On February 7th, 2010, our Indianapolis Colts walked out of Sun Life Stadium covered with black and gold confetti with their heads down after letting an early lead slip away much in part to an onside kick to start the second half and an extremely rare miscommunication from 18 to 87 which all but sealed the game. This post isn't here to bring up our Superbowl defeat of 8 months ago, but to discuss where our flaws are right now with an unimpressive 2-2 record. All the Saints did was exploit our weakness in the most important game ever, and all of a sudden, it seems like the recipe to beat the Colts is out there.
Here is my take on it all:
1) We are not able to stop the run and teams know it. We are an undersized defense that gets bullied around for the majority of the time, and unless we have a lead, our defense is usually garbage for the most part. We are unable to stop the oppositions passing game because we cannot stop the run without over committing and our secondary appears to be incapable in playing man coverage, and we get the misfortune of playing soft cushions in a cover 2 scheme. I think the only corner who can play man, is Powers, but other than that, the rest of them are absolute garbage. When our turnovers depend solely on Freeney and Mathis getting to the QB and forcing errand throws, well, your defense is in trouble; if teams are desperate enough to stop these 2 pass rushers, they have various way to do it. You add an extra blocker to help out is the most obvious solution; this basically shows how crap our secondary truly is - when you add extra blockers, it means there are less skill players and the fact that we still give up 3rd and longs when our DBs outnumber the oppositions receivers, just shows how bad these guys are. The second way to neutralize 93 and 98 is to do what Brees did in the Superbowl....I know alot of people will say the defense would have been different had Freeney been 100%, but to be honest, when a QB is taking 2-3 step drops and zinging the ball all over the field, I don't think anyone could have changed that. Considering our tackling is abysmal and our guys can't cover, a 4 yard completion can be turned into 10-15 yards time and time again. Our biggest strength on defense is neutralized and our biggest flaw is exploited. The fact that we couldn't stop David Gerrard out of all people shows how bad our defense is...Mathis and Freeney were completely neutralized and our secondary couldn't cover a highschool football team if they had too. And if you expect to get pressure from our 2 DT's, forget about it....that simply will not happen. Too simplify it, our defense cannot play ball if they are unable to commit to either the run or the pass, and that is why we tend to let other teams into 3rd and short situations time and time again...and even when they do know the play calling situation, our secondary gets torched thanks to the "cushion" and the neutralized pass rush and when the situation is 3rd and short, 90% of the time, teams will trample us on the ground regardless of whether we have 8 or 9 in the box. And what did the Colts do to remedy this in the offseason...absolutely nothing! Our secondary still sucks, our LB group is awful (Wheeler doesn't deserve to be starters in the NFL).
The Colts drafted a DE who has yet to see the field...yes, I am aware the our 2 DEs tend to have injuries during the regular season, by why not resign Brock or an experienced veteran to give us a little more depth and use our first round pick on a LB or a CB? Why bolster a position that is already great when there are other gapping holes to fix? Oh and also, Eff you Hayden for taking all that money and doing crap on the field.
2. Our offensive line - See the other 1,000 posts about this; thanks for letting Lilja go and starting two shit Guards...awesome job management. Way to protect the only reason we get wins on the board...Bravo!
3. Our Linebackers - My god, these guys can't cover anyone in man, they can't tackle and they seem to be one step away from the ball time and time again. Brackett is good but not great, however, Wheeler and Session just don't seem to get it. Why did we not go after a big name LB in the off season or use our #1 on a OLB/ILB instead of a DE who isn't ready for the NFL? Don't tell me that a LB wouldn't be ready to play as a starter in the first season of the nfl because A) They have months to learn the defensive playbook and B) Our defense still is so damn vanilla...BFD, Coyer added some more blitzes to the playbook, but I can watch a game and know what the defense is doing and I have no NFL experience...imagine how easy it must be for the opposing offense. Another poor move by management to not address this situation....the most important defensive positions are filled by scrubs (excluding Brackett).
4. We are a good team, but over the past few years, especially last year, we've had some great breaks and good fortune that went our way that we cannot expect all the time. Peyton Manning is one of the only few constants on this team, but other than that, you should not be expecting anything...we are extremely inconsistent during the game, however, we end up consistently getting W's much in part to #18 led comebacks...in 2009, 7 of the meaningful 14 regular season games were decided by 4 points or less...and if I recall, the Ravens and Pats pretty much gave us the 2 wins, and it took a Joe Addai TD pass to beat the 49ers, and a late Garrard pick to beat the Jags in Week 1...we get the W's, but we are not invincible, especially with the defense we field out there and the fact that worse than the lack of skill they have is the inconsistency the play with.
I know we are all frustrated and want heads to roll, but ultimately, we should string it together and maybe once we get Bob back, we can put together a decent playoff run. I have not lost hope yet, but we are far from being the best team in the league and will have to count on Peyton to come through time and time again. I would love some bigger defensive players and some more physical guys. This fast defense thing is cute, but ultimately, I want guys who are mean, relentless and have the athletic ability to mix things up. Stop wasting the draft picks on the D-line, and offense, and start using them to get young athletic playmakers (whether it be O-line or LBs/CB), and by all means if we need to trade a couple guys or picks to do it, lets go for it. Peyton isn't going to be around forever, and right now we need to offer him as much protection and help as possible, cuz once he is gone, get ready for 7-10 years of absolutely mediocrity at best. And no, Curtis Painter is not the answer.