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Team needs: Indianapolis Colts

Peyton Manning, Bill Polian AP

The Colts have made an incredible nine consecutive playoff appearances. But only one of them has produced a Super Bowl title, which is disappointing for a franchise with a surefire Hall of Fame quarterback. Peyton Manning turned 35 last month, so he’s probably only got 3-5 great years left.

Indianapolis must capitalize on what’s left of his prime.

OL: Especially for the Colts, you don’t use sacks allowed to evaluate line play. Manning’s quick release and ability to sense pressure have bailed out his front five over and over, almost to the point where linemen have been devalued in the organization. But the situation became dire last season. Combine the Colts’ putrid run game with even worse pass protection, and Manning went on a five-game run during the season’s second half that saw him throw 13 picks. His 17 for the year were Manning’s most since 2002. Left tackle Charlie Johnson, who’s better at guard, is a free agent, and right tackle Ryan Diem is due $5.4 million after a career-worst year. The interior line isn’t in much better condition.

RB: 2009 first-round pick Donald Brown is shaping up as a bust. He’s averaged 3.76 yards per career carry, and last year fell behind Mike Hart and Javarris James on the depth chart. Perhaps the light flips on eventually, but we wouldn’t bet on it. Starter Joseph Addai is a free agent, and the Colts would be smart to not overpay to retain him. Addai does everything pretty well, but is far from a special talent. Hart and James are replacement-level backs.

DT: Former second-rounder Fili Moala finally showed signs that he might be a player last season, but fellow starter Daniel Muir is easily washed out against the run, and the rest of Indianapolis’ defensive tackle depth chart is unimpressive. The Colts can probably get by at this position for another year, but there’s no one dynamic, difference-making interior presence in place.

S: The Colts parted with Bob Sanders, but he hadn’t played much recently anyway. Third safety Melvin Bullitt is a free agent. Indianapolis could use a strong safety capable of filling hard against the run, because few teams are annually as porous in rush defense. And with undersized players all across the front seven, a “box” safety in the Sanders mold could do a lot of damage if utilized correctly.

Overview: The Colts have worked out numerous quarterbacks before the draft. While Bill Polian may like the idea of grooming a developmental prospect behind Manning, he’d be much better off surrounding his franchise quarterback with an improved supporting cast. Manning isn’t getting any younger.

No disrespect to Dan Marino, but if the Manning era ends with a single  Super Bowl win, you’ll be able to make a good argument that Polian, Jim Caldwell, and Tony Dungy are/were all vastly overrated. Manning needs more rings.

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16 Responses to “Team needs: Indianapolis Colts”
  1. preseasonchamps08 says: Apr 18, 2011 10:59 PM

    Jim Caldwell is an awful coach, it’s hard to imagine him going down as overrated because he is already considered by most to be in the bottom 20% of NFL coaches. He’s been lucky to have Manning, Mathis, Freeny, Saturday, Wayne, Clark, etc. on his roster to mask his idiocy.

  2. kom2k10 says: Apr 18, 2011 11:02 PM

    Manning overrated??? The guy has taking what normally would amount to at best a 5-11 team to 9 straight playoff appearances with one of the historically softest defenses of all time. He’s made it to 2 Superbowls in the past 4 years, and somehow the media critizism seems to be getting worse…

    Meanwhile Rothlesburger and Tom Brady somehow actually win Superbowls with top defenses while only throwing for 121 yards and 145 yards respectively in Super Bowl wins, and they’re treated as gods…

    Tom Brady misses an entire season and his team goes 11-5 without him. Think about that for a second…. The following year he comes back and they go 10-6! Rothlesburger misses 4 games last year and they got 3-1 without him.

    Tell me again which QB’s are overrated???

  3. leftysmoke says: Apr 18, 2011 11:25 PM

    “No disrespect to Dan Marino, but if the Manning era ends with a single Super Bowl win, you’ll be able to make a good argument that Polian, Jim Caldwell, and Tony Dungy are/were all vastly overrated. Manning needs more rings.”

    This.

    If Manning doesn’t secure at least two more rings, it’s a crime. Next year (if there is a next year… for the 1,000,000th time), Manning will be on a mission to hoist the Lombardi in the house that he built. The return of the C & C Express (like that?) alone is enough to give Manning the edge to will us back into the big game. Hopefully Polian makes the most of this draft and re-ups a franchise that is literally hanging on by the skin of Manning’s teeth. With that said, it will be a sad and miserable day when #18 hangs it up…

    You already know…

    GO COLTS!

  4. buccaboo says: Apr 18, 2011 11:55 PM

    Peyton Manning is my favorite player to watch and I think he is the most talented QB in decades, but that whole team is a house of cards that is powered by P.M, if he goes, the team goes. He has made alot of people look really good!

  5. canadianvikingfaniii says: Apr 19, 2011 12:11 AM

    It is hard to judge Colt runningbacks effectively when the OL is garbage and often times it is Peyton who is leading the team. They also need to look for a young QB who can sit behind him as Rodgers did with Favre, who can step in and not skip a beat.

  6. jpmelon says: Apr 19, 2011 12:23 AM

    I certainly think that Dungy is overrated. Manning deserves the credit for most of the amazing things that the offense has done, and the Colts defense is always one of the worst in the league. So what has Dungy actually done to help the franchise? There is a reason that teams seem to go nuts with the idea that Cowher might coach their teams, but I don’t know of too many that are knocking on Dungy’s door. Both coaches called it quits on a high note, and both coaches went into broadcasting positions immediately after. The only difference is that one of them had a direct influence on their teams success and the other didn’t.

  7. conquerpeace4d says: Apr 19, 2011 1:14 AM

    Indianapolis Colts Team Needs : A coach who actually does something.

  8. duncanh89 says: Apr 19, 2011 5:51 AM

    I’d actually say that you can already say that Caldwell, Dungy, and Polian are all extremely overrated – they have failed to surround Peyton with top level talent for way too long.

  9. deep64blue says: Apr 19, 2011 5:56 AM

    Judging players and execs by the number of Superbowl rings they win is incredibly silly.

    Skill gets you to the playoffs but from there it’s a crapshoot.

  10. slice60 says: Apr 19, 2011 7:09 AM

    “Indianapolis Colts Team Needs : A coach who actually does something.”

    Caldwell is often a better coach when he does NOTHING. He gave away games to Jax & the Jets with the stupidest timeouts in NFL history. The sad thing is that to this day, he still doesn’t understand why he should NOT have called those timeouts.

    Jim Caldwell is a lousy football coach.

  11. redrew says: Apr 19, 2011 7:11 AM

    Manning’s offense is stacked with multiple 1st round picks at WR, RB plus #1s at TE and OL. It can be argued that never has a QB done so little with so much. In contrast, Brady has been surrounded by undrafted FAs, mid rounders, rookies, and 1 #1 pick at guard. The result was the highest scoring offense in the league and another MVP. Manning vs Brady….please. Remember when Belichick finally gave Brady some toys to play with…..highest scoring team ever.

  12. thefiesty1 says: Apr 19, 2011 8:13 AM

    Manning needs some offensive line help badly. he can’t continue to do it alone or with the support he should be given. But, they need a defense badly. He (Peyton) can’t keep bailing them out forever.

    Andy Dalton would be a good protege in a couple of years. They haven’t had much of a running game since Ederrin James left for Arizona. So, a good RB would help as Brown doesn’t seem to be the answer. The Colts seem to always have so many injuries to key players it’s amazing that they continue to make the playoffs year after year. Caldwell is a non-factor, Moore should have been the coach in waiting for Dungy.

    Kind of rambling here, but they need lots of help right now even at receiver. Wayne and Clark can’t do it all anymore. Harrison hasn’t been replaced yet. Gonzales can stay on the field and the young guys last year need to pick up the slack.

    Just get Peyton some help AND shore up a declining defense. Go COLTS.

  13. CKL says: Apr 19, 2011 8:54 AM

    In all honesty, I had always thought Dungy was a decent HC, not great, not bad…but Caldwell has done more to boost Dungy’s rep (in my eyes) as a HC than anyone.

  14. jamoe17 says: Apr 19, 2011 9:01 AM

    This write up reminds me of the Favre led Packers circa 2005, just before Ted Thompson was hired and rebuilt the roster. Favre would lead his team to 4 wins…Manning will probably lead his to 10.

  15. stupadassle says: Apr 19, 2011 9:51 AM

    Evan, they’ve been to 2 legit super bowls and have won 1. Polian also led Buffalo to 4 in a row which we won’t see again anytime soon. Overrated, I don’t think so.

  16. jasonculhane says: Apr 21, 2011 11:51 AM

    Polian likes total control everywhere he goes. Because then he gets all the credit. He hires coaches, players, who he can pencil push…Dungy was one of them. Its actually cost Polian jobs, the guy just wants total team control…Irsay gave him that and for the most part for a small market team it has worked…If he came to the Packers or Steelers and he wouldn’t of lasted past the 2008 season. I’m certain of it. It has nothing to do with his record as a President, its just the way he pisses in the faces of the fans and media. And because of the pissing match he PURPOSELY does listen to them and will do the opposite….Like when local guy Bob Kravitz and Mike Chappel critisize him for the offensive line…Polian ignores it…gets a runningback..

    Manning is his scapegoat when they don’t win, its Polian’s out. He’ll say “salary cap restrictions, in fact restricted me getting better talent”……Somewhere along the past 10 years Polian became more obsessed about winning seasons, divisions then he was about the Colts measuring up against other superior teams, filling the Colts weaknesses and glaring holes. He surrounds Manning with JUST enough talent to win a division and make a playoff run. If this was baseball Polian would have a great batting average during the regular season, but in the playoffs he would get shut out. Its so obvious he’s scared of losing big games rather then taking chances of being great and winning them. When they lose its always “injuries”. This guy vouched for Bob Sanders all year and when they desperatley needed a wide receiver in the playoffs he didn’t bring back Gonzales whom he drafted…..Then he sends Bob Sanders packing?
    Then his excuse is injuries…special teams…When its obvious to the world he creates his own “excuses” during the regular season so when the team fails its Manning or Caldwell, or the offensive line, special teams…..One thing we know is its not Manning.

    He sets the team up purposely to fail…Its seriously that obvious. Really, is that a real stretch to not beleive…The word is, is he’s that egotistical. a 10-12 win season with Manning is in the BAG for him. But being a true general manager and evaluating talent is determined in the playoffs when you have a player like Manning. Bill Polian, you exposed.

    The scouting reports are their for a reason. Polian pretty much goes against what the team needs are…Every year. Its just a big pissing match with this guy every year. I’m wondering when the Indianapolis media is going to get sick of this guy, his true colors are really showing. He’s just pissing on you poor fans now.

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