A Quick Look At The New Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts have made more moves in free agency this year than anytime I can remember in the past.  The Colts brass did not make any big moves for well known players, but for players that fit into their scheme and what they are trying to put together this year.  General Manager Ryan Gigson and company started off this new football year with the signing of some big time talent but not any huge names that people would recognize unless you follow football very closely.  The brass did not sit on their hands until the draft came in hopes they were going to find another Antoine Bethea, Robert Mathis or Pierre Garcon.  No, they went out and go the players that were going to make a difference now and have an idea of what is expected of them.

Cory Redding is a veteran defensive end that has played his entire career to this point in Baltimore.  Yes his name is overshadowed by the likes of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Ed Reed but his production is not overshadowed by any stretch of the imagination. Redding is a force on the defensive line that brings toughness and nastiness to a city where the defense has always been lackluster.  Either the old Colt defense would bend but not back (to often) or they would release Freeney and Mathis to create as much havoc as possible. Redding comes from a scheme where everyone is held accountable to create as much havoc as possible. Redding brings leadership and that “swagger” that I and a lot of other people have been talking about since the hiring of Coach Chuck Pagano.

Tom Zbikowski is another tough and nasty player.  He doesn’t play New Orleans Saints style of defense, but he does go out with the intention on making sure a receiver or running back does not want to meet with him again.  A former standout at the University of Notre Dame and a professional boxer, Zbikowski is an amazing talent that did not have the room to show off his true talent inBaltimoresince there is a guy there named Ed Reed who is an amazing athlete and defensive playmaker.  As withRedding, Zbikowski knows the defense that Pagano is trying to introduce here in Indy and I’m sure he is more than willing and able to show his new teammates what the style of defense is all about.

Samson Satele is a guy that many people know who he is but he has not been around long enough to prove who he really is; a strong, large and mean center that came to Indy via Oakland.  He is stepping into a position that was held down for more than a decade by Jeff Saturday and I’m sure as a Colts fan he will be scrutinized harshly and compared to Jeff Saturday all year long.  Satele should be up to the challenge as he has to learn the new system and get used to having to protect Andrew Luck also.  Along the same offensive line is new right tackle Winston Justice.  A former college standout that was drafted in the first round by the Eagles, he has yet to standout like he once did.  He is a very solid offensive lineman, starting many of the games in his career.  He will also be called upon to bring some veteran leadership to a huge offensive line and help them all mold and mesh well together to keep the new quarterback upright for as long as possible.

The Colts brass also went out to find a complimentary wideout to Reggie Wayne and they came back with Donnie Avery.  A speedy wide receiver with good hands and great route running, he will be a good addition to the Colts after the departure of Garcon and Gonzo.  Avery has played for a few teams in his short NFL career but always making an impact wherever he lands.  It is great to know that the front office isn’t just trying to build the defense but also make sure that Andrew Luck has a few weapons of his own.

Now, this all would not be complete if I did not talk about the players that never left.  The ones that are still here and ready to make the changes that could make this team a dark horse, since a lot of people are already counting the Colts out, this season.  Freeney and Mathis are still here.  Mathis signed a new contract to keep him here and he will be now be called upon to play the new “hybrid” OLB/DE position.  To put his hand in the dirt when needed but also be able to stand up with the linebackers and drop in to coverage when asked.  A task that I’m sure will not be easy for him as he has always been a pure pass rushing defensive end, but I know that he is up to the task and will show many people in this league what he can do.  Freeney is still kind of up in the air.  He can do the same thing Mathis can.  He is just as fast and just as strong and athletic, but does he want to be a “hybrid” or just be who he has always been?  Either way the play Freeney, it’s going to be awesome to know that those two are still together on opposite ends of the defensive line.

With the release of Gary Brackett this year, MLB Pat Angerer will be asked to lead this new defense this upcoming season.  Something he did very well at last year when Brackett went down with an injury.  Angerer led the NFL in tackles for several weeks but could not keep it up through the end of the season.  Still a great year and learning experience for him.  I know after watching Pat at Iowa and the few years he has been here, he will be great at leading his defensive teammates and will do a good job of playing the role of Ray Lewis in this new defensive scheme.

Last but not least, Antoine Bethea.  A late late round draft pick out of Howard.  No one knew his name, but as he has always done…he let his play speak for him.  He has become one of the best safeties in the NFL.  A pro bowler and star of the Indianapolis Colts, he has become one of the most beloved players that Colts have ever drafted.  He is a leader and his teammates listen when he speaks.  He isn’t flashy and he does not care if people know who he is, but he will put his name in people’s mouths with a bone crushing hit or key interception in a game.  With Zbikowski and Bethea playing the safety position, the wide receivers in the NFL better hope their tires are going before they meet these two in the middle of the field because it’s going to be lights out.

Yes, the Colts have released many of the players we all know and love.  Yes, it’s hard to see some of them on new teams and we will probably see some of them when we walk into Lucas Oil Stadium on a Sunday afternoon to watch the Colts.  This new team that is being assembled may be a bunch of new faces, and a new scheme offensively and defensively are being introduced, but there are still plenty of our favorite players out there on that field and even the new ones deserve our attention and support.  Let’s go Blue and for all you True Blue fans out there, lets get behind these guys.  Who knows, with the right picks and right placement of players…Super Bowl Bound maybe???

 

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