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State of the Colts: May 9, 2006

I'll make several of these "State of the Colts" posts between now and week one. With the draft completed and the first in a series of mini-camps done, we are now entering the "dog days" of the NFL. Between now and July 31st (when training camp opens), there won't be much news. A few free agents still lingering will sign somewhere, and before camp opens a flurry of rookie signings will occur. For now, we have to look at how the Colts bettered themselves this off season.

  • Signing free agent kicker Adam Vinatieri was huge. Vinateri is the best kicker in football. He can kickoff well, which means the Colts no longer have to carry a kickoff specialist on the roster. Kool-Aid drinking Patriots fans will say Vinatieri is not all that great, and that Bill Belichick must have known something was wrong with his health to let him slip to the rival Colts. Such silly nonsense is the desperate rambling of fans who know their team is dying. The Colts snatched Vinatieri out from under New England's nose. Vinatieri was the best free agent signing for any team this off season.
  • Losing Edgerrin James was a blow. Gaining Joseph Addai will off set that loss. Addai can do all the little things Edge can (catch, block, etc.). The real test is can Addai make tacklers slide off him the way Edge could. One thing Addai has that Edge never had: breakaway speed. Edge could turn a poorly blocked run into a 5 yard gain. However, if the play were blocked to gain 20 yards, Edge would still only gain 5. He has no ability to kick it into another gear and take a run to the house. Addai can. Should be interesting.
  • Locking up Reggie Wayne, Gary Brackett, and Raheem Brock to long term deals offsets the losses of David Thornton and Larry Tripplett. Tripp's loss only means Corey Simon and Raheem Brock will play more. Plus, the Colts are very high on "Sweat Pea" Burns and Josh Thomas. Both provide strong depth along the defensive line. Thorton will be missed in the locker room, but Gilbert Gardner should do quite well replacing him at OLB.
  • Moving Marlin Jackson from corner to safety could work IF Kelvin Hayden or rookie Tim Jennings are ready to play. I like our current starter Jason David, but I'd rather Marlin start at corner and have David play the nickel.
Having said all this, it's pretty evident that the Colts are still a very good football team. No question they are better than anything the NFC can muster up, despite what Cowboys fans think. The issue is can the Colts win their division and take care of business in the playoffs. Allowing a team like Pittsburgh, a team Indy had dominated just four weeks earlier, to beat them in that playoff game was inexcusable. Naturally, the moron press and hater fans blamed Manning. Despite all his late game heroics, tough play, and amazing throws, people hate Manning's guts moreso than any other player not named T.O. It makes no sense, but that's how some people think.

One thing is for certain: everyone will dismiss the Colts until they make a Super Bowl. No one will care if they win 15 games, get home field, and destroy everyone in their path. If they do not win the AFC Championship this year, no one will take them seriously. The press will make passing glances at them, and state they need to prove something in the playoffs. In my opinion, this is a good thing. I'm perfectly content to let the Colts fly under the radar all season, if they can.