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Old 01-02-2012, 05:20 PM    (permalink
MaxV
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Default 2012 Colts Off-Season/Free Agency Thread

Talk about Colts' Off-Season here.
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:47 PM    (permalink
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Regardless who is brought in for GM, I think the entire coaching staff needs to go. Think Spags would be a good choice for D-Cord and bring in an attaching 4-3 defense. As more teams switch to 3-4 defenses I would think the talent level for 4-3 would increase. I don't think the switch over would take too long. For the offense, I think we need a more balanced attack even if Manning returns.

Who are prime candidates for GM and for a new head coach?
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:02 PM    (permalink
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We absolutely have to stay at 4-3. Switch to 3-4 would take multiple years.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:06 PM    (permalink
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I think Drake Nevis really locks us into the 4-3. Maybe won't be a pro-bowler, but should be a darn good 3-tech. If he weren't on the team, I could tolerate a switch. Since most of our defensive talent is either old, or I think could make that switch. Also, a defensive scheme switch assumes Peyton is no longer a Colt.

For coaches, Jeff Fischer & Mike Zimmer are my prime targets.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:31 PM    (permalink
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I'd very much like Spags to come in as our DC, that would be great. Other than that I am undecided, Fisher I am undecided on.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:36 PM    (permalink
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I think the new General Manager will help determine who the Head Coach is. The problem is that Irsay has said that it could take weeks to get a new GM in place and by that stage many of the top available Head Coaches may already have new jobs. Personally I would like to see one of 4 guys get the GM job:

Floyd Reese - New England Patriots Senior Football Advisor
John Dorsey - Green Bay Packers Director of College Scouting
Ron Hughes - Pittsburgh Steelers College Scouting Coordinator
Pat Moriarty - Baltimore Ravens Vice President of Football Administration

4 guys in proven organisations. I think they could struggle to get a top quality GM off another team (though the high draft pick should entice a few people) and so getting one of the top number 2s from a good organisation would be very good. Floyd Reese would be my preference. He has a proven track record at the Titans (he built the Titans team that won the AFC Championship in 1999) and has been involved in the Patriots (big rivals but still one of the best run organisations in the league) for many years. I think he'd be ideal.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Carlin

In Football the object is for the Field General to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the Defence by hitting his Receivers with deadly accuracy, in spite of the Blitz, even if he has to use the Shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack which punches holes in the forward wall of the enemyís Defensive Line.

In Baseball the object is to go home and be safe.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:42 PM    (permalink
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Spags as D-Coordinator would be good but I could see them sticking firmly with the Tampa 2 and looking more in the direction of Raheem Morris.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Carlin

In Football the object is for the Field General to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the Defence by hitting his Receivers with deadly accuracy, in spite of the Blitz, even if he has to use the Shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack which punches holes in the forward wall of the enemyís Defensive Line.

In Baseball the object is to go home and be safe.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:59 AM    (permalink
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I really, really hope we move on from the Tampa 2. Here are a few thoughts on the near-future.

Draft/Free Agency - Obviously Luck will be the pick. If we'd kept Polian that would be a lock but even with Irsay I think it is. After that we have the following positions of need, in order:

DT - need a starting NT (Alameda Ta'amu!) and rotational depth. Nevis is our UT of the future. I think we need to trade up for one of the top DTs if it looks like a run on them is happening in the mid/late 1st. Also yet again I want to bring up Aubrayo Franklin. He only signed a 1-year deal with the Saints.

SS - Mark Barron or TJ McDonald would be nice additions but I also wouldn't mind a FA guy like LaRon Landry. This defense is just better when the SS is good. I think Bullitt is gone, too injury-prone and not that great anyway.

CB - Man we are lacking talent here. Powers gets hurt all the time and there is NOBODY else worth starting other than him. Might need to hit FA for this spot.

WR - Sad to say but I think Wayne is probably gone. Garcon is a keeper though, I don't think people really appreciate how much better he was this year, especially considering how bad the QB play was. If Manning had been throwing his numbers would've been top 10ish IMO. I would think if they make Garcon the #1 that they'd look for a possession-type receiver with a big body and good hands. Maybe a Marques Colston? I'm honestly not up on the non-top 3 WRs in the draft. I like Collie but he is a slot guy only IMO.

OL - This is pretty up-in-the-air IMO. Castonzo is a starter at an OT position, probably LT. Ijalana will be given every chance to start somewhere. Reitz does alright at LG. Saturday is old and not great but there is no one to replace him. We have no RG unless Ijalana is it, in which case we have no RT. I'd like a vet to help the young guys but I know cap space will be an issue. Ben Grubbs would be such a fantastic signing if we could get him. Jared Gaither is also a FA. Probably not going to dip into FA here. I hope Brackett is gone, like what he has done but I don't see where he fits on this team anymore and he is old and not that fast.

TE - This year proved a lot of things. One of those things IMO is that Clark is a product of Manning. For every circus catch he drops an easy ball. He is due something like $5M next year. I'd be ok with releasing/trading him to save cap space (if that is possible, which I think it is) and either keeping Tamme or getting one of the new basketball-type TEs that get so many endzone and 1st down catches in today's NFL. Those guys are available in later draft rounds and in free agency, Manning can make them into weapons. Yes, I am assuming Manning returns to form for at least 2 years.

LB - I think this unit could see change depending on the new defensive scheme. Will we see bigger thumper-type LBs like the Bengals or Giants have? It seems like Angerer is the MLB of the future, but IMO the OLB spots are wide open.

DE - I like Freeney and Anderson as starters next year, sad to say but I think Mathis is gone. Hughes might develop under some new coaching but if not we need some guys to develop to eventually replace Freeney. Maybe Cam Johnson out of Virginia?

The only positions I am ok with not addressing are QB (Luck is a lock), RB (Brown improved and Carter will be a good complement), kicker, and punter. I am skipping FB because I haven't cared about them in so long I don't even know where to begin.

GM of the future

My first choice is Reggie McKenzie. I think I've said this before here. He appears to be a big part of the talent acquisition process there and the depth he helped create played a big part in the SB win. Seems like a good football guy and he would potentially bring a new defensive-minded HC in Winston Moss with him.

I also like Eric DeCosta. Baltimore's talent staff is undeniably good at what they do. They find good defensive players and know how to replace departing talent.

I haven't looked too far past these two. Doesn't seem worth the time to really dig into it. I just hope we find a new, fresh voice and somebody with a contemporary vision for this team. Someone that won't just accept that the defense will always be bad, that special teams don't matter, that won't overpay his own guys with 2nd contracts or insist on keeping underperforming players for silly reasons.

I will say I hope Irsay doesn't bring in Tony Dungy to be the GM. I think that would be a big mistake. And I like Dungy a lot. As a person and as a coach. But not as a GM. There's no real evidence that he'd be any good at it. IMO his best quality is his ability to motivate players, which would not be utilized much as a GM. This would be a move to again try to hang onto the past which is what got this team into trouble in the first place.

HC Search

Mike Zimmer is my first choice. Consistently good 4-3 defenses, good motivator, and I was impressed with his story when he was in the news a few years ago with his wife dying. Maybe that sounds weird but that is some of the worst adversity anyone will ever go through and he handled it better than most would have.

Jeff Fisher would be fine. He is a good gameday coach and it would make two games per year vs. TN that much more exciting. I think he was largely hamstrung in TN by a bad owner. He didn't want VY or CJ2K. He got Haynesworth to play hard.

Chuck Pagano is another defensive guy that has had consistent success in Balt. Seems like a good pairing with Eric DeCosta. I don't know a ton about him so I am going by reputation and results. Which is a hell of a lot better than going by the fact that you're Tony Dungy's buddy.

Rob Ryan is someone that might be interesting but his loudmouth attitude will rub people here the wrong way. So I don't see it happening. He is a good defensive mind though. I wouldn't mind if it happened. I just doubt it.

I think most or all the position coaches will be replaced. Christiansen has to go. Teerlinck too. I might be ok with Metzellars staying. And maybe the new RB coach. And maybe Reich at WR coach, because Garcon and Wayne have done pretty well with such bad QBs throwing the ball. But mostly I think these guys will be replaced.

Offensive and Defensive Schemes

If Manning is back, the offense probably won't change much. Manning will continue to call plays based on his presnap reads and no HC or OC will try to change that much. If Manning is released/retires, I'd hope for a QB guru at OC that can help Luck develop quickly. I just hope we have more balance and keep using a FB. Brown is a different runner with a FB in front of him.

On defense, we have to stay with the 4-3. We just don't have the pieces in place to switch to a 3-4. We don't have a NT at all. We don't have good enough 5-tech types (Rico Mathews might work and maybe Moala if he'd stop sucking). Nevis would be wasted, Freeney is awfully old to move to OLB, we don't have the right ILBs, etc. The only guy to benefit from such a switch might be Hughes. We will stick with a 4-3. I just hope it is more in the mold of an attacking 4-3 like the Bengals or Giants or Eagles run. Let Angerer play closer to the LOS. Let the CBs play closer to the receiver. Get more creative with pre-snap movement and blitzes. Let's get some guys in the middle that are big AND fast! They exist! I would love to bring in Spagnuolo but would he consider coming here to be "just a DC" after being a HC?

I think that it for my brain dump. Today was like Christmas. I think I probably still have a lot to say but it's hard to process everything right now.

#1 overall pick and the Polians getting fired, it's hard to imagine a better outcome for this season. If Caldwell and the rest of these horrible coaches get replaced and Manning returns to form, it'll make this entire terrible season almost worth it. The offseason changes will be difficult but this all really needed to happen. My hat is off to Jim Irsay for having the brains AND the balls to make the tough calls.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:57 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by killxswitch View Post

I really, really hope we move on from the Tampa 2. Here are a few thoughts on the near-future.
It could be. Probably the better pieces (who arenít free agents) of the Colts Defence could play most of the main forms of the 4-3 Defence.

The current options are:

Tampa 2: They hire someone like Morris to coach the defence or another Dungy apostle.
1 Gap 4-3: Currently used in the places like Cincinnati so would be installed in Indianapolis if they hired someone like Mike Zimmer.
2 Gap 4-3: Has been used to great effect in Jacksonville and was used by the great Baltimore Defence that won the Superbowl. Not that popular in the NFL and not that many coaches use it so it would could be difficult to find a coach who is able to do it for Indy. Additionally it is probably the form of the 4-3 that the Colts players are least suited to play.
Johnson 4-3: Used in New Orleans, last year in St Louis, Philadelphia and would be the Colts Defence if they hired Steve Spagnuolo as a D-Coordinator.

Dwight Freeney: In the Tampa 2 Freeney is expected to rush the Quarterback on every play, even probable run situations to avoid play action. A switch to the 1-Gap 4-3 gives him relatively similar duties in the passing game but asks him to maintain greater gap responsibility in the run game. The 1-Gap uses a more traditional Mike and SS so there isnít as much of a threat of play action so there isnít the need for him to pass rush on every play. In the 2-Gap wouldnít be in Freeneyís strengths as it asks him to cover both the C Gap (to the outside of the Tackle) and the B Gap (to the inside of the Tackle) and so would negate a lot of his speed. His sheer strength would still allow him to play it effectively but it wouldnít be his best option. The Johnson 4-3 would have Freeney playing in a very similar way to the 1-Gap so I am confident he could do it.

Drake Nevis: Nevis actually hasnít played as a 3-Tech Under Tackle position for the Colts. Nevis has actually lined up the majority of the time at the 1-Tech Nose Tackle position. The job of the 1-Tech is to control both the Guard and the Center while penetrating the A-Gap in both the passing and the run game, something that Nevis has done to great effect. The Colts donít have the dominant 3-Tech that they need and Nevis isnít it either. Again, similar to Freeney, the 1-Tech in both the 1-Gap and the Johnson 4-3 have similar responsibilities to the 1-Tech in the Tampa 2. So Nevis wouldnít struggle to transfer between the two. In the 2-Gap there is no 1 or 3-Techs. The Defensive Tackles both line up directly on top of the Guard so are in fact 2-Techs and both Defensive Tackles have the same responsibilities. Between the two of them they have to control their individual A and B Gaps, while controlling their individual Guard. Additionally they have to take out the Center. I donít think the role fits Nevis that much.

Pat Angerer: Ironically of the main roles of a Middle Linebacker in the 4-3 the one that least suits Pat Angerer is the Tampa 2, where he is expected to cover a deep 3rd of the pitch. He is decent to short to medium coverage but doesnít have the speed needed to be a force in coverage in the Tampa 2. Personally I feel that Angerer would be at best in the 1-Gap 4-3. The 2-Gap asks him to be two much of a thumper and he could be swallowed up by one of the linemen if the DTs donít get a good hand on them. Similarly the Johnson 4-3 asks the Middle Linebacker to play too close to the Line of Scrimmage and asks him to blitz too often. Angerer isnít a great blitzer and doesnít have either the size or the technique to do anything if a linemen getís his hands on him. The 1-Gap gives him good gap responsibility (and should be free of then linemen if the Nose Tackle does his job properly), gets him to cover the short middle and play more of a read and react which is where Angerer is at his best.

Jerraud Powers: The team got the Tampa 2 completely wrong last year and players like Powers. The Tampa 2 requires two main things from their Cornerbacks. It needs them to be press the play at the start and cover the short option. The problem is that in the last 4 years Colts starting Cornerbacks have average less than 11 games a season. It calls on them to be fast, agile and good playmakers. But it also calls on them to be big, tough and strong. With the exceptions of some of the elite and ranging on elite Cornerbacks those two options are contradictory. The Truth is that I would consider Powers to be at his best in a man coverage scheme playing as a Nickleback. If he is as a starter he canít play on the line and so the Tampa 2 is out long term for Powers. I also think he could struggle in Jim Johnsonís 4-3 for the same reasons, he is small, he is undersized and he will be torn apart like a wet paper bag if he blitzed. Hell a Running Back staying in to block would destroy him if he blitzed. He would succeed, in my opinion, in both the 1-Gap and 2-Gap. The 2-Gap asks corners to do just about everything, a jack of all trades. Some man coverage, some zone coverage, sometimes deep coverage, intermediate, and short. The 1-Gap asks for a more traditional Cornerback, not asking him to press but still expecting him to stick with his man in man coverage or to cover the intermediate zone in zone coverage. I think Powers would be ideally suited to that, especially if moved to the slot.

Antoine Bethea: Truth be told I think that Antoine Bethea would be both very good but slightly wasted in the 1 and 2-Gap 4-3s as they ask for a very traditional Free Safety and ask him to mostly just play the deep third of the field. Bethea is probably better in run support than he is as a pass defender. In all reality I would imagine Bethea would be better in both the 1 and 2-Gap as a Strong Safety than he would be as a Free Safety and that is something the Colts should look at if they can find a Safety who can play the deep third but not one who can cover well but also be a force in run support. Bethea is at his best in the Tampa 2 where he is almost prototypical of a Tampa 2 Free Safety but I could also see him succeeding in the Johnson 4-3 where he is asked to be something quite similar, although with increased blitzing responsibilities.

Other Positions

3-Technique: Similar to the other two defensive line positions already discussed the responsibilities of the 3-Tech are the same in the Tampa 2, the 1-Gap and the Johnson 4-3. This would also be the position that the team are at their best for the 2-Gap as I feel Fili Moala would be at his best as a 2-Gap 2-Tech. At the same time if the team were able to get a dominant 3-Tech, who could penetrate on every play then a rotation of Moala and Nevis at the 1-Tech would give the Colts as good a defensive tackle grouping as they have had in years.

Strongside Defensive End: This position is the biggest variable of all the defensive line positions (and possibly all the defensive positions). Two of the 4-3s are perfectly suited to Robert Mathis should they happen to resign him, being both the Tampa 2 and the 1-Gap 4-3, which ask him to basically do on the Openside of the line what Freeney does on the Blindside, albeit with greater gap responsibility in the run game. Mathisís ability to play the run and the pass effectively make him ideally suited to the 1-Gap and so if the team do get someone like Mike Zimmer as their Head Coach then resigning Mathis should be a major priority. The interesting element starts if they hire a 2-Gap coach or Spagnuolo as the 2-Gap and the Johnson 4-3 ask for different things from this position. The 2-Gap asks the Defensive Ends to do the same thing, cover both the C Gap (to the outside of the Tackle) and the B Gap (to the inside of the Tackle). It focuses more on the run game and strength and so would be best suited to an end like Jamaal Anderson or Raheem Brock than Robert Mathis. I would question significantly whether or not Mathis would have the strength to play the position in the 2-Gap. The Johnson 4-3 can be played in the way that Mathis currently plays the game (in that it calls on the end to cover the C Gap and create outside pressure) but it also calls on the end to control the Tight End in both the run game and the passing game. This system blitzes the SLB regularly and so a stronger defensive end who can take on both the Tackle and Tight End could leave the Linebacker unblocked as he rushes the Quarterback.

Weakside Linebacker: In all four of the systems the Weakside Linebacker plays an almost identical role (only he is expected to blitz on some occasions in the Johnson 4-3). He is expected to cover outside runs, as well as clean up the mistakes of other players in the run game. In the passing game he has to cover an intermediate zone in zone coverage or on the running back in man coverage. With the emphasis on read and react in the Tampa 2 of both the Middle Linebacker and Strong Safety the WLB has to be a top quality player for the system to achieve top quality but this isnít as necessary in other systems so if the team is sticking with the Tampa 2 then I wouldnít mind an upgrade over Kavell Conner.

Strongside Linebacker: The SLB is a pretty similar player in all four of the systems, in that he has to cover the outside run, the intermediate zone and cover the Tight End in man coverage. The major difference is the Johnson 4-3 where the SLB not only has to do those things but also blitz on a regularly. If they continue to play the 1-Gap, 2-Gap or Tampa 2 then resigning Wheeler is an option or drafting a late round guy. If they move to the Johnson 4-3 then a higher selection would be required.

Left Cornerback (and Right Cornerback if Powers is moved to the Nickle): As discussed when I was mentioning Powers I am of the opinion that if the team continue with the Tampa 2 then they need to bring in 2 new starting Cornerbacks of good size who can stand up to the rigours of bumping the man on every play. This also applies if they move to the Johnson 4-3. Moving to the 1 or 2-Gap 4-3 opens the door for a wide range of cornerback options as it asks for either a more traditional cornerback (and thus less specialised) or a jack of all trade cornerback (who can be found later on draft day).

Strong Safety (or Free Safety if Bethea is converted): This is also a very versatile position and depends a lot on what the scheme is. The Tampa 2 asks for a complete Safety, someone who can come up in the box and make plays in the run game but also cover a deep third of the pitch. Not only does it require this to be a good defence it requires it to be even a decent one, something the Colts have learned to their misfortune the last few years. Both the 1-Gap and the 2-Gap require the Safeties to play a traditional role, with the Free Safety to cover the deep third and the Strong Safety to cover the intermediate middle but also make some plays in the box. If the team converts to either the 1-Gap or 2-Gap they need to find a player who can do one of them and then ask Bethea to do the other. If they stick to the Tampa 2 then they need to find a top quality Strong Safety in a draft where there arenít many. If they switch to the Johnson 4-3 then they will need a Strong Safety in a similar mould to the Tampa 2 SS but it is less vital to the Johnson 4-3 than the Tampa 2 and so is less of a major need.

Conclusion

Largely I would be of the opinion that the team should hire someone like Mike Zimmer to be the Head Coach and move to the more traditional 4-3. Freeney, Mathis, Nevis, Angerer and Powers would all be ideally suited to play the 1-Gap while Bethea could play either Free Safety or Strong Safety in it. While there are other options I feel it is the one where the teamís best defenders would play their best football. If they do switch to the 1-Gap then these are the major needs:

3-Tech: The team need a good playmaking defensive tackle who can maintain good gap responsibility and keep linemen of the linebackers in the run game and also penetrate the pocket in the passing game. I would like a Day 2 pick at this position.

Strongside Defensive End: Resign Robert Mathis would be the best solution but could cost a lot. If they donít resign Mathis then they need to find a replacement, also in the second day of the Draft.

Strongside Linebacker: I think in the 1-Gap then Wheeler wouldnít be a bad option to resign. Failing that a Day 3 replacement wouldnít be needed.

Cornerback: The team needs a starter at Left Cornerback and needs to find one on Day 2. Additionally they could also look for another contributor later on in the draft if they are planning to move Powers to the slot.

Safety: As I said the team need to either find a defender who can play the deep third (and then move Bethea to the Strong Safety position) or find someone who can cover and play the run well. As the latter is more likely going to require a Day 2 pick I would go with the former where a good player can be found early on Day 3.

So if the team donít resign Mathis, and donít move Bethea to Strong Safety, they are going to need 4 picks on Day 2 to retool the defence properly. So either they need to trade major pieces or this is going to take more than one year. Resigning Mathis, and moving Bethea to SS allows them to take a 3-Tech in the 2nd/3rd Round and a Corner with the other Day 2 pick. A SLB, FS and additional CB could be got later on in the draft (or by resigning Wheeler and signing a veteran Free Agent).
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:40 AM    (permalink
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Nice post Seamus. I appreciate the comparison of different 4-3 defenses as they relate to our current personnel. Some thoughts:

Nevis - yes he lined up at the 1-tech spot, but he plays like an undertackle. He is not a NT and I hope the next coach agrees. He is a good interior pass rusher and I hope he is moved to that position next year. I was really scratching my head when Polian said he would play NT. Nevis' talent is wasted as a block eater. Having a real NT will help the LBs a lot. I would like to get a Corey Simon-type to play NT. The 05 DL was a thing of beauty. I see Nevis as more of a rich man's 05 Montae Reagor type. What do you see in Nevis' game that you think makes him a good NT prospect vs. a penetrating UT? Note that I am equating 1-tech with NT and 3-tech with UT so if I am off in that let me know.

Mathis - No, he is not effective against the pass and the run. Not at all. He does well for his size vs. the run but his ceiling is pretty low. He is too easy to drive out of the way and while his agility helps him to get around blockers he can't be consistent.

I like Bethea in coverage more than you do. I think you are forgetting how good he can be when a real, competent SS is taking care of those responsibilities. Bethea has had too much to do especially the last 2 years. He's had to make up for deficiencies at every other backfield position. I do agree he is very good in run support. I am not so sure he's significantly better at one or the other, I think he is just good at both. If the Colts could find another Bethea type somewhere I would not mind running a backfield where they both play both roles.

Zimmer is my first choice for head coach. I like the defense he runs a lot. I've wanted to move to a more traditional 1-gap 4-3 for a while and I think you make a good case for it. Zimmer would be the right guy to make it happen IMO. The Johnson-style 4-3 is nice to think about but I'm not sure there is a HC-ready guy out there that could run it. Maybe there is and I just don't know about him.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on Jamaal Anderson. I think he played well enough to earn a 2nd contract and unless an unbelievable DE value falls to us in the draft I would rather just keep him and let Mathis walk. Hate to say that but I think Mathis will get a big contract from another team and I don't think he's good enough in run support at all.
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:10 AM    (permalink
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Nevis - yes he lined up at the 1-tech spot, but he plays like an undertackle. He is not a NT and I hope the next coach agrees. He is a good interior pass rusher and I hope he is moved to that position next year. I was really scratching my head when Polian said he would play NT. Nevis' talent is wasted as a block eater. Having a real NT will help the LBs a lot. I would like to get a Corey Simon-type to play NT. The 05 DL was a thing of beauty. I see Nevis as more of a rich man's 05 Montae Reagor type. What do you see in Nevis' game that you think makes him a good NT prospect vs. a penetrating UT? Note that I am equating 1-tech with NT and 3-tech with UT so if I am off in that let me know.
In most 1-Gap systems (including the 1-Gap 4-3, the Johnson 4-3 and even the Phillips 3-4) the 1-Tech Nose Tackle penetrates on every snap. He has to shoot the A Gap while also taking up the two offensive linemen he is marking. There are two forms of the 1-Tech Nose Tackle that are used and two prototypical players for it. The one you mention, the big man-eater is personified in Pat Williams. He sucks up two men allowing his ends to have a one on one matchup or allow the 3-Tech to have a one on one matchup. The second type is the penetrating 1-Tech, with the prototypical player being Albert Haynesworth. While he sometimes lined up at 3-Tech he was at his best as a 1-Tech, penetrating the pocket, collapsing the pocket and dominating the point of attack in the run game. While Nevis isnít of that calibre he does have the penetrating characteristics. Nevis could play 3-Tech very well (maybe even better than 1-Tech) but if he is also not a strange choice for the 1-Tech.

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Mathis - No, he is not effective against the pass and the run. Not at all. He does well for his size vs. the run but his ceiling is pretty low. He is too easy to drive out of the way and while his agility helps him to get around blockers he can't be consistent.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on Jamaal Anderson. I think he played well enough to earn a 2nd contract and unless an unbelievable DE value falls to us in the draft I would rather just keep him and let Mathis walk. Hate to say that but I think Mathis will get a big contract from another team and I don't think he's good enough in run support at all.
I think if he is asked to take on one man, one gap then Mathis is effective as a run stopper. Heís led the defensive line in tackles the last two years in a row and has an ability to avoid the Linemen getting a hand on him. Yes if the Linemen gets the hands on him the Mathis is too easily pushed back but if the team keep the Cover 2 or bring in Zimmer then I think Mathis is the sort of end that Zimmer is going to want. Take Mathis out of the line-up, without a proper blitz from the SLB, and without proper pressure from the middle then the Colts could really struggle to create any pressure on the Quarterback.

I think Jamaal Anderson should be resigned and maybe Tyler Brayton too. I like them in the Raheem Brock role of playing end on run downs but kicking in on passing downs. It depends on what they ask for as they played this year on veteran minimum and they wonít settle for that next year. I would say that if the team to convert to a more blitz heavy system then I think they could be ideal for the Defensive End position, keeping the Tackle and Tight End busy and allow the Linebacker to get a clean shot at the Quarterback (almost what is supposed to happen in the 1-Gap 3-4).

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I like Bethea in coverage more than you do. I think you are forgetting how good he can be when a real, competent SS is taking care of those responsibilities. Bethea has had too much to do especially the last 2 years. He's had to make up for deficiencies at every other backfield position. I do agree he is very good in run support. I am not so sure he's significantly better at one or the other, I think he is just good at both. If the Colts could find another Bethea type somewhere I would not mind running a backfield where they both play both roles.
It isnít that I think Bethea is poor in coverage. I think he is very good in coverage. Its just that he is a lot better as a playmaker in the run game than he is as a playmaker in the passing game. If Bethea is playing deep third then Iím happy because he is good at it but I would be happier if they get a player who mightnít be as good playing the run but is solid in coverage and then moving Bethea to SS. I think that they could find a deep third guy a lot easier than a safety capable of doing both, which is what they need if the keep Bethea at FS.

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Zimmer is my first choice for head coach. I like the defense he runs a lot. I've wanted to move to a more traditional 1-gap 4-3 for a while and I think you make a good case for it. Zimmer would be the right guy to make it happen IMO. The Johnson-style 4-3 is nice to think about but I'm not sure there is a HC-ready guy out there that could run it. Maybe there is and I just don't know about him.
I donít think the Head Coach necessarily needs to be defensive minded. Jon Gruden is a possible option for the role (and I think he would come to Indy as I think he wants to have Manningís babies). So if Gruden is hired and they hire Spags as the DC then they could install the Johnson 4-3 without the Head Coach.

That being said Zimmer is my top choice as well.
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In Football the object is for the Field General to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the Defence by hitting his Receivers with deadly accuracy, in spite of the Blitz, even if he has to use the Shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack which punches holes in the forward wall of the enemyís Defensive Line.

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Old 01-03-2012, 12:30 PM    (permalink
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I'm going to sneak in here real quick for a question and I'll be on my way out. Could Mathis stand up in a 3-4?
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:37 PM    (permalink
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I'm going to sneak in here real quick for a question and I'll be on my way out. Could Mathis stand up in a 3-4?
I think so. There are plenty of rush OLBs that don't really cover receivers or do so on a very limited basis, and Mathis is an excellent athlete and works very hard. That is why I don't think he'll return. I think a 3-4 team will pay him more money than the Colts can reasonably offer.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:38 PM    (permalink
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I'm going to sneak in here real quick for a question and I'll be on my way out. Could Mathis stand up in a 3-4?
I'd imagine that if Mathis was coming out of College today he would probably be considered more of a 3-4 OLB than a 4-3 DE but it can be difficult to tell. There are things he'd be asked to do in the 3-4 that he wouldn't in the 4-3 (such as drop into coverage). The big thing is that Mathis is going to command top level money this offseason so is a 3-4 team going to risk giving him that money without knowing if he can play the position?
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:46 PM    (permalink
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A switch from hand-on-the-ground DE to 3-4 OLB could be done early in the career.

At this point, both Freeney and Mathis have been doing it for too long imo.
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Old 01-03-2012, 12:53 PM    (permalink
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I kind of hope if Mathis leaves that he does go to a 3-4 team because I'd like to see how he does. I personally think he'll succeed wherever he goes.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:01 PM    (permalink
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From what I've read in the last day or so, Reggie McKenzie as GM and Zimmer as HC would seem to be good moves. Defense and special teams would no longer be weak points. Reggie seems as qualified as anyone to be a GM.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:09 PM    (permalink
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If McKenzie & Zimmer are the guys, does Irsay have to wait till the Packers/Bengals are out of the playoffs?

Also, what's the difference between the tampa 2 & one gap 4-3?
Is this the lighter/faster players, pass-rush focus, middle linebacker getting back into the deep middle, corners playing the short zones?

I kind of like Bethea in the SS role. That goal-line tackle against the Jaguars was impressive. Plus, I imagine he's got the veteran sense to read the play between run/pass to know what to do. If I'm off-base, let me know, but I think he's well suited to both. If an FS is there for the taking, don't see why we don't take him and put Bethea in at SS.

Also, what kind of investment do some of these defenses need as far as draft picks & salaries. One of the nice parts of running the tampa 2 is that the Cato Junes of the world, we could pick in the 6th round.

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Also yet again I want to bring up Aubrayo Franklin. He only signed a 1-year deal with the Saints.
I'm honestly not up on the non-top 3 WRs in the draft. I like Collie but he is a slot guy only IMO.
1) Kind of wish they'd brought him in last year, but with the quickness of everything, a lot of players just went someone so they knew they'd have a team. In a traditional off-season I bet he would be the highest sough-after defensive player.
2) One WR I like is Marvin McNutt from Iowa. He's 6'4, with long arms. Not a burner, but can catch everything near him. I think paired with Garcon, who can stretch the defense, we'd have a good set. His hands are inconsistent though. He'll almost definitely be there for our 3rd pick. Might be there for 4th.

I have to say, when determining if mid-late round guys will be there when you pick, it's nice to be picking first instead of 20th.

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Old 01-04-2012, 11:31 AM    (permalink
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Also, what kind of investment do some of these defenses need as far as draft picks & salaries. One of the nice parts of running the tampa 2 is that the Cato Junes of the world, we could pick in the 6th round.
I think that was more Bill Polian than the Tampa 2. Of that great Tampa Bay defence in 2002 only one was undrafted (Shelton Quarles), the rest were all drafted in the 4th round or higher, with four of them being picked in the 1st round, including Derrick Brooks who played the Weakside Linebacker position that Cato June played for the Colts. The key element of the Tampa 2 is that utilises speed more than anything which means you can play small but fast players who may drop a bit further but if you want a good defence then you need to invest in it. For what it is worth the Colts defence that won the Superbowl in it had 3 players drafted in the 1st round as well.

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Also, what's the difference between the tampa 2 & one gap 4-3?
Is this the lighter/faster players, pass-rush focus, middle linebacker getting back into the deep middle, corners playing the short zones?
The Tampa 2 is primarily a zone based, read and react defence. It is bend don't break at its purest. The idea is to generate pressure with a 4 man rush and drop the other 7 guys back in coverage. Generate enough pressure, with that coverage, and the Quarterback will struggle to move the ball. It utilises an undersized front 7 as the Linebackers have to be fast enough to cover well and the Linemen have to get to the passer quickly. This, plus the fact that in the passing game the Middle Linebacker and the Strong Safety drop back deep means it is susceptible to the run. It pushes a lot of wear and tear on the Cornerbacks as it requires them to be physical with the Receiver at the start and also calls on them to make more plays on the run.

The 1-Gap 4-3 is the pure vanilla 4-3 and so is very variable. The key element of the Tampa 2 is that Tampa 2 defences use their base play (4 Man Rush, CB bump and cover the short, Outside Backers cover the Intermediate, Mike Covers deep middle and the Safeties cover the outside deep thirds) about 40% of the time. There isnít maybe the same consistency of play calling in the 1-Gap and it is changed up a lot. There is more blitzing (but not as much as in the Johnson 4-3), more man coverage and only really the Defensive Line and the Free Safety will have consistency of play calling, with the Free Safety playing the deep third. The 1-Gap can be a Cover 1 (only the FS stays back), Cover 2 (the SS joins him), Cover 3 (the two CBs join him) or a Cover 4 (the SS and the two CBs join him). It requires more all round Cornerbacks than the Tampa 2, a pretty variable Strong Safety (but so does the Tampa 2) but a relatively basic Free Safety. The Linebackers will normally be in man coverage (SLB on the TE, MLB and WLB on the FB/TE and the RB) but the can drop into a variety of short and intermediate zones. The Strong Safety is asked to do a lot as he can be called on to blitz, play the run in the box, cover the TE, help cover any of the Wide Receivers, drop of into a Cover 2 zone and a lot more.

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If McKenzie & Zimmer are the guys, does Irsay have to wait till the Packers/Bengals are out of the playoffs?
Defiantly with Zimmer and probably with McKenzie. There isn't an organisation in the world that would allow another team to interrupt their preparations and take the focus away from their coaches and front office during the playoffs and there isn't that many organisations that would try to poach a guy during them. The big thing is that even if Cincinnati go out at the weekend then Zimmer wouldnít be approached straight away. I think Irsay wants the GM in place before deciding on a Head Coach so I think we will have to wait for Green Bay, Baltimore, Pittsburgh or New England to go out before the new GM is appointed.
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In Football the object is for the Field General to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the Defence by hitting his Receivers with deadly accuracy, in spite of the Blitz, even if he has to use the Shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack which punches holes in the forward wall of the enemyís Defensive Line.

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Old 01-04-2012, 12:50 PM    (permalink
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Surprised it took Zimmer this long to come this close to a HC job. I loved him in Dallas, our defense under him was always consistently good. Plus he's just a ******* boss of an individual
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Old 01-04-2012, 02:32 PM    (permalink
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Surprised it took Zimmer this long to come this close to a HC job. I loved him in Dallas, our defense under him was always consistently good. Plus he's just a ******* boss of an individual
One knock I've heard that I have not considered is that he's never been a HC of any team at any level. I'm not convinced that that is a problem but it's a little surprising.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:38 PM    (permalink
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One knock I've heard that I have not considered is that he's never been a HC of any team at any level. I'm not convinced that that is a problem but it's a little surprising.
It isn't actually surprising. Of the 12 teams in the playoffs only two of them are coahced by a guy who was the Head Coach of a team at any level other than the NFL level, Tom Coughlin and Jim Harbaugh. The majority of coaches come through the co-ordinator route where they become a graduate assistant at college, then a positional coach at college, then a positional coach in the NFL, the a co-ordinator in the NFL, then a Head Coach. It is a lot rarer to transfer from being a Head Coach in college to being a Co-Ordinator or Head Coach in the NFL. In fact, even though Tom Coughlin was the Head Coach of a college team it was a Division III team which he left in 1973.
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In Football the object is for the Field General to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the Defence by hitting his Receivers with deadly accuracy, in spite of the Blitz, even if he has to use the Shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack which punches holes in the forward wall of the enemyís Defensive Line.

In Baseball the object is to go home and be safe.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:56 PM    (permalink
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There's no complaints about Jim Schwartz. Provided Zimmer transforms himself into a Hoosier and coaches with passion, he'll be fine. There will be some polishing that he'll need to do, but I think he'd just be inspired to put forth his best effort.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:46 PM    (permalink
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I think the new General Manager will help determine who the Head Coach is. The problem is that Irsay has said that it could take weeks to get a new GM in place and by that stage many of the top available Head Coaches may already have new jobs. Personally I would like to see one of 4 guys get the GM job:

Floyd Reese - New England Patriots Senior Football Advisor
John Dorsey - Green Bay Packers Director of College Scouting
Ron Hughes - Pittsburgh Steelers College Scouting Coordinator
Pat Moriarty - Baltimore Ravens Vice President of Football Administration

4 guys in proven organisations. I think they could struggle to get a top quality GM off another team (though the high draft pick should entice a few people) and so getting one of the top number 2s from a good organisation would be very good. Floyd Reese would be my preference. He has a proven track record at the Titans (he built the Titans team that won the AFC Championship in 1999) and has been involved in the Patriots (big rivals but still one of the best run organisations in the league) for many years. I think he'd be ideal.
Adam Schefter reports that John Dorsey turned down an offer from Jim Irsay to interview for the GM in Indy. Wow, I am surprised by this. I figured Indy lure people.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:25 PM    (permalink
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Adam Schefter reports that John Dorsey turned down an offer from Jim Irsay to interview for the GM in Indy. Wow, I am surprised by this. I figured Indy lure people.
Not sure what's going on there. Indy is a great landing spot with the #1 pick and a good owner.

Irsay has reportedly asked to talk to Eric DeCosta of the Ravens.
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