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Each off-season, fans gets excited about the opportunity for their teams to restock and retool talent at positions of need. For as long as most Colts fans can remember, one of those positions is defensive tackle. As a result, when the draft and free agency opportunities come and go, fans clamor for their favorite players and hope that tremendous improvement will be made in whichever area they identify as needing the biggest upgrade.
Over the last four off-seasons, the Colts have added four defensive tackles via the draft, one undrafted free agent, and have three players on the roster signed from waivers or free agency. This means no defensive tackle on the team has more than three full years of experience with the Colts, which partially explains the reason fans will continue to clamor for more options — none of the defensive tackles on the team have really proved themselves to be stalwarts on the defensive line.
How should fans change their lens in reviewing and evaluating the play of defensive tackles entering the league or spending their first seasons with the Colts? What should they really expect? More >
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It has come to our attention that one of our colleagues in the Colts blogosphere has taken shots at Coltzilla regarding a lack of steady content recently. In fact, in the latest comment, it was suggested that Coltzilla is “dead.” As the site’s founder and editor I think it is worthwhile to address any of our readers’ concerns about the current and future health of Coltzilla.
Our readers should know that Coltzilla upholds a standard of reporting and analysis that we hope best serves Colts fans. We do not engage in long-winded or repetitive rants regarding rather mundane occurrences in the Colts front office, draft strategies, private practices, or minor surgeries to players. More >
(4 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell’s Stamp on Coaching Staff Complete?
With the news that former Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore has left the team, it occurred to me that a great deal of turnover has taken place since Head Coach Jim Caldwell took over for Tony Dungy in 2009. Many considered the initial changes minor, as Caldwell has consistently stated his opinion that he was taking over a team and staff that was not broken, and a team philosophy that he promised to uphold, but the gradual transition from the Dungy coaching staff to the Caldwell coaching staff has been significant — and could be complete after Caldwell’s third off-season behind the wheel.
Since Caldwell took over the team he has:
Replaced former Special Teams Coordinator Russ Purnell with Ray Rychleski
Replaced former Defensive Coordinator Ron Meeks with Larry Coyer
Replaced former Offensive Line Coach Howard Mudd with Pete Metzelaars
Replaced former Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore with Clyde Christensen
Replaced former Running Backs Coach Gene Huey with David Walker
Added Ron Turner as Quarterbacks Coach
Moved former Quarterbacks Coach Frank Reich to Wide Receivers Coach More >
(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Colts Part Ways with Legendary Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore
Although no official word from the Colts franchise has confirmed it, Paul Kuharsky of ESPN’s AFC South blog has done some digging and found that legendary offensive coordinator Tom Moore has slipped out the back door. This is disheartening news for any long-time Colts fan as Moore had the great honor to introduce Peyton Manning to the NFL and collaborate with him to operate one of the greatest offenses in league history. Moore’s exit coincides with the off-season decision handed down by Jim Caldwell and the Colts front office to part ways with legendary running back coach Gene Huey. Farewell Tom and thank you for all of your contributions to the greatest run of success in Indianapolis Colts team history.
The bad news about Moore’s departure is — as Kuharsky’s story points out — that Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Munchak nearly lured Moore away from the Colts to take over there as offensive coordinator (imagine him running the offense for a team in the AFC South) and that Moore met with the New York Jets to discuss red-zone scoring. This is certainly not good news for Colts fans, and while it hurts to know that both within the conference and division, Moore may be meeting with opponents who seek knowledge they would have previously not been able glean — as Moore has been the Colts Offensive Coordinator (or special assistant) since Manning entered the league in 1998.
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The 2011 NFL Draft has come and gone, and while it is ridiculous to hand out letter grades on players that have yet to take a snap in the NFL, let alone reached their prime, it is reasonable to assess what the Colts draft may mean for the long and short term of the franchise. We will try to keep the cheerleading to a minimum.
The first thing that stands out about the Colts draft is that, while the Indianapolis only had five picks to work with, they seemed to make every one of them count. Each of the Colts five draftees is a skilled, talented player that fits their on-field philosophies. In fact, the biggest question marks seem to revolve around the off-field issues of their sixth round pick, Chris Rucker (DB – Michigan State).
(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Although the NFL lockout will keep teams from pursuing undrafted free agents following the 2011 NFL Draft, one can be sure that teams are hard at work coming up with a list of players they want to call when the lockout if lifted. For the Indianapolis Colts, there are a few positions they probably would like to grab a few players to compete during summer activities and training camp — assuming either actually happen. This list will be comprised of players Coltzilla feels are in the highest need areas on the team, players the team met prior to the draft — who have historically been free agent signings — and players who are the most talented signing possibilities. Check out the list after the jump. More >
(1 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
With the 188th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select…
CB – Chris Rucker
Michigan State cornerback Chris Rucker had success in college and earned a reputation as a physical corner who could shut down opponents. He used his size to jam receivers off of the line often and had enough speed and hip fluidity to keep up with his man. In the NFL he may need to develop fluidity in his hips for NFL caliber receiver if he plans to stay on the outside.
At 6-foot 2-inches tall and 200 pounds, Rucker may remind a lot of fans of former Colts defensive back Marlin Jackson. His 4.55 40-yard dash is not great for a cover corner but his play style is perfect for a zone system. One has to wonder if the Colts might ask Rucker to put on 10 pounds or so and step into the S rotation.
Rucker had some character concerns, including a DUI that was reduced to a reckless driving offense, which caused him to slip from what could have been a third or fourth round grade to a fifth or sixth round value.
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In the Fourth Round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts Select…
RB – Delone Carter
After spending first and second round picks on shoring up an offensive line that has been lacking some pieces and continuity — and has always lacked size — the Colts used a third day pick on running back Delone Carter out of Syracuse. Carter is a smash mouth style running back in between the tackles who most certainly projects as a situational short-yardage grinder in the Colts offensive system. If fans were wanting to see the Colts add pieces to play a more powerful offensive game, Carter is a good piece to make that possible.
It has been awhile since the Colts have had a 5-foot 9-inch 222 pound bowling ball in their backfield, and that is what they are getting with Carter. He is not blazing fast, as he ran a 4.56 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine — though he did drop it to 4.46 at his Pro Day. He rushed for 2,054 yards and 20 touchdowns in his junior and senior years — including a streak of at least 215 carries without losing a fumble in that span. Carter also finished up his collegiate run with MVP honors in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game. He did deal with a suspension for allegedly punching a student at Syracuse who was throwing snowballs at the SUV he was in, but the details of the event are fuzzy and punching someone once is not that big of a deal.
Carter’s selection creates a very healthy competition for the final running back roster spot, assuming the team is able to retain Joseph Addai. Carter would compete with Mike Hart, Javarris James, Devin Moore, and potentially Dominic Rhodes for a spot on the roster.
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The Colts Select LSU Defensive Tackle Drake Nevis in Third Round
Heading into the 2011 NFL Draft, the fans reached a consensus that the team’s biggest needs were at offensive tackle, defensive tackle, and safety. In the first two rounds the Colts set out to solidify a struggling offensive line and landed two very high value players at each of the 22nd and 49th picks (they traded the 53rd and 152nd to get the 49th pick). In the third round they did exactly the same, only this time they addressed the interior of the defensive line.
LSU defensive tackle Drake Nevis is talented enough to warrant a mid-second round selection. When he fell to the 87th pick, it was probably rather easy for Indianapolis to grab a player who is big enough, stout enough, and fast enough to be effective as an every down defensive tackle. Of course this does not mean he will be plugged in right away as a starter, typically that does not happen. However, if the Colts are unable to re-sign Antonio “Mookie” Johnson once the new CBA details are hashed out, he may have to.
Either way, this was another excellent pick in what has been a highly productive Colts draft. At this point the team only has their fourth round pick (119) and sixth round pick (188) remaining. If valuable players continue to fall, however, it is certainly not outside the realm of possibility that Bill and Chris Polian would deal mid to late round picks in 2012 to get a player they really want in 2011.
A list of high value players still available heading into the fourth round after the jump. More >
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