Lining up

Welcome to day two of our exploration of the Footballoutsiders 2009 Almanac.  Today we are going to look at some general principles about the offensive line (AKA the most important issue facing the 2009 Colts).  First, let’s look at one of the core issues from the “Pregame Show” portion of the book:

Rushing is more dependent on the offensive line than people realize, but pass protection is more dependent on the quarterback himself than people realize.

We’ll if that doesn’t perfectly describe the 2008 Colts, I don’t know what does.  The 2008 Colts had the lowest adjusted sack rate in the NFL, but Manning was one of the most hit and hurried QBs and the running game was horrible. 

Now let’s look at what FO said about Joseph Addai:

Through one and a half seasons of his career, Addai had won a Super Bowl and looked destined for stardom.

After gaining 100 yards in four of his first seven games as the primary back in 2007, Addai has done so only twice in his past 24 games

Interesting. So 24 games huh?  That goes back to the Chargers game in 07 when…the offensive line started to fall apart.  Does anyone remember that game?  The Colts couldn’t even field a full squad that day, because they had so many linemen hurt. That was followed by the eye bleeder at home against the Chiefs where Addai played his finest game despite no where to run. 

FO’s projections for Kid Joe were incredibly modest:

175 for 687, 3.9 ypc, 4 TDs, 37 catches for 276 and 1 TD

For Brown, they predicted slightly better (though essentially similar) numbers:

147 for 623, 4.3 ypc, 5 TDs, 42 catches for 349

This surprised me.  There is no way that Brown catches more balls than Addai in 2009, barring a major injury.  I also doubt that you’ll see that degree of separation from two young, fast backs playing behind the same offensive line.  If the line is good enough that Brown can average 4.3 ypc, it’ll be good enough that Addai will as well.   I’m not sure there is any real style differences between the two, but last year showed that no matter what the style, there were no holes to run through.  Dom slammed into the line for 3.5 yards.  Joe picked his way for 3.5 yards.

Again, the Almanac is $12 for the PDF, $20 for the printed version.  All week long, we’ll be looking at FO’s Colts-related projections.  We might just have an interview as well.

So, can we stop the “Peyton has all the weapons” talk?  Fox sports says the Colts WR/TE unit is 15th in the league.  Seems a tad low.  I wouldn’t take the Cowboys or Bucs WRs straight up for the Colts. Ain’t no way.

Scott Rolen?  This was the trade they should have made years ago, but it was nixed for money reasons.  Sigh.  Still, he’s a Hoosier.