It is hard to post anything about the Indianapolis Colts that spurs a real discussion. The Colts fans who use the Internet show up in force and become the leagues best trolls. Their entire arguement boils down to “If you don’t praise the Colts, you are stupid”. Then, of course, come the obligatory remarks against <fill in your team>. They are in for a big fall and I think the cracks in the team are forming wider and that fall is soon.
Yesterday, I pointed out that the Colts have been spending a lot on their defense. I pointed out the coming contract they will be forced to pay Peyton Manning could place them in a financial straight jacket. Their real problem is with the offensive line. Once that begins to deteriorate, the entire house of cards comes tumbling down. I think it is soon.
In the run game, the Colts offensive line ranked almost last in yards per attempt. They are behind the running capabilities of the Buccaneers, the Redskins, Detroit and Seattle. In fact, in total rushing yards, they are last in the league.
Running to the left, they allowed 21 negative yardage plays, ranking them almost last in the league. The Jaguars had 4 negative yard plays when running left, best in the NFL. When running to the right, they allowed 17 negative yard plays ranking them 21 out of 32. The Jaguars had 6 negative yardage plays, best in the league. It is only when running up the middle did the Colts show any promise. They only allowed 5 negative yard plays, best in the league. This shows why they paid Jeff Saturday $4 million a year to come back. Well actually $8 million in 2009.
Ryan Diem, the right tackle, makes about $3.7 million a year, but is average at best. Charlie Johnson, the left tackle, is almost the worst in the league. What they depend on is the quick trigger of Peyton Manning to avoid the sacks. It also explains why Joseph Addai won’t show up on anyone’s fantasy league. Neither will Donald Brown. The Colts can’t run the ball. They are a pass only team. This isn’t by choice.
Dallas Clark is their weapon. As a tight end, he ranks 5th in the league in receiving. Reggie Wayne is 6th. If the Jaguars can cover a tight end, the Colts offense becomes a two player offense, Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. Shut off Dallas Clark and the Colts go down.
The Jaguars have invested a lot in bringing pressure on the quarterback. I doubt they will get to Peyton, he is too quick. But if they can contain Dallas Clark and bring some pressure, the Colts are in for a long afternoon. The Jaguars are poised for some good games against the Colts. This is not dreaming, as the trolls like to say, this is simply the facts.
Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis are unhappy with their contracts. They know they represent a good portion of the Colts success. But the Colts have no choice but to hold the line on contract talks. They will be paying a lot to Peyton and have signed everyone else to big contracts. The cracks are forming. Once Peyton gets his big contract, the trouble begins. Peyton can’t do it alone and these guys know it. they will want their money. The Jaguars saw this in 2008 and have worked to correct it. The Colts are trapped.
Pure and simple, the Colts have problems and the Texans and Jaguars are positioning themselves to take advantage of it. Will they do it? Will the division championship change hands this year? I think it is a very real possibility. Both Houston and Jacksonville played them tough last year taking leads into the 4th quarter. They were gettable, but they were also a championship level team. They hung in there. They hung in all the way into the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Thank you New Orleans!
2010 will be different. The signs of trouble are all over the Colts. Make no mistake, they won’t go down easy, but they can be had. We need Rashean Mathis. Both us and the Texans need all they have, but I think it will be enough. 2010 could be the year we have been waiting for, the end of the Colts domination. Watch the trolls come out in force then!
– Terry O’Brien