Four Point Stance

CB Rashaan Melvin (pictured above) started 9 games for the Colts in 2016, but was slotted to provide quality depth in the secondary this season.  With former Pro Bowler Vonte Davis manning the right side of the secondary, the Colts invested heavily to upgrade the secondary by drafting safety Malik Hooker (1st round), CB Quincy Wilson (2nd round), and Nate Hairston (5th round).

Hooker found himself in the media spotlight with his first career interception, but it was the relatively unknown Melvin who had the best day in the secondary against the Cardinals.  He finished the game with 7 tackles and 2 passes defended (tying a career high).  Pro Football Focus assigned a grade of 88 for his efforts and noted that he only allowed 3 catches on 9 passes thrown in his direction while blanking star WR Larry Fitzgerald on two passes.

The Colts are the fifth team that Melvin has played for since signing with the Bucs as an undrafted free agent in 2013.  #30 is also the fifth jersey number that he has worn after his previous NFL stops in Tampa Bay, Baltimore, New England, and Miami.

In his career, Melvin has played in 29 games and started in 13 of them.  He has accumulated 97 tackles, 10 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery.  The Colts have already earned a nice return on their investment with Melvin who counts only $775K against the 2017 cap.  His cap hit is 25th on the active roster with an additional 6 players who no longer play for the Colts counting more against it this year.

He was one of four defensive players to play all 66 defensive snaps against the Cardinals.  When Davis returns he may begin to lose playing time as the rookies mature and gain experience, but there will be no question that he had greatly solidified an area that has been a team weakness for many seasons.

 

 

One of my favorite Twitter members Kyle Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle proudly proclaims to be the “#1 T.Y. Hilton Fan” on his bio.  For a couple of years I have felt the same about Donte Moncrief and have been quick to highlight his abilities along with my fear of losing him as a free agent after this season.  A healthy Moncrief paired with Hilton demands respect from opposing defensive coordinators.

I still love his game and his potential growth, but something is different early this season.  It could be passes coming from backup quarterbacks.  It could be a fear of injuring himself in his contract year.  It could be a porous line not allowing him to complete his routes before the ball must come out.  It could be……

What it can’t be is lack of talent.  Moncrief has amassed 129 receptions, 1,552 yards, and 16 touchdowns in his 43 games for the Colts.  Prior to this season, he has caught 60% of the passes thrown his way and has proven he has a nose for the end zone.  This season he has only caught 3 of the 12 balls thrown his direction and not all of that blame can be assigned to Tolzien and Brissett.

Against the Cardinals, when the game was close and every possession mattered, he displayed a lack of heart.  No fight.  Far less desire than is typical for him or most quality NFL receivers.  I am believing that this game was an aberration and will not become a new norm this season; his season to prove he deserves a big contract from a new GM.  I may still be his #1 fan in Indy, but I am more concerned than I want you to believe.

 

Colts RB Frank Gore has a chance to solidify his place amongst the top runners in NFL history this season while adding to his Hall of Fame resume.  Soon he will pass Eric Dickerson for seventh in rushing yards and a strong season could push him to fourth in NFL history.  He has 75 rushing touchdowns to go along with his 13,153 yards while adding 415 receptions, 3,437 yards, and 16 touchdowns as a receiver out of the backfield.

Those are all impressive numbers, but I believe his most telling statistic is the 98 consecutive regular season games (94 straight starts) that he has played in.  To put that consistency and testimony to endurance into perspective, know that Isaiah Crowell is second on the consecutive games played list at 50 games and Devonta Freeman is second on the consecutive starts list at 23 games.  Read those numbers again and remember that an NFL season has 16 regular season games.  He is not mere games ahead of the next running backs on those lists, he is seasons ahead!

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Let’s dig into the consecutive starts mark for running backs one step deeper.  Gore has started 94 straight games for the Niners and Colts.  The next four players on that list have combined for just 78 consecutive starts.  Unless you line-up under center or kick a football, the NFL is not a young man’s game.  Taking a handoff is certainly not an old man’s game.  Yet at the age of 34, Gore continues to move the ball nearly 4 yards per carry behind a line not known for creating holes.  Admire his yards and touchdowns, but don’t discount the fact that he is an ironman and is available every game.

 

From the obscure Colts records file: Outside linebacker Duane Bickett hold the franchise record with 1,052 tackles.  He played in 137 games in his 9 seasons with the Colts from 1985-1993.  He and fellow linebacker Jeff Herrod (1,036) are the only Colts to record more than 1,000 career tackles for the franchise.

Bickett was drafted by the Colts in the first round (5th overall) of the 1985 NFL Draft.  He started in all 137 of his games for the Colts and amassed 50 sacks, 9 interceptions, 8 forced fumbles, and 14 fumble recoveries.

While a member of the Colts, he was named the 1985 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, made one Pro Bowl, was named to 5 All-Pro Teams, and earned 3 AFC Defensive Players of the Week awards.  After leaving the Colts, he played 2 seasons for the Seahawks before playing his final season for the Panthers.  He only added 1 start, 3 sacks, and 19 tackles to his career totals during his years not in a Colts uniform.

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