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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: Indianapolis Colts Preview 2004

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TRD

posted on Sep, 12 2004 @ 09:15 AM
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Accomplished head-coach Tony Dungy is starting his third season with the Colts in 2004, and in his previous two years, he has taken Indy to the playoffs, including last year, when the Colts just missed on making the Super Bowl after losing 24-14 to the Patriots in the AFC Championship. This could be the year, though. While the Colts didn't make any significant additions to their roster, they completed their most important task of the off-season, re-signing NFL co-MVP and franchise QB Peyton Manning to a seven-year, $99.2 million contract.
 

With that done, the Colts were financially-restrained and couldn't add any free agents, but at least they'll have everyone back from last year's 3rd-ranked offense, including star WR Marvin Harrison and RB Edgerrin James, who is due for a big year. With the offense expected to have another outstanding campaign, it will be up to the defense to see how far the Colts go in 2004. In '03, the Colts displayed a pretty good D' that ranked 11th in the NFL, but this season, it will be without LB Marcus Washington and CB Walt Harris. If the defense can lower its 21 PTS/G average, as well as get more sacks from it's D-line, especially DE Dwight Freeney, then the Colts may just ride on in to Jacksonville for Super Bowl XXXIX.

The Insiders.com

Football About.com

Last Play Off Appearance: 2003 AFC Conference Championship. Lost 24-14 to the New England Patriots

Key matchup(s): September 9, at New England (ABC), September 19, at Tennessee (CBS), October 31 at Kansas City (CBS), December 5, versus Tennessee (CBS).

Star Power: Dwight Freeney, DE, 6-1 268, 3rd season, Marvin Harrison, WR, 6-0 175, 9th season, Edgerrin James, RB, 6-0 214, 6th season, Peyton Manning, QB 6-5 230, 7th season.

Notable Additions: n/a

Notable Subtractions: Chad Bratzke DE 6-5 270(released), Marcus Washington SLB 6-3 247 (signed with Washington), Walt Harris CB 5-11 192 (signed with Washington), David Macklin CB 5-9 195 (signed with Arizona), Adam Meadows 6-5 290 (signed with Carolina, then retired)

Notable Returnees: Peyton Manning


This year could prove to be the biggest year for the Colts offense since Manning joined the team. Though "The Big Three" will continue to dominate the opportunities, Tom Moore will also make use of Dallas Clark, Marcus Pollard, and Brandon Stokley more often this season. With talented players like Troy Walters and Brad Pyatt also on the roster look for the Colts to use many different sets in the passing game to keep opposing defenses on their toes. Reggie Wayne has shown signs of growth during the preseason and could be ready to explode onto the scene. By adding extra receivers to the playing field Moore is likely to use Wayne as a primary target in single coverage more often, something that he will see more often than his counterpart, Marvin Harrison. The leagues new emphasis on the illegal contact rule also stands to benefit the Colts. With aggressive cornerbacks being neutralized by the amount of contact they can make excellent route runners like Harrison and Wayne become even more dangerous as weapons. With Edgerrin James heading into a contract year, and also potentially his last year as a Colt, look for both the player and the team to benefit. The Colts will need to run the ball effectively to keep their inexperienced secondary and undersized defensive line fresh and off the field. Despite massive turnover during the off season Indianapolis only lost a single significant offensive lineman in Adam Meadows. Look for the team to utilize two tight end sets as well as the spread formation to give James opportunities to get across the line of scrimmage untouched, where he can do serious damage.

On paper, the Colts offensive line isn't at all impressive, but every year, line coach Howard Mudd seems to get the most out of this unit. Anchoring the line at left tackle is Tarik Glenn. He is easily the best player on the line, but he will never be confused with the Ravens Jonathan Ogden. Glenn has the size and athletic ability to be effective at his position, but conditioning is a big concern. Youngster Ryan Diem has proven to be solid on the right side and should continue to get better with experience. Center Jeff Saturday, who has four years experience as the Colts starting center, will continue in that role this season. He is one of the more underrated centers in the game because he lacks typical size and strength, but his understanding of this offense makes him invaluable with his ability to make presnap adjustments to the line. Rick DeMulling is a solid starter at left guard, but Tupe Peko is barely adequate on the right side. Colts coaches are hoping second-year lineman Steve Sciullo will be ready to take the job away from Peko soon, but injuries slowed his development in 2003 and Peko is still penciled in as the starter.


Overall, the opposition is going to get the same old song and dance from Peyton Manning & Co. on the offense, but there are some serious issues to be dealt with on the defensive side of the ball. The defensive line appears soft, their middle linebacker doesn't have the range for this defense, the outside backers are young and inexperienced, as is a significant portion of the defensive backfield. The Colts are likely to outscore a lot of teams, but their not going to shut many down. They have the talent to win it all this season, but the defense has the serious potential to be their downfall.



[Edited on 13/9/04 by TRD]



Ben

posted on Sep, 12 2004 @ 09:32 AM
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i think the colts are on of the few teams that would be able to beat the pats in the playoffs, they have a solid team with the best QB in the league.

Its going to be tough to say as every time the colts and pats play its is extremely close. But either way the game can go any where. The colts are going to get 12 plus wins this season, and be in the superbowl.


TRD

posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 03:19 PM
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They have some great players in James, Harrison and Manning but will the defense hold out?



posted on Sep, 13 2004 @ 08:19 PM
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Originally posted by Ben
The colts are going to get 12 plus wins this season, and be in the superbowl.

A definate posibility, but only if they have home-field advantage. I con't see them winning in New England, Tennessee, or Baltimore come January.


Ben

posted on Sep, 15 2004 @ 10:55 PM
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i think they can ebat the ravens and the titans, its t he pats you have to worry about. Not saying ravens and titans are a bad team.

Colts have the offense, and the defense will be there at times, and thats what they need.



posted on Sep, 16 2004 @ 05:47 PM
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I don't think they'll be able to win on the road in the playoffs, though. Unless the defense really steps it up.



posted on Sep, 20 2004 @ 09:13 AM
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In an awesome win, there defense might have given up some huge running plays, but when they needed to be tough they were and didnt give up the 4th down conversions, and an amazing int in the endzone, that decided teh game.

You also can nver really question the colts offense, as they finally have an healthy James, who went off with another big game.



posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 09:23 PM
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The lone spot on this team's reocrd? week one loss to the Patriots. But, who hasn't lost to the Patsies lately? (I know, I know!) With some impressive wins on thier resume, look for them to meet New England again this season. Unfortunately for Colts fans, it's gonna be in new England again, and not in the friendly confines of the RCA dome. Oh yeah, and it's gonna be a cold, cold winter this year, so look for them to be watching the Spuer Bowl over at Peyton's place again this year.


TRD

posted on Oct, 25 2004 @ 03:50 PM
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Colts quarterback Peyton Manning gets wrapped up by the Jaguars' Greg Favors during the second quarter in Indianapolis.



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