The bye week is normally bitter-sweet for Colts fans. It is bitter because football is no fun when the Colts aren’t playing, and sweet because it allows the team to rest up injured bodies. However, this bye week lost all of the sweet when news broke that Dallas Clark’s season is over and that Joseph Addai and Austin Collie will miss time.
1.) I think Joseph Addai’s injury is more significant than Dallas Clark’s. Addai’s versatility and contributions in pass protection cannot be overstated. He is remarkable at picking up the blitz, is slippery when he gets into open space, and provides Manning with an emergency outlet on third downs. While Clark offers a similar type of security for Manning and can dictate coverage, I believe that the Colts can compensate for his absence with a three wide receiver set — with Gonzalez (when he returns) as the slot. In addition, the Colts have Jacob Tamme, who many scouts deemed a “Clark-like clone.” Although we have not seen much of Tamme in the offense, he looks to be a solid player on special teams, and during the preseason he showed flashes of being a Dallas Clark-like tight end.
2.) I think Anthony Gonzalez and Donald Brown need to get back on the field as quickly as possible. It’s bad enough that the Colts lost Clark for the season, and Addai and Collie for an extended period of time, but there is a possibility that fifth wide receiver Blair White could miss Monday night’s game against Houston as well. This leaves Indy with only two wide receivers in Pierre Garçon and Reggie Wayne, one running back in Mike Hart, and three tight ends which include special teams ace Tamme, rookie Brody Eldridge, and veteran H-Back Gijon Robinson. It is crucial that Brown and Gonzalez return, not only to fill out the depth chart, but also to provide the offensive weapons required to get through the rest of the season.
3.) I think the gap between the leagues one-loss teams and two-loss teams is slim. Watching this week’s games, there is no standout team that should strike fear into the heart of the NFL. The Steelers problems on the offensive line are rearing their ugly head again. The Ravens secondary got torched by the lowly Bills. The Chargers continue to fall into oblivion and the Patriots offense looks pedestrian without Randy Moss. Some may point to the Jets as the best team in the league, but they aren’t impervious to criticism either as Mark Sanchez, who has had some great outings, is only completing 55 percent of his passes. The only thing separating these teams is a win and a loss.
4.) I think the Colts should use Pat Angerer more in the nickel package. Aside from Brackett, Angerer looks to be the Colts best cover linebacker. During the Redskins game, Angerer was solid in zone coverage, rarely blowing an assignment, and was superb in man coverage, giving running backs and tight ends small windows to catch the ball. He looks like a much more effective blitzer than Wheeler or Session and can shed blockers well on running plays. In nickel situations, coverage becomes a big factor and I would rather see someone who can stop the run, apply pressure on blitzes, and defend the outlet receiver who is lined up inside or in the backfield.
5.) I think Jerraud Powers should make the Pro Bowl. Powers has been absolutely phenomenal, rarely allowing deep passes, cleaning up in run support, and making key interceptions. The problem is that the Pro Bowl is a popularity contest and the better players may lose out to more popular names like Darrelle Revis and Nnamdi Asomugha. For Powers to be recognized and make some noise, he is going to have to collect a lot of interceptions. Based on his performance so far, I think Powers is more than capable.