New head coach of the Indianapolis Colts Chuck Pagano and new general manager Ryan Grigson have started to put their fingerprints all over the team. Yes, Peyton Manning is gone and now so is Pierre Garcon; but one of the best things that has happened out of free agency so far is that ‘ole #87 Reggie Wayne will return after signing a 3- year deal. That will most likely have him playing out the rest of his career as a member of this franchise. Not only did the team get Reggie back, but some new and exciting pieces were added to the roster making this one of the most exciting times during free agency for the Indianapolis Colts in quite some time; and the aforementioned gentlemen have brought along some people with them.
Coach Pagano has brought along two players that many people from the Baltimore area know very well. Cory Redding and Tom Zbikowski are two players that are as hard- nosed as it gets. Many people know Redding as a bulky yet quick defensive end that loves causing chaos in the backfield and Zbikowski is better known for his punt returning skills and his boxing career on the side, but those of us from Indiana that follow Notre Dame Football know what this man can bring with him. These two players will be fantastic additions to a new defensive scheme that Pagano and the other coaches are installing during this offseason.
Winston Justice is another great piece to this new- look Colts offensive line. A former first round selection for the Philadelphia Eagles; he has been a solid player for them since he began his playing career. They also added another offensive lineman from the Eagles: Mike McGlynn. A guy who can play center or guard will be a great addition due to him being a veteran; and able to play positions on the line.
So what are we as True Blue fans looking at here? We’re looking at the Colts bringing back one of the best receivers to play the game so that incoming QB Andrew Luck will have somewhat of a safety blanket to throw to; someone who can take over in the locker room- and people will listen. They now have two rather large bookends on the offensive line that have the talent enough to protect Mr. Luck from getting smashed every other play, and another lineman who can fill in or start at two different spots with playing experience. So it looks like on offense, the coaches and front office are trying to put together a team that can compete now; instead of two or three years from now like everyone in the media and around the league think. A couple more pieces to this puzzle, you may see an offense lead by a young man right out of college that will be putting up good numbers.
On defense, the coaching staff has a few pieces in place already. There is Robert Mathis, whom they re-signed; who can put his hand on the ground and rush the passer, or stand up as a hybrid OLB and cause havoc anywhere. They brought in two tough and physical players from Baltimore in Zbikowski and Redding who have playing experience and know Coach Pagano. Add to that Pat Angerer, Ernie Simms, Kavell Conner and Phillip Wheeler; who have all shown they can play in this league. Don’t forget that, as of right now, Dwight Freeney is still a part of this Colts team. So, Freeney and Redding on the corners with Mathis, Angerer, Simms and Conner playing behind them with Bethea and Zbikowski playing as the safeties? What is wrong with that? NOTHING!! That would be great, but the LB’s are going to have to bring it every play. The only glaring concern there is at cornerback. Powers isn’t someone you can rely on every play and Lacey isn’t either. That has been a problem for this team for years; and this is the year that it gets fixed.
I do not know about the other True Blue fans out there, but with these moves they have made in the past week or so I am very psyched to see this team in action. Now, we all have to realize that we’re waiting on the heir apparent to be placed into this mix and maybe at running back we could use an upgrade with at least one more decent to good wide receiver; but there is still the NFL Draft and free agency isn’t over. Right now as the team stands with what we’re all assuming is going to happen come April; I think we’re in great condition considering the explosion of the team of old that happened only a few weeks ago. So as the front office and the coaches move forward my hope is that they continue to bring in a veteran presence and continue to build this team up. The only direction for this team to go is up at this point; and believe me, these Indianapolis Colts fans are watching- and they are ready for some football.