After watching the Manning-less starters for the last two weeks, saying I'm disappointed would be an understatement.
Sure, it's not fair to judge them with Painter under center, but the last time I checked Curtis Painter doesn't play defense. And neither does the rest of the Colts roster from the looks of it.
John Beck marched the Redskins up and down the field in the first half of action at Lucas Oil tonight (That's right, John Beck!) with very little resistance. The Colts had given up 160 yards rushing with 8 minutes to go in the second quarter.
This looks to be the same Colts defense that we've seen the last few years. The Colts did very little in the draft or in free agency to get bigger on the front seven. The only time they were able to stop the run was when Bob Sanders was healthy, so that was roughly three games a year. Now that he's gone, they don't even have that.
On the other side of the ball the Colts still lack a pure runner that can tote the ball 20 times a game. Manning took less money so the Colts could keep Addai, who is a great pass protector and can read blitzes brilliantly, but he's not the answer at providing a stable running game for Indianapolis.
We know that last season Manning carried the Colts into the playoffs by himself. If there was ever a year that the four time league MVP deserved the honor, it was last year. Too bad Tom Brady only threw 4 interceptions (which is easy when you don't throw the ball for more than 8 to 10 yards a pop).
Manning is the best QB in the league and if anyone can carry a team on his back it is number 18. But coming off of neck surgery and missing all of training camp and the preseason, it's going to be a tough road in 2011. The Houston Texans have gotten much better and will continue to get better on defense as the season progresses under Wade Phillips. The Colts also play the NFC South and the AFC North this year, meaning they will have to take on the Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Ravens, Steelers, and the new and improved Browns. Oh, and don't forget about the annual meeting with the Patriots. With that schedule, the Colts will be lucky to win 10 games this season.