Colts Attacked the Draft with the right mentality

After reading this article by Vincent Frank of BleacherReport, the article made very true points: a top oline and a top defense is more valuable than top skilled players. Toughness>Finesse these days. Let's look at two classic examples:


Colts only won one Superbowl, because the defense consistently got split open like a hot knife through butter most Sundays and the running backs not named Edgerrin James in this era could hardly run for 100 yards on a given Sunday. In 2006, Manning had a shaky playoff run. It's 100% true. There are even strong questions surrounding his SB MVP award. Here is another article about it too. I love his play. But the Colts in the 2006/2007 playoffs were won by the defense. Manning turned the ball over (on average) twice a game, yet, the defense stoutly let only 8 and 6 points in the games against KC and Baltimore respectively in that playoff run. They let only 17 points in the SB. Cudos to Colt's the offense overcoming Patriot's 34 points in the AFC Championship, but Manning made the game difficult by throwing a pick six. Rhodes and Addai helped Manning by combining for over 120 yards on the ground that game. Peyton could only do so much during that year, as he led the Colts to the playoffs. But it was the defense, that had it's best playoff run and the run game, that lead that team to a championship. In 2009, Colts could have won their second SB in the finesse, Manning era. However, I've said this since that Saints game: if the Colts had their then-best defender, Dwight Freeney, 100%, Drew Brees would not have looked as good as he did and Colts would have won. Instead, by 'woulds' mean nothing now, but the poor defense that showed up that game was much better when Freeney was healthy. Goes to show the value of toughness and strength (which was lacked by the Colts that game as their best defender was on one ankle). Manning was one man, and if any of the games was out of his control, the rest of the team just couldn't guide him home consistently. They did in 2006/2007, that was it.


Patriots are another example of a 'flashy, finesse' team that has had no success in winning the big one lately. The sensational defense in the early 2000's with Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel,Ty Warren, Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork comprising the front 7, all in their prime, combined with a ferocious running attack led by Corey Dillon (who made the Pro Bowl in the 2001 and 2004 championship seasons), were the main reasons for that 2001-2004 dynasty. Tom Brady has not won the SB since that defense was let go, even though 2004 Brady was half as good as 2013 Brady. Pats won without the elite likes of Gronkowski, Hernandez, Moss, Welker as receivers. Contrary to 2003/2004, Deion Branch and David Givens were the top two receivers: the receivers then weren't even a solid group. Brandon Lloyd, the fourth best receiver in NE in 2012, were even better than NE's top two 2003/2004 receivers. It doesn't matter though. There was a time when NE featured a tough team. Now, it's a flashily-built team that puts up tons of points, but will get out-strengthed by good defensive fronts in the playoffs (the Ravens have knocked them out hard in the playoffs twice in recent years with Suggs, Lewis, Ngata. So to the Giants with Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora).

Why am I pointing out these examples? Because the Colts are moving towards this hard-hitting mentality. Tony Dungy and Bill Polian was all about finesse, but if he actually built a tough defense around one of the smartest QBs ever, he would have the amount of Lombardis Brady had (if not more). The Colts, by signing Chuck Pagano absolutely nailed it. He wants to BUILD A MONSTER, not a Finesse team. Last year was a good step by giving Andrew Luck skilled players, but they aren't enough. Baltimore had big boys last year, as they only gave the Colts 9, measly points in that wild card game and won the championship. 'We need big boys to win now' is what Pagano though this offseason.

Enter 1st Round pick, Bjoern Werner. He, is a perfect example of tough. Colts needed tough linemen. They needed big boys with talent. Enter 3rd rounder Hugh Thornton and 4th rounder Khaled Holmes (after signing Thomas and Cherilus in Free Agency). Then, Grigson was not done upgrading the defensive line in the offseason, as he TRADED up to get Montori Hughes. He didn't want to wait, he wanted the big fella. The Colts spent their 4 top picks on huge players. If not for drafting a young stud in Andrew Luck last year, Grigson probably would've spent more early picks upgrading the trenches in the same draft too...however, you want a young QB to have some good players to throw to though (Colts, before Allen and Fleener, had Brody Eldridge at TE. I linked you a page because you probably have never heard of him).

After reading this, I hope I haven't given you the impression of how valuable starting QBs are to winning championships. However, they are just 1 man on a 50+ man squad. A complete defense front and offensive linemen is imperative too, AND MORE IMPORTANT THAN HAVING ELITE WRs, CBs, SAFETIEs, RBs AND TEs. Great QBs have won the big one in recent years: Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger. So a top QB is essential. But it means nothing if the defense isn't tops too, and Baltimore had playmakers, the Giants had pass rushers that played elite in 2011 (they didn't play their best last year), the Packers forced 47 sacks (and let in only 31) that SB year which shows the value of having good D and O frons, the 2009 Saints had a defense that took balls away in a second and the Steeler D has had playmakers on that side of the ball for a long long time.

It's a good/successful draft for the Colts as they addressed the issues that matter. Luck (just like any top QB) will make most of the receivers he's got look good (i'm still surprised Avery got 800 yards last year, that was all Andrew Luck). The Colts needed big men more, to be a Championship team. It may take another draft or two, but building inside out is that way to win championships. The Polian/modern NE Patriot way is to build a team that only puts up offensive/regular season records. Star trench players, star players on the defensive front (combined with a top QB) is needed to win now, which is why Vincent Frank wrote an excellent article that you all should read.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.

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