Tough Cuts in Indy: Offense

Colts WR John Standeford (Andy Lyons/Getty)

Scout.com's Ed Thompson breaks down the cuts on the offensive side of the ball for the World Champion Colts.

QB Josh Betts
Unfortunately for him, Josh Betts is the new Tom Arth. For those of you who don't recall him, Arth was Bett's predecessor, the team's young, intelligent quarterback who spent three years associated with the team -- one on the reserved/non-football injury list and the next two on the practice squad -- never rising above the practice squad. And like Betts, it's wasn't a matter of talent or the ability to understand the offense, it's the fact that if you're the number three quarterback in Indianapolis, you're in trouble. You're going to be on the practice squad and see very few reps weekly throughout the season, making it more difficult to develop your timing and any sort of chemistry with the receivers. Expect Betts to be a top priority for the practice squad, just like last year.

RBs DeDe Dorsey and Clifton Dawson
After watching the backs in this year's preseason action, I'm not sure it mattered much which one they kept. Dorsey -- a talented, quick running back out of Lindenwood College who was on the 2006 roster -- was waived/injured on Saturday, so he may be heading to injured reserve. He can catch the ball, he has breakaway speed once he gets into the second level, but he struggled at times to get through the muck and chaos at the line of scrimmage. Dorsey should develop into a good pro running back, but it appears that it won't be this season.

Clifton Dawson averaged 4.0 yards per carry during the preseason and showed good confidence for a rookie. But the Colts apparently were more impressed with Kenton Keith's 5.3 yards per carry, and even more likely gave him the edge because he has shown up big in some games as a professional already in the CFL and did some nice work as a kickoff returner.  The emergence of FB Luke Lawton, a practice squad player last year, gives Indy a good inside runner who also has pretty good hands out of the backfield.

Dawson could get a call for the practice squad, providing the team doesn't have their eye on someone from the available pool of talent released on Saturday.

WRs Trent Shelton, John Standeford and Craphonso Thorpe
As much as I like John Standeford, and think he has shown progress every season he's been with Indy, he seemed to always hit his head on a glass ceiling. It's hard to tell why it's there. He runs good routes, he has good hands. But for some reason Indy never saw him as a 53-man-roster caliber of player for a full season. Standeford is out of practice squad eligibility, but his release will likely pay off for him. He's good enough to be a fourth or fifth receiver for another team with less talent depth than the Colts.
Trent Shelton
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Trent Shelton was a pleasant surprise during camp and the preseason. He simply got crowded out and as an undrafted newcomer will be expected to pay his dues. If he doesn't make the practice squad, expect the Colts to make him one of those guys who is signed to the practice squad periodically for a few weeks here and there to provide him with some money and keep him associated with the team until the Colts can sign him to a free agent deal next year for another training camp run.

If the Colts don't sign Craphonso Thorpe to their practice squad, it will leave people wondering if he said something bad about a close relative or friend of Colts President and GM Bill Polian. Thorpe, a former star receiver and returns specialist out of Florida State, was the team's preseason leading receiver in touchdown catches (3), yard (135) and tied Standeford for the most catches (13). And he topped that off with a team leading 11-yard average on punt returns on eight attempts and 31-yard average on kickoff returns. While he did that against backup-level talent, he showed enough skill in all of those areas to warrant making him a priority for the practice squad.

TEs Mark Farbotko, Jonny Harline and Gijon Robinson

The athletic tight end out of Harvard, Matt Farbotko, was unlikely to make the final cuts simply because the Colts are so stacked with talent at the position and he had already been released once before just prior to training camp. 

Harline is a very good receiver, but the knock on him coming out of BYU was that he wasn't much of a blocker. Robinson has a well-rounded skill set and is the most likely to get a practice squad nod. With just three true tight ends on the roster, you can bet that one of the eight practice squad positions will be for a reserve tight end.

OL Joe Lobdell, Sam Wilder and Matt Ulrich
Lobdell and Wilder were toss-ups for the first round of cuts. When the team released Rick DeMulling I thought he might have a chance at staying on the active roster this year. He's a good, solid player who is developing into a reliable and valuable reserve. I thought he had practice squad eligibility, but since then confirmed that he doesn't, which makes this a puzzling move. The Colts opted to keep former fifth-round pick Michael Toudouze on the roster instead.

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