Hello Stampede Blue, this is my first article and just thought I'd recap and look into this offseason. Fresh off the lost to the much hated Patriots, I would like to congratulate the Indianapolis Colts on a great season. A very roller coaster season had my nerves shot but I wouldn't want to be a fan for any other ball club. Im proud of the way we played. We were doubted early and much throughout the season. Many "expert analysis" and bloggers believed we overachieved last year and rode an emotional roller coaster to a 11-5 record. Many thought we would be a possible 8 to 10 win team this year. there would be no emotional wave to surf boy they couldn't have been more wrong. They fought through a league high injury count with 17 players on IR. With five offensive starters and two defensive starters out for the year The Colts still managed to reach the playoffs. Easily tallying the most impressive wins over quality opponents throughout the regular season with wins over San Francisco, Seattle, Denver and Kansas City(twice). The Colts have a bright future and I am excited to be apart of it. This team showed grit but it wasn't pretty at all. This is the harsh reality of the NFL some players must be let go to better the organization. Mr. Grigson should cut his loses. He is a young general manager and i still believe in him. I think he took a lot of chances that obviously hasn't worked out but he doesn't get the credit he deserves sometimes. Yes he forked over tons to players who had no right to see the type of contracts and I think he will learn from his mistakes. Sometimes its good to bring in big signings Grigs. This will be a learning experience for everyone in the Colts Organization. This is what I would If I were Grigs and Irsay.
CUT YOUR LOSSES, LITERATELY:
-Starting with the number one cooperate Greg Manusky. His second half adjustments where great at times but it shouldn't be enough for him to keep his job. He doesn't get a lot of heat like Pep and Pagano, he calls the defensive plays not Pagano. He once dropped Josh Chapman, our 340 pound nose tackle into coverage, that should sum up everything you need to know about him. In his tenures at San Francisco and The Chargers he was also unsuccessful, its time to move on immediately. Other than Manusky everybody should retain their jobs this season.
-Lets move one to the players, as I like to call trimming the fat, biggest loser style. Via Over The Cap I and anyone else can put themselves into a gm's shoes by clicking Salary Cap Calculator.
We will start with about 37,000,000 dollars in cap space according to over the cap.
The Cuts I made Consist of:
- Samson Satele
- Greg Toler
- Laron Landry
- Matt Hassleback (retiring)
- Teshard choice
- Andy Studebaker
- Corey Lynch
- Stanley Havili
- Chris Rainey
- Aaron Morgan
- Jack Doyle
- Justin Anderson
- Jake McDonough
After trimming the fat we are at almost 53,000,000. That is good for league in the league via cbs sports. Even without the cuts we are 5th in the league in terms of cap space thats pretty good. The only reason I dint resign DB is that I felt we had more glaring needs and I think Ballard and Herron are solid. I believe that Dewayne Allen can play the fb position if truly needed, really versatile. That would free up a roster spot much needed.
Here is how I decided to spend our sap space and we still had 39,000,000 left in cap space thats great.
- Here is a look at my top ranked free agent for this team after the necessary cuts and resigns
Tier 1: If we are going to spend big money lets do it right...
1. TJ Ward- A hard hitting disciplined free safety who doesn't whiff for tackles and also rangy in coverage. Plays bigger than his frame, would be a great investment. The only question is will he be available by the time free agency approaches I think the chances are slim but if he is pursue heavy. An alternate to Ward would be Byrd but he would be just too expensive.
2. Alterraun Verner- Really burst on to the scene good cover corner could take over number 1 corner position because we all know how inconsistent Vontae is. He recorded five interceptions last year and 23 pass deflections.
3. Aqib Talib- Well look at how he blankets receivers even though he cant gaurd TY he is arguably a top 5 cornerback in the nil and is fairly young. I would be happy too pay him.
Tier 2: Players that we have a more realistic shot at...
1. Brent Grimes- He was the dolphins number one cornerback this season and was targeted often. With that being said he allowed zero touchdowns this season, not a typo zero, was ranked as PFF second cornerback in the league behind none other than Darrelle Revis of the Bucs and one spot ahead of Vontae Davis.
2. Jason Worlids- Rush outside linebacker for the steelers he burst onto the scene this year filled in quite nicely for Lamar Woodly and would help our ailing one man pass rush.
3. Brandon Spikes- He seems as good as gone in New England after reportedly landing on Ir for being late to practice the week of preparing for the Colts in the AFC divisional round. It didnt help the Colts, 8sigh lets not even start. Run stuffing linebacker that would bring mean streak to our Defense, a game wrecker not like Landry though.
4. Evan Dietrich- He is young talented Offensive linemen for the Packers who can excel at guard and center. We should be all over him.
5. Sam Shields- Good solid corner would be a steal if we dont over pay. He is aggressive and would fit in with the press coverage mantra of Indianapolis.
6. Chris Clemons- Had a down year for the Dolphins this year but still played better than our safety's and is solid in coverage and strong in run support. Would be another signing if we dont break the bank for him.
7. Geoff Schwartz- Came in for Kansas City's often injured guards and outperformed them. Cory Redding abused him but Mr. Redding is a dominant force in the run game ranking as one of PFF top 3-4 ends in the league. Schwartz would be a nice addition and fairly cheap. At the very lest would challenge Thornton for the job and provide excellent depth.
8. Karlos Dansby- Look at the film Ladies and Gentlemen. At 32 years old he wont be playing for much longer but is still an absolute baller. In 2013 he recorded 122 combined tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recover, 4 interceptions and 19 pass deflections. He had stats of defensive back and a linebacker. Oh and he also had two touchdowns, a pick six against us.
Tier 3: There is still a lot of meat left and good options here...
1. Roger Saffold- Only in the third tier because of his injury history. Saffold is a dominant RT. But we need a RT you say and your right we dont but he also plays guard and is damn good at it too. A possible pro bowl selection at the position.
2. Walter Thurmond-A solid strong aggressive cornerback for Seattle who would be a great addition to our team and would immediately fill our second cornerback option. The reason for his Tier 3 rank is because he is coming off of a 4 game suspension, so there is a risk signing him.
3. Doug Baldwin- So many pros to this signing, cheap, productive, knows system well and add to our arsenal of Stanford players. Runs great routes and catches the ball most importantly, true team player.
I also took the liberty to do my own 7 round mock draft which anyone can also do here. In my mock draft I took:
-Rd. 2= Deonne Bucannon (SS) from Washington State. Big physical safety who can actually play the run and support. Needs to work on zone coverage but still a food overall safety.
-Rd. 3= Yawin Smallwood (ILB) from Connecticut. He is something Colts fans haven't seen in Indy. I say this because he's tall at 6'3 and dynamic. Colts linebackers have usually been short like Cato June, Gary Brackett, Pat Angrer and Jerrel Freeman. He would be a nice run stopper to pair with Bucannon, strides at actually stoping the run.
-Rd. 5= Josh Mauro (DE) from Stanford. Another Stanford graduate we add too our roster. He is a big body at 6-6 281 pounds, a force and a run stopper. Would help begin to shore up our Defensive line. He dropped because of injury but has 2nd or 3rd talent.
-Rd. 6= Stanley Jean-Baptiste (CB) from Nebraska. Raw but athletic and long. Looks like one of Seattle's big cornerbacks. If he gets with Pagano and gets tooled he could be something special.
-Rd. 7= Marqueston Huff (FS) form Wyoming. Also a great athlete with a ton of range. He is raw as well but could be a gem and Matt Miller agrees.
Summary: I didnt mean to go all defense in the draft but the way it played out it was no other value and felt these were the best options and like it.
I enjoyed writing this article and I hope you had an even better time reading it. I want to hear what you think our free agent and depth chart decisions should consist of. Please Excuse the grammar and other blunders. I am 17 and thinking about pursuing sports journalism so any feedback and constructive criticism is accepted, Thanks again.