Posts tagged Week 3
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 >
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 >
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 >
Despite a dominating offensive performance, four fumbles kept the game close. The offensive line, as a whole, had its best statistical game this year. Garçon had his best game of the year. Like last year, he has gone on stretches of poor games, only to bust out with a highlight reel performance in Washington. He did have a pair of inexplicable drops, but they were his only drops of the game. Austin Collie was superb, as has become the norm for him.
The mistakes in the passing game were fairly balanced. The receivers had a few drops, Manning had a few over/under-throws, and there were quite a few passes defended. While Manning didn’t get his 70% completion percentage, 65.8% is still good.
Defensively, linebacker Clint Session’s statistics are not representative of his overall play. Fellow outside linebacker Philip Wheeler’s performance in relation to his statistics is the opposite, as he had a solid game. Rookie middle linebacker Pat Angerer did an exceptional job even though the prime-time game was his NFL starting debut. More on those stories after the jump. More >
The Indianapolis Colts managed to defeat the Washington Redskins on the road 27-24 in a contest that really should not have been as close as the final score. Four fumbles in the game, including three lost, gave Washington opportunities that would have otherwise reduced their likelihood to put points on the board and would have given an Indianapolis offense that was having its way with a Redskins defense more opportunities to score.
The Colts defense had two glaring difficulties – tackling and a soft middle zone – but also showed signs of dominating the game in other ways. Which leads the Colts to head home once again looking to find consistency, their true identity, and to figure out how they will play the rest of the season to end up back in the playoffs. More >
At no time could it be more relevant to write a story about the role of safeties in the Colts defense than during a year which has seen five, FIVE!, strong safeties go out for the year or for a significant portion of the season. This rash of injuries puts the Colts in a position to put a player into a starting role for the first time in a meaningful regular season game not named Bullitt, Bethea, or Sanders for quite a few years. Don’t get me wrong, there have been occasional one game fill-ins in the past, but never a player who was expected to play somewhere between one-quarter, one-half of the season, or longer.
Undrafted rookies Mike Newton and Brandon King will be competing against journeyman veterans DaJuan Morgan and Aaron Francicso for the responsibility. This story will discuss what these players will be asked to do, the role safeties play in the Colts defense, and how it is possible that so many players could get injured at one position in one season. More >
Week 5 Q&A: Chiefs Blogger Joel Thorman
Each week Coltzilla will preview the upcoming game by speaking with fellow bloggers who write about the upcoming opponent. The Colts face the Chiefs this weekend, who are 3-0 and the last undefeated team this year. Joining Coltzilla this week is Joel Thorman from Arrowhead Pride to give us some answers.
CZ: In your opinion, how well has Ryan Lilja performed since you picked him up, after the Colts released him following the 2009 season? Some fans in Indianapolis feel like this was the wrong move for the Colts offensive line, do you agree?
JT: I think he’s been just fine. The Chiefs are running a zone blocking system so they need athletic guys like that. From what I understand, he was released in Indy because they were going bigger on offense. I don’t think that’s a knock on Lilja — it’s just the system. But for KC, he’s been very good, and more than anything he’s been consistent at a position that caused a lot of problems last year. More >
Colts Power Rankings – Week 3
Each week, we’ll be scouring the net for team rankings, from football experts, covering the previous week, and discussing them here. Do the experts know what they’re talking about? Can they back up their rankings, or are they just repeating the same lines we’ve hear over and over (Colts can’t run. They’re soft. Manning can’t win the big one)? Let’s see what they have to say this week.
Each week, Coltzilla brings you highlights from local sports coverage of the Colts with an emphasis on player interviews. Pre-game interviews go up Sunday mornings. Post-game interviews are posted shortly after the game. Hope you enjoy!
Dwight Freeney, Jacob Lacey, and Kelvin Hayden talk about stopping teams in the red zone. On five trips into the red zone on Sunday, the Colts held the Denver Broncos to two field goals.