The Indianapolis Colts announced Thursday the signing of peripatetic running back, released by the Packers early last month.
A preseason sensation, Michael ended up leading the Seahawks in rushing last season despite his surprising mid-November exodus. Between Seattle and Green Bay, Michael recorded 690 yards and eight touchdowns, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.
Landing in Indianapolis is a best-case scenario for Michael’s chances of making an impact in 2017. With 34-year-old Frank Gore and power back Robert Turbin atop the depth chart, the Colts were desperately in need of pure speed and big-play potential in their backfield.
Buoyed by a much-hyped “awakening,” Michael was downright explosive in August and September of last year, showing dynamic rushing ability. Over the course of the next two months, though, poor run blocking, a hobbled Russell Wilson and Michael’s own disturbing penchant for misreading holes and making mental errors in the passing game contributed to his ticket out of Seattle.
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“I’ve said it before — we’re into plural Lombardis,” Irsay said at a town hall function for the club’s season ticket holders Thursday. “That’s what our goal is. And I’ll be damned if we don’t go out and get them.”
Perhaps this is just an owner whooping it up for his constituents, but if not, Irsay might be in for a rude awakening. The AFC South just got twice as good as it was during the beginning of the Luck era. Luck has not thrown a football since January (shoulder surgery), the skill-position players around him still need a significant upgrade and just this offseason, the defense started to edge in the right direction for the first time in years.
Around the Colts, the Texans boast a potential No. 1 defense that will be intact for at least a few more years. Marcus Mariota and the thumping Titans running game seem to just be getting started, with most of the team’s core players under the age of 28. The Jaguars again layered all-star free agent atop all-star free agent this offseason.
Irsay went on to say that, “I’m telling you guys, the offensive line is fixed. The reason I’ll tell you it’s fixed is because (former longtime Colts offensive line coach) Howard Mudd told me it’s fixed.”
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Orr left the Detroit Lions’ facility after meeting with the team Thursday. The linebacker added he expects to hear from the Lions later on Friday.
Orr announced on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday his anticipated return after briefly retiring in January due to a congenital neck and spine condition.
How quickly a team will scoop up the Baltimore Ravens’ leading tackler last season remains to be seen. A lot rides on the medicals. Orr’s agent, Rob Sheets jersey, told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Thursday night that the Lions’ doctors were “pleased with everything so far, overtly positive.”
If multiple teams clear Orr medically, his market will heat up fast. For teams needing to upgrade their defense like the Colts and Lions to push toward the playoffs, Orr could be a difference maker.
A young playmaking middle linebacker hitting free agency in June is rare. The Ravens were in negotiations with the undrafted free agent before learning of his condition. If several teams don’t have the same concerns Baltimore’s doctors did about Orr continuing to play, a bidding war could ensue.