The 2010 Colts (Thoughts On An Interesting Season)

A couple of days removed from yet another painful "one and done" playoff outing by my beloved Indianapolis Colts, cheering hard since the late 80's, I'm left thinking about a season filled with what might have been. A season filled with injuries. And yet, with Peyton at the helm victory seemed possible.

Regular Season
The beginning of the season seems like years ago. Watching the unknown Arian Foster run over the Colts shotty defense as the Colts fell to the Texans one knew it'd be an interesting season.
Every week was a battle. But not too many people it was going to be any different than Colts win the division and make the playoffs. Not until Peyton's four game skid where he looked as bad as Curtis Painter. Hey, everyone goes through slumps. Peyton seemed to be trying to do too much as he thrown just as many TD's to the opponents as he did for the Colts. Not a successful formula.
But they righted the ship and won out the last four games. Tennessee. Jacksonville. Oakland. Tennessee (again). All of them must win games for another AFC South Title. And this time looked good, not great, doing it.
The team finished 10-6 and set more records. With all the injuries to key players, I find it amazing this team was able to win ten. So many people came in as either street free agents or from other teams practice squads. It is quite an accomplishment.

The Playoff
You dont lose opening round playoff games at home. I repeat. YOU DONT LOSE OPENING ROUND PLAYOFF GAMES AT HOME.
Dispite the offense being inept at times, the defense allowing huge amounts of rushing yards allowed, a bone head roughing the kicker call; the Colts had this game won with 50 yard Vinatieri field goal. All they had to do is kick the ball off deep and make a couple of stops. Game over. Let's head to Pittsburgh.
Instead the kick off coverage was beyond terrible and allowed Cromartie to return the ball to midfield. One play later, the Jets are in long FG range, which with their kicker isn't an automatic. Then out of nowhere Head Coach Jim Caldwell calls a timeout. This play will forever be questioned. Jets came up with an offense play and executed it making the FG attempt a chip shot.
Game over.

Looking To 2011
1. First and foremost, pay Peyton. Pay him a lot. He's got anywhere from 3-6 years left. Get him locked down.
2. Upgrades to both offensive & defensive lines. I know it's easier said than done especially with the salary cap issues. But is obvious this team can’t run the ball when they need to and can’t stop the run when they need to. More help is needed either via draft or free agency.
3. Free Agents I'd bring back
- Antonio Johnson: The best run stuffer on the team and starting to come into his own.
- Joseph Addai: The best all-around back on the team. He is far more valuable in Indy then elsewhere. Their track record is let RB walk at the end of the contract. I dont think you can do it this time around.
- Charlie Johnson: Versital offensive linemen who could slide to G if they pick up T in the draft or free agency.
- Adam Vinatieri: Best K in history. Don’t let him walk.
- Melvin Bullet: If he is able to come back healthy, he is a good SS. If he can’t stay healthy, he's a good backup.
- Clint Session: He's their best hitting LB who makes the most big plays. The Colts have a habit of letting these type of LB leave via free agency. I hope Session is not one of them.
- Kyle Devan: Over achiever who can backup both guards and center spots.
- Dominic Rhodes: The old vet still has a little gas left. He gives you a return man, and a hard runner (though I'd limit him to 5-8 carries). Plus you can take away the energy factor he brings to the team. The only factor would be his price tag and if it'd be too high.
- Tyjun Hagler: Not sure why he wasn't brought back before all the injuries happened. He's a fine back up to both outside linebacker positions.
4. Players I'd cut
- Bob Sanders: He's gets paid too much to be on the field 2 games a season. I love the way Bob plays, but his often hurt ass does no good for this team.
- Kelvin Hayden: He's one of the top paid CB in the game and rarely plays like one. Sure he'll pick one and off on occasion take it to the house. But even more he gives the opposing WR too much cushion to make easy catches. They defense can do just as well with Powers & Tryon starting.
- Anthony Gonzalez: A former 1st round pick has done nothing but be hurt the last two year, after a promising rookie campaign. With the emergence of Collie and Garcon, there's no need for Gonzo and his contract. Peyton has proved that with practice time, he make many reciever successful in this offense.
5. Jim Caldwell needs to be seriously re-evaluated as the Head Coach of this team. I enjoy his approach, but too often he seems clueless. I would seriously look into other options. John Gruden or Ron Riveria would be acceptable replacements.
6. The one good thing about all the injuries is several young players got valuable game experience. Jacob Tamme, Blair White, Mike Hart, Brody Eldridge, and Javarris James should be weapons at time next season. Pat Angerer, Kavell Connor, Cornelius Brown, and Jacob Lacey should see plenty of time on defense. If nothing else these guys should help improve special teams.
7. Off season conditioning. Every year the Colts battle injuries. Their team looks like a MASH unit. Each NFL team has injuries but this team always seems to have more than average. I blame this to their lousy off season conditioning program and not them being "small" players. These guys are pros. Playing football is their job. Preparing to play a season is part of that job. Get these guys in earlier and start conditioning. It would help in the long run.

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