Colts mum on Manning, want to emphasize run game

Posted Feb. 26, 2012 @ 3:10 p.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

For Colts fans hoping to gain more clarity on the Peyton Manning saga with Indianapolis again taking center stage for the NFL at the Scouting Combine, it doesn't appear likely.

Unlike at the Super Bowl, when Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay practically stole the spotlight from the big game, the Colts have taken the approach that they are not going to discuss Manning in any great detail. Perhaps the most significant point to come out of the multitude of Manning questions answered by new GM Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano was that, despite Irsay saying nearly two weeks ago he planned to sit down with Manning to discuss the future, a decision very well could drag on until March 8, when Manning's $28 million bonus is due. Beyond that, Grigson and Pagano reiterated that they have not shut the door on a Manning return, though neither decision maker has seen Manning throw since they joined the franchise.

That's not to say there weren't some interesting nuggets unrelated to Manning.

Pagano talked openly about the team's transformation to a bigger, more physical club, using the Steelers as a comparison. "We want to be explosive, we want to be physical, we want to be tough, we want to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, specifically up front with the offensive line," he said.

That seemingly infers revamping the interior of the offensive line, where stalwarts Jeff Saturday and Ryan Diem likely won't be back, will be a focus in April's draft. OTs Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijalana will be the bookends for the unit, but reinforcements are needed inside.

It remains to be seen whether the Colts have the personnel they desire in the backfield, as well. Donald Brown is coming off his finest season, and Delone Carter showed flashes as a rookie, but the Colts could be looking at adding more pop in the running game this offseason.

On defense, Pagano said that he won't try and fit "square pegs in round holes," and the club wants to retain as many current players as possible.

"We can't make the transformation overnight and go pure 3-4 or a hybrid of a 3-4. We're going to do what's best for our players and put them in the best spot to be successful right now. It's an ongoing process …"