Posted on: April 12, 2010 8:31 pm
 

The Hypocrisy of the NFL

The NFL is fast becoming a joke. I’m from New Zealand and as an outsider looking in, all of these "off the field issues" are getting very comical. The problem in my eyes isn’t the fact that all these players are getting in trouble off the field but the reaction of the league, the teams, the fans and the media. There is NO consistency or rationality in the punishments; Rodger Goodell’s no-nonsense policy is absolute nonsense. The team’s draft or sign players with a history of "off field issues" then when the players inevitably get into trouble they vilify the players, avoid all responsibility and act like they didn’t see it coming. The fans proclaim these troubled players are scumbags and filth yet when their team acquires one for a bargain price they are suddenly the missing pieces to the puzzle that will lead their team to the Promised Land. The media write these big pieces that can more accurately be described as sensationalism than journalism, vilifying players for anything that calls into question their morality. I’m not condoning the things that these players do, as a NFL fan I hate what these players are doing to the sport, but everyone is just perpetuating the problem. It’s hilarious.

I just read the article on this site about how Big Ben was cleared of his assault charge. I’m not going to go into the whole guilty vs. innocent debate I’m more interested in the final line of the piece:

“Early in his career, he was photographed -- obviously after drinking -- wearing a T-shirt reading "Drink Like a Champion." “

This is text book yellow/sensationalist journalism. What was this meant to achieve? Other than enhancing the scandal and thus its appeal to readers it has no relevance to the article. There is nothing wrong with drinking a few beers and wearing a novelty T-Shirt, and further more it happened years ago and wasn’t news then. It perpetuates the problem.

If Goodell really wanted to stamp out these issues he’d do better than the 4-week suspensions he typically hands out. The NFL needs to adopt a policy that signals out the repeat offenders and holds not only the players but the teams responsible. As it stands now teams are better of with the players than without them. Sure they might catch a bit of stick from the media and the public but they are better off on the field if they retain these players, or if they acquire them via trades or free agency. The reactions of the Fans enforce this. How many fans are calling for their teams to trade for Michael Vick? What’s the bet that a big chunk of these guys where calling him the scum of the earth when he was with the Falcons?

If it were up to me and I wanted to stamp all of this out I’d create a three strikes policy. Three offenses and you’re done. For good. Players who have had issues prior to entering the league start on one strike. If a team retains or adds a player after they’ve had a strike they are liable for a fine if that player re-offends, the fines increase if that player has two strikes. A policy like that would show the players, the teams and the sporting public that these issues will not be tolerated.

But that won’t happen; at the end of the day if these players help a team win they are wanted. So I’ll just continue to sit back and laugh at the hypocrisy of the league and the fans whose prime concern is apparently the integrity of the NFL and it's public image.

Posted on: April 6, 2010 6:17 pm
 

Colts Draft Board.. Round 3

Again this pick is dependent on who the Colts take in the first two rounds. I envision them already having an offensive tackle at this point however I have included Kyle Calloway in the list of key prospects for this round as I feel his versatility along the line means he is still worth a look. At this point in the draft there aren’t any pass rushing defensive ends worth selecting so I can see the Colts looking to address other areas of need here.

 

I have linebacker as their fourth biggest need going into the draft as they really need to add a strong side backer to challenge or even replace Phillip Wheeler. I see two prospects capable of filling that role Dekoda Watson out of Florida State and Sean Lee out of PSU. Lee has a late second round-early third round grade on most boards but in my opinion his 4.71 time in the 40 makes this to high for him to be selected and could push him down on draft day. I like him as a future leader of the defence who can play all three line backer positions due to his great football knowledge and fundamentally solid technique. That being said I rate Dekoda Watson a lot higher. Watson is an extremely fast and explosive backer who had 32 starts in that strong side backer role with the Seminoles. At 226 pounds he is very small for a linebacker in the NFL but has shown he can add weight to his 6-foot-2 frame. The thing I like most about Watson however is his pass rush, he is a very useful weapon blitzing from the outside. The addition of Watson would mean that the need for a pass rushing end isn’t as dire and as such his selection would mean we could focus our other picks elsewhere.Corner Alterraun Verner should also be in the mix if the Colts haven’t already added either Amari Spievey or Devin McCourty. Like those two Verner is a very good zone corner and tackler who would fit the Colts system very well. Centre J.D. Walton is also a very good prospect; he would add the desired size to our previously small line and be the ideal candidate to replace Jeff Saturday when he eventually retires. I also threw Tim Tebow in there as I feel at this point in the draft he is worth a flyer.

 

Overall I rank Watson as the top prospect of round three, I think his size and speed make him the ideal candidate for the Colts defence and his pass rushing ability will mean his selection will essential solve two needs. Even if the Colts nab Hughes in round one I still think Watson is the best option however if at this point they are still without an offensive lineman the either Walton or Calloway should be taken as they are in positions of greater need.

Key Third Round Prospects:

Dekoda Watson – LB – Florida State – 6-2 226. 40 Time: 4.56 (mid 4.4’s at his pro day) Reps:24

Watson bares comparison to former undersize Seminal LB’s Derrick Brooks and Ernie Sims in both his size, speed and playmaking ability. At 226 he is very small for a backer but he weighed in at the combine at 240 indicating the frame is there for him to build on. He is a very fast linebacker who utilizes his speed and agility very well in both run support and pass defence. His greatest strength however is his pass rush; while he doesn’t possess elite size or strength he is very explosive and has great timing for the blitz. I see him as the perfect SAM linebacker for the Colts, he has the necessary speed and quickness for our defensive scheme and will also be another weapon in our pass rushing arsenal which will lessen the need to find a top tier edge rushing DE in this drat.

Highlights:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMZ6txMFR_Q

Sean Lee – LB – Penn State – 6-2 236. 40 Time: 4.71 Reps: 24 Vert Jump: 37.5

Lee is another in a long line of talented backers out of Penn State. He is an extremely intelligent football player who has tremendous leadership qualities and plays tough fundamentally solid football. There are questions surrounding his athleticism and although he was clocked at 4.60 at his pro day his 4.71 time at the combine is a red flag. That being said he is a very good linebacker prospect who can play all three positions.

J.D. Walton – C – Baylor – 6-3 300. 40 Time: 5.19 Reps: 24

Walton is guy that gives 150% on every play. He is a mauler in the run game and has a good initial burst which help him in pass protection. He is an intelligent player who is accustom to being the leader of the line and has the size that new line coach Pete Metzelaars is after. He would be the ideal replacement for Jeff Saturday .

Kyle Calloway – OT – Iowa – 6-7 323. 40 time: 5.46 Reps: 22

A good right tackle prospect who has the versatility to play on the left side or at guard. He is a very tough and disciplined player who is competent in both the run and pass game. He has the ability to start and guard and the potential to move to right tackle as Ryan Diems successor.


Alterraun Verner – CB – UCLA – 5-10 189. 40 time: 4.52 vert jump: 32

Like Spievey and McCourty, Verner is a great zone corner and tackler. He doesn’t have the top end speed that most people like with corners but he has a great initial burst and reacts very well which makes up for it. He is also very smart and did very well academically at UCLA.

Tim Tebow – QB – Florida – 6-3 236. 40 Time: 4.71 Reps: N/A

Forget the questions about his fundamentals and mechanics. Tebow is born football player who is one of the best leaders I have ever seen. His work ethic and locker room presence alone make him worth of a third round pick and given a few years to mentor under Peyton Manning I feel he could become a very good QB in this league. In all honestly I can’t see this happening but if he is still on the board when our third round pick rolls around we HAVE to at least consider him.

 

So those are my 2 cents on the Colts options for the third round of the Draft. Stay tuned for the other rounds and follow my blog.



Posted on: April 5, 2010 7:04 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2010 4:10 pm
 

Colts Draft Board.. Round 2

This pick is obviously dependent on who the Colts take in the first round, however based on their needs we can narrow the choice down to a few key prospects. I have a pass rushing defensive end as their biggest need however with the lack of quality options at the top of this years draft if they miss out on Jerry Hughes in the first round there are not a whole lot of options that excite until later in the draft. Ricky Sapp out of Clemson and Jermaine Cunningham out of Florida are two prospects that are worth a look however I expect the Colts to target other positions with this pick.

 

The three prospects that jump out to me here are offensive lineman Jared Veldheer and John Jerry and corner Amari Spievey. Veldheer and Jerry are both big strong lineman who will add the size and power the Colts were missing in the run game last season. New line coach Pete Metzelaars has already shown a desire to get bigger up front with the acquisitions of Adam Terry and Andy Alleman and I look for that trend to continue. Veldheer is a good left tackle prospect who at 6-foot-8 has an amazing physical skill set, the one knock on him however is he comes from a small school so is relatively unproven and raw. Jerry is another big strong lineman who is a mauler in the run game. He played both right guard and right tackle for Mississippi and could be the eventual replacement for Ryan Deim who is scheduled to make over $6million next year. Of the two I rate Veldheer higher, his rare size and strength give him the potential to be a very good tackle which is a position of real need for the Colts.

 

With the release of Marlin Jackson and Tim Jennings, Jacob Lacey is our only real option at corner behind starters Jerraud Powers and Kelvin Hayden. Lacey played well as a rookie last season but his performance in the Super bowl has done little to distil confidence in his ability to be the nickel corner. I’m all for giving him another chance but the Colts are without an insurance policy; they need to add depth. Amari Spievey can be that insurance policy. He is a good zone cover corner and a great open field tackler who would help in both the passing and running game, thus fitting the Colts defence perfectly. I rank him above Jared Veldheer and John Jerry if we pick up an offensive lineman in the first round, but if we land Hughes at 31 then I feel one of those two big men would be better picks.

 

Key Round Two Prospects:


Amari Spievey – CB – Iowa – 5-11 195. 40 time: 4.52 Vertical leap: 35

Spievey is the ideal fit for the Colts defence at corner. He possesses good awareness in zone coverage and utilizes his size and hands to knock balls away and make interceptions. He is also a very good tackler and his 124 tackles in his final to seasons with Iowa shows his willingness to get down and dirty in run support.


Jared Veldheer – OT – Hillsdale – 6-8 312. 40 time: 5.06 Reps: 32

With Pete Metzelaars wanting to get bigger along the line Veldheer’s exceptional size and strength make him the perfect fit. He has the physical tools to be a dominant tackle but like Campbell and Brown is very raw so will need work. He played very well in his tenure at Hillsdale and should be their first lineman drafted since Howard Mudd.

Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZUoHh8gupE

John Jerry – OT/OG – Mississippi – 6-6 328. 40 time: 5.15 Reps: N/A

Jerry played both right guard and right tackle in college but is better suited to play guard in the NFL. He has great size and moves very well for a big man. He is a prototypical mauler who would be great in the run game and provide our line with that much needed size and power inside. His experience at right tackle means he could also be groomed into Ryan Diem’s eventual replacement.


Ricky Sapp DE - Clemson – 6-4 252. 40 time: 4.65 Reps: 23

Sapp made the transition from end to linebacker at the start of last season so has experience as a pass rusher in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defensive schemes. His combine results highlight his great athleticism and potential but given his career high for sacks in college was 5 they raise doubts over his football ability. He has the tools to be a successful pass rusher in the NFL but he will need work.

Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo3oCN4W8Wo&feature=fvst

Jermaine Cunningham – DE - Florida – 6-4 266. 40 time: 4.68 Reps: N/A

Cunningham possesses a good pass rushing abilities and demonstrated his toughness by playing through injuries in both his 2008 and 2009 seasons. However given other highly touted Gator pass rushers Derrick Harvey and Jarvis Moss have been NFL busts he is a risk by association. He was also arrested in 2007 which raises issues over his character.

Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qo_8v-VgeZQ

So those are my 2 cents on the Colts options for the second round of the Draft. Stay tuned for the other rounds and follow my blog.




Posted on: April 2, 2010 8:03 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2010 4:12 pm
 

Colts Draft Board.. Round 1

The Colts own the thirty-first pick in the first round of the upcoming draft and ideally I’d like to see them take a pass rushing defensive end here. Mathis and Freeney aren’t getting any younger and with the loss of Raheem Brock there is nothing behind them. This is one of the most important positions for the Colts and they need to remain sharp in this area. This year’s draft crop however doesn’t include a lot of quality pass rushers and with this being a need on numerous teams the chance of multiple top rated prospects falling to the Colts at 31 is very slim. This rules out Derrick Morgan, Jason Pierre-Paul, Brandon Graham and Sergio Kindle as I can’t see a scenario where any of them will still be on the board. Jerry Hughes the prospect out of TCU however is a very real possibility; if he is there the Colts should defiantly take him. However with teams like Arizona (twenty-sixth) and the New York Jets (twenty-ninth) also after pass rushers he may not still be available and if he and the pass rushers mentioned above are all off the board the Colts will need to look at other positions.

 

I have offensive tackle and centre as the two next biggest needs for the Colts. This years draft crop is contains a lot of quality offensive tackles so there is a high chance one or more may be available. The three most intriguing prospects that I can see falling to us at 31 are Anthony Davis out of Rutgers, Bruce Campbell out of Maryland and Charles Brown out of USC. Davis I see as the best choice, although there are questions surrounding his work ethic he is the more NFL ready of the three and with two seasons of starting experience at left tackle should be able to step into the line up straightaway for the Colts. Campbell is by far the best physically and as such has the most potential and upside; however he is very raw and has a lot less experience than Davis. Brown is in my opinion a class bellow the other two but the one that is the most likely to be available. Like Campbell he is very inexperienced, but there are also questions about his strength. At 6 foot 6 the frame is there to build on and he has shown he does have potential but he is defiantly not a player who can slot right into a starting role. If Hughes is off the board and either Davis or Campbell are available the Colts should take them. Brown however is a bit more of a risk and there is one other prospect that I see as a better pick. That prospect is centre Maurkice Pouncey out of Florida.   I have Centre as our third greatest need going into the draft, Jeff Saturday, the current starter, is hands down the most important player on our line and with him getting up in years the need for a youngster to mentor behind him is growing. Pouncey is the ideal candidate to succeed Saturday and has the ability to step into the starting role at guard immediately.

 

Ideally I’d like to see Jerry Hughes selected with this pick but as we have all learned over the years the draft never pans out as planned. Anthony Davis has been projected to go as early as twenty-third to the Packers while workout wonder Bruce Campbell’s physical skill set may prove to be to seductive to Raiders owner Al Davis who owns the eighth pick. Maurkice Pouncey may not make it past Pittsburgh at eighteenth, with Steelers also needing interior line help and Charlie Brown has been linked to the Chargers who own the twenty-sixth pick. What I’m getting at is we never know what will happen in the draft but I envision multiple scenarios that involve one or more of these players still being there at 31. In an ideal world that player will be Jerry Hughes as he fills, what is in my opinion, the Colts greatest need but any of these prospects would be welcome additions to the Colts roster.

 

Key Round One Prospects:

 

Jerry Hughes – DE - TCU – 6-3 255. 40 time: 4.69 Reps: 26

Hughes showcased his pass rushing ability in college tallying 15 sacks in 2008 and 11.5 in 2009 en route to numerous awards. He is not the best against the run but has a great work ethic and will be a great addition to the Colts pass rushing arsenal. He could be used in rotation with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis from day one.

Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7mckhsuySg

 

Anthony Davis – Rutgers – OT – 6-5 323. 40 time: 5.38 Reps: 21

Davis is a very good Left Tackle prospect coming out of Rutgers. After earning Freshman All American honours at right guard he played almost every game at left tackle the rest of his college career and was the anchor of the line. There are questions surrounding his work ethic which have cause his draft stock to slip and his pedestrian 21 reps on the bench press are also a concern. He is still a sure-fire first round prospect however and will be an immediate upgrade for the Colts line.

Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiL8DSVAUJQ

 

Bruce Campbell – OT – Maryland – 6-7 314. 40 time: 4.85 Reps: 34

Campbell is physical freak, possessing a rare combination of size, speed and strength. He is very raw however and his lack of experience is a concern. If drafted he may not be able to make an impact straight away and will need to work on his technique but due to his physical skill set he has amazing potential.

Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfDUEa4iJsg

 

Charles Brown – OT – USC – 6-6 303. 40 time: 5.20 Reps: 21

Brown is a former TE who made the transition to tackle 2005 meaning that, like Campbell, he is very raw and may not be ready to be an immediate contributor. He has however shown flashes of his potential that indicate he could be a very good tackle in the NFL. His 21 reps on the bench press are a concern but he has bulked up from the 285pounds played at in college to 303 and his 6-6 frame should enable him to add further size and strength.

Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AheRQNNgK64

 

Maurkice Pouncey – OG/C – Florida – 6-5 304. 40 time: 5.23 Rebs: 26

Pouncey is a very good interior lineman prospect coming out of Florida. He is a very tough player who plays with a mean streak. With New Line coach Pete Metzelaars saying he wants the line to get bigger Pouncey would be a perfect fit and could make an immediate impact at guard. His natural position however is centre making him a very good prospect for Jeff Saturdays eventual replacement.

Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7orZwI-tZQ



#### ANOTHER ROUND ONE PROSPECT  06/04/10 UPDATE ####

 

With the possibility of all five of the first round prospects I listed above being off the board at 31 I decided to look for another name to include. I found Corner Devin McCourty and he is a perfect fit  for our defence. He is a great tackler, possesses great speed, is tremendous in zone coverage, is a great special teams player and can return kicks. The Colts also attended the Rutgers pro day which indicates he is one of the key prospects on their radar.

 

I still rank Jerry Hughes, Anthony Davis, Bruce Campbell and Maurkice Pouncey higher on the draft board as I feel that their positions are greater areas of need for the Colts. However if we take that “need” element out of it McCourty becomes my top prospect for the Colts to take in the first round. I can’t stress enough how perfect he fits our defence and thus how well he could play in our secondary.  The more I think about it the more his selection makes sense especially when you take into consideration the loss of Marlin Jackson. That being said I still think that corner is far less of a need than DE and OT so we should look to address those positions first but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Colts call Devin McCourty’s name on draft day.


Devin McCourty - CB – Rutgers -  5-11 193. 40 Time: 4.38 Vert Jump: 36

McCourty is a very good prospect coming out of Rutgers. He is an instinctive zone corner who uses his good awareness, athleticism and hands to make plays in the secondary. He is also a very good open field tackler and is not afraid to help in run support, something his 80 tackles in his senior year shows. He is also one of the best special team prospects in this class; he had 7 career FG blocks and a 98yard kickoff return for a TD at Rutgers.

Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnzzalsfFp4



So those are my 2 cents on the Colts options for the first round of the Draft. Stay tuned for the other rounds and follow my blog.




Posted on: March 31, 2010 7:27 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2010 7:46 pm
 

The Colts Financial Prowess

This is somthing to consider when you look at the needs of the Colts going into the draft.
The Colts have shown an ability over the past decade to identify and reward key players in key positions, something that I feel is the key to their continued success. On the offensive side the team is built around the skill positions; QB, RB, WR and TE. On the defensive side Defensive end and Safety are our key positions. Thus the need for quality players in these positions is vital and this is where the Colts spend their money. They have shown that they are willing to deal out big contracts in order to ensure we retain our key players in these positions (Peyton Manning , Reggie Wayne , Dallas Clark , Dwight Freeney , Robert Mathis and Bob Sanders ). Whereas in other positions the colts have shown they are willing to let go good players to avoid paying them large contracts. Examples include; guards Rick Demulling , Jake Scott , Ryan Lija . Linebackers Cato June, Mike Peterson , Marcus Washington, David Thornton . Cornerbacks Marlin Jackson , Nick Harper .. and I'm sure there's a lot I have missed. The reason these players aren't brought back is because the Colts know where they need to direct their money, they are smart enough to know that your highest paid players must all be your most important positions. The exception to this is Gary Bracket, but I feel his resigning can be attributed to his leadership and other intangibles he brings to the field rather than the importance of his position.


The Colts have also shown over the years a reluctance to reward big money deals to aging players instead opting to hand the reigns over to young up and coming players. Some notable examples are running backs Marshal Faulk and Edgern James. This again is all about money; why have huge dollars tied up in a player on the decline when you can invest less in a young player who has the chance of developing into a future star?

These to points IMO definitely warrant alot of consideration when evaluating the teams needs. Based on what we've seen in the past if the Colts go for a Linebacker or a Cornerback early in the draft they are unlikely to remain on the team past their rookie contracts. This is not to say they will be busts but rather highlights the fact that these positions aren't considered as important as Defensive End or Safety and as such don't warrant big contracts. These trends also indicate that once a player is deemed to be on the decline and his ability to continue to play at a high level is questioned a big contract is unlikely. Defensive Ends like Running backs historicaly have hit a wall at 30, and while there are exceptions to every rule most pass rushers experience a significant drop in production when they reach this age.

This is why I place Defensive end as such a high priority going into the draft, much higher than Guard, Linebacker and Cornerback . The importance of pass rushers for the Colts is HUGE, and with the age of Freeney and Mathis (and Mathis's contractual status) the need to find a young replacement very soon. I'm not disputing the need at both linebacker or corner for the Colts, but rather the importance of each of the positions.

To put it bluntly would you rather spend a first round pick on a Linebacker who will be a Colts for the next 5 years, or a Defensive End who will be one for the next 10?


Posted on: March 29, 2010 4:57 pm
 

State of the Colts .. Part 2.5

Nees Summary

1) Defensive end ; the Colts need to add another edge rusher to their ranks. Mathis and Freeney aren’t getting any younger and with the loss of Raheem Brock there is nothing behind them. This is one of the most important positions for the Colts and they need to remain sharp.

 

2) Offensive Tackle ; with Tony Ugoh failing to live up to expectations and Charlie Johnson proving he is nothing more than a band aide they have to start looking for a long term answer at left tackle. Ryan Diem is also getting up in years and has a bloated contract so a young right tackle is also a need.

 

3) Centre ; Jeff Saturday is nearing the end of his career and the team need to start looking for his replacement. His eventual retirement will be a huge loss for the Colts, but the presence of a youngster who has had time to mentor with him will go a ways to softening the blow.

 

4) Linebacker ; with the expected loss of Tyjuan Hagler and Freddie Keiaho to free agency Phillip Wheeler appears to be the only option at strong side linebacker. He is hardly a quality starter or the long term answer.

 

5) Offensive Guard ; Pete Metzelaars has made it known that he wants his line to become bigger and better against the run, the additions of Andy Alleman should help but they need help at both spots.

 

6) Cornerback ; Jacob Lacey’s performance in the Super bowl has put a big question mark over his ability to be the nickel corner. Since he was a rookie last year I’m all for giving him another chance but the loss of Marlin Jackson and Tim Jennings means they’re without an insurance policy, they need to add depth.

 

7) Quarterback ; the loss of Jim Sorgi has made the Colts very thin behind Peyton Manning. They also need to start looking for his eventual replacement.



Category: NFL Draft
Posted on: March 29, 2010 12:39 am
 

State of the Colts .. Part 2

Over the next few weeks I will be breaking down the Colts and analyzing their needs and strengths in the Build up to the draft. I’ve already broken down the offensive side of the ball and will continue the positional breakdown today with the defense. Based on the needs outlined in the positional breakdowns I will compile a Colts draft board and make predictions in a series of mock drafts, analyze players who I feel will have break out years or regress in 2010, and make predictions for the 2010 season. I'm a journalism student and need to practice my writing, so given the fact I'm an obsessed colts fan I figured what better place. I don't claim to be some grand expert or intend for this to be taken as gospel, this is just my 2 cents; I encourage you all to comment on points you agree/disagree with.

Part 2: State of the Colts Defense

D-Line:
The dynamic duo of pro-bowlers Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis have been doing it for years and are definite starters going into the 2010 season. They’re combined 45 sacks over the past two years have been instrumental in the success of the Colts and I see no reason why they wont continue this form. I do however have concerns surrounding their age; with age comes a loss of speed, something that given their small size they need to remain successful. Mathis was also completely outplayed by Saints right tackle Jonathan Stinchcomb in the superbowl with his name absent form the stat sheet at the end of the game. Given the whole Colts defense is predicated on the ability to get pressure from the front four this is a big explanation mark going into the draft. The loss of Raheem Brock means that they have very little depth behind these two and suggests to me that they plan to address this position. Polian has also shown in the past that he is willing to use high picks here something I think in necessary to ensure they stay sharp and effective in this area. With Daniel Muir and Antonio Johnson the Colts look to have finally found some stability inside, and if second year player Fili Moala continues to progress they should have a good rotation. Overall I think this is a very good group, however the lack of depth and youth at end is a big concern. At the end of the day the whole of the Colts are built around Peyton Manning, including their defense, which is built to defend the lead he creates. They do this by getting a lot of pressure from their front four, forcing the opposing quarterback to make quick throws while allowing them to still have seven players in coverage. If they cant get pressure from their ends this whole system falls apart, I see this as their biggest offseason need.

LB:
Over the years the Colts have shown a tendency to let linebackers walk rather than give out big contacts (see David Thornton, Mike Peterson, Cato June and Marcus Washington) something that made me rather uneasy with Garry Bracket as an unrestricted free agent. But alas he was resigned to a reported 5-year, 33million dollar contact, illustrating his importance to the team. This is one thing that I love about the Colts; they recognize the true leaders of their team and do what it takes to retain them, they maintain their foundations. Bracket is one of these foundations; he fits their scheme like a glove and provides consistent play and leadership from the middle of the defense. Outside of him, on the weak side, Clint Session has quietly established himself as one of the team’s best defenders. He is another system player whose exceptional speed and tackling allow him to close gaps quickly and bring down players in the open field, I look for him to continue to progress in 2010. The other side however is a question mark. Philip Wheeler hasn’t shown any promise as a starter and Tyjuan Hagler and Freddie Keiaho are both free agents who based on past performance don’t deserve big contracts. That being said it’s not a huge area of need. Bill Polian has shown in the past that he is more than capable of finding a quality contributor in the late rounds of the draft.

DB:
Bob Sanders when healthy is arguably the best safety in the league, when he is on the field the whole unit is better. But he has only managed eight games over the past two seasons, a big concern considering the size of his contract. When he plays he plays hard and is a joy to watch but at 5-8 I feel he is just to small to withstand the beatings he subjects himself to, I will be watching him very closely this season. Luckily for the Colts Melvin Bullitt has developed into quality starter who has at times allowed the fans to forget Sanders, he provides the Colts with good depth. Pro bowl free safety Antoine Bethea is the constant of this young Colts secondary, his consistent play over he last 4 seasons has been huge. Bethea and Bullet however are Restricted free agents who are still without contracts, they need to resign. At corner they found a gem in Jerraud Powers last season he should pair up with Kelvin Hayden to provide a good tandem. Behind them however there isn’t a lot of depth, Marrlin Jackson and Tim Jennings are both gone and Jacob Lacey who started a lot last year as a rookie was exposed in the superbowl. Overall this is a good group the only real question here is can they remain healthy?

 
That concludes my 2 cents positional breakdowns of the Colts. I will follow these up with a draft board and mock draft some time over the next couple of days. Follow my blog and stay tuned.

Posted on: March 27, 2010 5:34 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2010 7:56 pm
 

State of the Colts .. Part 1

Over the next few weeks I will be breaking down the Colts and analysing their needs and strengths in the Build up to the draft. I will start by breaking down each position and highlighting areas of need. Based on this analysis I will compile a Colts draft board and make predictions in a series of mock drafts, analyse players who I feel will have break out years or regress in 2010, and make predictions for the 2010 season. I'm a journalism student and need to practice my writing, so given the fact I'm an obsessed colts fan I figured what better place. I don't claim to be some grand expert or intend for this to be taken as gospel, this is just my 2 cents, I encourage you all to comment on points you agree/disagree with.


PART 1: State of the Colts offense


QB:

Peyton Manning is in my opinion as close to perfect as you can be, with him behind centre we are contenders, regardless of who else is on the team, with him there we have a shot. That being said we need a back up and we need to start looking for his eventual replacement. Manning is the perfect teacher to any young QB, he is a student of the game and his knowledge and work ethic are unparalleled. I’m not necessarily advocating that we go after his replacement this offseason, Peyton’s got at least another 4 seasons in him, but if Bill Pollian and his staff see someone they like I say we take them. Something which I personally would like to see, although I can’t see it happening, would be the Colts taking Tim Tebow. His leadership and dedication to the game make him a positive addition to any locker room. Get him working with Peyton Manning on his passing fundamentals and who knows what he could accomplish in 3-5 years, he would be a grateful student who would put in just as much work as Manning.   At the very least he would be a great backup and his ability to run from the QB position would give our offence another element. As I say I can’t see it happening but based on his leadership and work ethic alone I feel he would be a great addition.

 

RB:

I miss Edgerrin James. I miss being able to sit easy on third and four knowing that run or pass we could pick up the first. Joeseph Addai is a great player, but he is not a pure runner like James was, he is not the type of back who can shoulder the load if we can’t settle the passing game. He’s not the type of guy who can consistently pick up firsts at the end of the game when we need to eat up clock and keep the offense on the field. Now this isn’t a knock on Addai, he’s never claimed to be that guy, his talents lie in his ability to do everything else. He is a great blocker, has great hands, is a very good red zone weapon and a capable runner (Also to be fair he hasn’t enjoyed the same blocking upfront that James received) That being said the thing we are missing from this position is a work horse running back who can hammer the rock down the defences throat and consistently move the chains. Something that Addai’s 3.8 yard per carry average last season (3.5 in 2008) and his 4.1 YPC career average shows he cannot do. Donald Brown, who the colts took in the first round last year, didn’t do much as a rookie, finishing up with 218 yards and 3 touchdowns, but showed in college that he is a gifted runner. If he can carry that ability into the NFL and fill that work horse role we will have a very good running back tandem, I will be watching him very carefully in 2010.

WR/TE:

I defiantly think we should stay away from WRs in the draft. We are loaded here; Reggie Wayne is well Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark is well Dallas Clark, and outside them we have some good young talent. Anthony Gonzalez was set to break out last year before he went down; I expect big numbers from his this year. Austin Collie was a huge find he is the perfect slot receiver, he has great hands, runs good routes and has good quickness. He reminds me of Wes Welker, I can see him and Peyton building a good rapport this season and him becoming a very reliable third down target. Pierre Garcon is a VERY good forth WR, he has the speed to stretch the field and showed he has the ability to make yards after the catch and be a play maker in the passing game. He showed a tendency to make mistakes but he was paying in what was for all intensive purposes his rookie season, last time I checked rookie mistakes were pretty common. In my opinion Garcon is a future star; Reggie Wayne is getting up in years and won’t be around forever, I see Garcon as his eventual replacement.

 

O-Line:

With the retirement of Howard Mudd the Colts have appointed Pete Metzelaars as the new line coach and he has made it known that he wants his line to become bigger. He has subsequently released Ryan Lilja, who at 6-foot-2, 290-pounds isn't big and strong, and has signed Adam Terry , 6-foot-8 335-pounds and Andy Alleman , 6-foot-4 310-pounds. Personally I'm not sold on the decision as I feel it will come at the cost of footwork and thus pass protection, something the Colts have excelled in. Our small line let in a league low 13 sacks last year and while a lot of that was Peyton Manning it was in large part due to the fact that our smaller lineman had good footwork and quickness. I know we need to get better at run blocking but I have a feeling that our pass protection will suffer, and if that happens I hope really hope everything doesn’t start to unravel. That being said this is our biggest need on the offensive side of the ball and there are a lot of questions as to who is going to start and where. Left Tackle is a big need, Charlie Johnson showed last season he is not the long term answer, he should be moved to guard, and Tony Ugoh hasn’t lived up to expectations. At centre Jeff Saturday is very good but is almost at the end of his career so we need to look for his replacement. With the loss of Ryan Lilja, the team’s best guard, and Kyle DeVan and Mike Pollack not showing they are capable starters both guard spots are also question marks. New additions Andy Alleman and Adam Terry are both in the mix but all in all its not a promising group going into the draft, I say they look to address this area on the first day.

 

That’s my 2 cents on the offensive side of the ball, will analyse the defence next (sometime over the next few days) and then provide a draft board and mock draft. Follow my Blog and stay tuned.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com