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The Indianapolis Colts are known for their ability to put together teams that are young and competitive on the field with a chance to win the Super Bowl every year. The team has accomplished this by finding jewels in the draft that other teams simply overlook. As a Colts fan I have nothing but respect and admiration for the front office of the Colts and thank them for the product they consistently put on the field for Colts fans to cheer. It’s time for the next step, and at this point in Peyton Manning’s career it’s now or never for the Indy. Unlike many of the experts out there, I do not believe that Peyton is anywhere close to the end of his career. I do believe that he is at the point where the team can’t just wait for young talent to develop around him.
Starting with the offensive line, Ryan Diem has been rode hard this year for the false starts and his mental mistakes, but I’m one who believes that a lot of his issues were because of having to play through injuries all year long with a lack of depth behind him. The same could be said for left tackle Charlie Johnson. The hope in the franchise should be that Ryan Diem will work with the front office on restructuring his $5.4 million deal that would allow the team to pay him on incentives as opposed to cutting him as cap casualty.
Regardless what happens with Diem, the best answer for the Colts is to not miss out on a chance to get an anchor left tackle early in the draft such as Anthony Castonzo, Boston College, Nate Solder, Colorado, Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin, or Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State. There is also the option of landing a couple solid free agents with both Tyson Clabo of Atlanta and Matt Light being available, Clabo being ideal because of his youth. At guard the best answer without question is to find a way to sign Logan Mankins out of New England. Adding an all pro will allow you to let Jamey Richard and Mike Pollak fight for the starting spot next to Mankins with the loser backing up both the center and guard spots.
Ideal line: LT-Tyson Clabo, LG- Logan Mankins, C- Jeff Saturday, RG- Mike Pollak, and RT- Gabe Carimi. 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 >
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 >
When each season comes to an end, all eyes turn to the upcoming NFL Draft to restock and improve team rosters. Some thought goes into who may or may not be available on the free agent market to upgrade the team, but in Indianapolis most of the free agent attention turns to retaining Colts free agents.
What could make this off-season unique — or very rare — is that the Colts front office may actually look to find some veteran free agent talent to give the roster a boost as they head into the home stretch of Peyton Manning’s career. Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN noted that the Colts still plan to make Peyton Manning the highest paid player in football but indicated that Jim Irsay and Bill Polian have expressed an interest in structuring the contract to allow more free agent signing flexibility:
Sources say team president Bill Polian presented a pitch Thursday that the Colts want more cash flow to build the talent around Manning with a more aggressive offseason that could include a few key free-agent signings. Even though the Colts will remain a franchise that builds around the draft, they have signed just four free agents since Manning signed his last $98 million contract in 2004.
Shortly after Peyton Manning’s last contract was signed, many fans in Indianapolis will remember that the team made a move to reunite defensive tackle Booger McFarland with his former coach Tony Dungy and signed free agent defensive tackle Corey Simon — who unfortunately had a brief tenure with the Colts before retiring. The two players came to the team in different years but their acquisitions signaled that Polian and Irsay are not afraid to pull the trigger when they feel meaningful and productive free agent talent is available. More >
The Coltzilla Draft Board will will examine NFL prospects at each position, focusing on the team’s greatest needs and best fits. It will list 10 players at each position, which will be updated regularly, in order of assumed need.
Indianapolis has a solid core, so the draft will be more about upgrading and adding depth. The Colts greatest focus this off-season should be the offensive line. A primary attribute for potential Colts linemen is the ability to play at more than one position.
Other key need areas are safety and one-tech defensive tackles (run stoppers).
At each other position, the Colts are probably looking for nothing more than depth, unless key players like Joseph Addai are not signed. With Addai’s future still in question, the secondary need areas will be currently rated in order as: running back, cornerback, linebacker, tight end, wide receiver, and quarterback. Coltzilla will cover the quarterbacks just to analyze what players are coming out, even though it is unlikely that Indianapolis will use a pick for depth behind Peyton Manning.
Check in regularly to examine the draft board. Please include your discussion, suggestions, and indicate what players you think might be a good fit for the 2011 Colts. Coltzilla will use this input to create as many draft profiles as possible leading up to the draft.
Each week Coltzilla will preview the upcoming game by speaking with fellow bloggers or writers who cover the week’s opponent. This week Coltzilla speaks with Jeff Howe from NESN to get a Patriots perspective on our upcoming match-up.
*UPDATE – Visit NESN’s interview with Coltzilla here.
CZ: No matter how lazy or disappointing a player like Randy Moss may be in terms of production and effort, he has always had the impact of taking some pressure off of other targets no matter what offense he plays in. What consequences have the Patriots noticed since he has departed New England? How has it affected Wes Welker’s production or impact?
JH: Welker’s production has dipped, as defenses have had the luxury of focusing more on him with Moss out of the picture. However, there’s no way the Patriots beat the Ravens without Deion Branch, who only had two catches through three quarters (when the Patriots trailed, 20-10) but had seven receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter and overtime. No chance Moss has that type of production in that game. The offensive identity has changed, and while it hasn’t always been as fluid, players have noted that all 11 guys are fighting for the same goal, which was an obvious dig on Moss. It’s a work in progress, but the Patriots’ offense is looking more and more like the one from the beginning part of the decade. More >
Posted by Brett Mock in [...] | 71 views
Birth: February 10, 1985
Hometown: Vacaville, CA
College: Oregon State University
Draft: UDFA – 2008 (Washington Redskins)
Height: 6 feet 2 inches
Weight: 306 pounds More >
Andre Brown was acquired on waivers from the Denver Broncos on Monday, October 18. The Training Room takes a look at the investment from a medical perspective.
Brown’s injury history begins in October 2006 when, as a member of the North Carolina State Wolfpack, he fractured his left foot in the game against Florida State. He underwent surgery and – defying all expectations – returned to the field less than a month later to complete the season. During spring drills preceding the 2008-09 season, he fractured the foot again. He underwent surgery, rehab, and went on to start all 13 games.
Week 6 Q&A: Redskins Blogger Philip Lacovara
Each week Coltzilla will preview the upcoming game by speaking with fellow bloggers who write about the upcoming opponent. The Colts face the Redskins this weekend, who are 3-2 and have not hosted Indianapolis since 2002. Joining Coltzilla this week is Philip Lacovara, who previously wrote at Hogs Haven and currently blogs for the Arizona Diamondbacks at AZ Snakepit.
CZ: Freeney will be motivated to hit his friend (Donovan McNabb), how do you see the Redskins offensive line holding up against the pass rush of Freeney and Mathis? Specifically, how do you feel about the match-up of Dwight Freeney with an injured Trent Williams?
PL: O-line? What’s that? I suspect that in two-TE sets, we’ll have Fred Davis doubling up on Freeney the majority of the time (since Cooley is McNabb’s main TE target). Trent Williams and Jammal Brown have both had injury issues at OT, and I suspect that we’ll choose to double Freeney because of his rep, meaning that Mathis may out-sack him. If TW’s toe doesn’t act up, I actually think he’ll be able to hold his own fairly well against Freeney. If he can’t go, or has to leave, backup OT (and former starter) Stephon Heyer is better at run blocking and will NEED a double team to hold Freeney in check — he is NOT good at pass protecting.
Conversely, while Brown has practiced this week, if he has to leave, Heyer will get plugged in at RT and will probably get TE help against Mathis, leaving Freeney one-on-one against the rookie TW. More >