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Miami Colts?! Talking 'Canes in Indy with Stampede Blue

Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Phillip Dorsett, and a few other key names are getting together in Indianapolis for a Hurricanes reunion and are hoping for a title run.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It used to the Baltimore Ravens with Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.

The team all Miami Hurricanes fan rooted for besides their own (in most cases the Dolphins).

Now it's the Indianapolis Colts that hold the mantra of the team with the feel of "NFL U."

To learn more about what to expect from the former UM stars in Indy, we caught up with Josh Wilson of Stampede Blue.

Check out the Q&A below:


SOTU:  First and foremost, how do you (and most Colts pundits) feel about picking former UM star Phillip Dorsett.  Many view the selection as a "luxury" pick. How do you grade the Colts first round selection?

Well, to be honest, it was pretty much a luxury pick for the Colts in taking Phillip Dorsett in the first round.  But he was the top player remaining on their board and so they went with the "best player available" method and grabbed a player that they really like.  The pick initially wasn't greeted warmly whatsoever by Colts fans, and while they still don't love the pick, they've come to realize that Dorsett is a good player.  I think it's possible to dislike the pick (in thinking that there might have been better options available) while still really liking the player, and I think that's where a lot of Colts fans are at.  I gave the pick a B-minus in my way-too-early draft grades, and I think that's probably a fair assessment for the pick.

SOTU: What role do you think Dorsett fills in his rookie year in Indy?

This is one of the biggest questions that many have about the pick, as there are only so many snaps to go around.  The Colts' wide receiver position is looking stacked right now, with T.Y. Hilton as their number one, Andre Johnson as their number two, Donte Moncrief and Phillip Dorsett as backups, and Duron Carter as a very talented wild-card.  I do think that Dorsett will see significant playing time in 2015 and I think that we'll see him work out of the slot quite a bit.  The Colts will surely take advantage of his speed (as well as the speed of guys like Hilton, Moncrief, and Carter) and continue to utilize the downfield passing offense as well.  Another area that we're likely to see Dorsett at in 2015 is as a return man, as it's likely (and expected) that he will be returning kicks and/or punts for the Colts next season.  So while I do think this was a pick geared more for the future, Dorsett will surely help the Colts immediately, and with Andrew Luck at quarterback he'll surely get plenty of opportunities to show off his skills.

SOTU: One of Dorsett's main competitions for targets this season will be former UM great Andre Johnson.  How has the future hall of fame WR's signing been viewed/received in Indianapolis?

There's zero doubt on this one: Colts fans have loved the signing.  And really, there's no reason not to.  Andre Johnson might not be the player that he once was, but he still has some good play left in the tank and he is exactly what the Colts needed.  While the defensive failures in the AFC Championship game have received the most attention, we also cannot ignore the failures by the wide receiver position.  The Patriots decided to try to take T.Y. Hilton out of the game and make someone else beat them, and no other receiver did.  Reggie Wayne was injured and in hindsight probably should have been shut down for the season, while Hakeem Nicks didn't do much as the team's number three wideout.  And rookie Donte Moncrief wasn't the polished receiver that the Colts needed, instead only providing a threat deep (and in the AFC title game, not really even that).  So from the first day of the offseason, it was clear that the Colts needed a veteran, possession wideout - something that a very young position full of speedsters and deep threats desperately needed.  Hilton was both the most experienced receiver and the best possession receiver the Colts had, but they needed someone to pair alongside him.  They found that in Johnson, and he should open things up for the entire offense.  He might not have the speed he once did, but the Colts didn't need more speed - they needed a veteran possession guy, and that's exactly what Andre Johnson is.

SOTU:  The Colts also went out and got former 'Cane Frank Gore.  Do you think he will lead the team in carries/yards?  How much is expected of Gore?

Frank Gore has a pretty nice job right now, as he gets the distinction of being the Colts' starting running back to follow Trent Richardson.  And after the massive failure that was Richardson, it won't take much for fans to be impressed.  In all seriousness, however, Gore will almost certainly lead the Colts in snaps, carries, and yards, and there's a realistic expectation that he could become the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Colts since 2007.  The biggest roadblock to getting to that milestone for Gore will likely be his workload in a passing offense, as it's currently unclear how many carries he will get and how much he will split time with another back.  There are some questions about signing an older running back and that's fair, but I think the reception has been overwhelmingly positive and it's expected that Gore will provide a rushing threat like the Colts haven't had with Andrew Luck at quarterback, making their offense even more dangerous.

SOTU: Indy also has former Miami Hoops player Erik Swoope on the practice squad.  How is he developing?  Is he still in the project phase?  Or is he ready to make some noise in training camp and/or compete for a roster spot?

Erik Swoope is certainly still in the project phase, but I think he's a name to keep an eye on as the Colts enter training camp.  I was pleasantly surprised with him last year in camp and thought that he looked better than I expected a basketball player turned NFL tight end to look right away, but it was clear that he still needed work.  I like Swoope, but it's entirely possible that his biggest obstacle to making the Colts' 53-man roster could be the other players at the position.  They have Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener, both of whom are locks to make the roster and are one of the best tight end duos in the NFL.  And last year, Jack Doyle emerged as a very good blocking tight end for the Colts as their number three guy - a role I'd expect him to retain in 2015.  So will the Colts decide to keep four tight ends on their roster?  It's possible, and if that's the case then Swoope would stand as good of a chance as anyone.  But we could see him end up on the practice squad for another year and then re-evaluate his situation, depending on the contract status of Fleener and Allen (who are both entering the final year of their deals) in a year.

SOTU: Last but not least, how does it feel to be considered the Indianapolis Hurricanes (half kidding)?   Seriously any opinion on having so many former Miami players on the roster?

I don't have any problem with it, but it does seem pretty crazy how many Miami guys are in Indianapolis now.  Between Frank Gore, Andre Johnson, Erik Swoope, and Phillip Dorsett, plus the fact that head coach Chuck Pagano and assistant head coach Rob Chudzinski both spent time at Miami, it's been fittingly labeled as the "reUnion" in Indianapolis.  My only regret with that is that Reggie Wayne, one of the greatest Colts of all-time, couldn't be a part of it, but the Colts instead (probably rightly) decided to move on from him this offseason.

Thanks again to Josh for answering our questions.

The Colts will certainly be a title contender this season, in large part in due to the 'Canes expected to make huge impacts on their roster.

Oh and that Andrew Luck fella is pretty good too.