You get the feeling that this year Tony Dungy is tired of all the crap. I don't know what it is. Perhaps, after last season's disappointing loss and the personal tragedy he has been through, I get the feeling that Dungy is finally sick of holding back and is going to unleash the hounds on opposing teams. Just look at the evidence:
- The Colts have made it a point to practice more onside kicks and fake punts. They opened the pre-season with an onside kick, which a not-so-subtle message to any team that tries to employ that kind of keep away strategy. The fake punt against Seattle is yet another message: just because you stopped us on third down doesn't mean it's over. This makes teams think twice about punt and kick coverage. They have to keep, in the back of their minds, the idea that this could be a fake. And if the Colts get the ball, they will most likely score.
- Dungy is suggesting the Colts will blitz more. I found this a bit odd considering the Cover 2 defense is built on the notion that LBers do not blitz. The pressure comes from the front four, allowing the LBers to help in zone coverage. It seems the blitzing will come from the safeties and the CBs. This way, teams can't just assume that if they roll right or left, they are free. This happened to Matt Hasselbeck in the pre-season game. Twice he rolled into sacks because of blitzing players.
- The offense is using a 288 DT as their FB. For the love of God, talk about getting serious about goal line blocking!
It seems that Dungy finally has the kind of team he has always wanted, and that this year he will open the flood gates and allow his team's speed to devastate opponents. After adding guys like Vinatieri this year, and players like Corey Simon last year, the Colts have a multitude of weapons that can cause havoc. Players like June and Sanders are coming off Pro Bowl seasons, and have settled into leadership roles.
Freeney now has Robert Mathis full-time on the other side of the line, which prevents teams from doubling Dwight. The new blitz wrinkles will also make offensive line coaches think twice about chipping the Colts DEs. If a TE is needed to chip Freeney, that is one less blocker to protect against a blitzing Marlin Jackson.
Now, I know what some are thinking: Well, it's about time! I'm not so sure the criticism is valid. Dungy now knows he has, arguably, the most talented team in football. They are fast. They are tough. They have 11 players that are considered difference makers.
This pre-season, he is really cranking it up and turning his horses loose. The result might be a more aggressive, smack-you-in-the-mouth Colts team.