INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL continues to operate business as usual here in the 2020 offseason, with training camps on the horizon.
If everything does begin on time for camps, the Colts will start theirs on July 28th (veterans report day). This year’s camp will take place at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, with the NFL mandating teams stay home for camp due to COVID-19.
With the on-field portion of the spring not happening this season, training camp will be the only time this offseason for players to make an impression on the staff.
It’s time to pick back up our ‘burning questions’ series on 1075TheFan.com.
Here are our burning questions for the special teams group heading into the 2020 Training Camp:
1. Who will be the kicker of the Colts in 2020?
Like quarterback, the Colts have real questions at kicker for the first time in quite a while.
And while the Colts refuse to give a public statement, one way or the other, on Adam Vinatieri possibly returning for a 25th NFL season, their actions scream life after The GOAT has begun.
The signing of Rodrigo Blankenship, along with the re-signing of Chase McLaughlin, is a definite indicator that the Colts are prepared to have a 2-man competition this offseason.
Vinatieri, who turns 48 years old this December, remains a free agent while rehabbing from last year’s season-ending knee injury.
We can acknowledge, as we should, that Vinatieri is the greatest kicker of all-time (and in my opinion should be a first ballot Hall of Famer).
But it’s time, with two solid young options, to move on and find the new kicker of the future.
Charting kicks during camp and the preseason is now on the storyline list for the Colts.
STAT TO NOTE: Adam Vinatieri has played the second most regular season games in NFL history (365). Morten Andersen ranks 1st with 382 games.
2. Who will be the kick and punt returners for the Colts?
With Chester Rogers no longer in Indianapolis, the Colts have some decisions to make as their return men in 2020.
On paper, there are two speedy guys available to fill these roles.
Nyheim Hines showed late last season that he can be an explosive punt returner and be trustworthy with his hands back there.
Hines should be the frontrunner for the punt return duties in 2020. And he wants the ball in his hands on 4th down.
At kick returner, the Colts have a few more decisions.
Parris Campbell, like Hines, brings 4.3 speed to the table and the thought entering last year’s camp was that he could be the new kick returner.
But injuries impacted what all was on Campbell’s plate in 2020.
Ideally, the Colts probably want to use Campbell at kick returner in his second season, trying to get a few more bigger returns in hoping to create better field position. Hines is an option, too.
Isaiah Rodgers, a 6th round pick out of UMass, will probably get a look as a return man as well. That would really help his cause in trying to make the team.
Zach Pascal is another possible returner, too.
STAT TO NOTE: Chester Rogers had 60 career punt returns for the Colts, the most for the franchise since Troy Walters (2002-05).
3. Who are the new core special teamers?
From last year’s top special teams snap guys, the Colts bring back their top 10 guys.
But do we see any other guys emerge as core special teamers, thus seeing a little turnover on the back end of their roster?
Draft picks LB-Jordan Glasgow and CB-Isaiah Rodgers are two of those options.
Glasgow made his first impression at Michigan on special teams, and the Colts see immediate 4th down ability from him in the NFL.
Rodgers is a possible gunner, too, with that 4.2 speed.
STAT TO NOTE: The Colts finished last season ranked 1st in punt return average (17.4 yards per return) and 22nd in kick return average (22.8 yards per return).