State of the Colts: Mid-Season Edition
Well ladies and gentlemen, we just finished week eight in the NFL, so we’re at the midway point of the season. And though the Colts have only played seven games, we will still consider this the halfway point of the year.
With that being said, here is the “State of the Colts,” mid-season edition!
While I’ve always had complete faith in this team, I didn’t think they’d be undefeated at this point. I mean c’mon, they replace was one of the best coaches of all-time in Tony Dungy, they’re still 7-0? That speaks volumes to this entire organization. They kept the pieces in place to make this season a success, and so far, so good.
I was a little worried about back-to-back road trips to Miami and Arizona, and really thought that the first loss of the season could come to the Cardinals. However, Dwight Freeney was in beast mode that game, and they completely decimated the Cards. None of the other games on the schedule made me that worried, though in past years, games at Tennessee haven’t gone entirely well. But luckily, the Titans are 1-6 this year, so there was no way the Colts were losing that one.
What more can you say about Jim Caldwell? The guy is the first rookie head coach to start the season 7-0 since 1931. That’s right, he’s this era’s Potsy Clark.
The transition has been very smooth from Dungy to Caldwell, and though Caldwell really hasn’t had to face much adversity whatsoever this season, he’s simply done his job and got the team wins. Of course, we’ll know more about Caldwell’s coaching if the Colts hit a rough patch at some point, but the apple obviously doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Caldwell has picked up right where Coach Dungy left off. Kudos to the entire coaching staff for a job well done up until this point.
When the year started, I never thought I’d say that Peyton Manning would have one of his best seasons yet. Of course, you expect Peyton to get better, but I didn’t think he would actually be playing the best football of his career. And even with the injury to Anthony Gonzalez, he’s had no trouble finding his receivers. He’s made Austin Collie and Pierre Garcon household names now, and that’s simply what he does. He makes his receivers better.
Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark have both had awesome seasons as well, as both are like Peyton and fine win. They get better with age. As for the running game, it hasn’t hit it’s stride yet, but it’s continually getting better. Joseph Addai hasn’t been a force on the ground, but rookie Donald Brown clearly has the potential to be a great back in this league. I feel good any time that guy touches the ball.
Now while the pass defense has played exceptionally well, the rush defense is where we find the Colts’ biggest problem thus far. However, the problem isn’t as big as you might think. They let Ronnie Brown run all over the place in Miami. They still won the game. They let Steven Jackson run all over the place in St. Louis. They still won the game. And they let Frank Gore take a long run to the house on Sunday, but once again, the Colts came out on top.
So while the rush defense is clearly the biggest weakness up until this point, it hasn’t exactly cost the Colts anything. They’ve made the plays when they’ve needed to, and that’s all that really matters in the end. Even on days where the offense hasn’t looked particularly fantastic (vs. SF, for example), the rush defense has contained backs enough to where it didn’t hurt them in the win/loss category. With the excellent pass rush and excellent secondary, there’s some room for error for this defense when it comes to stopping the opposition’s rush offense.
The Special Teams
No problems here whatsoever, except for the fact that Adam Vinatieri is out with an injury. The Colts have picked up Matt Stover though, and they’ll be fine until the most clutch kicker in the NFL returns to action.
We expected this to be a strong point of this team, and it hasn’t disappointed so far. Great teams have great special teams. The Colts fit that category.
The Upcoming Schedule
The Colts didn’t play their best game on Sunday against the 49ers, and they’ll need to get back to playing excellent since they have a tough stretch coming up here. The next four games are:
vs. New England
That’s easily their toughest stretch of the season since the Texans are playing well as of late. The showdown against New England in a few weeks will go a long way in determining who the best team in the AFC is. But, that’s pretty much the case every single year these two teams play. We’ll really see just how good this team is in the next four games, because if they come out of that 4-0, then we could be seriously talking about a perfect season.
But, we’ll let things play out before we start discussing that scenario.