Posts tagged Playoffs
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 >
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 >
No position more closely resembled a MASH unit for the Indianapolis Colts than safety. Consider that undrafted free agent rookie David Caldwell suffered a shoulder injury that landed him on injured reserve before having the chance to play in a preseason game. Veteran backup Jamie Silva went down for the season with a torn ACL in the Colts first preseason game — against the San Francisco 49ers. Undrafted rookie free agent Donye’ McCleskey was waived/injured following the same game. After Bob Sanders traversed all of training camp and the preseason completely healthy, he went down with his second torn biceps in an many years in Week 1 against the Houston Texans.
Dependable backup strong safety Melvin Bullitt lasted until Week 4 in Jacksonville where his season ended to a shoulder injury of his own. Undrafted rookie cornerback Brandon King moved to safety to fill-in for the injury depleted unit. His stay lasted only two weeks before a hamstring injury prematurely ended his rookie season. If that list isn’t long enough, the Colts brought in Chip Vaughn, formerly with the New Orleans Saints, hoping to stop the bleeding. After three weeks on the team, along with one tackle, Vaughn’s year ended due to a foot injury. More >
Linebacker has been a position of weakness for the Colts for many years. Other than Gary Brackett, the last time the Colts had a linebacker worthy of NFL recognition was when former 2002 fourth round draft pick David Thornton left the team following the 2005 season — he signed a lucrative five-year deal with the Tennessee Titans.
In many ways, the fact that the linebackers have not been a major strength is expected with the Colts’ history of refusing to pay veterans at the position after their rookie contracts expire — they did the same with Marcus Washington following the 2003 season, who went on to a Pro Bowl in 2004 and two alternate bids in 2005 and 2006. With a speed-focused defensive philosophy, however, it is reasonable to keep costs low because Colts linebackers are typically not high-profile players to other teams — they are generally too short and too light for other defensive schemes.
These facts and this history makes the Colts current depth chart at linebacker an albatross. While only Gary Brackett has a resume deserving of Pro Bowl consideration over the last three years, the young talent, potential, and depth at each of the linebacker positions is unfamiliar. More >
Entering the 2010 season, the Indianapolis Colts faced uncertainty at cornerback.
-2010 third round draft pick Kevin Thomas suffered a season-ending knee-injury during rookie camp.
-Veteran Tim Jennings departed the team and ended up in Chicago.
-The only options behind starters Kelvin Hayden and Jerraud Powers were aging veteran DeShea Townsend (first year in the Colts system), second-year veteran Jacob Lacey, and undrafted free agents Brandon King, Jordan Hemby, and Thad Turner.
As soon as preseason ended, Colts President Bill Polian traded a draft pick to the Washington Redskins for young veteran Justin Tryon. Tryon ended up starting Week 1, and filled in as the most reliable backup corner on the Colts roster for the remainder of the season. More >
Tomorrow, the Green Bay Packers will be in Chicago to take on the Bears in the NFC Championship Game. The media have highlighted the Packers’ long injury list (15 players on IR), and earlier this week Football Outsiders published a games-lost-by-starters statistic showing that the Pack lost a total of 83 starter-games in 2010. The statistic also estimates that the Colts lost 89 starter-games – a significant number to be sure, but not significantly more than the Packers. It’s fair to wonder why the Packers have been able to recover enough from injuries to make it to the NFCCG, while the Colts are watching the rest of the playoffs on TV. This post offers a perspective.
Colts fans are stuck in limbo. The Super Bowl is still two weeks away, so talking about the off-season seems premature. Before fans get to that point, it is worthwhile to take a look back at 2010 to gauge where the Colts franchise will be when the draft and summer activities roll around.
One of the biggest impacts on Indianapolis in 2010 was the unprecedented number of injuries the team had to play through. The Colts placed 18 players on Injured Reserve, and two others on the injured/waived list — including Taj Smith, who rejoined the Colts. This number does not include injured players who missed multiple games throughout the year, but still managed to hold onto a roster spot.
Below are three ways to examine Indy’s injuries in 2010.
UPDATE: I misread the Rotoworld entry on Robert Mathis, and inadvertently marked him as a free agent beginning this year. Thankfully, he is under contract for one more year. Post updated to reflect this. Apologies for any confusion!
For all intents and purposes, the 2011 season has begun for the Indianapolis Colts. And if the team were preparing for their first game of the 2011 season, Curtis Painter would be lining up under center and Brett Swenson would be practicing tee shots.
OK, OK, it’s sensationalist and nobody expects that to actually happen. Owner Jim Irsay has gone on record as saying that the Colts will make Peyton Manning the highest-paid player in the NFL. And after Adam Vinatieri’s season, in which he went 29 of 31 (including the playoffs), and was perfect on 52 XPs, it is hard to imagine the Colts wouldn’t do what is necessary to re-sign him. Vinatieri has also expressed an interest in completing his career in Indy. But what does the roster currently look like to start 2011?