The Best Indianapolis Colts of All-Time: The Offense
There have been a number of all-decade teams announced lately, but for fans of the Indianapolis Colts, that roster looks a little to similar to the team that still takes the field each Sunday.
Inspired by the desire to rememeber a little further back, I decided to create my own list. Instead of just looking at ten sucessful years, I thought I try to assemble the best Colts since the move to Indianapolis.
First, we’ll take a look at the offense, with my defense and special teams to follow in a few days.
If you need this one explained, you are reading the wrong list. Four MVP awards put him the argument for best quarterback since 1984…on any team. Jim Harbaugh was fun to watch, Jeff George was fun to boo, but Manning is the only serious consideration here.
RB Edgerrin James
Although Marshall Faulk and Eric Dickerson had excellent seasons, both played better for the Rams than the Colts.
Perhaps a surprise draft pick instead off the more hyped and recent Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams, “The Edge” was deemed to be a better fit with Tom Moore’s offense.
He didn’t have the same open-field explosiveness after a 2001 injury, but James was fighting for the total yards from scrimmage title in virtually every NFL season. A touch for Edge was almost a given 4-10 yards for the Colts.
His career numbers would look a lot better had he not signed with Arizona in 2006, where he was not only the best rusher, but the best blocker on that team.
In Indianapolis, James rarely took plays off, showing his versatility in blocking, receiving, and short yardage rushing situations.
WR Marvin Harrison
Another remarkably easy pick, Harrison will go down as one of the all-time NFL greats.
From the time the huddle was broken to the time the ball was caught, no one has ever been better than Harrison. His route-running was prestine, his hands were soft, and the chemistry he had with Peyton Manning hasn’t been equaled by more than a handful of QB-reciever combinations.
Unfortunately, some off the field issues my taint his legacy. On the field on Sundays, however, the man who didn’t seem to want any attention had many afternoons with fans and defenders alike trying to locate No. 88.
TE/WR Dallas Clark
Ken Dilger, then Marcus Pollard, then Dallas Clark. All good receiving and blocking tight ends, and each deemed unneeded when they arrived.
Clark got to the Colts after being drafted in the first round in 2003. After being injured in his rookie campaign, Clark showed Indianapolis fans why he was worth the pick as part of the 2006 Super Bowl team.
His breakout season actually came a year later, with 58 catches and a career-high 11 touchdowns in 2007.
With his first 100 reception season in 2009, Clark has firmly placed himself on this list for years to come.
TE Marcus Pollard
Due to the lack of a good fullback for my all-Colts team, I’m lining up with Clark in the slot and Marcus Pollard in the traditional tight end spot.
Pollard was an incredible athlete, and was able to create matchup problems down the field.
Plus, who else was good for a slam dunk of the ball over the upright after each touchdown? He caught 35 of those in his days with the Colts, and added five more with Detroit and Seattle after leaving town.
Pollard might be overlooked since he was sandwiched between two other very good tight ends in Ken Dilger and Dallas Clark, but deserves recognition on this list.
WR Reggie Wayne
Hidden in the long shadow of Marvin Harrison for many years, Wayne is finally getting the recognition he deserves.
After arriving back from Miami in February of 2007 with a Super Bowl championship, Colts radio man Bob Lamey introduced Harrison and Wayne as the best receiver tandem ever.
While Rice-Taylor or Clayton-Duper fans may disagree, the fact these comparisons exist tells something about the talent of each player.
By the end of next season, Wayne should be over 750 catches and 10,000 yards for his time in Indianapolis. As he has already surpassed Bill Brooks in each category, Reggie can’t be kept off of this team.
T Tarik Glenn
Although usually good for one false start penalty a game, Glenn (like all lineman) usually was at his best when you didn’t notice him.
Just because he wasn’t noticed, didn’t mean he was appreciated and essential protecting Peyton Manning’s blind side for many years.
Glenn was another first round pick, and played in the 2005 and 2006 Pro Bowls. This number could have been increased, had he extended his career. Glenn retired after the 2006-07 Super Bowl, seemingly at the top of his game.
T Ryan Diem
After filling in for an injured Adam Meadows in 2001, the Northern Illinois product has found a home on the right side of the Colts offensive line.
Although he is the only lineman mentioned here without a pro bowl, he has been a consistent member of the best pass blocking line in football over the past decade.
Diem made the adjustment from guard to tackle very well, which is a much tougher adjustment than most would realize. The line seems to have solidified with Diem on the outside, so I’ll start him at right tackle on my team.
T/G Chris Hinton
It might make more sense to play Hinton at tackle rather than guard, but to fit the players I want on this list, I’ll play Hinton at guard. Hinton played in Baltimore in 1983 at left guard, after being traded from Denver as part of the famous John Elway deal.
When the Colts moved to Indy, Hinton moved to left tackle to protect Gary Hoogeboon and Jack Tredeau. He was later packaged with Andre Rison to Atlanta as part of the infamous trade that brought Jeff George to Indy.
Hinton made seven pro bowls, five with the Colts and four of those in Indianapolis.
G Ron Solt
Solt was the first draft pick of the Indianapolis Colts after the move from Baltimore, and lived up to the expectations.
A consitant starter on some very bad football teams, Solt was recognized for his efforts with a 1987 Pro Bowl appearance.
He left Indy for Philadelphia in 1988, but returned to Indianapolis for 12 games in 1992.
C Jeff Saturday
With 156 starts handing the ball between his legs to Peyton Manning, Saturday might be the best known center in football. Being in the middle of the Colts complex blocking schemes is an extremely difficult job, although Saturday routinely makes it look easy.
If it wasn’t for the participation in the upcoming Super Bowl, Saturday would be playing in his fourth Pro Bowl next weekend.
Of course, if Colts fans only remember Saturday for one play, it would be the fumble recovery for a touchdown in the 2006-07 AFC Championship against New England. More important, however, are the countless times he has put the line in the correct positions to give Manning and Co. time and space to operate.
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