Posts tagged Special Teams
In the Dark about Concussions
Posted by Greg Cowan in Off-Season Coverage | 407 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 >
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 >
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 >
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 >
With a potential NFL lockout coming, two health-related impacts loom large for players. The first is the possible loss of health care benefits (Patriots’ OL Matt Light raises an excellent non-game-related example of how this affects players personally). The other is that players who are rehabbing from injury will not have access to team facilities beginning March 4. This article looks at who on the Colts’ team this is likely to affect most.
- I never expected the game to be the defensive battle that it turned out to be, but I did expect the outcome that resulted.
- While I think Caldwell did a nice job keeping the team focused throughout the season, he made some terrible coaching decisions in this one.
- Pierre Garcon had one great game, atoning for many bad games in my opinion.
- The 2010 season has been an incredible season, made even more incredible by the fact that they made it to the playoffs at all. If they had even survived the game, I don’t think they could have challenged the Steelers.