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2011 NFL Offseason: Indianapolis Colts

Draft Grades, Season Previews, Offseason Needs, Free Agents

Indianapolis Colts (Last Year: 10-6) - Buy Tickets

2011 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
DE/DT Jamaal Anderson, DT Tommie Harris, OLB Ernie Sims.
Early Draft Picks:
OT Anthony Castonzo, G/OT Ben Ijalana, DT Drake Nevis, RB Delone Carter.
Offseason Losses:
RB Mike Hart, OT Charlie Johnson, DT Daniel Muir, OLB Clint Session, CB Kelvin Hayden, SS Bob Sanders.

2011 Indianapolis Colts Offense:
If there's some concern with Peyton Manning, it should be his neck injury; not the fact that he threw more interceptions last year (17) than he has since his 23 picks in 2001.

Manning endured neck surgery this offseason, and because of the lockout, he wasn't able to receive the treatment he's accustomed to. He's currently on the active/PUP list, and while it's almost a certainty that he'll play in Week 1, there's a question of how much this injury is going to affect his play. Manning had knee surgery back in 2008, and he struggled as a result for the first half of the year. Something similar could occur this season.

As for Manning's actual skill, there's no need for concern. Sure, his touchdown-interception ratio and YPA were lower than usual, but it could be argued that Manning actually had one of his best seasons because of everything that happened to his team. Manning's offensive line was dreadful. Joseph Addai got hurt and there was no running game. And more importantly, Austin Collie and Dallas Clark missed a significant amount of action, forcing Manning to work with practice-squad players like Blair White. Anyone who re-watches Manning's four-interception performance against Dallas will see that White was responsible for two of Manning's picks because he ran wrong routes.

All indications are that Collie, Clark and Addai are healthy now. Collie had two concussions last year - it seemed like he suffered more than that, but those were just relapses - but he's been medically cleared to play. Clark is fine coming off wrist surgery. They'll join Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon in a talented, but possibly flawed receiving corps. A third concussion would be a huge concern for Collie; Wayne turns 33 in November; while Garcon tied for the league lead in drops (13) with Brandon Marshall, Steve Johnson and Wes Welker.

Of the three injured players last year, Addai has the least chance of staying healthy, since he's battled numerous maladies the past few seasons. The Colts selected Delone Carter in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but he won't be much of a factor this year because of the shortened offseason. It'll be up to Addai, Donald Brown and possibly Dominic Rhodes to carry the load. Rhodes is currently off the roster, but he could be signed if Brown continues to struggle with pass protection in the preseason. The bottom line is that Indianapolis once again won't have much of a ground attack.

The Colts spent their first two picks in the 2011 NFL Draft on offensive linemen, but the front line still figures to struggle. Rookies Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana are slated to start at left tackle and left guard, respectively. While they are both much more talented than the men they're replacing, the inexperience will hurt against the better pass-rushing defenses. While this is common for rookie linemen, the brief offseason only magnifies it.

The two lone bright spots up front are at center (Jeff Saturday) and right guard (Mike Pollak). The Colts were able to keep right tackle Ryan Diem at a reduced salary, but while Diem brings experience to the table, that's not necessarily a good thing. Diem was easily one of the worst starting offensive linemen in the NFL last year. At 32, his play probably won't improve. Ijalana could play here instead of left guard.

2011 Indianapolis Colts Defense:
Indianapolis' defensive philosophy is to sacrifice run defense to benefit the pass rush, and thus enhance pass defense. Thanks to the no-contact rule, the NFL is more of a quarterback-driven league than ever, so the Colts' strategy should work if implemented correctly. However, that was not the case last year, as Indianapolis mustered only 30 sacks.

Rookie defensive end Jerry Hughes was a huge disappointment in 2010. He contributed nothing, prompting general manager Bill Polian to lament to the media about passing up on current Rams left tackle Rodger Saffold in favor of Hughes. The TCU pass-rusher needs to step up his game, as Indianapolis managed only nine sacks outside of Robert Mathis' 11 and Dwight Freeney's 10. Freeney and Mathis turned 31 and 30 respectively this offseason, so that could be an issue.

The Colts had no interior pass rush, so they spent a third-round pick on defensive tackle Drake Nevis. As mentioned earlier though, most rookies won't contribute much this year because of the shortened offseason, so Indianapolis will probably have to roll with Fili Moala and Eric Foster as starters again. A wild card is free-agent signing Tommie Harris, who has struggled in recent years because of numerous knee injuries. However, Harris' three sacks with Chicago would have been the fourth-most on the Colts' roster last season, so he should be able to bring something to the table, even if he doesn't revitalize his career.

Indianapolis is still soft at defensive tackle, so the team needs inside linebacker Gary Brackett to stay healthy for a change. Brackett misses action every year; he was out for four games in 2010. At 31, it's unlikely that he'll be in the lineup the entire season.

Brackett's successor is Pat Angerer, a second-year strongside linebacker. Angerer, chosen in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft, struggled a bit last year, but should be better this season. Meanwhile, the weak link in Indianapolis' linebacking corps is Ernie Sims, who was dreadful with the Eagles this past year. Replacing Clint Session, who signed with the Jaguars, Sims is a good fit for this defense, but Colts fans shouldn't expect anything.

The secondary had a chance to be great last year, but two frequently injured players predictably couldn't stay healthy. Both Bob Sanders and Kelvin Hayden are gone, leaving Melvin Bullitt and Jacob Lacey as starters in their wake. Bullitt was also hurt in 2010; he missed 12 games because of a shoulder injury, but should be good to go come Sept. 11. Lacey, meanwhile, was anemic in coverage, surrendering a 75.9 completion percentage. Jerraud Powers, playing opposite of Lacey, is a better player, but is coming off forearm surgery.

Indianapolis does have a talented, proven, healthy player in its back seven. That would be free safety Antoine Bethea, who lived up to the 4-year, $27 million contract he signed last offseason.

2011 Indianapolis Colts Schedule and Intangibles:
The Colts have something going for them that few teams can enjoy this year - continuity. Indianapolis' coaching staff and roster have pretty much remained intact, which is a huge boost in a shortened offseason.

Adam Vinatieri received a well-deserved 3-year contract this offseason after nailing 26-of-28 attempts. It helps though that none of his field goal tries were from 50-plus. He's actually just 2-of-9 from that distance since 2003.

Punter Pat McAfee had a pretty bad 2010 campaign, both on and off the field. McAfee maintained a 42.0 average with 21-of-65 kicks inside the 20. He was also arrested for public intoxication in October.

The Colts once again struggled on special teams, as they were outgained by their opponents by 3.8 yards on punt returns and 6.2 yards on kickoffs. Making matters worse, the Colts surrendered two special-teams scores to the opposition.

Indianapolis has a pretty taxing non-divisional schedule. The team will have tough battles against Pittsburgh (home), Tampa Bay (road), New Orleans (road), Atlanta (home), New England (road) and Baltimore (road).

2011 Indianapolis Colts Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):

Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2011 Indianapolis Colts Analysis: The fate of the 2011 Indianapolis Colts rests on Peyton Manning's shoulders. Or rather, his neck. If Manning can play close to 100 percent, Indianapolis should capture yet another AFC South title. If, however, Manning struggles like he did in 2008, a team like the Texans could snatch the divisional crown away from them.

There's no way of knowing Manning's true status until he's actually on the field, but the fact that he figures to miss most, if not all of the preseason while remaining on the active/PUP list is somewhat troubling.

Projection: 10-6 (1st in AFC South)

2011 Fantasy Football Rankings

More 2011 NFL Season Previews


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@PatrickKopp(Twitter) 03-17-2014 11:42 am (total posts: 1)
179     1

Everyone should follow me because I know everything about the Colts and I have an inside scoop on everything that's going to happen. Just check out my thumbs up!
josh wade i write for duck dynasty 02-11-2014 02:22 am (total posts: 1)
8     2

Anyone else hear Dungy was forced out of the HC job because he set up a big plastic jar for the guys who cursed. like a big jar those snyder hard pretzels come in, they had to put whatever the cash was in if he heard them say certain curses like the F bomb, the N word, anything religious christ and other forms of that ect ect.

anyway Peyton had a phrase he loved to say can't say for sure what it was but 90% sure it was a religious thing that Dungy got so fired up about. ( G.D.? J.C?)

So the story goes Tony Dungy scolded Manning in front of the entire team after a meeting about his use of the word.

peyton went to dungy afterwards handed him a blank check had some words and left

next day at practice dungy walked out in front of team with check holding it high and sounding out peyton how he was disobedient and not a leader to be followed blah blah.

peyton walked out of the locker and into dungy's office where he kept the jar he walked back into the locker with the jar full of money stood in the center of the room wiped his lizard out put about 10-12 ounces of yellow fluid in the jar screwed the top back on and put it on the carpet.

dungy went to say something and manning cut him off and said I'm Peyton "whiter the curse ease" Manning I'm the face the brains of this team of this team the leader and this team what the F are you gonna do about it?

Tony D ran to colts ownership and said him or me.

dungy was forced to retire

end of story

George 01-24-2014 08:04 pm (total posts: 1)
2     3

i Think that a big need for the colts is a NT to stuff the run from the inside
Skiptastic 01-22-2014 09:40 am (total posts: 1)
3     2

I would hope the Colts let go of Satele and grab a proven FA to help shore up the line. Cutting Satele saves the Colts $4M in cap space. I agree with Logan that it seems unlikely they would go with Khaled Holmes, given he didn't see much playing time.

I also agree that they would move Hugh Thornton to RG instead of drafting a guard early on, unless they really didn't like what they saw and fall in love with someone. They might take some late round fliers or go UDFA for other help.

I'm hoping that one of the better WRs falls to the Colts in the 2nd round, as they would really benefit from having Reggie's replacement in the wings alongside TY Hilton. I don't know that I trust Da'Rick Rogers or LaVon Brazill to be that WR.

Then it's all defense the rest of the way, with maybe a K or P if they don't think they can afford to pay Vinatieri or McAfee.
Logan 01-20-2014 05:05 pm (total posts: 5)
6     43

It's unlikely the Colts draft a right guard. The most likely scenario is to have Thomas come back at left guard while shifting 2013 3rd round pick Hugh Thornton (who was pressed into service after Thomas's injury) to right guard.

Center is up in the air. Free agency seems more likely than the draft, since 2013 4th round pick Kahled Holmes began to see the field toward to the end of the year, albiet at guard.
Wharthog 01-20-2014 03:05 pm (total posts: 1)
3     3

He was a FB for the Chiefs for many years.
Nick B 01-20-2014 02:46 am (total posts: 2)
32     3

Who is Tony Richardson?
Nick B 01-20-2014 02:46 am (total posts: 2)
19     3

Who is Tony Richardson?
SaintsFan 07-12-2013 11:33 pm (total posts: 1)
6     7

I truely believe in a couple years Andrew Luck will be one of the best QBs in the league if not the best! Just give the man some protection. It doesn't hurt to give him his future number one WR, Reggie can't play forever; Ty will be a stud though. Possibly someone like Sammy Watkins or Antonio Richardson in 2014?
bob 07-08-2013 09:44 am (total posts: 1)
68     5

The colts defense will be dominant next year. Walden was brought in to dominant the run, Toler is the player that is playing the best in camp, RJF was also brought in to run stuff + the addition of Chapman. Oh and I forgot the colts got a pro bowl safety in Landry. Maybe the additions on the front 7 cost a bit more money but they will make a big difference in something colts fans had never seen in the Manning era and that is stopping the run.
will 07-03-2013 07:23 pm (total posts: 2)
32     51

antoine bethea is decent???? YOU SOUND STUPID he is a pro bowl caliber safety who probably will get re-sighned
Nick 06-26-2013 02:26 pm (total posts: 1)
22     12

I saw the same thing happen to my Bucs a few years ago. After Josh Freeman had his monster season, everybody expected the best even though the Bucs didn't really make any improvements to their mediocre roster. People thought they would be in the playoffs but it was a disaster. Granted, Chuck Pagano is much more competent than Raheem Morris. I think the Colts will take a step back since they won't be sneaking up on anybody this year and their roster hasn't seen an addition that improved by leaps and bounds. I think they're ceiling is 8-8 and their floor is 4-12.
Daniel 06-23-2013 02:08 pm (total posts: 1)
165     13

Stop calling McAfee a mediocre punter. It's just not true. He's a power punter and is getting really good at maximizing his distance without outkicking his coverage. Unfortunately, the gunners (and the rest of the coverage too) are terrible at covering and tackling. McAfee's net gets hurt by these huge runbacks when by and large he is a game changer in the field position battle. The Colts would likely get scored on more if McAfee wasn't such a good athlete and tackler for his position. In my opinion, he should have been a Pro Bowler last year. But people saw Colquitt's inside the 20 numbers and didn't look further. Hello? It's the Chiefs. Their offense stalls so much that it's easy to bomb a ton inside the 20 when you are punting from midfield every time.
Will 06-23-2013 01:06 pm (total posts: 1)
153     239

Don't think I can read this website anymore, Walt.

Seahawks finishing with the same record as the Colts? You're an idiot. The Seahawks roster is leaps and bounds better than the Colts'.
Hughes 06-22-2013 10:39 pm (total posts: 4)
12     13

I think he has potential to take over redding's spot, i would have put Boyett as the depth player

2011 NFL Draft Grades:

The Colts had one primary goal entering the 2011 NFL Draft. That, of course, was to bolster the offensive line to improve Peyton Manning's pass protection. I'd say they did a good job.

Anthony Castonzo, arguably the top left tackle in this class, was a steal at No. 22. He could have easily gone in the teens. In fact, he may have been New England's choice if his agent weren't Tom Condon. Meanwhile, Ben Ijalana could have been drafted at the end of Round 1 without anyone calling it a reach. Getting him in the middle of Round 2 was a great move.

Overall 2011 NFL Draft Grade given on 5/1/11: A+

2011 NFL Draft Individual Grades:

22. Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
This is a perfect pick for the Colts. They need to protect Peyton Manning's blind side, and Anthony Castonzo was projected to be drafted somewhere in the teens. Bill Polian strikes gold again. (Pick Grade: A)

49. Ben Ijalana, G/OT, Villanova
Another awesome selection. The Colts really needed to improve Peyton Manning's protection, and Bill Polian is making sure his quarterback actually has some time in the pocket for a change. Ben Ijalana could have gone at the bottom of the first round. (Pick Grade: A)

87. Drake Nevis, DT, LSU
I don't think anyone is surprised that the Colts are upgrading the defensive tackle position. Drake Nevis was considered a Round 3-4 prospect by most, so he definitely fits the range. Nevis is probably the last of the Day 2 defensive tackle prospects, so I can't blame Bill Polian for pulling the trigger. (Pick Grade: B)

119. Delone Carter, RB, Syracuse
Joseph Addai is a possible free agent and Donald Brown has been a disappointment, so you can understand this pick. This is the right range for Delone Carter. Decent pick. (Pick Grade: B)

188. Chris L. Rucker, CB/S, Michigan State
The Colts were expected to draft a defensive back on Day 3, so this pick makes sense. Chris L. Rucker was projected to go in Round 6. (Pick Grade: B)

Season Summary:
The 2010 campaign marked the first time the Colts haven't won at least 12 games in a season since 2001. Considering all the injuries they incurred, that's understandable. If Indianapolis can stay healthy next year, the team will once again become a Super Bowl contender.

Offseason Moves:
  • Lions sign DE Keyunta Dawson
  • Colts sign DT Tommie Harris
  • Colts sign OLB Ernie Sims
  • Colts sign DE/DT Jamaal Anderson
  • Colts sign QB Dan Orlovsky
  • Vikings sign OT Charlie Johnson
  • Rams sign DT Daniel Muir
  • Colts re-sign G Kyle DeVan
  • Colts re-sign DT Antonio Johnson
  • Colts re-sign DT Eric Foster
  • Colts re-sign QB Peyton Manning
  • Colts re-sign RB Joseph Addai
  • Colts cut CB Kelvin Hayden
  • Jaguars sign OLB Clint Session
  • Colts re-sign K Adam Vinatieri
  • Colts re-sign SS Melvin Bullitt
  • Colts sign RB Darren Evans
  • Colts sign S Joe Lefeged
  • Colts tender DT Eric Foster
  • Chargers sign SS Bob Sanders
  • Colts sign DT DeMario Pressley
  • Colts cut SS Bob Sanders
  • Colts franchise QB Peyton Manning

    Offseason Needs:
    1. Left Tackle: Charlie Johnson, a free agent, was one of the worst left tackles in the NFL this past season. Bill Polian has to be kicking himself for passing on local product Rodger Saffold. Luckily, there will be several viable left tackle prospects to choose from with the 22nd pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, including Derek Sherrod, Tyron Smith and Anthony Castonzo. Drafted Anthony Castonzo

    2. Right Tackle: The right tackle position also needs to be upgraded, as Ryan Diem really struggled this year.

    3. Defensive Tackle: The Colts really have nothing next to Fili Moala, as Daniel Muir could be the worst starting defensive tackle in the NFL. Someone like Jurrell Casey is a second-round option. Drafted Drake Nevis; signed Tommie Harris, Jamaal Anderson and DeMario Pressley

    4. Right Guard: The rotation of Mike Pollak and Jeff Linkenbach proved to be ineffective in 2010. Indianapolis will look at Rodney Hudson in Round 2. Drafted Ben Ijalana

    5. Wide Receiver: Reggie Wayne turns 33 in the middle of the 2011 season. Anthony Gonzalez can't stay healthy. Austin Collie is a couple of concussions away from calling it quits. The Colts need a receiver, and they'll probably target this position in Rounds 3-5.

    6. Strong Safety: Indianapolis will need a capable strong safety when Bob Sanders gets injured next season. Re-signed Melvin Bullitt; drafted Chris L. Rucker; signed Joe Lefeged

    7. Running Back: The Colts will have problems at running back next year if they don't re-sign Joseph Addai. Re-signed Joseph Addai; drafted Delone Carter; signed Darren Evans

    8. Quarterback: Peyton Manning is 35. He's entering the final stage of his career, so the Colts should think about spending a mid-round pick on a possible successor. Signed Nate Davis and Dan Orlovsky

    9. Punter: Pat McAfee is not getting the job done.

    2011 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Jamaal Anderson, DE/DT, Falcons. Age: 25.
      Signed with Colts (1 year)

      Jamaal Anderson can't get to the quarterback, but is an excellent run defender. I'm ranking him relatively high because I think he could be a really good 5-technique in the 3-4.

    2. Tommie Harris, DT, Bears. Age: 28.
      Signed with Colts (1 year)

      Tommie Harris is a shell of what he used to be. He's battled through way too many injuries. There's a chance he'll be able to bounce back and become a solid player once again, but I wouldn't bet on it.

    3. Ernie Sims, OLB, Eagles. Age: 26. -- Signed with Colts
    4. Darren Evans, RB, Virginia Tech. Age: N/A. -- Signed with Colts
    5. Joe Lefeged, SS, Rutgers. Age: 23. -- Signed with Colts
    6. DeMario Pressley, DT, Texans. Age: 25. -- Signed with Colts
    7. Dan Orlovsky, QB, Texans. Age: 28. -- Signed with Colts

    Indianapolis Colts Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: No cap.
    1. Peyton Manning, QB, Colts. Age: 35.
      Re-signed with Colts (5 years, $90 million)

      Statistically, Peyton Manning had a poor year by his standards, throwing 17 interceptions to 33 touchdowns and generating just a 6.9 YPA. However, considering that he was working with no-names like Blair White and Jacob Tamme all year, Manning had an exceptional season. It's highly doubtful that Bill Polian will allow him to hit the open market.

    2. Adam Vinatieri, K, Colts. Age: 38.
      Re-signed with Colts (3 years)

      Adam Vinatieri can still nail clutch kicks, as he showed against the Jets this January. Vinatieri hit 26-of-28 field goals in 2010, including 9-of-10 from 40-49.

    3. Kelvin Hayden, CB, Colts. Age: 28.
      Kelvin Hayden is a talented cornerback and would be ranked higher than this if he weren't so injury-prone; Hayden has missed 18 games the past three seasons.

    4. Joseph Addai, RB, Colts. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Colts

      Joseph Addai isn't the most talented runner in the NFL, but he's great on third downs as both a pass-protector and a receiver out of the backfield.

    5. Bob Sanders, SS, Colts. Age: 30.
      Signed with Chargers (1 year)

      Despite being 30 years old and coming off multiple injuries, Bob Sanders is a 4-star talent. The problem is that he has 1-star durability. I just averaged the two together to get 2.5 stars. Sanders is a huge risk, but he's worth taking a chance on at the right price.

    6. Clint Session, OLB, Colts. Age: 26.
      Signed with Jaguars (5 years, $30 million)

      The Colts missed Clint Session last year; he played in only five games because of an elbow injury.

    7. Kyle DeVan (ERFA), G, Colts. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Colts

      Kyle DeVan did a very good job in pass protection down the stretch, surrendering only one sack all year. However, he was heavily penalized.

    8. Melvin Bullitt, SS, Colts. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Colts (multi-year)

      The Colts lost Melvin Bullitt to a season-ending shoulder injury in early October. He's a marginal strong safety.

    9. Mike Hart (RFA), RB, Colts. Age: 25.
      Mike Hart ran impressively when given the opportunity this past season, averaging 4.3 yards per carry. I'd like to see him get more touches next year (assuming he can stay healthy).

    10. Mike Pollak, G, Colts. Age: 26.
      A marginal guard who struggles in the run-blocking department.

    11. Antonio Johnson, DT, Colts. Age: 26.
      Re-signed with Colts

      Antonio Johnson has some upside as a 310-pound defensive tackle with pass-rushing ability. He played well at times this past season after a horrible 2009 campaign.

    12. Daniel Muir, DT, Colts. Age: 27. -- Signed with Rams (1 year, $1.85 million)
    13. Charlie Johnson, OT, Colts. Age: 27. -- Signed with Vikings
    14. Eric Foster, DT, Colts. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Colts
    15. Tyjuan Hagler, OLB, Colts. Age: 29.
    16. Aaron Francisco, S, Colts. Age: 28.
    17. Keyunta Dawson, DE, Colts. Age: 25. -- Signed with Lions
    18. Jamie Silva (RFA), S, Colts. Age: 26.
    19. Al Afalava (ERFA), S, Colts. Age: 24.

    2011 NFL Free Agent Rankings

    2011 NFL Free Agent Rankings Coming Soon

    Divisional Rival History:
    Houston Texans: The Texans have existed now for nine years. In those nine seasons, they've only beaten the Colts twice out of 18 times.
    Jacksonville Jaguars: Most of these games are close; 15 of the past 18 meetings have been decided by eight points or fewer. The Jaguars won one of the black-sheep contests, 44-17 on Dec. 10, 2006. David Garrard got hurt in the other. The third was a three-point game until a very late Indianapolis touchdown.
    Tennessee Titans: The Colts own the Titans again, having won the past five matchups.

    Features to be Posted This Offseason:
    1. 2011 NFL Draft Grades (Pick-by-Pick NFL Draft Grades as well - Live on Draft Day!)
    2. Detailed season preview
    3. Fantasy football projections
    4. Positional rankings
    5. Daily updates on free-agent signings

    More 2011 NFL Offseason Pages:

    DAL / NYG / PHI / WAS /
    CHI / DET / GB / MIN /
    ATL / CAR / NO / TB /
    ARZ / SEA / SF / STL /
    BUF / MIA / NE / NYJ /
    BAL / CIN / CLE / PIT /
    HOU / IND / JAX / TEN /
    DEN / KC / OAK / SD /

    2011 NFL Offseason Pages

    Fantasy Football Rankings - July 28

    2016 NFL Mock Draft - July 24

    2015 NFL Mock Draft - July 23

    2015 NBA Mock Draft - July 1

    NFL Free Agents

    NFL Picks - Feb. 2

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