Like many of you, I like the signing of Jamaal Anderson. It's low risk, high reward. Again, very similar to the move the Patriots made in trading for Albert Haynesworth (a move that Chris Polian, quite frankly, dropped the ball on). Anderson is no Haynesworth, and he is, by no means, the solution to the Colts gaping hole at the defensive tackle position. He can play some DT, and is a very tough D-End on run downs, but he alone will not solve Indy's defensive woes.
If he works out, and that is still a big 'if,' I would not be surprised seeing him start at DE on first down, and then the Colts subbing in Robert Mathis on second or third down. The idea behind this is to keep Mathis and Dwight Freeney fresh all year. One of the reasons Indy's pass rush wilts in the post-season is because these two guys are gassed.
But, while I personally like the Anderson signing, it doesn't put this team over the top. Not even close.
As Bob Kravitz astutely observed in his column today, the Colts offensive line is a complete joke. The lose of Charlie Johnson was huge. The reaction many fans, and several people in local Indianapolis media, had to the news of C.J. signing with Minnesota was telling. While some of you are quick to dismiss C.J. for his contributions, or label him 'greedy' because he wanted to be paid according to his skill set, the reality is Charlie was a very vital component of this Colts offensive line because of his versatility.
All Charlie wanted was to get paid for the reliable player he was. He'd played left tackle for two years, covering up the Polian mistake that was Tony Ugoh while protecting the blindside of Peyton Manning. He was paid peanuts (comparatively) to do it. Rather than honor Charlie with some extra money, the Colts got greedy and let him walk. That's my personal take. Charlie didn't get a huge contract from the Vikings, and if the Colts were wiling to blow money on Kelvin Hayden and Gary Brackett, why not give Charlie a little extra dough? Makes no sense, and it is for that reason people are now taking justifiable shots at this front office.
Just like last year with Ryan Lilja, the front office really seems asleep at the wheel when it comes to acquiring quality talent at an area that has the job of protecting their $90 million dollar quarterback.
Again, as I seem to write in almost every article I post, I do not start my day thinking, 'Hey, how can I make fans feel like crap? I KNOW! I'll criticize another front office move!' One of the more silly complaints around here is I am not 'positive' enough. I will politely disagree with that nonsense, and reaffirm that when positive things happen, like the Anderson signing yesterday, I write about them as being positive.
However, pretty much from January 2010 to today, not much positive news has come from West 56th Street, and I am not in the business of sugar-coating turd sandwiches. We watched this front office truly bungle the 2010 off-season, and this time around, they aren't scoring high grades either. As I always say, we aren't here to cheerlead. We're here to analysis and opine. We're here to think critically, and to expect championships.
During last year's off-season, some of you readers (not all, but a vocal few) hammered me when I wrote that dumping Ryan Lilja was a mistake. You bashed me when I said Melvin Bullitt deserved to compete for the starting safety job over Bob Sanders. You flung poop bombs my way when I wrote that Anthony Gonzalez was the team's fourth wide receiver. You nearly formed a head-hunting party when we reported that Peyton Manning had injured his neck-shoulder Week One against the Texans; a game Peyton was knocked all over the place in.
I was right every. single. time. <breaks arm patting himself on back>
So, when you see me writing critical things about this team for 2011, I'm not doing it because I enjoy it. In fact, it kind of puts me down in the dumps because, more than anything, I want this team to win. But, I''m not one who will fool himself, lie to himself, or try and rationalize why the front office keeps screwing up. I am also not one to just place blind loyalty in Chris Polian and his daddy, Bill. While I think both men are very capable, we've seen, and read, time and again how their egos and their pride blur their ability to objectively evaluate and fix this roster.
And, let's not kid ourselves, the Polians are one-and-done three of the last four years, losing all three of those playoff games to teams they should have beaten. They got to Super Bowl XLIV on the back of Peyton Manning. As I often state around here, imagine how good this team would be if the Polians actually got some talent around Mr. Manning.
So please, understand that this is where I am coming from. If you want rabid cheerleading and blind loyalty to the front office, go read this blog. He needs the attention (and the page views) seeing as he just lost his job in Argentina and is now back in the states.
If what you want is an honest, objective view of this team and its chances to win another Super Bowl, keep the eyes here. Like all of you, I'm happy Jamaal Anderson was brought on board. However, I'm not celebrating. This team, as currently constructed, is not championship-caliber. No amount of clapping or cheerleading is going to change that. Only significant roster additions, and a little luck, will change that.