by Matt Soltysiak
The Colts started 2009 at 3-4, but ran through the rest of their schedule winning the final nine games of the season to finish at 12-4. Their postseason, however, was short lived with their overtime loss to the Chargers. Indianapolis is an organization that hadn’t changed much in the past five or six years, but that’s not the case for 2009. Head coach Tony Dungy retired as did the team’s offensive coordinator and line coach. The team cut star receiver Marvin Harrison, whose last two years were among the worst of his 13 year career. They also let Dominic Rhodes leave for a second time.
In the draft the Colts took Connecticut running back Donald Brown with their first round pick. It’ll be interesting to see if he can make an immediate impact on the offense (which averaged just 79.6 yards a game on the ground). Indianapolis used their second and third rounds to bolster the defensive side of the ball. Defensive tackle Fili Moala and defensive back Jerraud Powers add youth to a defense that was seventh in the league in points allowed, but middle of the road in most other categories.
What to watch for in training camp
Let’s start with the coaching change. Former assistant head coach Jim Caldwell is in charge. It’ll be interesting to see if he makes any changes to the offensive philosophy of this squad. Peyton Manning should be fine at the helm, but keep an eye on third year receiver Anthony Gonzalez. He’s improved each year and will be expected to fill the number two receiver position this year across from Reggie Wayne. Dallas Clark had an outstanding 2008 season garnering 77 catches and 848 yards (the most in his career). Look at how Caldwell uses the tight end to see if we can expect more of the same. The running game is surrounded by many questions. Can Joseph Addai rebound and do what he did in his first two years of the league? Will Mike Hart do something after injuries sidelined him most of his rookie season? Will rookie Donald Brown become the featured back in this system? It could be a one man show or another running back by committee situation. At this point it’s anyone’s spot to win.
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