New Staff, Same Old Colts

George AndersonAnalyst IIJuly 19, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 07:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates as he runs off the field after their 35-3 win against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 7, 2008 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The Indianapolis Colts started the season 3-4 before rattling off nine straight. Once again the Colts get double digit wins which was an everyday deal with the Colts under Head Coach Tony Dungy. Now can the Colts do it without him?

The Good

The Colts will still be a contender for the sole reason that Peyton Manning is still quarterback. The guy has a rocket arm, pin-point accuracy, and the fact that he's 6'5" with a great view of the field helps too. He is never injured and his only downfall might be some of his commercials he has done.

The Colts no longer have to worry if running back Joseph Addai gets injured because now they have a solid back in Donald Brown. Plus, if Addai does not get hurt, the Colts will have a dynamite duo. Brown is not the blocker Addai is, but he is a very capable catcher and a solid runner who can carry the load when needed.

To some people's surprise, the receiving core is still a good. Marvin Harrison is no longer a Colt, but he has not been himself for two years now. The Colts have receiver Reggie Wayne as their No. 1 and is considered a top 10 wide-out.

Also, receiver Anthony Gonzalez, who really showed something last year, will be the No. 2 guy and will give another target for Peyton to rely on. Then there's always Dallas Clark who is more a receiver than a tight end. He has been the safety net for many years now and has shown no signs of slowing down.

The offensive line, though small, has made sure for many years now that Peyton only touches the grass when he feels like it. This line battled through some injuries last year with center Jeff Saturday and guard Ryan Lija missing quite a bit of time, but the line that consists of two tackles and mostly centers in the interior kept Peyton off the ground for the most part. With a healthy line this year, Peyton should be back to his old ways with only being sacked 12 times and throwing 35-40 touchdowns.

The Bad

Even though the defensive line has stars like defensive end Robert Mathis and defensive end Dwight Freeney, and rookie tackle Fili Moala—who should be a monster, the defensive struggled against the run. It has been a common trend for a few years now, but the defense also missed safety Bob Sanders for more than half the season and, though he is a safety, the team seems quicker and has a greater ability to get to the ball when he's on the field. With Sanders and Antoine Bethea in the secondary, linebacker Gary Brackett in the middle, and the two book-ends the defense should be in the top part of the league.

The Colts will have an even more challenging year inside the division with the Titans and now the Texans being serious contenders in the AFC. Any one of these three teams can win the division.

Kicker Adam Vinatieri is no longer at his Super Bowl status as he has been injured often since the Colts Super Bowl victory. It depends how the leg’s feeling, but when healthy he is still a top five kicker.

The Ugly

The coaching staff is ugly because there are so many changes. Dungy’s out and Caldwell’s in at Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore is gone and he was with Peyton since he came into the league, Defensive Coordinator Ron Meeks is now in Carolina, and even the Special Teams coach is gone. There are so many new faces that the team MIGHT not be the same, but with Peyton at quarterback the Colts must be respected.


Peyton Manning is definitely a No. 1 quarterback and is being taken in the first round more and more.

With Addai's recent injury problems, Donald Brown could be a surprise No. 3 back and put up big numbers.

Reggie Wayne is a No. 1 receiver. Now that he is the clear No. 1 receiver in the offense and has a solid No. 2 in Gonzalez, he should have a bigger year than last year.

Dallas Clark is a quiet top five tight end because he is a reliable target that plays more like a wide receiver.

Adam Vinatieri is a top kicker when healthy, but is available in the last couple rounds so do not use a mid-round pick on him.

The sleeper is Anthony Gonzalez who is now the No. 2 receiver in Indianapolis. When Reggie Wayne was in that spot he still put up monster numbers and I don't see why Gonzalez won’t have the same luck.


2nd place