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PFT PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS: NO 31 COLTS

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  • PFT PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS: NO 31 COLTS

    <font size="4"><font size="3">PFT PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS: NO 31 COLTS

    "</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 at least gives the Colts
    evidence of a plan they lacked last year, when Peyton Manningís neck problems led to the
    attendant problems of a 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 to a four-year, $36 million
    contract and resisting the urge to purge veteran 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, defensive tackle Brandon McKinney and safety Tom Zbikowski will help install the system.
    There are a few other pieces in place to build with, as linebacker Pat Angerer and free safety 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 and 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, tight ends Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme and running back Joseph Addai, but also steady offensive
    linemen 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 and Dwayne Allen. Third-round speedster T.Y. 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 nor 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 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, 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, 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/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 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>
    ďNever argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.Ē MB Rule # 1

  • #2
    Re: PFT PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS: NO 31 COLTS

    Thanks for the update RF. You're the man.

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