Nice analysis. Personally, I like Manning's abilities, but really can't quite figure out why he's lacking in the playoffs. There were so many instances where the Colts could have run a screen to Edgerrin while all the Steelers defenders were blitzing. I'm certain the play would have netted serious yardage considering all the defenders were upfield. Not once did they run the play, and Manning's usually very solid when it comes to calling plays like that at the line. I'm hoping he learned a lot from last season and keeps it together more in crunch time.
As for the RB's, it's really going to be interesting to see how they work out the duo in the backfield. Addai never really impressed me too much at LSU, but I didn't really dislike him either. He's a complete back, but lacks experience. Keeping him fresh for the stretch run will be a task, but Rhodes should be able to contribute enough to make that happen. I will say this for Addai, I like his pass blocking skills far more than I like Dom's, so Addai should be seeing the field a bit more thanks to his blocking. I expect Mungro will also play a role in short yardage or near the goalline. In any case, they have the players to make up for Edge, I just don't know how the chemistry will work out and how quickly Addai will adapt to the NFL.
Wideouts are excellent as always, but I do hope to see more of Brandon Stokley out there. As much as I like the Colts using the 2-TE set, Stokley's talents were vastly underused last season. He went from being the most explosive slot receiver in football, to being nearly an afterthought. One thing that I think worked out for the Colts utilitzing the 2-TE set more was seeing Bryan Fletcher in action more, along with Ben Utecht. Fletcher rather impressed me on a few occassions, but I still would rather see Harrison, Wayne, Stokley and Clark than Harrison, Wayne, Clark and Fletcher.
O-Line wasn't bad, but Tarik Glenn needs to be more consistent. I swear he false-started more times than I could count last year. Really irked me, but when he's on, he's really a top notch OT. Saturday's presence in the middle is undeniably impressive. Glad to see he's developed into a Pro Bowl Center. The rest of the crew is fairly young and one would hope the experiences of last season will only help them gel more this year.
The defense took a huge step forward and should only continue to get better. Health is always a concern of mine, especially with Bob Sanders. He's so ultra-physical, but his size leaves me worried that he'll get banged up. We need his presence out there and his explosiveness is catching. When he's on, the rest of the crew responds. Doss needs to step it up. I see him make some strong plays and then disappear on others. Harper also lacks consistency, but he's a solid playmaker. Linebacking core is still mostly intact, but I'll be interested to see how they replace David Thornton. June and Brackett played very well last season and Rob Morris adds solid depth. Obviously the defensive line isn't anything to worry about. I'd like to see Corey Simon lose some weight and get more involved. Reports out of Indy are that Simon is in far better shape, so here's hoping! As for special teams, when you lose Vanderjagt and gain Vinatieri, can you really complain? That's a great addition. Hunter Smith is solid as always. He should be a Pro Bowler at some point. I'm a bit concerned about the return game. Gone are Troy Walters and Brad Pyatt, and Rhodes needs to be a RB and not a KR, now that Edge is gone. Someone will need to step up here.
All in all, the pieces are there again for a big run. It's just a matter of mentally gettting over the hump in the playoffs. That's a big hump to get over, but there's no denying the talent is there to make it happen.