The Colts have a lot to be excited about in 2009. The defensive line has received a lot of attention, the secondary is proven, they are sporting a pair of Pro Bowl pass rushers, Peyton Manning is healthy, they have two first-round draft picks at running back, and starting left guard Ryan Lilja is nearing a return.
The team looks full on talent and deeper at many positions than it has been in a long time.
Even more encouraging is that so many players will be entering the season with added motivation. Players tend to play best when they feel a need to distinguish themselves.
The best example of this intangible in action is the 2006 Colts defense, who was responsible for most NFL analysts predicting the team's early playoff exit. The defense included corner backs Nick Harper and Jason David who were in contract years.
Safety Bob Sanders missed much of the year to injury. Rob Morris, who had long been removed from the starting roster, took over for Gilbert Gardner at strong side linebacker. Suffice it to say, the defense had a lot to prove as the team entered the playoffs.
The result? The defense was outstanding and the team won its first championship in over 30 years.
Like the 2006 Colts defense, this team is filled with players who are under a lot of pressure to step up their game. Watch for these players to push the Colts to play with greater intensity in the coming season.