The 2010 version of the Indianapolis Colts is in the books. This was an up and down season. A season with high expectations, big comeback wins, major injuries, roster moves, roster moves and more roster moves and the coming out party for Colts players like Fili Miola, Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner, Mike Pollack, Blair White and Ricardo Matthews. The 2010 Indianapolis Colts under achieved and over achieved all the the same season.
So, what is next? The organization led by Bill Polian and Jim Irsay will put together a list of off season priorities. Included amongst the priorities: Resigning Peyton Manning and other free agents, the 2011 NFL Draft, figuring out the NFL labor agreement and preparing for the 2011 Super Bowl. This is a huge off season. I have put together my ideas for how the off season movement should be prioritized.
It's about Peyton Manning dummies! Get this man signed for the for the rest of his career. Here is what I would do if I were Jim Irsay. Take one of those enormous cardboard checks, like the ones you see one the Price is Right or Wheel of Fortune. Put pay to the order of cash, and leave the dollar amount blank. Tell Peyton to fill it in with whatever numbers he so wishes. Call ESPN, Fox Sports and everyone else in the sports media. Have pictures of Irsay, Peyton and Peyton's family holding the check with ticker tape falling from the roof. Make it look like he just won the damn Super Bowl again.
Next, protect your investment. Get Peyton some better run blockers/pass protectors. How many 3rd and 1's did we fail to convert yesterday? That is unacceptable. Peyton shouldn't have to set an NFL record for pass attempts and completions in any season. I would love to see Peyton have the kind of running game he had when Edge was in his prime again. Peyton is incredible, no doubt about it. We need a little more balance.
The coverage units of our Special Teams needs to be addressed. We will never win anything if the opposing team continues to get the ball on the 45 yard line every kickoff or every punt. Adam and Pat are top of the line kickers. I am not suggesting anything happen to them. I am suggesting a Special Teams coach that can get it done. Im not slamming anyone, but this season isn't the first time we have had coverage issues. Fool me once. Shame on.....you. Fool me twice...... The point is you cant be fooled again. I wrote on this blog before the season of this exact problem. I have not seen any improvement from last to this season. Maybe, just maybe we can find a new Special Teams coach.
The 2011 NFL Draft is sure to be filled with blue chip talent, early round busts,reaches, late round steals, undrafted gems and hope for all 32 teams. The 2010 NFL Draft turned out to be better then I had imagined. Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner, Brody Eldrigde, Ricardo Matthews and the UDFA's Blair White, Javarris James, Jeff Linkenbach and Cornelius Brown all gained valuable playing time. Kevin Thomas was injured in training camp so we never were able to gauge his potential. Jacques McClendon spent most of the season on the sideline. Jerry Hughes was in slow motion. Hughes play this season is proof positive of the cerebral nature of the NFL. In college, Hughes flew all over the field. He looked like a hybrid of Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. On the big stage, Hughes was lost, ineffective and overmatched. The best hope for Hughes is year two will slow down the game for him. If we are able to see an improvement in year two, then Bill Polian wont be criticized as bad as he should be. The point here isn't too rag on Hughes, Bill Polian or Jacques McClendon. The NFL Draft is our gas station. It is our way to refuel, reload and head on into the future. The Colts brass have refused to sign street free agents and chose to groom from in house. That is a great strategy if you have made wise draft picks. Jerry Hughes was over valued, Kevin Thomas was a reach and Jacques McClendon could have been picked up later on. We need to reemphasize the importance of the draft.
Get healthy. The health of the 2011 Indianapolis Colts is going to be a front burner topic in all the news outlets and sports talk radio shows. I don't know if this season is systematic or just an anomaly. We experienced an inordinate amount of injuries this season. Let's take a look at the way we do our Strength and Conditioning, access whether or not we need to make a change and change if need be.
The 2010 season is over. 2011 looks to be a very promising season. The chance of a home game for the Super Bowl is a realistic scenerio. Let's learn from this season's mistakes and move forward. Go Colts.