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Better blocking, establishing run critical for Colts under Collins

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Recent posts by Arthur Arkush

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Posted Sept. 09, 2011 @ 6:12 p.m. ET
By Arthur Arkush

For years the Colts have tried strengthening the offensive line and running game to allow for a bit more balanced offense. With QB Peyton Manning on the shelf indefinitely after undergoing his third neck surgery in 19 months on Sept. 8, the necessity to improve the blocking and ground game for 17th-year veteran Kerry Collins takes on a whole new meaning.

There is not a quarterback in the league who is better at anticipating pressure and moving within the pocket than Manning. Contrarily, Collins has a tendency to be a statue in the pocket, placing added pressure on an O-line that features three new starters, including rookie OLT Anthony Castonzo and first-year tackle-turned-OLG Joe Reitz. Additionally, veteran OT Ryan Diem is sliding inside to right guard, where he has not played since his first two years in the league, and ORT Jeff Linkenbach has started only one career game at right tackle.

With Manning under center, the Colts operated mostly out of the no-huddle offense, changing the play at the line often and spreading the ball around. With Collins at the helm, look for the veteran signalcaller and his inexperienced O-line to huddle frequently and limit audibles, using more max protection and trying to come off the ball and establish the run more earlier in games.

Opponents seldom blitzed Manning, but the Colts figure to see more extra pressure under the direction of Collins. Indianapolis likely will call more screen passes and quick-hitting reads to counter the blitz. The re-signing of RB Joseph Addai now looms larger than ever, as the accomplished blocker will be counted on not only in blitz pickup, but also as a receiver out of the backfield. Contributions from fourth-round RB Delone Carter, who surpassed former first-rounder Donald Brown on the depth chart, also will be critical. Carter's ability to make something out of nothing and pick up tough yards could assist Collins and the offense greatly.

If there is good news for the Colts, it is that Collins will have more weapons at his disposal than he has in the past. The Colts' receiving corps is healthier than it has been in awhile and features a number of solid route runners who should be able to get open for the veteran to target.

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