slot corner in the game. That man is Kenny Moore. Kenny shows a willingness to tackle the ball carrier by leading all slot corners with 80 tackles which gives him fantasy value in the running game as well. He’s a defensive player you want week in and week out. The Colts defense has a top 4 player at each level and with the addition of Kwitty Paye the front looks to be even better. The Colts defense is incredibly draftable and may end up being one of the top in the league by the time fantasy playoffs start.

Is the Maniac worth the crazy price?

Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Darius Leonard (53) celebrates a defensive stop against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

With the signing of 49ers linebacker Fred Warner it is expected in the coming days for Colts linebacker Darius Leonard to reset the market with a massive contract extension. The real question Colts fans are asking themselves happens to be is the money worth it for a linebacker?

Flashback to the second night of the draft in 2018. The Colts had amassed 4 second round picks and General Manager Chris Ballard took a linebacker from South Carolina State with the 36th overall pick. Immediate reaction was mixed as some popular news outlets even went so far as to tab Leonard the worst pick in the entire draft. He quelled those takes very quickly when he exploded in week 2 vs the Football Team with 19 tackles and a sack. From then on out the man they call Maniac tackled and sacked his was to NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year honors along with 1st team All-Pro honors. Solid 1st season but was he one hit wonder?

Move on to 2019 the 1st team All-Pro looked to continue his rapid rise and hoped earn his 1st Pro Bowl appearance. Leonard faced the 1st big test of his NFL career as he had gotten a concussion and 3 weeks later was still dealing with severe symptoms. Leonard talked about that time and how trying it was as he wondered if he’d ever lace up his cleats again and if he did would he be the same player. He cleared concussion protocol and went on to set career highs in Interceptions and defensive touchdowns. After the year 1 snub Leonard finally cracked the Pro Bowl roster while also getting 2nd team All-Pro.

Last season came with challenges for everyone and Darius Leonard was no exception. In all the Covid-19 roadblocks and hurdles Leonard still had 130 tackles and 3 forced fumbles. While 2020 did become the 1st season Leonard did not notch an interception he still had 7 pass defensed in 14 games played. He made his 2nd consecutive Pro Bowl and was named 1st Team All-Pro. So where does Leonard rank with top linebackers who’ve played at least 3 seasons?

PLAYER A: 48 games 253 solo tackles with 114 assisted 14 QB hits 4 Sacks 5 Forced Fumbles 3 Fumble Recoveries 3 Interceptions 1 Defensive Score

PLAYER B: 40 Games 202 solo tackles with 123 assisted 4 QB hits 1.5 Sacks 3 Forced Fumbles 3 Fumble Recoveries 5 Interceptions 0 Defensive Scores

PLAYER C: 47 Games 251 solo tackles with 184 assisted 23 QB hits 7 Sacks 3 Forced Fumbles 3 Fumble Recoveries 2 Interceptions 1 Defensive Score

PLAYER D: 46 Games 258 solo tackles with 102 assisted 17 QB hits 6 Sacks 7 Forced Fumbles 5 Fumble Recoveries 2 Interceptions 0 Defensive Scores

PLAYER E: 42 Games 268 solo tackles with 148 assisted 17 QB hits 15 sacks 9 Forced Fumbles 4 Fumble Recoveries 7 Interceptions 1 Defensive Score

Which player deserves to be the NFL’s highest paid LB? The players listed are commonly referred to as the top 5 linebackers in the NFL and in order are Fred Warner, Eric Kendricks, Bobby Wagner, Lavonte David, and then Darius Leonard. Playing in less games than all qualifying linebackers except Kendricks, Leonard was 1st in solo tackles, 1st in sacks, 1st in forced fumbles, and 1st in interceptions. He took home 2nd in total tackles behind Bobby Wagner, tied for 2nd in QB hits with Lavonte David behind Bobby Wagner, and he is 2nd in fumble recoveries behind David as well. In every major linebacker category Leonard is consistently one of top the linebackers if not the top. So what do you think? Is Darius Leonard worth the money?

Training Camp Preview: WR Edition

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) warms up before an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Last year the Colts kept 6 wide outs and the trend continues this year. Unlike the last few positions there are 4 pass catchers who are making the roster. I’m going to break down the others fighting for those last few spots.

Tyler Vaughns- A UDFA from USC with a great track record while in school. In an interview at rookie mini-camp Tyler said he came here due to his familiarity with the O and chemistry with Colts 2nd round pick last year Michael Pittman Jr.

Mike Strachan- The former DII standout athlete showed up and showed out at the West Virginia pro-day. After not playing for a year due to Covid-19 he impressed the Colts scouts by how in shape he was and how well he performed. His 6’5 frame along with his 4.4 speed piqued the Colts interest and so far has gotten wonderful praise from the coaching staff.

Dezmon Patmon- The former 6th round pick has already been working with new QB Carson Wentz this offseason in Houston. Last year was a weird year for him as he spent every week on the 53 man roster yet only played in one game. The Colts kept him for his developmental upside in hopes that he can take a big year 2 leap.

JJ Nelson- Nelson is fighting for his life this training camp. The 29 year old WR is on his 3rd team and has never really caught his stride after being a 5th round pick by Arizona in 2015. Look for the speedy guy to take the top off the defense in camp.

Gary Jennings Jr.- The former 4th round pick in 2019 is now on his 5th team in 2 years. While he possess all the athletic measurables he hasn’t been able to put it together on the field yet.

DeMichael Harris- Harris is an interesting prospect as he made plays last season in a schemed role. The question for the electric Harris is if he can develop enough pure WR skills to earn a spot or improve on special teams enough to secure that roster spot.

Ashton Dulin- Dulin has been a stellar special teamer with the Colts and looks to continue his development under the tutelage of another UDFA Zach Pascal. Dulin’s willingness to do what needs to be done while getting better is a quality every team desires.

Quartney Davis- After not sticking with Minnesota last year the former Aggie looks to make an impression in Indiana. While he has great footwork his speed is just average while his ability to locate the ball lacks causing double catches.

Tarik Black- Tarik is an exciting UDFA from Texas. The former Longhorn is explosive and has an ideal body type at 6’3 213 lbs. Bleacher Report named him as the Colts Most Exciting UDFA and the Colts hope they can work on Black’s route running and his ball skills to turn in another Zach Pascal.

So who’s in and who’s out?

TY Hilton WR1

Zach Pascal WR2

Michael Pittman Jr WR3

Parris Campbell WR4

Dezmon Patmon WR5

Mike Strachan WR6

Training Camp Preview: TE Edition

With the departure of Trey Burton the TE spot has an opening on the 53 man roster. Which TEs are primed and proven to make their mark?

Jack Doyle: Ever since the Colts picked Doyle up off waivers from Tennessee the man has done what ever he’s been asked. Last few years he’s been fighting some rough luck with injuries so it’d be great to see the crafty vet get a full season in like he did in 2017 and 2019. Jack isn’t going to run past or run through defenders in the passing game but where he shines is as one of the leagues very best run blocking TE. For a team that wants to pound the rock that’s some big value

Mo Alie-Cox: Coming off a career year the young TE with the big paws looks to keep it going. Not only did he grab a career high with 31 passes, PFF also graded him as the 2nd best pass blocking TE and 15th best run blocking. Look for this former star of the hardwood to keep improving on the gridiron

Kylen Granson: We all hear the stories about coaches banging on the table for their guys but in this case we saw it. Featured on With The Next Pick Head Coach Frank Reich wanted this rookie TE from the moment he watched his tape and banged on the table for him. The explosive rookie looks to be built for the Colts system with his size and speed. The biggest knock on him seems to be his blocking ability so look for that to be worked on in camp.

Farrod Green: Green was a UDFA in 2020 who spent all of last year on the practice squad after being waived during the final round of preseason cuts. He was elevated to the active roster for one game last year but registered no stats.

Jordan Thomas: Thomas is an interesting enigma. The 6th round pick in 2018 had a very good rookie year notching 20 receptions for 215 yards and 4 scores. Since then Thomas doesn’t even have 4 catches and is playing on his 4th team moving from Houston to Arizona to New England and now to Indy. Can Thomas recapture the rookie year production or will Indy be just another map dot for the journeyman TE.

Noah Togiai: Noah came to the Colts after being claimed off waivers from the Eagles where he signed as a UDFA. Noah spent last season on the practice squad and was elevated for 4 games but did not register a stat.

Andrew Vollert: Andrew is in that same boat that Jordan Thomas is but without the paddle of a solid rookie season. Vollert is now on his 5th team since 2018 and spent the last part of the 2020 season on the Colts practice squad coming over from Carolina.

The Colts rostered 3 TE’s on last years initial 53 man roster and no reason to see they would move on that this year.

Jack Doyle- TE1

Mo Alie-Cox TE2

Kylen Granson- TE3