Last season, the Colts were one of, if not the elite team in the league. Too bad they forgot that the Super Bowl has TWO halves of football to play…but I digress. This season they have essentially the exact same team in place and look poised for yet another run at Super Bowl glory. So how does the team break down entering the season?
Peyton Manning is, of course, where the team begins and ends. He is arguably the best quarterback in the league, and baring any injuries, the four-time MVP should have another MVP-quality year. His favorite target Reggie Wayne is also back and last season’s dark horse receiver Pierre Garcon looks to be a primary target this season as well. Backing up those two will be solid receivers Austin Collie and Anthony Gonzalez. Gonzalez missed most of last season with an injury, but he will be back and effective on the field this season. Running the ball will once again be Joseph Addai. The run game was a big question mark last season though, as they finished last in the NFL in terms of total yards. That will definitely need to be improved on if they want to put up last year’s numbers. It looks safe to say that the Colts offense will once again be one of the most successful offenses in the NFL. They are basically the exact same offensive team, so hopefully some of the 2009 magic will touch this season as well.
The defense welcomes back safety Bob Sanders, who once led the league in sacks and missed most of last season with an injury. That will be a huge boost for a defense that ranked near the bottom in sacks last season.
No matter how many starters return and how well they got the job done last year, they still failed to meet the end goal: win the Super Bowl. So how do they go that extra step this season? It all depends on their leaders. Manning is always a strong leader, and Wayne leads by example. But the mental breakdowns that affected the special teams specifically in the Super Bowl need to be corrected. As good as Manning is, he can’t do it all himself, so his supporting characters need to step it up and prove that they deserve to be one of the elite teams again in 2010. The 2009 team was far from perfect, but they did win their first 14 games, and only lost when they played their reserves before the Super Bowl. So if they can fix those minor problem areas mentioned above, then they should be pretty unstoppable this season, and I can’t see why they wouldn’t go into 2010 as the favorites to win it all.
The Colts begin their 2010 campaign as the defending AFC Champions, and their first game is September 12th against the Houston Texans in Houston.