BEREA, Ohio -- Observations from Colts camp:
1. It's so strange to look out at the Colts practice field and not see No. 18 taking snaps. With Peyton Manning back home in Indianapolis as he recovers from an infection in his bursa sac (knee), Jim Sorgi is taking snaps with the first team. Sorgi hasn't started a game in his career because Manning hasn't missed one. "It keeps everything in perspective," receiver Reggie Wayne said. "We know we're going to have to fight through some adversity." It's unlikely Sorgi will get to start a regular-season game -- the Colts expect Manning back -- but he will get a lot of work here at camp and in the preseason. Watching him you see the same Manning mannerisms, the ball held high before the release and the chopping feet before they set. Sorgi has some ability, but if he were forced to play the Colts would change the way they do things, putting in things that would cater to Sorgi's ability to move. They better hope it never happens. Manning is the Colts.
2. Veteran receiver Marvin Harrison has been practicing and looking good so far as he comes back from the 2007 knee injury that kept him out for most of the season. Harrison might not be the same player he was a couple of years ago, but he can still be a 70-catch player. Reggie Wayne is the No. 1 receiver now, but getting Harrison back will obviously be a big help to the offense. Second-year wideout Anthony Gonzalez is improved and should be even more of a factor in the three-receiver sets. The idea would be to let Gonzalez do his thing in the slot, much the same way Brandon Stokley used to do for the Colts.
3. If you are looking for a breakout player, a possible Pro Bowl player, take a look at second-year defensive tackle Ed Johnson. He started all of last season as a rookie and the Colts expect him to take a big leap forward in '08. Johnson wasn't drafted out of Penn State in part because of some off-the-field issues. He certainly had the talent and he's showing that.
4. The Colts offensive line has always been a group that's better as a whole than individually. Part of that is because of Manning's ability to get rid of the football, but also because they are well coached by Howard Mudd. The line returns four starters from last season with Charlie Johnson and rookie Mike Pollak set to compete for the right guard spot. Whoever wins that job won't be much of drop-off from Jake Scott, who signed with the Titans as a free agent. The key to how the line improves will be the progress made by left tackle Tony Ugoh, who was a starter last season as a rookie. He looks like he's added some weight to his upper body, which will help. He played well in 2007, but could be a Pro Bowl-caliber player in a year or two.
5. The Colts lost backup tight end Ben Utecht to the Bengals in free agency, but they might have a better player to replace him. Jacob Tamme, the team's fourth-round pick, is a perfect fit for the Colts offense. A former receiver before moving to tight end at Kentucky, Tamme has impressed since the Colts picked him. Teaming with Dallas Clark should give the Colts two good pass-catching threats at the tight end spot, which is key since they use a lot of two tight-end sets.