The Colts want to have a more balanced offense this season — they ranked 32nd overall in rushing offense in 2009 after finishing second-to-last in that department in '08. As long as MVP Peyton Manning continues being Manning, the passing game will be the main attraction. But we're hearing the club would like the offense to run similarly to the way it did during the 2006 championship season, and that postseason in particular.
The club averaged 151 rushing yards per game in the '06 playoffs compared to just 80.7 in the '09 postseason.
President Bill Polian pointed the finger at the offensive line following the Super Bowl loss to the Saints in February, hinting that a change in offensive philosophy was coming. Polian wanted bigger, more physical offensive linemen who can power-block at the point of attack.
Several factors contributed to the team's success on the ground in '06. A healthy Joseph Addai, a rookie at the time who became a starter in the playoffs, was huge. Veteran Dominic Rhodes also played an invaluable role, not only with his production on the field but also his veteran leadership in mentoring Addai.
"Rhodes and Addai worked really well together," a daily team observer told PFW. "When Rhodes was the backup behind Edgerrin James, James took Rhodes under his wing, which helped Rhodes immensely. When Addai was drafted, Rhodes made it a point to do the same for Addai."
Fast-forward to 2010, and a similar situation is taking shape. Second-year player Donald Brown, an explosive runner who is expected to have a larger role this season after being hampered by injuries as a rookie, has Addai as a valuable resource.
"Addai has truly welcomed Brown with open arms. (Addai) would love to be the guy, but he knows that is not the way things work here and he has embraced it. Dating back to his days at LSU, he has been surrounded by several talented backs, so he is used to it."
Addai's role is the plugger. He can move the chains and run inside and outside. Brown is the home-run threat — he has a rare combination of speed and power. The Colts are hoping that the two can form another dynamic duo similar to the '06 tandem that really shined during their march to Super Bowl glory.
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