Several weeks ago, I wrote this little comment about current Colts running back and fan whipping boy Joseph Addai:
This is a post saying that much of the "Addai sucks and we need to get rid of him" rhetoric simply does not hold water anymore. Joseph Addai is a fine running back when he is healthy. No, he is not Adrian Peterson. Then again, Joseph Addai hasn't fumbled the ball 15 times in two years like Adrian Peterson has (most in the NFL). So, maybe not being AP is a good thing.
Addai is a solid, tough, multi-talented back. All he needs now is some better blocking up front and everything will be OK.
During this past off-season, no Colts player was as bashed and berated as Addai. Fans seemed to blame him, and him alone, for the team losing the Chargers in the playoffs. I was one who did not buy into the hate, but I was willing to let Addai prove his detractors wrong by playing better in 2009. For me, Addai has done so, playing brilliantly so far despite the fact that his yard per rush numbers are low (3.5 a carry).
Last night on the Bill Polian Show, the Colts president seemed to agree with my assessment of Addai, ending any and speculation that "Addai is the problem." From John Oehser:
"The statistics aren't there, but he's having a terrific year," Polian said Monday on his weekly radio show on Hank 97.1 FM in Indianapolis.
Polian said Addai's value to the Colts extends far beyond statistics, and into the intricacies of a complex offense.
"People say, 'Well, Joseph has slowed down,' or, 'Joseph isn't what he used to be,''' Polian said of Addai, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2006 and 2007 and made the Pro Bowl in the latter year. "Try picking up five blitzes a game on [Ravens MLB] Ray Lewis and see how much you have left in your legs. It's very difficult to do and that's a critical part of our offense.
"We block with the running back a lot of times. That's what allows [Colts quarterback] Peyton [Manning] to hit those big plays to the running backs and tight ends. Joseph does a magnificent job of it."
But Polian said Addai's value isn't just in blitz pickup. Polian said while Addai has yet to have a 100-yard game this season, he is running well within the parameters of the Colts' offense.
"Joseph is running as well as he ever has run in some holes that are not very big," Polian said. "When a linebacker has to take on a running back in a two-foot area, the advantage is to the linebacker. When he has to take on a running back in a six-foot area, the advantage is to the running back. Joseph has been running in a lot of two-foot areas. He has done a heck of a job banging in there, finishing runs. He really has done a remarkable job.
"He's averaging 3.5 yards per carry, which is not great, but his runs have been significant. They've resulted in touchdowns. He's running hard. He's moving the chains. . . . The bottom line is Joseph has been running great, as has [rookie running back] Donald Brown. Donald needs to get a few more carries as time goes by."
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, if you still feel that Joseph Addai is not a quality NFL running back, please know right now that your opinion is no longer an informed opinion. When the best player personnel man in the business sings Addai's praises, it means Addai is good. And as we know, Polian is not one to sugar coat a player who "stinks." He was quick to blast Mike Pollak a few weeks ago for his terrible performance against the Texans, if you all remember.
So, for all of you bashing and berating Addai this past off-season, it's time to own up and give the man his due. These words by Polian pretty much make it a lock that Addai will be re-signed. While rookie Donald Brown provides a wonderful spark of speed, quickness, and a WOW! factor at running back we haven't seen in Indy since Marshall Faulk, it is Addai who is getting the tough yards. it is Addai running hard to seal wins in the fourth quarter, like the Patriots win. It is Addai scoring red zone TDs. It is Addai making key receptions and blocks to keep the chains moving.
No player is above criticism. But, what fans were laying on Addai this off-season and part of the regular season went beyond criticism and into the realm of hate. I can understand bashing a player like Mike Vanderjagt, Gilbert Gardner, or even Corey Simon. But Joseph Addai? No. The hate ends now. Addai is playing some good football for the Colts, and if you don't see it then you don't know football.
From here on out, check your Addai hate at the door, please.