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RoanokeFan
07-10-2012, 02:03 PM
<font size="4"><font size="3">PFT PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS: NO 31 COLTS (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/09/preseason-power-rankings-no-31-indianapolis-colts/related/)

"</font></font>The good news is, the Colts should be exciting.


The bad news remains, exciting isnít nearly the same thing as good.</p>


Thereís a new attitude coursing through Colts camp, which there should be
after last yearís 2-14 train wreck. When youíre replacing guys at every
meaningful level of the organization, a sense of renewal and optimism is natural
and necessary.</p>


Whatever else he does, No. 1 overall pick Andrew Luck (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/6439/andrew-luck) at least gives the Colts
evidence of a plan they lacked last year, when Peyton Manning (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/1493/peyton-manning)ís neck problems led to the
attendant problems of a Curtis Painter (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5244/curtis-painter)-led offense and the
painful-but-inevitable departure of an icon.</p>


Being able to stink for a single season and to be rewarded with one of the
more polished passers to come out of college in years was a nice consolation
prize for the Colts. If youíre going to replace a Manning, this is the way to do
it.</p>


But even Manning needed a 3-13 rookie season before he could deliver on his
promise, and itís unfair to count on anything else from Luck in 2012.</p>


Strengths.</p>


Even if itís for the short-term, the Colts do have two very good pass-rushers
in place after re-signing Robert Mathis (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/1568/robert-mathis) to a four-year, $36 million
contract and resisting the urge to purge veteran Dwight Freeney (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/1517/dwight-freeney).</p>


Thatís a start, as changing over to a hybrid 3-4 system will be a major
upheaval anyway. The ability to get after a quarterback is the first step toward
any defense being respected or respectable, and thatís probably a lot of the
reason Mathis and Freeney are two of the few old parts retained.</p>


New coach Chuck Pagano brought a few guys he knows from Baltimore, in hopes
that adding familiarity speeds the transition to a new program. Defensive end Cory Redding (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/1885/cory-redding), defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/4109/brandon-mckinney) and safety Tom Zbikowski (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/4736/tom-zbikowski) will help install the system.
There are a few other pieces in place to build with, as linebacker Pat Angerer (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5880/pat-angerer) and free safety Antoine Bethea (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/3998/antoine-bethea) give them acceptable
starting-caliber players.</p>


Itís not a bad start. Itís also necessary that a lot of these guys play over
their heads, because they could be on the field more than theyíve had to in the
past.</p>


Weaknesses.</p>


Gone are the days when the Colts could easily light up scoreboards.</p>


Even if top pick Andrew Luck shows the kind of progress other rookie
quarterbacks have in recent years, itís still going to be difficult for him
because of the lack of supporting cast.</p>


They kept wide receivers Reggie Wayne (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/1496/reggie-wayne) and Austin Collie (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5176/austin-collie), and itís a good thing they
did, because many of the rest of the offensive jobs are a mystery.</p>


Not only did they lose wide receiver Pierre Garcon (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/4945/pierre-garcon), tight ends Dallas Clark (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/1509/dallas-clark) and Jacob Tamme (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/4885/jacob-tamme) and running back Joseph Addai (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/3646/joseph-addai), but also steady offensive
linemen Jeff Saturday (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/1549/jeff-saturday) and Ryan Diem.</p>


Theyíre trying to fill in with as many kids as possible, and that will come
with the predictable growing pains. After Luck, their next two draft picks were
tight endsCoby Fleener (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/7418/coby-fleener) and Dwayne Allen (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/7452/dwayne-allen). Third-round speedster T.Y. Hilton (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/7558/ty-hilton) is the closest thing to a threat
at wide receiver out of this yearís draft, and itís hard to expect much from him
this year.</p>


Itís a situation where youíd like to be able to lean on a running game, but
neither Donald Brown (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5133/donald-brown) nor Delone Carter (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/6516/delone-carter) inspire much confidence, and a
patchwork offensive line doesnít create much either.</p>


Changes.</p>


Where to begin?</p>


All they really changed is changed is everything, getting rid of one of the
best quarterbacks in league history, so they could start fresh with a fleet of
new faces starting with Andrew Luck.</p>


Throw in a new General Manager (Ryan Grigson), a new coach (Chuck Pagano),
new coordinators (Bruce Arians on offense and Greg Manusky on defense), a new
defensive scheme, and a load of new players, and itís a full reset for a team
that was one of the models of consistency for the previous generation.</p>


Nine straight years of double-digit victories (including an amazing seven
straight 12-win seasons) made the Colts under Manning and general manager Bill
Polian a paragon of success, a role model for what theyíre trying to do
again.</p>


But Polian was a known commodity when he took over the Colts, and there are
precious few of those here in any capacity anymore.</p>


Camp battles.</p>


The cornerback position is kind of a mess, and theyíre adopting an all-comers
approach to the position.</p>


Jerraud Powers (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5139/jerraud-powers) is fine on the right side ó
not great, but fine ó but who starts opposite him is very much up in the
air.</p>


Kevin Thomas (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/5891/kevin-thomas), a former third-round pick,
worked with the ones through the spring, but they tried to create as many
options as possible. That included trading for Cassius Vaughn (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/6151/cassius-vaughn), claiming guys off waivers
and combing through the street free agents. Itís a process that is far from
over.</p>


Theyíd love it if someone from the group of Delone Carter/Mewelde Moore (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/77/mewelde-moore)/Vick Ballard (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/7615/vick-ballard)/various others could push
running back Donald Brown, but at the moment itís his job to lose.</p>


Prospects.</p>


The Colts can crow about a new era all they want. But dumping all the
veterans to clear the decks for the new guys will likely lead to another long
season.</p>


After going 2-14, itís hard to imagine things getting worse, but the build
could be slow. They open at Chicago, and the Bears have the kind of defense that
will test the well-publicized maturity of Luck.</p>


But then they host Minnesota and Jacksonville, a soft landing after a tough
start. The schedule isnít overbearing, with enough games against their fellow
travelers at the bottom of the league that they could steal a few.</p>


The reality is, this yearís priority will be for Luck to show heís capable of
the long job in front of him, and developing some of the many young parts around
him.</p>


If that means a few more wins, fine. But theyíre a year or two worth of solid
acquisitions away from even approaching their old form, and thatís if Luck meets
every expectation. If they could match the kind of four-win jump Cam Newton (http://www.rotoworld.com/player/nfl/6491/cam-newton) helped achieve in Carolina last
year, it would be reason for a party. But Luck doesnít have nearly the kind of
parts around him Newton did, which could make that kind of improvement more than
anyone could fairly expect."</p>

Roswell777
07-16-2012, 12:43 PM
Thanks for the update RF. You're the man.