I posted a serious article recently about how the Indianapolis Colts are investing in the defense. I explained how this might create an opportunity for the Jaguars to snag a Division title or, at least, deny one for the Colts. I got a lot of hate mail for that, but one stand-up guy came forward, Scott Humphries from Colts Chronicle. Scott runs an intelligent site. He agreed to answer some questions about the Colts and give his perspective to the Jaguar fans. Here is an intelligent dialog from a very up and coming Colts blogger.
B&T It appears the Colts management have been spending big money to build the defense. Do you think this has been money well spent?
Colts Chronicle: I really like the fact that the Colts have been investing heavily in their defense in recent years. They have signed Antoine Bethea, Gary Brackett, Kelvin Hayden, Bob Sanders, Dwight Freeney, and Robert Mathis to long-term contracts within the last five years, and the emphasis on defense seems to be paying off for them – they have won 12 games or more in seven straight seasons and have won six AFC South titles, two AFC Championships, and one World Championship during that seven-year span. So they’re doing a lot of things right. Plus, I’ve always believed in that old football saying, “Offense sell tickets, but defense wins championships”, so I like to see them investing in their defense the way they are.
Folks, the Colts have invested very heavily in the defense. With the Jaguars doing the same, we could see some real blood and bone games this year. Scott and I agree on this point, defense is where the smart teams in the AFC South are going. Make the jump and keep reading Scott’s perspective!
B&T: How big do you think Peyton Manning’s contract will be? Do you see any fallout with other team members from it?
Colts Chronicle: I’m not really sure just how big Peyton’s new contract is going to be, but it’s definitely going to be big. Most analysts seem to think that he will become the NFL’s highest paid player ever with a contract somewhere in the $20-25 million per year range. And I don’t really think there will be much (if any) fallout from it as far as the Colts players are concerned. They know how much he means to the team’s success and he’s still one of the league’s best quarterbacks as well as a four-time NFL MVP.
I think this contract is going to choke the Colts for years and prevent them from spending elsewhere. Does Manning deserve it? Yes he does, but so did Michael Jordan. When he retired the Bulls haven’t been seen since. Manning is special, but the team has 21 other players on it!
B&T: I wrote earlier that the offensive line is not that good and if a team contained Dallas Clark, they could get to Manning. True?
Colts Chronicle: Well, the offensive line is definitely the Colts’ biggest question mark going into training camp and/or 2010 regular season play. They have Clark and Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday, of course, but there are questions/issues at some of the other offensive line spots. The Colts definitely need to improve their offensive line play this season – you’re certainly right about that.
An honest answer. The Colts offensive line looks good in sacks because Peyton is so quick. This offensive line in front of any other QB would be drawing a lot of concern.
B&T: How does a team beat the Colts? Please, not just “keep Manning off the field”.
Colts Chronicle: Well, your previous question just hit on the key thing that other teams will have to attack to beat the Colts this season – they need to beat the Colts offensive line at the line of scrimmage, shut down the Colts’ running game, and put a lot of pressure on Peyton Manning. If a team can do all of that effectively, they will have a shot at beating the Colts.
This is a tough assignment, beating the Colts. They are a smart team but the formula is there. Attack and hold Dallas Clark in check. That, of curse, means Reggie Nelson.
B&T: I wrote earlier that Houston and Jacksonville gave the Colts all they could handle. How do you see the AFC South shaping up in 2010?
Colts Chronicle: The AFC South could be one of the NFL’s strongest and most competitive divisions this season in my opinion. I think all four teams are capable of posting winning records this year, and if they don’t, the head coaches that fall short of that may find themselves looking for work elsewhere. The Colts have won six of the last seven AFC South titles, and until one or more of the other teams proves they can beat the Colts on a consistent basis, I have to go with the Colts to win the division. I think Houston, Jacksonville, and Tennessee are all capable of finishing second and possibly winning a wild card spot, though, and I think there will be a tremendous battle for second place between those three teams, but I’m really not sure what their final order-of-finish will be. The AFC South is going to be a great division to watch this year!
Scott is right. Until the Champs are beaten, they remain the Champs. Right now the AFC South belongs to the Colts. The Jaguars have to man up and take it. Same for the Houston Texans. That nut house team, the Titans can’t be accounted for.
I really want to thank Scott for visiting. We will call him back as the season nears. It has been a pleasure to have an intelligent dialog with a Colts fan. That has not always been the case!
– Terry O’Brien