So there's been a lot of worrying by the Colts fans on this site over the last few weeks. I don't entirely blame you all for it. There are things about this team to worry about, but no one should be predicting doom and gloom in week 2 or really anytime in the first 6-8 weeks. There are legitimate concerns for this team and discussing them is fine, but calling the season over in the first month is ridiculous and flat out dumb.
With that out of the way, lets look at the issues.
Peyton's Knee- He seems to move fine, but they won't run the stretch play despite the ineffectiveness of the toss that they replaced it with. Manning has been forced to move in the pocket and has done it fine. He's taken hits and gotten right back up. The knee isn't an issue in that passing game and I'd look for the stretch play to make a return soon.
Interior O line injuries- 4 of the 5 projected O line starters didn't play the second half of the Vikings game. Saturday, Lilja and Pollak are all recovering from knee injuries. Saturday is back at practice and Pollak is expected back after the bye. Lilja on the other hand, is a total mystery. He had surgery in the offseason, started training camp on the PUP list and remained on it to date. He could be back week 6 and is allowed to practice without counting on the roster in that time, the team was until week 10 to move him to the active roster or they must put him on season ending IR. Hopefully Lilja will be ready to go week 6 and was only PUP'ed because they couldn't carry another injured player on the 53 man roster through the first few weeks.
Peyton's blindside- Possibly most concerning Tony Ugoh left in the 2nd quarter with what is being called a groin injury. Ugoh is a great young player, but the lack of a competent backup is why this is a problem. No word yet on the severity of Ugoh's injury, but he was "questionable to return" in the second half.
The miniature D line- When your starting DTs average 260lbs you are going to get run on. Foster and Dawson have shown they can penetrate and apply pressure up the middle and even made some plays on Peterson in the second half, but you need some size to stop the run. When the battle in the trenches is 5 300+ pound men against 4 men who top out at 274lbs and average 265lbs, it's going to be ugly when they run it up the gut. The good news is that the LBs and DBs have been doing their jobs and gave up no TDs to Peterson. The DTs are young and will improve and once the offense gets going we'll get to see this aces package (and Howard/Curtis Johnson) let loose and terrorize the opposing QBs.
Bob Sanders' Ankle- Sanders also left injured late in the VIkings game. The D continued to keep up it's tight performance, but no one expects Melvin Bullit to be able to replace the reigning DPOY for more than a few series. Again no word on the injury besides it's an ankle and he left the game.
No TE/WR Flex- Both Clark and Jacob Tamme missed the Vikings game robbing the Colts of another key element. The struggles on hot routes and dumpoffs (2 picks on quick passes, an ugly Gijon Robinson drop and lots of missed 3rd down conversions) reminded us all of how important Clark's role is. Neither's injury has been called anything serious and one, probably both will be back this week.
Bad Vinny- BBS has his view on Vinatieri and I agree that some are too harsh on him. But, I will never trust any kicker ever again after the missed FG that shall not be named. I am now a complete beliver in FO's studies that show FG accuracy isn't consistant at all between NFL level kickers year to year.
So the team has some problems, but nothing close to the fatal flaws that doomed last years team. Guys will get healthy, the young players will progress and the O will get on track due to the two previous reasons. The Colts will be fine, but it'll be interesting.