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Running back Joseph Addai, coming off a banged up season playing behind a banged up line was the overwhelming "winner."
Here's a sampling of what you had to say in comments and notes to the mailbag, with some commentary and reaction weaved in:
iaretyler: How about Gijon Robinson? Dan Klecko was faster with the ball in his hands than Gijon was, and it will be hard to forget about the missed block in the playoffs. I'd be happy seeing him get chased down by a DT if he could actually block, but if you can't block and you can't outrun someone as a TE then what good are you?
Stan in Indy: If I could replace any of the Colts' starting players? Good question. I wouldn't go with any of the offensive players you mentioned. As long as Manning is our QB, we can get away with an average left tackle bc his release is so quick, and he knows where to go with the ball before the play even begins. And while Addai will never be dynamic like a Chris Johnson or someone like that, he'd be adequate if we simply had better run blocking in front of him. You have to go with one of the DTs you mention. They're basically the same player, so I'm not sure if I can say which one. They're both too short and too light, and neither get much of a pass rush either. And I'm not sure who are 11th starter is right now on offense? Is it a #3 WR like Pierre Garcon, or a 2nd TE like Gijon Robinson? It's probably Robinson until we sign or draft another WR, so he's certainly someone that should be replaced and improved upon.
PK: Robinson is a developing guy. Is that blocking tight end as important if the line is healthy and playing better? We'll see I guess. Tom Santi could help himself by showing he can so some blocking.
bendparker: Definitely Joseph Addai...the man gets more horizontal yards than vertical yards. He tries to make Barry Sanders-type moves, without the Barry Sanders-type talent.
Chris Kirk in Indianapolis, IN: There's no doubt in regards to which Colts starter should be replaced. Joseph Addai should be replaced or given a different role on the team. His production over the last few seasons has consistantly fallen off. Hes not a hard nosed runner in the least. He starts making cuts as soon as he gets the ball and half the time he looks like he's on ice skates back there. If he was more of a "one-cut" runner he'd be so much more productive. I refuse to believe the line is responsible for these issues given Peyton had an MVP season. I don't know if this is a case of a player simply not "getting it" and thus not living up to his physical talent or whether he needs to look at the game from the bench for a little while. Do you think either of those outcomes are a possibility? Summing up a running back needs to be taken in the first three rounds to try and get some competition going. Thanks for your time.
PK: Addai was definitely tentative a lot in 2008, and you raise an interesting point about the line, though maybe Manning is going to play well no matter who's around him.
TJ from Ft. Myers: I'm going to go ahead and say Addai, even though I love the kid. I think Rhodes could be useful as a starter, since he is more of a downhill power runner, someone who can tire a defensive line to the point where they would not be able to keep up with a quicker, smaller Addai late in drives or games. I guess I'm rooting for a more "Runningback by Committee" from Indianapolis, with Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai being the feature backs. It might sound cliche compared to what's going on with the rest of the NFL, but let us not forget that is exactly the formula used in 2006 when Addai was a rookie, and the Colts won it all.
PK: Rhodes is unsigned, it's important to note.
Vince in DC: If I had to pick a Colt starter to replace it would have to be Joseph Addai. I personally love Joey, but I dont think he is very effective between the tackles and he has had a lot of injury issues. I believe the Colts need a back who can be effective in short yardage situations and Joe could spell.
Brandon in Jackson, TN: I would like to see Addai replaced. I know everyone says that he was hurt and that the offensive line was horrible all year, but you cant blame it solely on the O-line. The problem with Addai is that he jumps around way too much in the backfield allowing the defenders time to break through the patched up O-line. You see plenty of teams stacking the line of scrimmage against great running backs and they still actually gain yardage. Willie Parker and MJD were behind O-lines that needed help last year as well and they both had a way better season than Addai. Addai had flashes of greatness his first year and part of his second year but wasn't that when defenses actually were worried about the Colts receivers? Marvin Harrison getting old was the worst thing that could of happened to Addai because he cant run against a defense that is trying to stop him.
Eric in Indianapolis: Its hard to say which Colts starter I would like replaced, a 12-4 record is hard to argue with. But, I really would love a new explosive RB more than anything else. I know people might think I'm crazy cause everyone is talking about how the Colts need a DT or WR, and I agree. However, I believe that a better RB to complement Addai would have a bigger impact than both DT and WR. Think about it, the Colts will find above average players for DT and 3rd WR this year. They were almost last in running offense, yes the line stinks, but still the Colts lack an explosive RB. Sproles killed us 2 years in a row, a player like him with Manning would tear apart the league. Yes, defense is an issue, but defense didn't blow our chances last year. Not having a RB to turn to did.
Steve in INDY: I would love to see Joseph Addai replaced by Mike Hart or Lance Ball. J. Addai needs to
put his heart back in the game, and stop running like he is scared he will get hurt every play.
PK: I could see replacing him, but I feel it would have to be with a draft pick. Maybe Hart or Ball could be the lead guy, but I don't know that they have enough of a resumé yet for the Colts to have that level of faith in either of them. If those three are the guys, Addai will be first in line.
Logan in Evansville: My first reaction is to dump Joseph but while he may not have run well last year he can still catch out of the backfield and it OK at blocking which are musts for a Colts RBs. I would say the person to go has to be Tony Ugoh. The guy just isn't consistent at all. Some plays he can handle it and others your might as well throw in a blow up doll. As far as DT is concerned they may not have been great but they are all new and need time to get the hang of things so they can stop thinking and just play.
PK: I've talked to scouts who have serious question about Ugoh's toughness. The Colts like him a lot more than those scouts do. But they could draft a tackle.
rpcapps: the problem with the colts is not the players but the fact that after the 1st game they never have the whole team on the field at the same time. so id replace whoever happens to be on the injury list
ShawnRodgers81: Bob Sanders. The Colts pay him to much money for his part time(even that is being generous) job. Bullit proved to be more than capable at that position and the Colts could get back really good value for him.
PK: Bullitt was great. So for now they get Sanders when he can go, Bullitt when he can't. Not a bad deal, though you'd like Sanders all the time forcing you to figure out what to do with Bullitt.
Jeff3102: Raheem Brock
Josh in Bakersfield: I would like to see Eric Foster replaced by Ziggy Hood.
jeffssmith1: Peyton Manning (I'm a Jaguar fan)