Catching up

Here the statistical loose ends I’ve been pondering for the last couple of days:

1.  Is there anyone out there who still blames Addai for the run game? Through four weeks, you couldn’t get two backs more similar than Addai and Brown:

Carries Yards YPC TD Receptions Yards TD DVOA Success Fumbles
ADDAI 48 183 3.8 2 16 100 1 0% 50% 1
BROWN 38 132 3.5 2 5 125 0 -7.50% 50% 1

Addai has been a little better than Brown, but the difference is negligible.  Brown had the one long catch and run against Arizona, but it was such a blown coverage, it’s hard to argue that Addai wouldn’t have done the same thing had he been in the game.

2.  The line has been markedly better according to FO. The pass pro is 2nd in the league (yawn), but the run blocking is up to 12th.  The Colts are 13th in power running, but still getting stuffed 24% of the time (27th in the league).  The Colts are more effective up the middle than running around either end.  The stretch play hasn’t been working well in terms of generating yards, but the play action has been devastating.

3.  The Colts still aren’t getting off the field on third down. They are 31st in the league in third down defense.  I’ve been scrambling to find out if they average yards to go on third down has increased over last year, but I can’t find that stat anywhere.  My perception is that the Colts are giving up more third and mediums/third and longs than last year.  I attribute that directly to injuries to the secondary.  Sanders, Hayden, and Brackett should help that third down conversion rate.  Jennings, Bullitt, and Keiaho have played solid in their absence, but I would expect this team to start getting off the field more when they add three elite coverage players.

4.  A note on Tom Brady: This is who is he is folks.  More to the point, this is who he’s always been.  I marvel that people act like there is something wrong with him.  He’s not the guy who played out of his mind against weak teams for 10 weeks in 2007.  He’s this guy.  His accuracy?  Totally normal for him.  He’s completing 62.1% of his passes, that’s the same or better than he did during the 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 seasons.  His YPA is a smidge down (6.5), but considering that apart from 2007, his career YPA is only 7.0, it’s not that out of line. His TD and INT % are a little down, but it’s early.  His DVOA numbers are about where they were in 2005, and much better than 2003 or earlier.  The Pats are 3-1.  Brady isn’t putting up numbers.  Isn’t that who he always was?  2007 was an utter mirage. It was never realistic to expect him to throw for 4500 yards and 36 TDs.  He’s not that guy.

Tom Brady is back.  Or doesn’t anyone remember?

5.  The Colts schedule looks very manageable. Right, right, I know all games are tough in the NFL, but let’s face it, some games are tougher than others.  Indy has 6 road games left.  The teams they play are a combined 8-15, with only Baltimore having a winning record.  They play two winless teams on the road.  The home slate?  A little tougher: 15-9.

6.  The AFC South has been a trainwreck. Apart from the Colts, the division has a total of ONE win against other divisions (Houston beat mighty Oakland).  The other three teams are 1-4 against non-South teams.

7.  Pierre Garcon has been great. He also has an astounding 6 penalties (true count) in 4 games.  He has at least one penalty in every game this year.  He still has a ways to go.  If he were an offensive line man, everyone would be crucifying him.  I love that both he and Collie have improved their catch rate though, and both have good DVOA numbers.  That’s a big improvement.

Finally, I don’t understand the Bob Sanders angst out there in certain quarters. 2006 was not that long ago.  I’d think people would chill out and realize that as long as he’s back in January, we can make due in the short run.  Sanders is not a terribly expensive player.  His absence isn’t hurting the team (though his presence will help).  I’m not sure why everyone gets all whiny about him missing practice time and games early in the season.


Catching up

I’m back, and the net is burning with Colts articles. Instead of posting a bunch in the “Daily Links” sidebar, I’ll catch them all up right here.  By the way, if you don’t read the daily links, you should.  We often (though not always) offer commentary to go along with the link, so even if you know you’ve already read the article just by reading the ‘headline’, give it a click anyway to see what we think about it.

We’ll get started with Phil B’s rewatch of the game.  It’s always my favorite thing he does.  We’ve said it before, but if you want to take a serious jump in your football IQ, just rewatch the game.  It’s a simple way to get a second look at key plays.  The broadcast tape doesn’t show all, but it shows more than just the clips you’d catch on ESPN. I swear if they ever offer some kind of special deal where you can pay crazy money for the coach’s tapes, I’ll do it.  I’d pay $350 for the coaches tapes over the same money for the Sunday Ticket in a heart beat.

Oehser has some unhappy quotes by the line after Friday’s gameHe also did a nice game recap.  He also says that Caldwell is forging his own identity.

Kuharsky says don’t get too high about McAfee or too low about the line.  Good advice.  In other words, it’s just one preseason game.

Oehser has the piece of the day.  He says not to give up on Ugoh. This is a great read and dead on.  It’s a shame Hillard was such a mess Friday night, because it was tough to get any feel for Ugoh’s play. I thought he looked ok, but Manning was running for his life half the time so it’s not like there was ample time to see how the pocket formed.

Kuharksy gives wonderful insights into the Colts camp with his Camp Confidential.

King interviews Manning and asks him about sunscreen? So very very weird.  I’m not making this up:

Me: “Jim Johnson died of melanoma. You’re pretty fair-skinned. You take precautions against skin cancer?”

Manning: “I do. My dad always worried about it

He also has a nice graph showing the Colts beef-up on the line.

Jason David was cut. Thanks for helping us win that ring, JD.  NO never knew what to do with you.  David is now most famous in Colts country for getting abused by Manning in the season opener in ’07, which served to mock everyone who thought he was irreplaceable.  Still, we should be generous and remember him for starting on the defense that brought us a ring.  I hope he finds another job.

Finally, Simmons is one lucky bastard.  If you love the idea of sport, you have to love his column about his trip to Mexico to see USA Mexico in the World Cup Qualifier.

Thanks for letting me cheat today, folks.  I’m still getting caught up from being gone all weekend.  Old Manning will return tomorrow with a look at QB rating.  On Wednesday, we’ll cover wins, and on Thursday, I’ll compile the whole thing and offer up my projections and thoughts.