I watched the First and 10 segment on ESPN 2 First Take this morning where the panel talked about whether or not the Colts where still a top 5 team in the AFC. Both Scoop Jackson and Skip Bayless said that the Colts are not a top 5 AFC team anymore.
Scoop based his argument on the fact the Colts had a lot of changes this offseason. The retirement of Tony Dungy and the departure of Defensive Coordinator Ron Meeks were his main reasons for why the Colts won’t be at the top. He said that Tony Dungy was basically the main reason for the Colts' success during his tenure. He believes that Indy is probably the sixth best team in the AFC making them good enough for only the last Wild Card spot.
Skip had a tough time on deciding if the Colts were still a top team. He believes the best teams are the Patriots, the Steelers, the Chargers, and drum roll please ...the Ravens. After those 4 teams, the Colts are in the same category as Miami and Tennessee. His assessment had the Colts possibly being a top 5 AFC team this season, but barely.
Now I don't care about NFL or College Football rankings since it's hard to decide which teams are the best based on one game each week. The thing that ticked me off was how flawed these two so-called analysts’ arguments were.
Ron Meek's exit did not hurt the Colts' defense; in fact, his departure actually helped it. Larry Coyer has a very impressive resume with over four decades of experience. He will still use the Tampa 2 scheme, but will make a few, small adjustments. The defense should be really fun to watch this season. He has also received quite a bit of praise from veteran guys like Dwight Freeney, Gary Brackett, and Bob Sanders. In some of BBS' past posts, he mentioned how Freeney, Brackett, and Sanders had never said anything about Meeks--good or bad. Most Colts fans know that Dungy was the one who ran the defense. I don't think I've ever seen Meeks. If you asked me to pick him out of a crowd, I promise you I couldn't do it. It was as if he was DC by default.
Now I have a ton of respect for Coach Dungy, but he wasn't the only reason for the Colts' success. Some guy named Peyton Manning along with Bill Polian, Jim Irsay, Tom Moore, and many others had a part in it as well. On the surface, Peyton is the Indianapolis Colts, but it takes so much more than Peyton for the Colts to be as successful as they are.
The fact that Skip had the nerve to put the Patriots over the Steelers shows everyone how bias and stupid he really is. At least give the defending champs some credit. The Steelers didn’t lose any important personnel and have fewer problems then New England. The Patriots are still really good. You have to be good team when you can go 11-5 after losing the golden boy Tom Brady, but everyone (the media) still believes that it's the 2007 and that Brady will have at least 50+ touchdown passes this season. However, the media tend to forget that Brady went down with a serious knee injury and needed major surgery. Peyton's knee surgeries last season were only superficial, but it took him half the season to feel completely comfortable on his knee. It will probably take Brady the entire season just to feel like himself, but we won't know until that first snap. The real shocker is that Skip had the Baltimore Ravens ahead of the Colts. The Ravens have absolutely no offense and they lost Rex Ryan and Bart Scott to the Jets. Ray Lewis is a Hall of Famer, but dude is getting old. No way will that team be better than the Colts next year.
I just don't understand why the Colts are so disrespected among ESPN analysts. Is it because of the East coast bias that nearly all ESPN employers have, or that the media hates that Peyton Manning has been successful his entire career and would love to see him fail? It seems that ESPN is always discussing whether or not it’s the end of the Colts’ run. It’s so pathetic that a network is actually waiting for a team to fall from grace. Hopefully the Colts will keep them waiting.