Former Indianapolis Colts Assistant Says Colts Knew They Were Too Dependent on Peyton Manning: Fan's Take

At this point, to say the struggled without “didn’t have the best century.” It’s a severe understatement. It’s also an understatement that just about every person in the country is aware of. So when former Colts offensive line coach, Pete Metzelaars, came out and commented that the Colts were totally dependent on Manning, it left many of us with a “well, duh” response. It was if the 2-14 train wreck wasn’t reminder enough.

However, Metzelaars’ comments did bring to light why the Colts never did put Manning on Injured Reserve —they thought he might come back. Due to this hope, they were reluctant to change how the offense was being run. After all, “Peyton might come back and we don’t want to muck up the offense for when comes back,” said my hypothetical Colts staff member.

While a smart method to prolonged success is to build a well-rounded team, there are plenty of circumstances when a single player should be built around. Essentially, it’s totally alright that a team becomes “too dependent” on a single player in certain instances. Peyton Manning is absolutely one of those circumstances. If the price is the occasional fall-apart season, I think it’s plenty worth it. As tough as this season (and potentially the next couple) was for Colts fans, I bet we would be hard pressed to find a fan that wasn’t willing to accept this disaster season in return for the Super Bowl, division titles, and regular season dominance that has been the Colts routine the last decade or so at the hands of Peyton Manning.

Consequently, the disastrous season was an entirely logical outcome that was just waiting for Manning’s departure to appear —whether by signing elsewhere or injury. The league knew it, the Colts knew it, and the fans knew it. You can’t simply replace players like Peyton Manning. That’s the catch-22 to having a legendary-caliber player. Often, there is a vacuum when they are no longer on the field. There certainly was this year.

While Manning may yet play with the Colts again, this last season showed just how important he is.

Brian is a lifelong football fan, specifically of the . He has lived in Illinois his entire life and consequently follows the Indianapolis Colts closely.

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Five Worst Indianapolis Colts Injuries of the 2011 NFL Season

There’s no doubt that key injuries have prevented the from having a successful 2011 season. The team has lost players on both offense and defense, crippling their chances of winning and resulting in poor play. have really affected the Colts and if they return for the 2012 NFL season, there is a better chance at victory and an eventual return to the playoffs.

Since 1997, the Indianapolis Colts have relied on their all-star quarterback to provide proficient passing, team leadership and the skills to reach two Superbowls. A nagging neck injury forced a preseason surgery that has left him on the sidelines all season.

After starting 0-11, Manning’s importance was clearly proved more than ever. Hopefully when he returns, he can shake off the surgery rust and get back to playing excellent football.

The Colts offensive line is known for Dwight Freeny and , but Eric Foster is another driving force. There was nothing more exciting than seeing his swinging arm stomp after sacking a quarterback.

During the NFL Week 4 game against the , Foster broke his ankle in a painful tackle and had to be carted off the field. Showing his true spirit and dedication to the Colts, he was driven off as he riled his teammates up and encouraged them to keep playing.

Even if the offense is not at its peak, losing Dallas Clark for the second season in a row is not a good sign. Dallas Clark has not had the production that he is used to, but he still remains one of the most talented tight ends in the league.

is a good replacement, but Dallas Clark has been on the Colts for so many years that his presence on the field alone makes a huge difference.

Joesph Addai

The on and off injuries of Joesph Addai just add confusion to the running game. His injuries have made him inconsistent and the offense is struggling because of it. The Colts have resulted in swapping out multiple back-ups, but it looks like the postseason needs to consist of revamping the RB situation and possibly getting rid of Addai for good.

For the past two seasons, Melvin Bullitt has played in a total of six games due to injuries. The safety had a couple of stellar years with the Colts, but these past injuries have hindered his production greatly. Hopefully in 2012, Bullitt will come back and become an integral part of the Colts defense.

Alan Donahue is a huge fan of the Manning brothers. He follows both the Indianapolis Colts and with passion. He has written several articles on the NFL.

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Indianapolis Colts 2011 Season Preview: Peyton Manning And Co. Hope To Remain Elite

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SB Nation is previewing the 2011 season for all 32 teams and up today is the Indianapolis Colts. Check out all of our .

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Aug 31, 2011 – The 2011 NFL season is almost here which means it’s time to preview every team’s chances this year.  gives us the scoop on the . 

Record Prediction

11 wins. Maybe 12. The key is, obviously, . If he can stay healthy all year, something he was unable to do last year (despite the team’s efforts to assert he was not hurt in 2010), the Colts are a 11-5, 12-4 team. Also important is the health of and the development of the team’s new offensive line. First round pick has impressed in training camp and preseason. Last year, the Colts offensive line stayed healthy, but was easily the weakest area of the team. Three new starters are penciled in for Week One against Houston, and longtime starter at right tackle, , is shifting to guard, where he played his first two years in the league.

Best Game On Schedule

Easy, the on Sunday night, December 4th. The Colts v. Patriots rivalry is the best in all of sports. Both these teams are built to beat each other, and anytime Peyton Manning goes toe-to-toe with Bill Belichick, it’s not just the best game on the Colts schedule, it’s the best game on the entire NFL schedule for 2011.

Player Who Takes A Step Back this Year

My guess is . He’s a middle linebacker over 30, and the Colts already have second year player groomed to replace him. Brackett has not played a full 16 season since 2007. Last year, he only played in 12 games and just 74 tackles, which (statistically speaking) was his worst year since taking over the starting MIKE spot in 2005.

Breakout Player Candidate

I think will bounce back after missing much of last year with a freakish wrist injury. I also think the rookie DT from LSU, , might get noticed a bit. He’s been unblockable in preseason thus far.

Best Player Others Have Never Heard Of

. He’s been to Pro Bowls, and many consider him one of the best free safeties in football, but no one has ever heard of him. He’s just very dependable and always seems to make a big play and the right time. Without Bethea, the Colts pass defense would make look like John Unitas.

Overrated/Underrated/Just Right

I don’t know too many Colts players overrated. Basically, everyone on the team is viewed as useless because, without Manning, this is a six win team. At least, that is the perception of most. Until players like Freeney, , and prove they are more than just ancillary parts in a Manning-driven machine, pretty much everyone on the roster is in the ‘just right’ category.

Fantasy Football Outlook

Beware of Peyton Manning because of the neck issues. I certain neck pain affected his play last year, most likely during the November stretch when he threw more touchdowns for the other team than his own. An interesting sleeper pick is Delone Carter. The Colts plan to use him as their goalline back, and he’s impressed in preseason.

Best Media Personality In Indianapolis

A lot of people would say , the punter. Personally, I think Pat is a little too friendly. He also got drunk and nearly killed himself swimming in a frozen river last season, a stunt that got him arrested and suspended. Overall, I think Robert Mathis is very media friendly, and he doesn’t seem to fall into the level of pretentiousness that most other players do when they talk with fans on Twitter. Mathis is outspoken, opinionated, but very honest. I’ve gotten into several Twitter discussions with him that have resulted in full blown arguments. But, to Robert’s credit, he takes the time to talk, and he rarely holds back. Colts owner Jim Irsay is also very… interesting to follow on Twitter.

Best Player On Twitter

Mathis and Irsay are great to follow, though a few media types have taken issue with Irsay of late because of his fake ‘ to the Colts’-style tweet a few weeks ago. While most of us rational folks took it for the obvious joke it was, many others saw it as Irsay informing fans that he was in Hattiesburg, MS to woo Brett. Jerraud Powers is also a nice follow on Twitter. Just a simple guy who often gives some fun, personal insights into life as a football player    

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Joel Thorman is a native Kansas Citian which means he’s used to losing and heart break. Joel and his brother Chris manage Arrowhead Pride, one of SB Nation’s most active blogs. In addition, Joel is…