[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="396" caption="Antonie Bethea is ready to start hitting people again"][/caption] As usual, the Colts did not come out on top in a preseason game, but the Colts have learned a lot about their new players. The rookies were generally solid, and some of the UDFA did well. But some player did themselves no favors *cough Curtis Painter cough*. Anyway, I'll breakdown the winners and losers of this game. The Great Drake Nevis - Nevis had a great game. He got solid penetration (knocking an OL down at one time) and was disruptive most of the game. Nevis seems to fit our scheme perfectly and is showing a lot of promise. Let's hope he only get's better.
Philip Wheeler - Was he always like this? The man was running all over the field making plays and was dominating the 2nd stringers. He should, but it shows that he isn't going anywhere and he adds solid depth to this team. Peyton Manning - Well OK he didn't play... But let's be honest, if he played he would be up here so I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt. The Good Kavell Conner - He was making a lot of plays early before he was pulled. The only thing that's keeping him from being in the great is the first TD pass the Rams had. I think he was in zone coverage, and the Rams TE Kendricks ran an out route right in front of him for the TD. He was in position to maybe jump the route, but he should've seen it coming. He still has some work to do in pass coverage, but overall he was good. Ricardo Matthews - Just like Nevis, he was very disruptive all game. He was a little quieter but got some solid penetration on plays and justified his roster spot. He is also a very big guy with a very high motor. Look for him to compete for a rotation spot this season, but I doubt he'll be a starter this year. Always next year though. Jacques McClendon - I was specifically watching him when he was in just out of curiosity, and I see why the Colts are high on him. He is very strong and opened a lot of running holes, and wasn't a terrible pass blocker. He still has some room for improvement, but it looks like this project might pay off. Donald Brown - He looks more in shape this year, and showed off his elusiveness. He also showcased that he also has decent awareness, cutting the run back at one point and looked more decisive. Might be a little early, but he looked good. Pat McAfee - He looked very solid and boomed all of his punts. Not to mention he almost kicked it out of the end zone on a kickoff. Never going to get tired of that... The OK Joe Reitz - The guy had some solid plays. I didn't really expect much of the guy, but he looked solid all around. I wouldn't mind seeing more of him, but he just seems like a solid guard. Nothing really special to speak of, but I do like how big the guy is. Kevin Thomas - Finally we see Kevin Thomas on the field! He played decent enough and had a tackle or two. He's a big tall cover corner, and to my knowledge didn't allow any huge plays. No telling if he can stay on the field. Ben Ijalana - He was OK, the game seemed a little fast for him at times but he showed his potential. He's a bit smaller than I'd like, but as long as he continues to improve I will have no qualms with him. Anthony Castanzo - Just like Ijalana, the game seemed a little fast for him at times. He misread a play one time and didn't pick up the blitzer, causing Orlovsky to get hit, but was decent. Definitely not a disaster like I thought it could be, but, in my humble opinion, he seemed a little behind Ijalana. Little early to tell though. Delone Carter - He didn't get enough time for me to really see if he could break tackles consistently, but he seemed like a good pickup. He's a lot faster than I gave him credit for, just wish he got more goal line work. The Bad Chad Spann - He had one good kickoff return and one good run. Other than that he dropped two kickoffs. That is not allowed in the NFL, rook. I can accept one juggled one as just nerves, but two is the limit. I seriously doubt he makes the team anymore. He is fast though. Ryan Diem - He ended up on his butt many times. He's the same old Ryan Diem from last year, but not as overpaid... Dan Orlovsky - His first pick wasn't his fault. Chris Brooks tried to catch the pass by batting it up in the air to the defender behind him. Other than that, he had some nice plays, but overall wasn't good. I really don't see him or Nate Davis beating out Painter. For that to happen you'd really have to outplay Painter, and that's just not happening. Cornelius Brown - He allowed many catches, missed a few tackles, and just looked lost out there. I don't see him making the roster anymore, his spot goes to Rucker and Thomas. Brandon King - Same thing as Brown, but not as bad. I don't know how he made the roster last year (probably out of sheer desperation) but he did not impress me at all. So far Joe Lefeged gets to be the backup safety this year. And... The Painter... Only one player deserves this category, and that is Curtis Painter. Other than the one deep bomb to Garcon (great catch), he overthrew everyone. He still gets very panicky when the pocket is collapsing around him. He just genuinely seems afraid to be hit, so when pressure is all around he just rockets the ball out of there. He'll be the back up this year, unless he gets hurt or Orlovsky plays like none other for the next 3 preseason games. Now, it is still early to make judgements for all of these players, but it is all that the players can be judged by so far. I wouldn't be worried at all about how the Colts started. The Colts pulled their starters way before the Rams did. It was our second stringers vs their first, and it did not end up well. I've had my fill of Painter though... Just please Manning, get well soon..