The Art of War: Know Thy AFC South Enemies - The Colts

"Hence, that general is skilful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skilful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack."
Sun Tzu 

Jack Del Rio has set his sights on the divisional title, and believe it or not, I think we have the capability to succeed in this endeavor. Over the course of this series we'll take a closer look at our opponents in the AFC South and their biggest weaknesses, We'll begin with the Colts'.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colt's have held a stranglehold on the AFC South for years, but this season is going to be different...

The Colt's biggest weaknesses: Running game, offensive line

The Colt's recently released their top run-blocking guard, Ryan Lilja. There seems to be no real reason to release the veteran, whom they signed to a new 20 million dollar contract in 2008. Lilja almost immediately re-signed with the Chiefs, his former team. The Colt's offensive line now includes two top-tier players, and one of them is getting old fast. An aging Jeff Saturday and RT Ryan Diem are the two mainstays on the line, although Diem is clearly a superior run-blocker than he is pass-blocker. 

After these two, Charlie Johnson plays LT, but could find himself at LG after a sub-par season where he took over for a very disappointing Tony Ugoh (whom the Colt's drafted). Kyle Devan plays RG, but he's a former arena league player, and is FAR from spectacular. The Colt's now have weaknesses at 4 of their 5 starting linemen (Yes, Jeff Saturday's age is going to catch up with him this season). 

We all know the Colts can throw the ball, as they have one of the most accomplished passers and WR corps in the league. However, after spending a first round pick on Donald Brown a year ago, there run game was still anemic. Joseph Addai isn't a stud, and the Colts almost exclusively use a single-back set, preferring instead to employ extra TE's rather than use a FB. 

This tactic, along with drafting OL with pass-blocking in mind, has led to the top team in the division to show chinks in their armor. Peyton Manning can't do it all every year, and without a running game again this season, we could find the Colt's dethroned from their position atop the division.

The fact that their line is in such flux also bodes well for the Jaguars' new pass-rushers. Although Manning RARELY gets sacked, it has been both because of his uncanny ability to deliver the ball quickly, and the team's focus on the offensive line. Missing badly on thier first pick two years ago, Tony Ugoh, has obviously set them back some. This could be the "perfect storm" for the Colts' demise.

-Collin Streetman

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