Why The Colts Are Still The Colts

For those of you who have only been around this summer, allow me to introduce myself.  I am the previously unseen and unheard contributing writer on Stampede Blue.  I have been reading the site for almost 4 years and been posting for about 2.

For those of you who do know me, a quick update.  This summer has been one of the craziest in my personal life and Brad and Matt were accommodating enough to allow me time to work through things as I needed.  I apologize for my absence (or return depending on your point of view).

I look forward to standing and screaming at my TV like the rest of you as we live and die with every Colts' snap.  Now...on to my thoughts.

There are few things that infuriate fans more than pundits who don't appreciate the greatness of their chosen team.  One that may draw more ire is listening to those same talking heads touting the moves of others during weeks of inactivity from our beloved.  We sit and wait as big name after big name leaves one location and goes to another.  Maybe it's a division rival shoring up a known weak spot or the conference loud-mouths finding someone else who can't avoid a microphone.  I see players that would fit our system and I would love to see in Colts Blue end up in the powder blue of the Thumb Tacks or the navy blue of the Moo Cows.

It's almost like we are forced to hide during the months (or in this case weeks) of free agent frenzy.  It happens every year.  Teams start poaching free agents from our roster (names like Cato June, Mike Peterson and Jake Scott come to mind immediately) and we sit and wonder why the Colts don't seem to be fighting to keep these guys.  My mind inevitably wanders to thoughts along the lines of "How are we ever going to replace this guy?"  I love the Colts and hate to see any of them go (except Tim Jennings).

Ever since Bill Polian took over as GM of the Colts, we have held to the same principle.  One word...

VALUE!

This is the reason that the Colts are still the Colts.  With a finite amount to spend and so much locked up in big name players over time, the Front Office must place value on each of the 53 positions on the roster.  We can all sit here and list the position that Big Bill didn't value as highly (linebacker, guard, defensive tackle, cornerback) and ones that he placed more emphasis on (quarterback, wide receiver, defensive end).  The same can be seen is his first round draft strategies as shown in this old article by some schmuck we haven't heard from in awhile.  The undervalued positions in the Bill Regime are the ones that were always pointed to as weaknesses by main stream pundits.  Players making a name for themselves on special teams on year have invariably been asked to step into the starting line up the next.

So now we are in a "new regime" under Chris Polian.  Is this still our philosophy?  Should it be?  I have already noticed a shift in draft strategy.  This year we took O-Lineman, O-Lineman and D-tackle in the first three rounds.  A far cry from offensive skill players dominating the day.  So maybe there's a small shift in draft philosophy.  Maybe the draft will not be as cryptic anymore.  Who knows.  What about value?

I see the Colts perceived unwillingness to act early in free agency as a stick to the value based philosophy.  The Colts weren't afraid of free agency, they couldn't afford to get low value.  While other teams were over-paying in a bidding war (see Iggles, J-E-T-S and Desert Wrens), the Colts had their eyes on others that could be had at the lower cost.  Yea there may have been a value in trading a fifth-rounder for Fat Albert.  No way to I want clubhouse cancers and dirty players on my favorite team.  I don't care how good they are or might be.  

I applaud the moves that have been made.  Would I have loved to have Clint Session back?  Would a LB like Paul Posluszny fit in Colts Blue?  You bet!  But for $6 to $7 mil a year, I like Sims for his value.  

How about Jamaal Anderson?  Another end that can spell Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis and keep them fresh for a low cost contract?  Sign me up!  Lack of pressure with an injured Freeney is the biggest reason we were bested by the Saints down in Miami a few years back.  

A talent like Tommie Harris in the middle.  Maybe an injury concern, but a big addition to our rotation.  The key to these is value.  All of these are one-year deals for the player to show what he's got.

Kelvin Hayden got a top-tier cornerback deal for a pick 6 in the Superbowl against Chicago.  He was never a top-tier corner.  Bob Sanders got a deal for winning Defensive Player of the Year.  I defy anyone to tell me they weren't concerned about his injury history.  These were not value deals. 

The Colts are the Colts because value reigns supreme.  They made deals that were not cut from that cloth when they signed Hayden and Sanders.  Both of them are no longer here.  I am more than happy to wring my hands and wait through the feeding frenzy as the Colts find former first-round picks for cheap.   

Oh yea, don't forget that guy wearing number 18.  He's a big reason the Colts are still the Colts too.

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