Five questions with PFW Colts correspondent Tom James

Posted Sept. 16, 2011 @ 7:32 p.m.
Posted By Mike Wilkening

PFW Colts correspondent Tom James, who covers the club for the Terre Haute (Ind.) Tribune Star, took time out to answer five questions about the club entering the Week Two game vs. Cleveland. Here is his take on some of the issues facing Indianapolis after the blowout loss to the Texans last week:

PFW: What's the biggest concern about the Colts' loss at Houston in Week One: the performance of the offense or the performance of the defense?

James: A little bit of both, with special-teams concerns thrown in as well.  Indy's offensive line struggled to protect QB Kerry Collins. Collins fumbled twice. The Indy running game showed promise early but couldn't get fully untracked due to the early large deficit. The defense struggled to stop the run and didn't get much pressure on the quarterback. And the punt coverage unit gave up a long return for TD.

PFW: Assess Kerry Collins' first regular-season start with Indianapolis.

James: Shaky. But that was to be expected. He had only been in camp for a couple of weeks trying to learn a complicated Colts offense that developed over 13 years around Peyton Manning. The offense was set up to be run by Manning. No one can run it like he can because the offense revolves around everything he brings to the game.

PFW: What's the club's collective mindset with Peyton Manning out for at least a significant portion of the schedule?

James: Move on. Next man up. Take your pick. They are mad that everyone thinks that the Colts are a one-man team, even if that one man is Peyton Manning. Now they have a drive to prove everybody wrong.

PFW: It seems like the special-teams coverage units are an annual issue with the Colts. Why has that been the case?

James: The Colts use rookies and backups on special teams. It's not like they don't work on it. Russ Purnell was let go because of special teams issues when Jim Caldwell took over and Ray Rychelski took over as special teams coach. The same problems exist now that did when Purnell was on the coaching staff.

PFW: Finish this sentence: The Colts can still contend in the AFC South if ...

James: ... Kerry Collins settles in and plays up to his ability. The offensive line has to come together quickly and protect Collins, who is slower to deliver the ball and more deliberate in the pocket than Peyton Manning. If the cornerbacks play better, especially Jacob Lacey.

Tom James' work can be found at He can be followed on Twitter @TribStarTJames.