8/10 NFLX Indy @ STL -5.5 (38.5)


Pretty much a regular
Indianapolis Colts - QB Rotation: Peyton Manning, Jim Sorgi, Shaun King, Josh Betts, Mike McGann.

Coach Tony Dungy said Jim Sorgi's inactivity the past few weeks was to ensure the team didn't overwork his right arm. Sorgi missed extensive time during the offseason due to soreness in his throwing arm.

Defense thin: By coach Tony Dungy's count, 15 defensive players either didn't participate in Friday's two practices. Among the defensive players who joined that trio on the sideline were safeties Bob Sanders (shoulder, on the PUP list), Mike Doss (calf), Antoine Bethel (knee) and Chris Laskowski (sports hernia), cornerbacks Tim Jennings (foot), Eric Hill (foot) and T.J. Rushing (groin), tackle Montae Reagor (knee), end Jonathan Welsh (knee) and LB Tyjuan Hagler (leg).

The Colts still will utilize a rotation system along the defensive line. Raheem Brock moves to tackle to make Rob Mathis a three-down end. "We want to be faster on defense," Dungy said this offseason.

The Colts' offense lacks a true fullback. That role the past few seasons has been handled by James Mungro, the No. 3 tailback and a 5-9, 214-pounder. Mungro might give way to Darrell Reid. The 6-2, 288-pound second-year defensive tackle out of Minnesota took a few snaps at fullback with the No. 1 offense.

Indianapolis - Coming into the 2005 preseason, the Colts had faired well in the previous two preseasons by going 6-2 ATS. Then the Colts proceeded to lose all five of their preseason games last year. However, there was a definite reason for this. Indianapolis had to travel to Japan for its preseason opener, and the team never recovered the rest of the preseason. I think the Colts will revert back to their previous winning form this preseason. Plus, we will receive some value in the line as the odds makers incorporate last seasons losing preseason record. It is also worth mentioning that before last year’s disaster, the Colts in their 'dress rehearsal' game were a perfect 3-0.

2002-2005 SU 7-10 ATS 8-9 O/U 10-7

St. Louis Rams - QB Rotation: Marc Bulger, Gus Frerotte, Jeff Smoker, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dave Ragone.

Former Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Scott Linehan takes over as the new head coach.

Linehan has promised to balance the attack, which was decidedly pass-heavy with Mike Martz at the controls.

RB Marshall Faulk is out for the season. The Rams signed Moe Williams to a one-year contract, addressing the need for a backup running back. They have third-year back Steven Jackson in the starting role, and behind him is Tony Fisher, a fifth-year running back from Notre Dame. "Fisher has shown he's really our No. 2 legitimate back right now," Linehan said.

RBs Antoine Bagwell and J.D. Washington, undrafted rookie running backs trying to make the leap from NCAA Division II to the NFL, are vying for a spot. Both players figure to get plenty of work. The Rams' brass will be watching closely, as will other teams throughout the league.

Practice has been more physical under the new coach. Orlando Pace said Linehan's approach differs widely from those of Martz and Dick Vermeil. "It's a lot more physical," Pace said. "We're really emphasizing the run, and we're going after it pretty good."

Punter Matt Turk, bothered by fluid build-up behind his right (kicking) knee, has cut back on his reps. He's competing with Andy Groom, who has impressed.

Jim Haslett, fired by the New Orleans Saints after six seasons as head coach, is the defensive coordinator, while Greg Olsen is the new offensive coordinator. Olsen spent the past two seasons with Detroit, first as quarterbacks coach then as co-offensive coordinator.

Home turf: The installation of the new FieldTurf at the Dome is nearly complete. The carpet that was used last season was removed and can't be used again. The new turf also will be temporary, as the team awaits the development of a satisfactory system that would allow it to be removed in pieces and re-laid later.

St Louis - The Rams' new head coach is rookie Scott Lineham. Over the past four seasons, Lineham has been an offensive coordinator for three years with Minnesota and last year with Miami. The one thing that may give us an edge this preseason is that Lineham is saying that he will emphasis running the ball instead of the wide-open offense that the Rams have shown in the past. With the Rams working on their running game this preseason, it makes playing the 'under' the right way to go especially in the early preseason games.

2002-2005 SU 5-11 ATS 6-10 O/U 8-7

Did you notice the line movement in this one? STL -2.5 to -5.5. No doubt it has to do with the new coach, and the fact that INDY could give a fuck.
The total movement hurt on this one, as at 40+, i was all over the under. still may be a play though after i do some checking.
jimmyd said:
The total movement hurt on this one, as at 40+, i was all over the under. still may be a play though after i do some checking.

Oh, hell, it's only two points, Jimmy!!
Colts make progress in 1st week
Despite heat, spate of injuries to defensive players, squad shows signs of filling needs
By Mike Chappell
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- It's one week down, a long road ahead for the Indianapolis Colts.
Veteran quarterback Shaun King and rookie wide receiver Brian Hare provided an appropriate exclamation mark to the first week of training camp.
Teaming for a 14-yard touchdown pass that rallied the offense to a 16-15 victory over the defense in a modified Blue and White game, they capped what has been a scorching seven days at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Never mind the heat. Progress has been made, but more is required when players return to campus late today. They had Saturday night and most of today off.
"It's been good,'' coach Tony Dungy said. "We've worked hard. Our veteran leaders have really demonstrated to the young guys how to do things. We've had some young guys who have looked good and come on.
"More than anything, I just like our approach and our atmosphere and the way we're working.''
Here are some observations after one week of camping with the Colts:
Running back
Most of the attention has focused on veteran Dominic Rhodes and rookie Joseph Addai, two players being asked to make Colts fans forget Edgerrin James. Neither player has disappointed.
Rhodes is embracing his opportunity to be the No. 1 tailback. He has run with authority and a burst, and shown good hands in the passing game. Same with Addai. What's been impressive about the first-round draft pick has been his poise and apparent grasp of the complex offense. If he doesn't get it, he's hiding it well.
No hangover
So many observers have wondered how the players would respond to the 21-18 playoff loss to Pittsburgh. Would there be a serious hangover?
No. It's been business as usual. Credit Dungy for keeping everyone looking ahead. Don't look for the latest playoff collapse to become an issue until the Colts return to the postseason.
Safety first
Anyone have Jason Belser's phone number? How about Chad Cota's? Any able-bodied safety will do.
The casualty list at safety began even before the players took the field for Monday's first workout. Pro Bowler Bob Sanders (shoulder) was placed on the physically unable to perform list. He's been working with trainers and should gain medical clearance and join workouts on Aug. 15.
But almost daily, another safety has gone down: Mike Doss (calf), Antoine Bethea (knee), Chris Laskowski (sports hernia). Antwan Marsh was released. The team signed Jammal Lord on Friday. Don't be surprised if another safety is added before practice resumes Monday morning.
At the corner
One of the more intriguing competitions is at right cornerback. That's where Jason David is trying to fend off Marlin Jackson's daily bid to unseat him. Give David credit. He's making Jackson earn everything he gets.
Conventional wisdom has Jackson, last year's first-round draft pick, overtaking David, a fourth-round pick in '04. But if that happens, David will give the Colts an experienced (27 starts) and proven (six interceptions) No. 3 corner. And don't forget veteran Nick Harper, the left-side starter, and Kelvin Hayden. Hayden, a second-round pick in '05, is in the midst of a solid camp.
Special concerns
All the team is asking of special teams coach Russ Purnell is to replace several critical members of last year's units. OK, Adam Vinatieri is a nice trade-off for Mike Vanderjagt. But Purnell will be without his top two tacklers from '05 -- Robert Mathis and Gerome Sapp. Mathis is starting at left defensive end, which likely signals an end to his hefty special-teams duties. Sapp was traded to Baltimore during the offseason.
Purnell also must find new returners now that Troy Walters is in Arizona and Rhodes probably will be taken off kickoffs as long as he's the No. 1 tailback. The early candidates include veteran Terrence Wilkins and rookie Ashlan Davis.
colts notebook
Colts gear up for St. Louis trip
No. 1 offense likely to get 15 plays; defense will be shorthanded in preseason opener
By Mike Chappell
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Practice is about to give way to the next level of training camp: the first preseason game.
That means some serious road work for the Indianapolis Colts, who travel to St. Louis for Thursday night's preseason opener against the Rams.
"It will be a good test for us,'' coach Tony Dungy said Monday as the Colts returned to the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology practice fields.
Peyton Manning and the No. 1 offense likely will be on the field for approximately 15 plays at St. Louis. Dominic Rhodes probably will start at tailback, but rookie Joseph Addai will see extensive action. That includes some snaps with the Manning-led offense.
"Joseph needs to play,'' Dungy said. "We'd like to get him a little bit with the first group, then get him a good dose with the second group.''
The No. 1 defense will be short-handed, and teeming with young players.
Among the players who probably will miss the game due to injuries or continuing rehabs are starting safeties Bob Sanders (shoulder) and Mike Doss (calf) and tackles Montae Reagor (knee) and Corey Simon (knee).
Of the 12 players who missed Monday morning's practice, 11 were from the defense.
"We don't have a lot of substitutes,'' Dungy said of the defense, "so guys are probably going to go a little bit more.''
Win for the defense
After further review, the defense won Saturday's modified Blue and White game. The offense's apparent 16-15 victory was overturned and the defense awarded a 15-9 win, according to Dungy, after a review of the final play -- a 14-yard touchdown pass from Shaun King to Brian Hare.
"We had a review of the last play of the game,'' Dungy said. "Shaun King was over the line of scrimmage (on the pass), so . . . we changed the score and the defense actually won.
"It was the big talk of (Monday).''
Hollings happy
Tony Hollings viewed the Colts' high-powered offense from the opposing sideline the past three seasons. Now, the former Houston Texans running back is part of it.
"I'm just happy to be a part of the offense that they run,'' Hollings said.
Hollings signed with the Colts late last week after Vashon Pearson was sidelined with a leg injury. The team has yet to announce Pearson's status.
Hollings simply wants to fit in. In three seasons with the Texans, he appeared in 23 games, one as a starter. He rushed 49 times for 149 yards. After being released by Houston in February, he signed with the Chicago Bears, who waived him in late July.
The Colts called Hollings on Wednesday, and he arrived at camp the next day.
"When they told me my flight left at 4:30 (in the afternoon), I was up and packing, ready to go,'' he said. "Right now I'm fresh. All of this is new to me. I'm trying to get in and learn, so when I do get my chance on the field, whether it be on special teams or on offense, I'm ready.''
But at Rams Park in the Earth City industrial park, training camp has been pretty dull. Some nice three-digit crowds assembled for the open workouts, but nothing unusual is happening.

"The Greatest Show on Turf" is no more. The Rams are Just Another Team now, generating little buzz among national experts or the local fans.

The Seahawks rule the NFC West now and the long-suffering Cardinals finally seem positioned to make their move. How can they miss the playoffs with all that offensive talent?

Super Bowls 34 and 36 seem like a long, long time ago. "Mad Mike" Martz is gone. So is running back Marshall Faulk, the victim of multiple injuries. Isaac Bruce is in the twilight of his career, coming off an injury-marred season.

Fans attending the early camp sessions see a lot of two-tight end formations and not so many empty backfields with four wideouts.

New coach Scott Linehan is maintaining a quiet profile. Paranoia is way down and harmony is way up. There are always disagreements within the football operation and the franchise management team, but with this group we don't hear much about them.

After all the weirdness we've seen out there -- culminating with last year's organizational implosion - an ordinary training camp seems refreshing.

"I think we're right on course," Linehan said Thursday afternoon, as reporters stifled yawns. "I'm excited about the progress of the team."

He isn't totally predictable. He changed up Thursday morning and took the fellas for a swim at a local recreational complex, which was a nice touch. That must have been quite a scene when players linked up and went down the water slides as human chains.

Linehan certainly CAN get upset, as the Rams saw after he observed some lapses during offensive drills. False-start violations drive him crazy, even when they occur in meaningless practice drills.

So he ordered the offensive players to run extra wind sprints after practice -- basic football at its most, well, basic.

"I thought the offense was sloppy," Linehan said. "We can't allow that to happen."

The Rams have much to prove this season. They have a rookie head coach, new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, a few remnants from their championship years and lots of young and/or unproven players.

So Linehan doesn't talk about playing a "fast-and-furious" style. Instead, he talks about achieving consistency and better execution.

The whole "Shoot, we'll fix it" atmosphere is gone. It is hard to find leaders at Rams Park acting smug, dismissive or arrogant. (Sometimes it is hard to find leaders, period, since the operation has scaled back media access.)

There are no sideshows or soap operas at Rams Park these days, just a bunch of players, coaches and administrators working really hard to improve. Nobody seems to be wasting much time and energy on the silly stuff.

This is a novel concept in these parts, we know, but fans ought to embrace it. The franchise might not be as entertaining this fall, but odds are it will be a LOT more successful.

the record training camp crowd of nearly 2,500 spectators who streamed into Rams Park on Saturday morning were an indication of anything about the current emotional commitment level of St. Louis football loyalists, let me save the Rams' new image builders all the hard work of exhaustive exit polls or elaborate telemarketing surveys.

In my ever-expanding role as friendly neighborhood sports columnist and The Notorious Man of the People (or Notorious MOP, to all my peeps), I have conducted my own less-than-scientific poll of the football-mad population. Less than eight months removed from the soap-opera residue of the Mike Martz Era, I am here to report that St. Louis' under-appreciated but rabid helmet heads may not be willing to wrap their arms around the Rams' "I Believe" sales pitch just yet.

Think a bit more modestly. Think a little less giddy "I Believe," and a lot more jaded "OK, we're not so sure about this 'I Believe' stuff, but hey, at least we're willing to window-shop."

This is the Notorious MOP's accurate, up-to-the-minute pulse of the people. So consider yesterday's record-setting attendance for the first full-contact scrimmage of the Scott Linehan Era a window-shopping expedition for Rams lovers just dying to have their faith restored.

In Earth City on Saturday, what everyone saw as they filled the bleachers, leaned over barricades and occupied every piece of real estate behind the practice field's western end zone was the first extended peek at what Linehan's Rams might look like.

For the past seven months since Linehan was hired to replace Martz, the most repeated question I've heard from Rams loyalists was, "So is this Linehan guy any good?"

The answer, until now, had always been a firm "I really don't know," because I had so little to draw on. Yet now 10 days into his first training camp, I've seen more than enough to at least form the basis of an informed opinion. Ten days is more than enough time to see that Linehan has at least convinced his most scrutinizing constituents - his veteran players - that he's got them moving in the right direction.

Starting tailback/star-in-waiting Steven Jackson sat under a tent on the edge of the practice field after Saturday's scrimmage with a wide smile on his face. After spending two years as Marshall Faulk's caddie, and suffering in Martz's pass-happy offensive attack, Jackson now finds himself in an offense that promises to feature him as a 25-carries-a-game workhorse.

So when the first-team offense took the field to begin the scrimmage, there was Jackson pounding into the line on the first five plays like he was living in some weird (by Rams standards) alternate offensive universe.

"Four straight runs, yeahhhh, I did notice that," Jackson said, nodding his head. "I liked it. I loved it."

Linehan's offense really is a balanced attack that will use every one of the many weapons available. There were 28 running plays and 36 passes thrown. The four quarterbacks distributed the ball to wide receivers (12 passes caught), tight ends (five caught), fullbacks (two receptions) and tailbacks (one catch).

There is much to like about the way Linehan conducts business, starting with his presence. He appears quite comfortable in this job. He doesn't look like an insecure man trying to act like a head coach. In every setting on the field and off, he carries himself with a believable, confident air. He comes off as presidential without a hint of arrogance. Linehan does not act like some indecisive neophyte out there. He seems self-assured and organized. He carries himself with the stature of a no-nonsense disciplinarian without ever coming off like some jerky, phony drill sergeant. I love that when your eyes sweep across those practice fields, you will never find one player who is not zeroed in on the action on the field.

There is a snap in the air, a healthy competitive tension that permeates the place and forces everyone from the Pro Bowlers to the undrafted rookie free agents to play close attention.

You can learn a lot about a football coach in just one week. Maybe not everything, but a lot. You can see if he has a plan or doesn't have a clue. You can tell if his players think he's a gas bag or a leader, a mad scientist or a teacher. If you watch carefully and listen closely, there is one overwhelming pattern emerging that may lead us to the essence of Linehan's coaching style and substance.

He is a stickler for detail.

At the end of every practice session, Linehan determines whether the offense or the defense won or lost the battle. The winners get to head into the comfort of the air-conditioned locker room. The losers must run 50-yard gassers in the sweltering heat.

How does Linehan determine the losers?

False starts. Dumb penalties. Sloppy play.

"I didn't come up with the saying, but I repeat it all the time," Linehan said. "If you don't pay attention to the little things, the big (plays) can't happen."
Why do the Rams have THAT many quarterbacks? Atleast that position should be covered lol.
Peyton Manning and the No. 1 offense likely will be on the field for approximately 15 plays at St. Louis. Dominic Rhodes probably will start at tailback, but rookie Joseph Addai will see extensive action. That includes some snaps with the Manning-led offense. "Joseph needs to play," Tony Dungy said. "We'd like to get him a little bit with the first group, then get him a good dose with the second group."

The No. 1 defense will be short-handed, and teeming with young players. Approximately 10 defensive players probably will miss the game because of ongoing rehabilitations or injury. The list includes starting safeties Bob Sanders (shoulder) and Mike Doss (calf), tackles Montae Reagor (knee) and Corey Simon (knee), and cornerback Tim Jennings (foot), the team's second-round draft pick. Injuries have left the Colts particularly short-handed at safety.

Three-time Pro Bowl selection Dwight Freeney joined the Colts' injury list Tuesday, missing practice after complaining of a sore shoulder. Starting linebackers Cato June and Gary Brackett have been limited to one practice each day. If both linebackers are kept out, Indy would be missing seven of last season's starters. With six defensive backs out, the Colts used linebacker Nick Hannah and cornerback Von Hutchins at safety.
Bulger figures to play sparingly and Frerotte expects to see a little time before giving way to Ryan Fitzpatrick and Dave Ragone, who are battling for the No. 3 job.

RB Steven Jackson has been bothered for several days by a strained Achilles' tendon but has missed little practice time. He took limited reps during Tuesday's single workout.

[FONT=Arial, Helvetica]**Indianapolis at St. Louis**

-- Indianapolis went 0-5 in the 2005 preseason, followed by an impressive 14-2 record during the regular season, securing a division title.

-- Remember, the Colts have lost the major driving force in their running game with Edgerrin James going to the Arizona desert. Dominic Rhodes will be the main focus on the ground. He racked up 1,104 yards during his rookie campaign in 2001.

-- After recently signing with the team, count on first round pick Joseph Addai (781 yards and eight touchdowns in his senior year at Louisiana State University) to receive a large number of touches.

Advertisement -- The wide receiver trio of Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley produced 4,096 receiving yards last year, averaging 256 yards per game.

-- More responsibility will be applied to Peyton Manning this year, who is still in pursuit of his first ring. His 3,747 passing yards accompanied by 28 touchdowns led the Colts into the playoffs in 2005.

-- Linebackers Cato June and Gary Brackett combined for a smothering 229 tackles, while the front four tallied up 23 sacks. The Colts displayed one of their finest defensive efforts last year.

-- Expect the Colts to shuffle the deck at the cornerback position, where a lack of depth and production may leave the team vulnerable to the air attack. Second year player Marlin Jackson and rookie Antoine Bethea will look to prove their value at the corners.

-- Don’t expect the starters to surpass the first quarter. Indianapolis will look to investigate what they have in the running game behind RB Dominic Rhodes.

-- The Colts never covered the spread once during pre-season last year, going 0-5 as their SU record indicated.

-- St. Louis has a new coach in Scott Linehan and five fresh starters on the defensive side of the ball. Those arrivals equated to a $100 million spending spree.

-- The Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce wide receiver show continues its tour this season, as sixth-year quarterback Marc Bulger will look to stay healthy and improve on the 6-10 record from last year.

-- The RB staff is stockpiled heading into the first game of the preseason. Names such as Antoine Bagwell, John David Washington and Fred Russell will look to find a job in-back of Steven Jackson and Moe Williams. Look for heavy action in the backfield.

-- Defensively, the Rams have signed big checks to acquire linebacker Will Witherspoon (80 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions with Carolina last season) and defensive tackle La’Roi Glover.

-- Safety Corey Chavous was another solid acquisition during the offseason. His 71 tackles and two interceptions will provide some much needed pass protection in St. Louis. Watch for safety Jerome Carter to prove his worth as a second year pro out of Florida State.

Rams starters aren't expected to play more than a series or two tonight, and then the backups take over. Linehan says he's playing to win in the preseason, but not at the expense of the player evaluation that's necessary en route to the final roster cutdowns.

"The reason for having a preseason game is we've got to give everybody a chance to play," Linehan said. "So our message to the team is whoever's in there, we're playing to win. The objective is to go in and improve as a team. You've got to try to do that regardless of the outcome of the game. But we're always playing to win."

Linehan says his staff has done a fair amount of game-planning for the Colts. That's partly because there's a new coaching staff and a new offense in St. Louis.

"We'd like to get into a rhythm," Linehan said. "I think it's important for the offensive players to get a feel for how the games will be called, what kind of plays will be called -- the mix -- so they start to get comfortable with not only the system but the tempo."

But the extra preseason game-planning is also because defenses seem to doing more blitzing in the preseason these days in the NFL.
"Defensive coaches have changed their approach, or teams have changed their approach, to preseason games," Linehan said. "You see a lot more multiple looks. So you have to get your guys ready for potential dog and blitz packages that maybe in the old days they wouldn't show until the (regular) season.

"In Miami last year, we had over 50 (blitzes) in one of our preseason games from the opposing defense, which is unbelievable."

Five things to watch when the Rams play host to the Indianapolis Colts at 7 tonight:

1. Charting the QBs

Starter Marc Bulger should get a couple of series, followed by Gus Frerotte.

But the real battle is for the No. 3 job, between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Dave Ragone.

2. On guard

It's still Richie Incognito's first game since the end of the 2003 college season. He'll start at left guard; two-time Pro Bowler Adam Timmerman starts at right guard.

3. On the run

Do the Rams have enough behind Steven Jackson at running back?

Tony Fisher and Moe Williams were free-agent pickups. Scatback Fred Russell gained 51 yards in Saturday's scrimmage.

4. Corner market

Four men for two starting jobs at cornerback.

Fakhir Brown and Travis Fisher have the edge over Jerametrius Butler and Tye Hill.

5. Return engagement

The Rams drafted Marques Hagans to spark their return game. Brad Pyatt also is in the mix, as are Kevin Curtis on kickoffs and Shaun McDonald on punts.
For tonite will play

STL -5.5
STL UN 38.5

Reasons: Stl at home, HC Linehan wants the win (new coach trend), I like the QB competition for the Rams better, and for the under, I like the change of philosphy for the Rams to a more balanced atttack and the Colts wanting to see new RB Addai should keep the clock running. Barring any major screw ups like Ints for Tds (which always happen in preseason), playing the under.

GL tonite on whatever you decide to play.
OK, Who just bet a shit load on Indy/Over. My book now has -4.5 & 39.5. I'm in Love with my book now. That's what I took.