Over the next few days we'll see a lot of stories about the Colts. Some of them will be big news and other won't. Here's a crash course to potential headlines, as well as a look as to whether or not they really "big deals" or "no big deals".
Hypothetical Headline #1: Training camp opens without Jerry Hughes signed.
Verdict: No big deal. I certainly don't anticipate Hughes not being in camp, but it's always a possibility. If he isn't quite in the fold by Sunday, don't panic. First of all, he'll probably be in within the first few days. Besides that, he's probably a situational type pass rusher at this point, anyway. He needs to be in camp, don't get me wrong, but if it takes a couple of days to get him signed, it's no big deal.
Hypothetical Headline #2: Bob Sanders opens camp on the PUP list.
Verdict: No big deal. There will be a tendency to freak out over this story, but it really won't mean much...at first. Chappell said months ago that Bob might start on the PUP list no matter how healthy he is. The Colts like to try and spare Bob as much contact as possible. I fully expect Bob Sanders to be healthy for the start of the season, AND I expect he opens on the PUP list. Don't read too much into this one.
Hypothetical Headline #3: Reggie Wayne holds out.
Verdict: BIG DEAL. In fact, given Wayne's stance, it would be a real shocker and would signal some new bad blood. Wayne is a major leader on the team and to this point his 'hold out' has done zero damage to the team. It's been utterly insignificant. However, if he misses the start of camp by holding out, he crosses a big line. Don't worry though, this isn't going to happen. Let's move on.
Hypothetical Headline #4: Anthony Gonzalez starts on the PUP list.
Verdict: Medium sized deal. While Gonzo might sit due to typical Colts caution, we need him to have lots of opportunity to win his job back. If he sits the first week, it's no biggie, but if he starts missing multiple preseason games, it could be a dark omen indeed.
Hypothetical Headline #5: Robert Mathis holds out.
Verdict: Big deal. While not as vocal a player as Wayne, Mathis is essential to the health of the Colts. Like Wayne, the team hasn't been hurt one iota by his 'hold out'. However, if he chooses to fight with management, the Colts will certainly come down hard on him. I would expect them to certainly invoke their right to extend his current contract at the very least. If Mathis holds out AND Hughes doesn't get signed, we could have worries.
Hypothetical Headline #6 Adam Vinatieri: opens on the PUP list.
Verdict: Big deal. Look, it's been over a year since his initial hip surgery. He's in the last year of his contract. If he doesn't show signs of being ready to go by this point, we have to start to wonder if he'll ever be ready. It's possible the Colts stash him on the PUP list because they want to watch a few young kickers try out, but I'll feel a lot better if AV is out there kicking. We missed him in the Super Bowl last year, and if he's 100%, the 2010 Colts will be a better team for it.
Hypothetical Headline #7: No progress is reached on Peyton Manning's contract and the team says they won't discuss it until after the season.
Verdict: Less than no big deal. Manning will be a Colt for life. He'll get the richest contract in the NFL. It doesn't matter when the parties sign the deal. It's getting done eventually. Let's move on. This isn't a story except for how it affects the rest of the NFL.