Colts Corner: Former Colts Edition

I already linked to it earlier, but it is worth linking again: check out Smart Football’s breakdown of the Peyton Manning and Tom Moore offense.

If you are upset with the Indianapolis Star’s coverage of Peyton Manning, read Mike Chappell’s response and then get over it.

Retired Patriots left tackle Matt Light called Dwight Freeney the “best guy he ever faced“.  Light’s retirement is a very big loss for New England and especially Tom Brady.

According to Pro Football Focus, Pat Angerer had the best single game performance of any 4-3 inside linebacker in 2011.

An update on Peyton Manning’s first day of OTAs with the Denver Broncos, from the Denver Post.

Former Colts and Bengals tight end Ben Utecht, dealing with the effects of multiple concussions, is continuing his music career.

Another former Colts tight end, Dallas Clark, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Former Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt is in some trouble after allegedly grabbing a student by the throat

Former Colts’ defensive coordinator for seven years under Tony Dungy and now the Chargers’ new secondary coach, Ron Meeks is taking a “hands on approach” in coaching.

Peyton Manning Throwing Well; Dallas Clark Reportedly will sign with Tampa Bay

Today we have updates on two former Colts: quarterback Peyton Manning and tight end Dallas Clark.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post provided some updates from Manning’s first practice with the Denver Broncos in OTAs today:

Peyton throwing short outs – good zip and accurate

who needs the tebow circus? 58 media here – an ota record at dove valley

Just like old times – peyton zips 15 yd completion to jacob tamme across miele during 7 on 7 drill

11 on11 -peyton 3 of 3 – quick slant to decker – quick out to dreessen – medium hook to demaryius thomas

For Peyton Manning, this was the first time he has thrown in front of the media since the 2010 Pro Bowl, where he played very little.  I know that OTAs are not that important, but this was huge for Peyton.  He had to go out in front of people and prove that he can still throw, and while there is still work to be done, he looked pretty good.  That has to build confidence, and I am certain that come the start of the 2012 season, Manning will be ready to go.

Also today, Jeff Darlington of NFL.com reports that Dallas Clark will soon sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Bucs source tells me free agent TE Dallas Clark, who visited Tampa’s facility last week, is expected to sign with team as early as today.

Dallas Clark is one of the best tight ends in the NFL when healthy.  The problem is, he is almost never healthy.  I really like Dallas and wish him the best, and I hope he can stay healthy for the entire 2012 season.

Plenty of Colts Season Tickets Available

The Colts have around 4,000 season tickets available for sale after having a 87% renewal rate.  While this comes as no surprise, it does give Colts fans a bad name.

Quarterbacks sell tickets.  Period.  End of discussion.  Anyone who says otherwise is just plain wrong.  So of course the season ticket renewals are going to drop when the Colts release Peyton Manning.  But they will be up soon.

This kind of reminds me of the stock market (which I do not know a lot about).  The best time to buy stocks is when they are at their lowest.  Colts fans, these tickets are open.  Take advantage of it, if you are interested in season tickets.  Pretty soon Andrew Luck will be a star in the NFL and the Colts will be selling out again. 

But one thing that this does not show is that most fans were just Peyton Manning fans.  We have already known that.  In fact, I am a huge Peyton Manning fan.  But I am a bigger Colts fan.  Yeah, that can work.  Stampede Blue has been criticising fans like crazy today, accusing them of being Manning fans and not Colts fans. 

Folks, I know how you feel.  I do not agree with Stampede Blue at all, and that is because Peyton Manning will forever be my favorite football player.  It is impossible not to like the guy.  If you were like me and watched him every week for 14 years, it is impossible not to be a huge Manning fan.  Of course Manning is not above the Colts, but for so long Manning was the Colts.  It takes time to cope with after the release.  It really does.  Fans do not need a guy who covers the Colts to be criticising them constantly.  They just need time.  When next year rolls around, fans will watch the Colts.  Fans will want to see how Andrew Luck does. 

I was incredibly sad the day the Colts released Peyton Manning.  As I said earlier, I will never have a player I like more than Manning.  I will continue to watch his games, and I will continue to defend his legacy.  And I will continue to be a Colts fan.

In fact, I have found myself excited about Andrew Luck recently.  Not just kind of excited, but really excited.  This is an exciting time for the Colts.  They are certainly heading in the right direction, even though that may not be clear to the casual observer right now.  Andrew Luck is the real deal.

When the schedules were released yesterday, I printed off both the Colts and the Broncos schedule.  I will continue to be a Peyton Manning fan.  But so much more than that I will continue to be a Colts fan. 

True Colts fans understand.

Colts Release Blair White

The Blair White Project is over.

Brought in by the Colts in 2010 as an undrafted rookie out of Michigan State, White was a project player.  People began to call it “the Blair White Project”.  Yesterday, the Colts released the receiver.

In 2010, White caught 36 passes for 355 yards and 5 touchdowns from an injured Peyton Manning.  Those are also his career totals with the Colts.  He missed most of the 2011 season and did not catch a pass.

White was a decent 4th wide receiver, but he could not stay healthy.  He has been plagued by back injuries, and from what I am hearing he is still trying to recover from his 2011 injury.

The move leaves just Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, and Donnie Avery as the Colts receiving threats.  Sorry, but Quan Cosby and Jeremy Ross are not exactly threats.

The Colts need another receiver.  With the 34th pick, I expect them to take a pass catcher for Andrew Luck.  Not to spoil my Colts mock draft, which is coming the week before the draft, but I think that Coby Fleener is the pick there, if still available.  He could be the Dallas Clark of the Colts offense.  I know the Colts need defense too, so that will likely be the pick in the 3rd round, but if not, keep an eye on receiver Brian Quick from Appalachian State in rounds 3-4.

Philip Wheeler Signs with the Oakland Raiders

Last night the Oakland Raiders signed former Colts outside linebacker Philip Wheeler.  Wheeler was a free agent and only started 24 games in 4 years, but when he did start he was effective.  He got 11 starts in 2011 and made 84 tackles for the year.

Wheeler is not a great player, but he is a good player with potential.  I was hoping the Colts would re-sign him, but I understand that the Colts are in a tight spot financially. 

 According to Pro Football Talk, the Colts currently have $10.6 million remaining in cap room.  That money will be used to sign rookies, so the Colts are very likely done in free agency, besides for a few potential low salary guys.

Oakland got a good player in Wheeler.  I hope he can reach his potential and do well with the Raiders.  Unless, of course, he is playing the Colts.

Recapping the All Manning Era Team

For the past 10 days, I have put together the greatest seasons during the Peyton Manning Era and named the list the All Manning Era Team.  To recap, here is a list of who made it and the stats they had for the year.  

ALL MANNING ERA TEAM (1998-2011) 

Position Player Year Stats / Notes
QB Peyton Manning 2004 336/497 (67.6%), 4557 yards, 9.12 avg., 49 TD, 10 INT
RB Marshall Faulk 1998 Rush: 324 – 1319 (4.1 avg.) – 6 ; Receiving: 86 – 908 (10.6 avg.) – 4
WR Marvin Harrison 2002 143 – 1722 (12.0 avg.)- 11, 92 FD, 0 fumbles
WR Reggie Wayne 2007 104 – 1510 (14.5 avg.) – 10 , 72 FD, 3 fumbles
WR Brandon Stokley 2004 68 – 1077 (15.8 avg.) – 10 , 53 FD
TE DallasClark 2009 100 – 1106 (11.1 avg.) – 10 , 59 FD
OL Tarik Glenn, Rick DeMulling, Jeff Saturday, Tupe Peko, Ryan Diem 2004 1st pass rtg, 3rd pass yds, 1st pass TDs, 4th rushing yds, 11th YPA, T-11th TDs , 2nd total yards, 1st total points (522 – next was 483), 32.6 PPG (1st), 17 TO (2nd), 13 sacks allowed (T-2nd)
DE Dwight Freeney 2002 41 tackles, 13.0 sacks, 9 FF
DE Robert Mathis 2005 54 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 8 FF
DT Monte Reagor 2004 41 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 1 FF, 2 PD
DT Tony McCoy 1998 51 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 0 FF, 0 PD
LB David Thornton 2003 145 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 0 FF, 2 INT, 5 PD, 0 TD
LB Mike Peterson 2000 159 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 1 FF, 2 INT, 5 PD, 0 TD
LB Cato June 2006 143 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 2 FF, 3 INT, 4 PD, 0 TD
CB Nick Harper 2003 98 tackles 0.0 sacks, 0 FF, 4 INT, 14 PD, 1 TD
CB Jeff Burris 2000 77 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 1 FF, 4 INT, 11 PD, 1 TD
S Bob Sanders 2007 96 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 0 FF, 2 INT, 6 PD, 0 TD
S Antoine Bethea 2009 95 tackles, 0.0 sacks, 2 FF, 4 INT, 5 PD, 0 TD
K Mike Vanderjagt 2003 37/37 (100%), 1 50+, 46/46 XP
P Hunter Smith 2005 52 punts, 44.3 avg. 58 long, 9.6% TB, 44.2% IN20
KR/PR Terrence Wilkins 1999 Kick: 51-1134 (22.2 avg.) – 1 ; Punt: 41 – 388 (9.5 avg.) – 1
HC Tony Dungy 2005 14-2, when Dungy at helm 14-1 (plus postseason loss), best overall team

 

All Manning Era Team: Coaching

All Manning Era Team: We take a look at the greatest single seasons by position in the Peyton Manning Era (1998-2011).  Today, we look at the:

 Coaching: 

Tony Dungy is the greatest coach to ever coach the Colts.  He is incredibly respected and loved, not just in Indianapolis but throughout the entire NFL. 

Every season he coached the Colts was a good year.  In 2006, it was his faith and determination that got the Colts past the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. 

 But the best team the Colts had in the Peyton Manning Era was in 2005.  And when Dungy was the head coach, the Colts lost a total of 2 games by a combined 12 points.  Dungy overcame personal tragedy when his 18-year-old son, James, took his life prior to the Colts’ 15th game of the year.  Assistant coach (and Dungy’s eventual replacement) Jim Caldwell filled in, and a Colts’ team consisting mainly of backups lost to the Seattle Seahawks.  The following week, the Colts won an emotional game in Dungy’s return and Dungy was presented with the game ball.

 Despite being the only team in NFL history to win 12 games in a season while never trailing at any point in the contest, the Colts fell to the eventual super bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers 21-18 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.  The Colts mounted a great comeback resembling the faith of their head coach, but Mike Vanderjagt missed a potential tying kick with 17 seconds remaining in the game. 

Although it was a disappointing end to a spectacular season, the year had to be considered a success.  Dungy’s coaching helped the Colts to a 14-2 record and a complete dominance of opponents.  

Dungy has 7 seasons that could earn a spot on this list (he coached the Colts for 7 years), but the 2005 team was the best that Dungy had  in Indianapolis.

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