Last year the Indianapolis Colts had a terrific regular season going twelve and four., They continued their roll into post-season play making it as far as the AFC conference-championship game. For the Colts, these fantastic seasons come few and far between, but as of late these types of seasons are coming more frequently than usual. Strengths for this team can be defined as what parts the Colts seem to have all figured out, and weaknesses can be said to be the parts of the team that need more attention and lack substance that make up a strong defensive/offensive unit. This essay will investigate the strengths and weaknesses of the Indianapolis Colts, most notably in the areas of: the offensive unit, a young and improving front seven of the defense, and more specifically on defense, their secondary.
When a person begins to analyze the Colts offense, mostly strengths come to mind.
Last year the Colts had the most vaunted passing game with Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison leading the charge. Manning passed for over 4,000 yards for the fifth straight year, and threw 49 touchdown passes, surpassing the previous record of 48 touchdown passes held by Dan Marino. Another major strength for the offense is the spectacular play of running back Edgerrin James who seems to be fully recovered from a recent knee surgery with 1600 yards plus in 2004. A few other strengths to note: Reggie Wayne, wide receiver, is coming off a career year, tight end Dallas Clark, and most of the offensive line is still intact. Although there are mostly strengths to talk about on offense, there are a few underlying weaknesses that should be addressed. The offensive line of the Colts lost a veteran guard/tackle to free agency in Rick DeMulling. DeMulling was the compliment to left all-pro tackle Tarik Glenn and could arguably been a very key loss. Along with losing DeMulling, the third wide receiver, Brandon Stokley, was injured in the preseason with an almost season-ending injury. The final otherwise less stand out weakness that could be drawn from this offense is the injury-prone running back Dominick Rhodes. When healthy, Rhodes is a big contributor in the running game, but he missed most of the 2004 season with a shoulder injury, and has already been injured this season. Everything withstanding, the Colts offense should post impressive numbers in 2005.
The defense of the Indianapolis Colts has not received near the attention as that of the offense, nor puts up effective numbers. .The strengths of the front seven are obvious. All-pro defensive lineman Dwight Freeney, who has led the Colts in sacks the past three seasons. Also third year stand-out outside linebacker, David Thorton, who made over a hundred tackles in his first year as a starter. On the other hand, the Colts were dealt a major blow by losing long time starting outside linebacker, Marcus Washington, to free agency in 2003. Young inexperienced players like Gary Brackett and Cato June will be called up to fill the void left by Washington. Although the defensive line has Dwight Freeney, it is still young and in need of much improvement to be among the leagues' elite. The Colts were unsatisfactory at stopping the run in 2003 and 2004 ranking near the bottom of the NFL. There is one element of the defense that is a double-edged sword, and that is the youth of this defense. On one hand the fact that they are young means they are inexperienced, this could be very costly. At the same time, a young defense is hungry, willing to learn, and very resilient. With all these factors taken into consideration, it is anyone's' guess as to how this defense will be able to hold up against one of the tougher schedules in the NFL.
Another very important aspect of the Colts not covered in other paragraphs is the secondary of the defense. The secondary lacks some of the same aspects as that of the front seven, which are veteran leadership and experience. The two strong players in this secondary are Mike Doss and Bob Sanders. Doss, who was a rookie strong safety in 2003, was second on the team in tackles behind David Thorton. However, in week one of the 2004 season against the Patriots, Doss injured his hamstring causing him to miss the next three to four games. He returned to the lineup near the end of the season and was a major contributor. A very big question mark regarding the secondary is the two cornerbacks Marlin Jackson and Nick Harper. Harper has shown good play, most notably in 2004, but Marlin Jackson is a rookie still unproven. With a little luck, no injuries, and good hard play, this group of guys in the secondary, (Jackson, Doss, Harper, and Sanders) could gel and make a potent secondary.
When the 2005 Colts start getting deeper into the season, hopefully the fans can say that their team is one of the leagues' best. Only this time around they make it past the AFC title game and into the Super Bowl. In conclusion there are many strengths that can be mentioned about the Colts, likewise there are some weaknesses too. With a very potent offense and a young improving defense, the Colts may or may not have what it takes to go all the way. This essay's intention was to give the facts about the Colts, good and bad, and let the reader draw their own conclusion as to how good this team is.