Ranking the Running Game, Pt. 25: Indianapolis Colts

Jeff Little@@JeffLittle32Senior Writer IApril 2, 2008

Part 25 of a 32 part series, a running back position analysis of each franchise. The thought was that Head Coach Tony Dungy was nearing the end of his career – until he decided to come back for one more year. Dungy is a class guy that has gone through a lot personally and professionally. Coach Dungy’s decision to return was made easier by the fact that the Colts’ roster is stacked with talent. The Colts’ have won five straight AFC South titles partly due to solid coaching and a very good nucleus. In my opinion the Colts’ have been able to remain one of the league’s elite because the coaching staff and the personnel department work so well together. The Colts’ have built their team through the draft and will be active participants again in late April. The Colts’ 2007 division title came with a 13-3 record.  The Colts’ season ended with a disappointing divisional playoff game loss to the Chargers. The Colts’ offense really suffered from the injury to WR Marvin Harrison and in my opinion the team’s biggest contributor to their downfall in the playoffs as well as their running game being shut down by the Chargers. The Colts’ must re-group as an organization and begin preparations for 2008. Seventeen of 22 starters for Indianapolis are under contract for the 2008 season.  The Colts’ needs are minimal and are DT, DE, OT, RB & MLB. The Colts’ as a team rushed for 107 yards per game.

·        Joseph Addai: 5’ 11” 214 lbs, 261 Att, 1,072 Yards, 4.1 YPC Avg, 12 TD’s

·        Kenton Keith: 5’ 11” 198 lbs, 121 Att,    533 Yards, 4.4 YPC Avg,   3 TD’s

·        Clifton Dawson: 5’ 10” 212 lbs, 30 Att,    64 Yards   2.1 YPC Avg,   1 TD

·        Justise Hairston: 6’ 2” 220 lbs. rookie free agent Central Connecticut State

Joseph Addai is the guy who carries the load running the ball for the Colts’ and has been since he replaced Edgerrin James. Joseph Addai had his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season to begin his career, and added 41 catches for 364 yards & three scores. Addai showed improvement in all areas and remains one of the league’s top all-around young running backs. His back up, Kenton Keith was a bit of an unknown when training camp started in 2007, but he came on during the season and contributed. He showed flashes & that he isn’t a complete back. The Colts’ would be wise to search for a better backup so Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore can open up the playbook. Clifton Dawson adds depth to the position. FB Luke Lawton became something of a cult hero to Colts fans for his special-teams work and short-yardage blocking. The Colts’ don’t have a 1st round draft pick but in the event Rashard Mendenhall is available in the 2ndround when the Colts’ draft they will take him. The biggest priority for the Colts’ will be adding a Wide Receiver (Jordy Nelson, Donnie Avery), depth at Defensive End (Derrick Harvey, Chris Ellis, and Jeremy Geathers) and adding a Middle Linebacker (Ezra Butler, Spencer Larsen).

The Question for the Colts: The biggest question for the Colts’ was already answered when Coach Tony Dungy returned for the 2008 season.  Will the Colts’ trade a future draft pick to move back into the 1st round this year?