QUARTERBACKS: Starter — Peyton Manning. Backup — Curtis Painter.
Manning had a good year in 2010 for the most part. Injuries at running back, along the offensive line and at receiver were the root cause of any issues he had, particularly when it came to interceptions. Manning threw 17 picks, 11 coming in a three-game span. But that's only one more than he had a year earlier when winning a fourth NFL Most Valuable Player award. Painter remains as the only other quarterback on the roster, although the team will probably bring one or two in during the offseason.
RUNNING BACKS: Starter — Joseph Addai. Backups — Donald Brown, Mike Hart, Javarris James, Dominic Rhodes, Devin Moore.
The lack of a consistent running game plagued the Colts in 2010. Injuries played a part in that, with Addai, Brown, and Hart all missing playing time. Addai sat out eight games with muscle damage in his shoulder. James, an undrafted rookie, had a team-high six rushing touchdowns despite being released at the end of training camp and then being brought back. The late-season addition of veteran Rhodes gave the running game a shot in the arm. Moore was brought in to return kicks and punts but missed most of the season with a shoulder injury.
TIGHT ENDS: Starter — Jacob Tamme. Backups — Brody Eldridge, Gijon Robinson, Dallas Clark, Tom Santi.
When Clark went down with a season-ending hand injury early in the year, Tamme stepped up and played well in his absence. He tied for second on the team in receptions with 67 for 631 yards and four touchdowns. Eldridge, a rookie, showed flashes working at tight end and H-back. Robinson's playing time got less as the season progressed. Clark is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of the 2011 season.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters — Reggie Wayne, Pierre Garcon. Backups — Taj Smith, Blair White, Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez.
Another problem area when it comes to injuries. The loss of both Collie and Gonzalez for most of the year really hindered the Colts' passing game. Even in limited work, Collie had 58 catches and a team-high eight TD receptions. White, an undrafted rookie, did a nice job filling in. Garcon is up-and-down in terms of consistency. Wayne was just the opposite with 111 receptions for 1,355 yards and six touchdowns. Dropped passes in key situations plagued the group as a whole throughout the season.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters — LT Charlie Johnson, LG Kyle DeVan, C Jeff Saturday, RG Mike Pollak, RT Ryan Diem. Backups — OT Jeff Linkenbach, OG Jacques McClendon, OT Joe Reitz, OG Jamey Richard, OT Jaimie Thomas, OT Michael Toudouze.
The offensive line was in flux for most of the early and middle portions of the 2010 season. Saturday got off to a slow start due to injuries and there was a revolving door at both offensive guard spots between Pollak, DeVan, Richard and Linkenbach, who played both offensive tackle spots in addition to guard. Johnson battled injuries all season but managed to be there when the game started.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters — LE Robert Mathis, LT Dan Muir, RT Fili Moala, RE Dwight Freeney. Backups — DE Keyunta Dawson, DE Eric Foster, DE Jerry Hughes, DT Antonio Johnson, DT Ricardo Mathews.
Muir, Moala, Johnson and Foster played well inside for the Colts in 2010. Johnson missed playing time early due to injury issues, but came on strong in the latter half of the season. Muir did a nice job as did Moala, who showed why the Colts' coaching staff stuck with him after a quiet rookie season. Mathis and Freeney both earned trips to the Pro Bowl. Hughes was an enigma as a rookie, but it's hoped that he'll develop going into his second year as Moala did. Mathews showed potential as the season progressed.
LINEBACKERS: Starters — SLB Pat Angerer, MLB Gary Brackett, WLB Kavell Conner. Backups — LB Clint Session, LB Nate Triplett, LB Philip Wheeler, Cody Glenn.
It's difficult to imagine where the Colts' linebacking corps would have been this past season without the contributions of rookies Angerer and Conner. Angered filled in at both middle linebacker and strong-side linebacker. Conner played early at weak-side linebacker due to Session's injury issues. Session will be the starter going into 2011, but Conner played well enough to get a lot of playing time. Brackett was slowed by a turf toe injury midway through the season but ended the year strong. Wheeler was inconsistent as a starter on the strong side early in the year.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters — LCB Justin Tryon, RCB Jacob Lacey, SS Aaron Francisco, FS Antoine Bethea. Backups — S Al Afalava, CB Cornelius Brown, S Ken Hamlin, S Mike Newton, CB Mike Richardson, S Melvin Bullitt, S David Caldwell, CB Kelvin Hayden, CB Jordan Hemby, S Brandon King, CB Jerraud Powers, S Bob Sanders, S Jamie Silva, CB Kevin Thomas, S Chip Vaughn.
Just keeping healthy bodies on the field was a chore in itself for the Colts' coaching staff in 2010. Ten players from the secondary were on injured reserve this past season. Lacey and Tryon ended the year as starters at cornerback with both Powers and Hayden sidelined. Francisco was signed early in the year when Sanders and Bullitt both went down. Silva was hurt in training camp. Thomas, a prized draft pick, went down in a May rookie minicamp. Bethea made it through virtually unscathed, although his body probably took a beating from the wear and tear of trying to make plays all over the field.
SPECIAL TEAMS: P Pat McAfee, PK Adam Vinatieri, LS Justin Snow, PR Blair White, KR Dominic Rhodes.
It was a great year for Vinatieri, who made 29-of-31 field-goal attempts, including his last 20 in a row. McAfee's second season was a step back as both a punter and kickoff specialist, but he's expected to rebound in 2011. The Colts tried all year to find a reliable kickoff returner — seven different returners were used — and finally settled on Rhodes when he was re-signed in early December. White proved dependable as a punt returner with sure hands and he displayed some smarts in knowing what to do with the ball once he caught it.
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