Scouting Report On The Indianapolis Colts From Stampede Blue

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks to pass against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. According to reports on July 30, 2011 Manning agreed to a five year deal with the Colts for $90 million. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Truth is I'm trying to come up with an original title for our Q and A's with our opponent's blogs. Know Thy Enemy is fine, but I hate the word enemy; it's a ridiculous connotation for a recreational activity so we ditched that fairly early. So if there's any ideas for titles, send me an email.

That being said, with Thursday's preseason finale approaching, we wanted to get a few ideas on how the Indianapolis Colts look; a team the Bengals will face again during the sixth week of the regular season (October 16, 2011). So we recruited Big Blue Show from SB Nation's Indianapolis Colts blog Stampede Blue for some quick knowledge:

On Peyton Manning starting the regular season:

The activation eliminates the possibility of him starting the season on PUP, which was a real concern. All signs seem to point to him playing against the Texans, though I don't think he will be physically ready. I think the streak is important, but he knows that if he is not able to truly play, he will degrade the streak if he just goes out there and hands the football off.

On Kerry Collins as the backup and Reggie Wayne calling him a "step back":

It will be difficult for Collins to learn the offense, no question. Reggie's comments were dumb, and he should have known better than to toss Collins under the bus like that. Curtis Painter is garbage, and if Reggie can't see that, Reggie is deluded. Part of what motivated Reggie's comments was his anger with the Polians. They gave Collins a contract that pays him $4 million this year. Reggie is in a contract year and is looking for a long-term deal, which he is unlikely to get in Indy.

On Donald Brown being cut before the 53-man roster is finalized:

There is a possibility. Brown is yet another draft bust for Bill Polian, who has flopped on first round picks the last four years.

On first round pick offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo:

Castonzo has started the last two preseason games, and has played very well. Fans are excited about him.

On Austin Collie's recovery and supporting league's stance on helmet-to-helmet hits:

The helmet-to-helmet stuff is right to enforce because the health of players is paramount. Because the speed of the game has changed, defensive players have, quite frankly, forgotten how to form tackle. Instead, they are launching for 'the big hit,' because the big hit gets on SportsCenter and, as a result,  provides their agents with highlights which get be used to earn more money. However, if the league is adamant about these rules, then they need to start focusing a bit more on offensive holding.

The new helmet-to-helmet rules place a great deal of strain on defenses. They can no longer fly all over the place and blast WRs over the middle. This has allowed offenses like the Packers to, basically, sit back in shotgun and toss passes down the seam with no fear. The league can counter this by enforcing offensive holding more. Pass rushers, who are paid buckets of money, would then benefit, and offenses would back off the pass a bit more. Far to often, LTs are blatantly holding the rushers, and nothing is getting called. This just encourages more passing, and with no fear over the middle, WRs and TEs are turning the NFL into a gloried 7-on-7 drill. That's NOT football. If 'big hits' over the middle are to be done away with, then we need to see more focus on line play, because pass rushing is a great part of this game, and if teams can just three-step-drop and toss without fear, that cheapens the game.

On Jerry Hughes (Colts 2010 first round pick out of TCU) already being a bust:

He's not good enough to play as a reserve pass rusher. If he weren't a first rounder, he'd have been cut by now.

Besides Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney, which defender would you expect to make a play for the Colts on third down with over five yards to go?

Right now, I'd say rookie Drake Nevis. He's been unblockable at the DT spot during preseason.

Impact the departure of Bob Sanders has had on the Colts secondary:

None. He hasn't played for the Colts in three years, and they almost won a Super Bowl without him. It's really like asking what effect T.J. Houshmandzadeh will have on your Bengals this year. I mean, he hasn't played in Cincy in two years, right? Obvious, the answer is zero. Same with Bob. I do think the Colts lack depth at safety, but even when Bob was on the roster the last two years, the Colts lacked depth. Sanders is a brittle player, and brittle players do not provide quality depth.

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