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It's hard to open up the offense too much when Luck barely has time to get off a throw.

1 year, 10 months ago on The Clock Finally Struck Midnight: Colts 9, Ravens 24

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It's funny how the plea bargain to avoid murder charges was never mentioned...not even once.

1 year, 10 months ago on The Clock Finally Struck Midnight: Colts 9, Ravens 24

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This offense is a few O-linemen away from being really special.

2 years ago on Colts Gallop Just Ahead of Dolphins, 23-20, Move to 5-3 | November

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I can't help but think about how we Colts fans' expectations have changed. Two or three years ago, we would not have been so kind to so many holes. And instead of celebrating last weeks' win, we would be talking about how we should have won better. Oh, have times changed.

2 years ago on 2012 Indianapolis Colts still coming together | October

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I suspect not even the Jags are stupid enough not to run MJD over and over and over against the Colts.

2 years, 2 months ago on Hype and Expectations for young Colts team entering key week 3 match-up | September

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I know I'm a bit strange, but it will be interesting to see if special teams improve. We don't have any more depth than before, but we will be able to get a feel if the new coaching staff values special teams and motivate backups to block and tackle.

2 years, 2 months ago on Eyes in the Backfield - Bears | September

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Although I agree your point about Constanzo having to prove himself...or else the Colts have some big problems, I'm not sure the preseason will tell us much about the long term. On the other hand, what happens in preseason on the right side of the line will make a big difference for the remainder of this season. There is little hope that Justice, McGlynn, Olsen, Link are long-term answers. However, it will be interesting to watch who will step in to be the stopgap that protects our number one draft pick. I just hope someone can play well enough.

2 years, 3 months ago on Five Key Matchups For Colts vs. Steelers | August

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@DougEngland When does his contract stop being counted against the cap?

2 years, 3 months ago on Ijalana Waived, OT Ty Nsekhe Signed | August

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@smonroe I am fine with keeping four RBs. They take a beating, and someone will get hurt. Whether the fourth back is Moore or Evans or someone, it doesn't really matter to me.

2 years, 4 months ago on State of the Franchise: Indianapolis Colts Summer 2012 RBs | June

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PFW has no source (even a "according to insiders within the Colts organization") to back up their assertions. I would pay just as much credence to the comments of this blog. Personally, I only see Constanzo and Satele as locks on the line. The others have big question marks. Reitz, Ijalana, and Justice are my front runners for the other spots. However, lots could happen between now and game one, and I can easily see scenarios where at least one of the three do not start.

2 years, 5 months ago on Report: Ben Ijalana and Joe Reitz to Compete for LG Spot | June

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I guess I missed the change.  In that case, we still have a few open slots.  I am sure we'll pick up some 4th string castoff CB...since we didn't think we needed any in the draft.

2 years, 6 months ago on Colts UDFAs 2012 | April

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By my math, if all of these UDFAs actually signed with the team, the Colt's would be about 4 people over the 80-man offseason roster.  Has anyone heard who is getting cut?

2 years, 6 months ago on Colts UDFAs 2012 | April

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Are we really all that secure at RB and OL?  Don Brown has shown flashes of talent but is far from consistent.  On the OL, Constanzo had a solid rookie season.  Satele should start for the duration of his contract.  Other than that, it gets pretty thin.  I thought Reitz had a decent season but is nothing spectacular.  Ijalana played a few plays.  He is essentially a rookie coming off a major surgery.  Justice is a question mark and in the last year of his contract. 

 

I am just saying a RB or a OL with loads of potential may not be a bad pick.  They are not the biggest "need", but let's face, they're not the stronger units in the league.

2 years, 7 months ago on Analyzing the Colts Pre-Draft Offensive Line | April

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Fortunately, we play in the AFC South and get a pass on top competition.

2 years, 7 months ago on Andrew Luck Will be the Colts First Round Draft Choice | April

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Roethlisberger is known for a lot of things, but his intelligence is not one of them.  I would prefer to play the Steelers with Big Ben trying to run a no-huddle offense.

2 years, 7 months ago on Andrew Luck Will be the Colts First Round Draft Choice | April

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The bottom line is that the 2011 team was better than their 2-14 record. Forget about the fact that the Colts blew some close games that they could have won.  For most of the year, the coaching staff ran the offense as if Peyton Manning was running it.  It was an offense only Peyton Manning could have run.

 

The team lost loads of talent in the off-season, but some of this lost talent really didn't contribute much.  Plus, the team was actually active in picking up free agents this year.  How do they compare to last year's team?  Let's look position by position:

QB -- Upgrade from last year.  I'll go out on a limb and say that Luck will do better in a system designed for him than Collins/Painter/Orlovsky did in a system designed for Manning.  Actually...thinking about it...it's a pretty solid limb.

RB -- Somewhat worse -- Losing Addai is going to hurt...some.  I'll assume we won't draft a RB in the 2nd/3rd round and that a rookie RB won't compete for serious playing time.  There is nobody to do the little things Addai did, but Carter and Evans will have a chance to develop into NFL running backs. New coaching shoud help here.  Even when Addai or Brown was running well, the offense didn't seem to exploit their success.  Addai is a loss but probably not a big loss

WR -- Somewhat worse (right now) -- Garcon had a good season...all things considered.  Collie seemed very under used.  I think Avery can fill most of Garcon's production.  Garcon was never consistent.  Much like RB, this position is not much worse off and may even fair equal or slightly better than last year.

TE -- Worse than last year.  Clark's loss is negligible.  He was hurt most of the time...even when he was playing.  Tamme's loss hurt.  We are left with only one TE who has any real NFL experience, and he is pretty one-dimensional.

OL -- Upgrade from last year.  I'm not saying this is a great OL, but after the last couple of years, it has to be better. Diem and Saturday left.  Physically, these are not losses.  The only question is whether Satele has the mental capacity of Saturday.  I don't think many centers do, but how much is the drop off? Costanzo will come into his second season healthy, and Ijalana seems to have promise (but is still essentially a rookie and coming off major knee surgery). There should be a healthy competition at guard. Although the Eagles gave up Justice for a box of donuts (the equivalent of swapping 6th round picks), all he has to do is be better than Linkenbach.  I'd take that bet.  Overall, there is something to like on the line.

 

DL -- Upgrade from last year.  The Colts picked up Redding for not very much. He'll be a DT (in a 4-3) or a DE (in a 3-4) that will demand attention and help the pass rushers and the tacklers. There were no significant losses and there should be some healthy competition in camp.

LB -- Worse than last year.  Wheeler was a loss than has not been filled. Yes, I really Brackett was cut, and I liked Brackett. But he only played part of one game last year.  Wheeler, on the other hand, had a solid season.  In a 4-3, I have absolutely no idea who takes Wheeler's place.  In a 3-4, I have a hard time seeing both Freeney and Mathis as the OLBs.  It simply makes no sense to routinely use either of them as anything but a pass rusher.  Perhaps Freeney will stay at DE and Hughes is at OLB.  In one way this makes sense; in another way, it makes no sense.  I don't expect a traditional 3-4, if we play much of it, but regardless of the set up, we need another OLB.  Angerer and Conner should be just fine and will benefit from another year.

DB -- Upgrade from last year.  Bullitt was a great guy, but he was hurt most of last year.  Zbikowski will be an upgrade to Caldwell/Legefed.  Lacey was not a big loss (at least last year's Lacey), and another year of development from one of the young CBs will be make up for Lacey's departure.  It's still a weak unit, but it's better than last year.

 

Overall, the offense is upgraded at QB and OL.  In today's NFL that compensates for losses at the other skill positions. I am not saying this is going to massive overhaul from last year's offense, but it should be better.  The defense is in flux.  It has some big holes (NT, OLB, CB), but two of these holes were there last year.  The additions will help this defense.  The defense should be better, but how much will depend on the pass rush it gets.  If the coaches can figure out how to best use the front 7 and can get ot the passer, it may be able to compensate for an otherwise lackluster pass defense.

 

Of course, I have no idea who we will draft in the second round and beyond, which could change the assessment.  Furthermore, a band-aid free agent or two could fill some of the bigger holes for a year or two.  The Colts also benefit from being in a weak division.  The Texans and Titans look to have some problems.  Jacksonville still looks dysfunctional.

 

Let's say the Colts go 3-3 in the AFC South.  They also play the Browns, Dolphins, and Vikings at home.  There are probably a few other winnable games on the schedule.  Again, the 2011 were better than their record showed, and I believe the talent level is slightly better even without knowing the draft picks.  If the Colts can come together and if they can avoid injuries, they should win 5-8 games. 

2 years, 7 months ago on Don't Be Surprised Part III - Projecting the 2012 Indianapolis Colts | April

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Dropping Mathis into coverage routinely is an enormous waste of a premier pass rusher.  Pagano must know this, or else he wouldn't have made the comment about being a half-season coach if he didn't rush Suggs.  I see a more likely role of having Freeney essentially play DE and Mathis play a rush OLB. 

2 years, 7 months ago on Pagano: Freeney Will be Used Like Suggs | April

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Is anyone else concerned about this McKinney guy?  I see a jouneyman backup who should make the team but may not.  McKinney may start, but I can see a scenario where Mookie Johnson is the best of some bad options at NT backed up by McKinney. 

 

The bottom line is that NT hasn't been solved at all.  It's cliche--but the McKinney acquisition was the band aid on the gushing chest wound that is NT.  The importance of this position in the draft hasn't diminished at all.

 

Furthermore, the OLB position scares the hell out of me.  We are so thin are this position anyone could start. 

 

Freeney is a pass rusher that has always played DE.  According to the rumor mill, he has no interest in moving to OLB.  Who can blame him?  He's had a storied career at the DE position.  Freeney is extremely fast for a DE, but he's also 270 pounds.  I'm not sure he's cut out for covering routes in pass coverage.  Freeney's move to OLB is not set, particularly considering Mathis is almost certain moving to OLB in the 3-4.

 

Both Freeney and Mathis are premier pass rushers, and I expect that is how the will be used most of the time. If not, the coaching staff is seriously wasting their talents. If Freeney is the other OLB in the 3-4, that leaves two ILBs (Angerer and Conner) who are mediocre at best in pass coverage and a very weak secondary to cover the pass.

 

If Freeney doesn't go to OLB, then Hughes is the next logical option.  In two years, Hughes hasn't proven he can contribute in any meaningful way...even on special teams where a bigger, athletic guy should excel. (I know...he had a decent game at the end of last season, but that's only one game in two years.)  Furthermore, Hughes' college success was as a pass rusher.  He was supposed to be a replacement for Freeney or Mathis.  In many ways he suffers from the same problem as putting Freeney as an OLB.

 

Past Hughes, the options get real thin.  Who's after Hughes?  Freeman?  Peguese?  Addison?  Does anyone actually know these people.  We could spend a higher draft pick on a OLB, but with needs at QB, WR, TE, NT, CB, and SS, that doesn't seem very likely.

 

Next year's defense is going to live and die on the pass rush.  They are going to have to rush five routinely...maybe even the vast majority of the time.  If they can get to the QB and limit the time the weakest pass coverage team in NFL has to actually defend the receivers, then there is a good chance.  If not, every QB they face next year will look like a Pro Bowler.

2 years, 7 months ago on Don't Be Surprised Part II - What the 2012 Indianapolis Colts Gained on Defense | April

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