2009 Indianapolis Colts Season Preview
2009 Indianapolis Colts preview from MadduxSports.com. The AFC South is once again loaded and week by week anyone can knock off anybody in this division. Having an expert NFL pick handicapper will help you maximize your sports betting profits this season.
2009 Indianapolis Colts Predictions
By Adam Barone
Tony Dungy retired. But Peyton Manning didn’t. Marvin Harrison is gone. But Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, and Dallas Clark are not. Though there are still plenty of weapons on the roster, the Colts will have to make a tough transition to almost an entirely new coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Tom Moore retired after defensive coordinator Ron Meeks was fired, and when the dust settled, Indianapolis was looking at a 2009 season full of unexpected question marks.
Peyton Manning started the 2008 season slowly, but ended up completing the most passes he has in a season since 2003. He finished with ho-hum totals of 4,000 yards, 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He’s the real offensive coordinator, so maybe the absence of Moore won’t mean a thing.
Running back Joseph Addai had a disappointing season, playing in only 12 games, totaling just 544 yards on 155 carries, and finding the end zone just five times. He’s still the starter, but rookie Donald Brown and second-year back Mike Hart will also see their fair share of carries. Brown, a first-round pick, can do it all and is the biggest threat to Addai.
Marvin Harrison did catch 60 passes in 2008, but was certainly well past his prime. Gonzalez will assume his role on the outside, with Gijon Robinson likely taking over the slot position. Wayne had just 82 receptions last season, but topped 1,000 yards for the fifth straight season. He’s now the unquestioned go-to guy. Clark caught six touchdowns, and figures to see more of a prominent role in the offense as well.
The offensive line, when entirely healthy, is one of the better ones in the AFC. Tackles Tony Ugoh and Ryan Diem are mainstays, as is center Jeff Saturday. Ryan Lilja leads a deep group of guards. There’s plenty of depth here, as injuries forced a number of backups to see extended playing time in 2008. That should lead to an improvement this season over the 14 sacks they gave up in ’08, which was fourth best in the league.
The new coaching staff will certainly influence the effectiveness of the pass rush, but the talent on the front line is unquestioned. Dwight Freeney still leads a deep unit, which will be helped out by the additions of rookies Fili Moala and Terrance Taylor. The defense ranked 16th in the NFL last season with 30 sacks; sixth overall against the pass, and 24th against the run.
Indianapolis doesn’t typically have a star-studded group of linebackers, and this season will be more of the same. Gary Brackett, who totaled 99 tackles in ’08, will play in the middle. On the outside…well, there will definitely be other linebackers, and they’ll most likely be wearing Colts helmets… Our official guess is that it’ll be Clint Session and Freddy Keiaho.
The Colts have one of the more impressive secondaries in the league. Cornerbacks Marlon Jackson and Kelvin Hayden didn’t get to play together much in 2008 because Jackson was injured, but will probably make for an intimidating pair in the coming season. Safeties Antoine Bethea and Bob Sanders are even more impressive. There’s also plenty of depth at both positions.
Adam Vinatieri made 20 of 25 field goals last season, and may not have full kickoff responsibilities this season, as rookie punter Pat McAfee is likely to get an opportunity. T.J. Rushing may handle some or all of both kickoff and punt returns, but will have to earn the job after returning from a knee injury.
The Colts are probably still one of the best teams in the league, but in the age of parody, they’ll need to hit the ground running with this new staff. There’s a good chance that they’ll hit a snag or two, which could be costly considering that Manning is 33, Wayne is 30, Saturday is 34, and Freeney is 29. A deep playoff run is probably as likely as a disappointing 8-9 win season.