Archive for February, 2011
With the Super Bowl over, fans will turn to the off-season. To relieve Colts withdraw, writers at Coltzilla, will bring you content on issues ranging from current personnel, draft prospects, roster additions, and the progression of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
I would like to introduce “Flying Under the Radar,” which will be my attempt to utilize my experiences from watching the game film in great detail for the statistics collected in “Game Stats,” to highlight a number of players who were not as hyped as their performance warrants. Players like Jacob Tamme, Pat Angerer, and Jerraud Powers have received considerable, and well deserved praise. This series will turn the spotlight on players who have either shown great promise, or who have been marginalized or looked down upon for one reason or another.
In some cases, such as with Jerry Hughes, the player simply did not receive considerable playing time. In others, such as with Philip Wheeler, roster decisions help cover up what had been an impressive and consistent year. Even others, like Blair White, played most of the year and had a strong season, but were replacing stellar performers like Austin Collie and could not hope to step out of that shadow.
Keep an eye out for this series during the off season.
All week I have been praying that, against all odds, Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy, and the Green Bay Packers would find a way to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
Before you ask yourself, “This is a Colts site, were not in the Super Bowl, I don’t want to hear about the Packers beating the Steelers, why is he writing this article?” think about this:
Had Roethlisberger and the Steelers won, then they would have been put up in the rarefied air of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. All Colts fans would have had to listen to was how Big Ben is a better quarterback than Manning, because he has two more Championships than Manning. It’s the same old argument I’ve heard for years, but at least when they make it regarding Brady, I can understand why. I’m always quick to retort that It doesn’t matter to those people that both Brady and Roethlisberger play for better “teams”; the argument still always comes down to the number of rings each one has. More >
Despite the Colts not being participants in this year’s Super Bowl, the players are out and about being interviewed by the media. Dallas Clark responded to questions yesterday morning, including those about his rehabilitation from a displaced tendon injury in his right wrist.
Clark injured the wrist when he landed awkwardly toward the end of the October 17 game against the Redskins, and recently revealed that he had been in a cast for 3 months following surgery. More >
Since Peyton Manning arrived in Indianapolis in 1998, the organization made widespread changes in its philosophy and modified how it evaluated players at each position. Manning’s presence gave wide receiver the biggest boost.
Some will incorrectly assume that the Colts front office has scrambled relentlessly throughout Manning’s 13 seasons to shower him with a pool of highly drafted receivers, but only two first round receivers have joined the team — Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez — and they were drafted six years apart. The other primary contributors have been from the fourth round or lower, including many undrafted players. Jerome Pathon and E.G. Green were second and third round picks in 1998 but neither panned out.
Part of the reason Indianapolis did not have to rush around to find receiving talent is that future Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison joined the team before Manning. His importance is recorded in NFL history books and he stands with Manning as the best statistical quarterback to receiver combination ever. One simply does not stumble upon another Marvin Harrison in the draft. The likelihood is minuscule and expecting it or waiting for it would be maddening.
How can it be that the Colts will have the best group of wide receivers in Peyton Manning’s career — if not franchise history — heading into the 2011 season without a sure-fire Hall of Famer at wideout? More >
After long-time offensive line coach Howard Mudd chose to retire following the 2009 season, Indianapolis went into a state of transition. There is little argument amongst those in the know around the NFL that Mudd is one of the greatest offensive line coaches in the history of the NFL. With the Colts he oversaw offensive lines that made a yearly tradition of having the least sacked quarterback in the league. While those numbers were certainly aided by having the most pocket-aware quarterback the NFL has ever seen, Mudd did the most with very little during his career in Indy.
The first shocking piece of news after Mudd left the team was his brief stint in New Orleans as a special assistant, helping the team that just defeated the Colts in the Super Bowl get their offensive line squared away. There is no doubt that a sting went through the Colts fan base with this news.
Now, after spending the year off of NFL coaching staffs, that Howard Mudd will replace recently promoted Juan Castillo as the Eagles offensive line coach. More >
Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis continued to be the NFL’s most dominant defensive end tandem in 2010. Their propensity for pressuring, hitting, sacking, and stripping the quarterback of the football will go down in league history as one of the most intimidating pass rushing units out of the 4-3 defense.
Many hoped that 2010 first round pick Jerry Hughes would immediately step in to bolster Indy’s pass rush, including Colts President Bill Polian, but Hughes did not become a meaningful part of the defense as a rookie. What his future holds is uncertain. While some might believe that Polian’s admission that he should have selected offensive tackle Rodger Saffold in the draft is an indictment of Hughes, coaches and members of the front office have all suggested that slow learning curves are not uncommon for defensive ends transitioning to the NFL. More >
The Indianapolis Colts have historically had difficulty putting together a group of defensive tackles that are capable of fulfilling their responsibilities in the Tampa-2 defensive scheme. In this scheme, the nose tackle — 1-technique tackle — is asked to be a space-filling, line holding run stuffer. The under tackle — 3-technique tackle — is asked to penetrate the offensive line to disrupt running lanes on the way to the quarterback. For many years the biggest weakness amongst Indy’s interior defensive linemen has been a lack of size. This resulted in opponents running the ball relentlessly off of their centers and guards, right through the middle of the Colts defensive line.
A lot has changed. Now Antonio Johnson, Daniel Muir, and Fili Moala all surpass the 300-pound mark. Only Johnson is well-suited to play nose tackle, while Muir and Moala are reasonably sized 3-technique tackles in a 4-3 defensive front — Muir had great success in 2009 and Moala showed marked improvement in 2010. Ricardo Mathews and Eric Foster are used situationally on passing downs and are better suited for the under tackle role. Foster moves outside to defensive end in run packages — Mathews may do the same in 2011. More >