Posts tagged Receiving
In the Dark about Concussions
Posted by Greg Cowan in Off-Season Coverage | 488 views
One year ago today, Sidney Crosby was scoring the Golden Goal, leading the Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey team to a 3-2 victory over the United States in overtime. Two months ago today, Sidney Crosby was in the midst of the most prolific season in the modern NHL. Fifty-seven days ago today, Sidney Crosby laid prone on the ice, having suffered a blindside hit to the head.
Today, Crosby is sitting in his house. No lights, no television, no workouts, and certainly no hockey. A season that started off so well that Crosby, who has missed the past two months of the season, is still in the top-10 in all statistical categories will end with questions of when the player deemed to be “The Next One” will take the ice.
Four months ago today, Austin Collie was one of the league leaders in all receiving categories. He was Peyton Manning’s most trusted weapon, and was a stabilizing force on an offense that was suffering from a rash of injuries and inconsistent play. Ninety-one days ago today, Austin Collie laid motionless on the turf after taking a blow to the head while being tackled.
Today, Collie, who is only 25 years old, is not spending his off-season running routes and restoring his timing with Manning. He is not worrying about the impending labor troubles that may shorten the 2011-2012 NFL Season. Instead, the concern with Collie is whether he will ever take the field again. More >
One of the most prevalent issues for the Indianapolis Colts in 2010 was the unprecedented number of injuries the team’s players incurred at almost every position on the team. The Colts were not alone — the World Champion Green Bay Packers were the second most injured team in the league. The frequency and severity of injuries has become one of the most discussed topics in all of football for players, owners, the NFL Competition Committee, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
In 2005, Major League Baseball had to address an unrelated matter that could have some correlation with the number of injuries some NFL teams have experienced over the last few years. Players like Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Jose Conseco, Alex Rodriguez and others were all either questioned or openly discussed the use of performance enhancing drugs like steroids. The issue was so important that Congress saw fit to have hearings regarding the use of illegal performance enhancers in professional sports.
Shortly after Congress expressed open concerns with the use of steroids in professional sports, the NFL instituted a crack down of its own, increasing the penalties for use and the frequency of tests to catch violators of their substance abuse policies. As with any change in policy, words on paper or an agreement reached between players and the NFL are meaningless unless those words and the agreement is enforced. It took the league approximately one year to start getting some results by instituting penalties, suspensions, and making good on their word to be diligent with the use of steroids. More >
The Indianapolis Colts’ pinnacle at tight end was in 2001 when Ken Dilger and Marcus Pollard were on the roster — they offered the best combination of blocking and pass-catching the team has ever had on the field at one time. When the Colts drafted Dallas Clark in 2003, Indy took a step closer to having two of the leagues best tight ends but Clark was only a rookie and both he and Pollard were better suited as receivers than they were adept as blockers. When Ben Utecht joined the team in 2005, Pollard was not retained. So, when Utecht also failed to become the kind of big-bodied blocker with soft hands the Colts hoped for — primarily due to injuries — it was back to the drawing board.
Indianapolis was without a legitimate partner for Clark in the two tight end sets the Colts loved to run when Peyton Manning entered the league in 1998. The team was able to get by because Clark quickly became one of the league’s top pass-catching tight ends and gave Manning a reliable outlet — who also happened to be a game-changer who could dictate defensive schemes and play-calls. As Clark’s importance continued to grow, Bill Polian, Jim Irsay, and Tony Dungy recognized how important it was to find another option to compliment him. 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 >
With a win against the Titans, the Colts managed to overcome unprecedented team injuries and their worst five game series since 2002 for a NFL record (tie) ninth consecutive playoff berth, and their seventh AFC South Championship in the last eight years. Peyton Manning was able to get through his toughest stretch of games since his rookie year and somehow Indy has managed to enter January with the three seed in the AFC.
It is extremely important for Colts fans to step back and think about the gravity of this accomplishment. Frankly, this team had no business overcoming all of the adversity it has faced in a sixteen game season. More >
Born: August 4, 1986
Hometown: Benton Harbor, MI
College: Wayne State University
Draft: UDFA – 2010 (Philadelphia Eagles)
Height: 5 feet 11 inches
Weight: 220 lbs. More >
Scott Bolander, founder and lead blogger at Blue Sunday blog, wrote a story last Thursday discussing Peyton Manning’s upcoming decision to sign a final long-term contract with the Indianapolis Colts. In Scott’s opinion, there is very little chance that Manning ends up playing for a team other than the Colts but he believes that staying in Indianapolis is not in Peyton’s best interest.
As Scott sees it, the Colts offensive line is horrible and does not have players with enough talent to turn things around anytime soon. Also, Bill Polian is not getting any younger and Scott believes that while he has done a fine job making Indianapolis one of the top teams in the league since he drafted Manning in 1998, there is a chance that Bill is passing on the reins to Chris Polian sooner rather than later and that during Chris’s transition into more draft day and personnel power, the team has suffered. If Chris is no Bill, a chance Scott thinks is rather likely because Bill Polian is so rare, the Colts may have a rough road ahead. More >
At this point, Peyton Manning has to be wondering if he has entered some kind of twilight zone. His records in the NFL are breathtaking and he was recently listed as eighth in the NFL Network’s list of the top 100 players of all time. That designation is not helping him. Right now, Manning is doing something he hasn’t regularly done since his rookie season – costing his team football games.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Colts have lost four of their last five games as a team. Better efforts on the part of the defense during periods of the game, better blocking by the offensive line, and more offensive balance could all play roles in helping the Colts overcome the worst five game series the franchise has had in a decade. Still, it is no secret that Manning is the man, the one people expect the most from, and rather than winning games for Indianapolis, the team has had to try to win games in spite of him. More >