Aug 16, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Frank Gore (23) warms-up prior to a preseason NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
All offseason I have sat back and heard about how great the moves made by Indianapolis were. They brought in running back Frank Gore and receiver Andre Johnson and both moves were very highly praised.
It is a reunion of studs from the University of Miami as the two veteran players came to Indy. Yet I am in the minority here when I say these moves were not as good as everyone thinks.
I mean sure, these guys were great together in Miami, but you have to realize they played together in 2001 and 2002. That was more than 13 years ago when these two guys were running around Coral Gables together.
Gore is 32 years of age and plays a position where players hardly get past the age of 29. On top of that he is a tough, physical runner known for his downhill style. One thing Indy proved last year (and really ever since the days of old with quarterback Peyton Manning at the helm) is that they are not a power running football team. The offensive line is bad and in general this is a finesse team that scores in bunches, not four yards at a time.
As for Andre, the move is nearly a wash as the team moved on from one aging University of Miami receiver in Reggie Wayne (37) for a slightly less older receiver from the same college in Johnson (34). This is not the huge upgrade people are hyping it to be.
Also, it is not very often the teams that “win” the free agency period see those gains translate into actual wins. Ask the Philadelphia Eagles “Dream Team” of 2011 how that worked for them. That haul left the coach, quarterback and a couple parking lot attendants without a job. In fact there are no players at all left on the roster from that free agent group of only four season ago.
To make matters worse the Colts who finished with the sixth ranked offense and 19th ranked defense had their pick of some very good defensive ends in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Taking a player such as Eddie Goldman or Malcom Brown would have helped shore up their porous rush defense.
Instead the top ranked passing team that just brought in Andre Johnson takes yet another Miami product in the carbon copy of T.Y. Hilton, Phillip Dorsett. The 5’10” 185 pound receiver looks an awful lot like Hilton, who stands 5’9″ and 183 pounds.
Both are speedsters prone to big plays, but is it prudent to have two guys with almost identical skill sets when one was due (and just received) a massive payday and the other cost a first round pick? The Dorsett pick felt like a luxury pick reminiscent of the Dallas Cowboys selecting Felix Jones in 2008.
Jones hit a home run here and there, but overall the pick was a waste and could have been used at a position of need. The Colts need to hope a lot of their later picks pay off, or else they could see a lot of Luck throwing too much due to lack of run as well as opponents controlling the tempo by running all over their lackluster line.
My bold prediction for the Colts is these moves will prove to be the end of general manager Ryan Grigson’s tenure in Indy in the near future as they struggle worse than expected. Look for them to have to battle to the end with Houston for the South title with it being a 50-50 chance for either team.
Next: Redemption in Houston