This has not really been a typical Colts preseason so far.
Firstly, they have won only one game so far.
Secondly, we have not been able to cheer on Jim Sorgi while he gets what has been historically his largest amount of playing time. Instead, we got our first look at Curtis Painter, the Purdue grab who can play but is still a little rough around the edges.
However, I do think that he has some potential, and he has landed in a situation that will allow him to grow and mature as an NFL quarterback.
Depending on what goes on with Sorgi, he could even end up holding the clipboard this season as the No. 2 quarterback.
Staying on offense, a little rework in the offseason (i.e. jettisoning Marvin Harrison) has seen Anthony Gonzalez move into the No. 2 receiver position, which opens up the battle for the No. 3 receiver slot that has not yet been determined.
I think Gonzalez being entrenched as the No. 2 guy on the outside is just what he needs. He will get consistent playing time, and his presence should relieve some of the coverage on Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark.
It essentially forces the opposing defense to pick its poison, which has always been a strength of the Colts’ offense. Who are you going to loosen your coverage on?
As we all know, just give Peyton an opening and he will get the open receiver the ball.
The running back stable has, in my opinion, gotten better with the current youth movement. I am buying into the hype that Donald Brown will take away some of Joseph Addai’s carries. Depending on Addai’s health and his ability to put last year’s disappointment behind him, Brown may even become the starter at some point in 2009.
Moving over to the other side of the ball, to the defense, when you have Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis up front you are in pretty good shape. So far in the preseason, these two are looking really good.
My hope is that the correct complement to the outside pressure has been found in the middle—a spot that has been troublesome for the Colts in the past. Last year, most teams would run up the middle to avoid having to deal with dominant defensive ends. The regular season will prove if they found the correct mixture to stop teams come playoff time.
The defensive backs are the same core that have been in place for at least three years now and are led by Bob Sanders, who is currently on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, along with kicker Adam Vinatieri.
While the DBs have caused me frustration in the past, I still believe that this group of defensive backs is a solid one and have the ability to work in a nickel and dime package as well as anyone in the league.
I would be surprised to see the Colts in the AFC title game against a team like the Patriots this season. However, from what I can see, the only real liability this season is the coaching staff. I am curious to see how they handle the team, which is the most glaringly unknown team heading into 2009.