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Friday August 29, 2008 11:14 am

NFL Preview: Indianapolis Colts

Posted by Dean Browski Categories: NFL,

Peyton Manning setting up the Indianapolis Colts offense

2007 RECORD: 13-3

Overview: Expect the Indianapolis Colts to continue to be the Indianapolis Colts. Which is to be a team that dominates the regular season and once in the playoffs . . . who knows?!?  The roster for 2008 is almost identical to the 2007 roster which is good news for Indy fans. Peyton Manning hasn’t played in the preseason, but it isn’t going to matter. Marvin Harrison may be healthy or may not be, he may be going to jail or he may not be. It really doesn’t matter. The Colts offense dominated last year without him and while they would like to have a healthy Harrison, they will be fine without him.

Offense: As noted in the Overview, there aren’t a whole lot of changes to the Colts’ offense. People will make a big deal out of Harrison, but Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez showed they have ability and with a year’s experience, both should continue to be threats. The Colts still have one of the best TE receiving threats in Dallas Clark and they re-signed him so they also have a HAPPY Dallas Clark. The running backs are the deepest position on the roster with Joseph Addai being able to contribute in all facets and Kenton Keith proving to be a legit contributor as well. Add Mike Hart, the rookie from Michigan, as well as Dominick Rhodes and you have a set of backs that is second to none. The offensive line will have to replace G Jake Scott who left for the Tennessee Titans, but that shouldn’t be an issue for a team that plans as well as the Colts do. I also value the center position above all on the O-line and Jeff Saturday is among the best.  However, Saturday may miss about six weeks due to injury.  The Colts should still be able to cope.

Defense: In 2006 the Colts defense was easy to point to as the reason they wouldn’t win the Super Bowl. Then the playoffs started and it was like an entirely different unit. So it was reasonable to think that the 2007 Colts defense would be solid. Then the injury bug hit, sidelining speed-rusher and overall game disrupter Dwight Freeney, knocking out Anthony McFarland, as well as decimating a mediocre to begin with corps of linebackers. Much to everyone’s surprise, the ’07 Colts defense was among the best in the NFL. McFarland is no longer on the team, but Freeney is back and defensive standout Bob Sanders remained healthy in 2007. Gary Brackett brings experience and stability as the team’s middle linebacker. The other LBs are all the product of the Colts’ previous drafts so history saysthat the unit should be solid.

Rookies: Phillip Wheeler from Georgia Tech and Marcus Howard from Georgia should be ready to get some plays this year. The Colts like to rotate their LBs and that means a chance for these two to prove themselves. Mike Hart from Michigan can’t fit into all NFL systems, but the Colts are a perfect match for him. The rest of the rookies are in line with the Colts’ strategy of planning for the future. This is best exemplified by their drafting two centers, Mike Pollack from Arizona St. and Steve Justice from Wake Forest.

Prediction: The schedule is not easy as the Colts have non-division games against the New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to be right on the Colts’ tail all year and while the Jags also play the Steelers they avoid the other two AFC powerhouses. All that being said, all signs point to a Colts team that should keep on keepin’ on. It will be a dogfight in the AFC South but until proven otherwise I am taking the Colts over the Jags. My prediction for the 2008 Colts is to finish the year 13-3.

View All of Dean Browski’s 2008 NFL Team Projections



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