Now I know what many of you are thinking. You’re most likely thinking that Pagano has the most pressure coming into this season. He wasn’t given the extension so basically we’re going to call this a Super Bowl or bust season for Chuck. I will agree with you on that point but in my opinion it comes down to Hamilton and Manusky.
The Colts offense last year sputtered at times and failed to get this mythical power running game going. It all fell on Luck, as it should, but the offense was able to pick it up as the season wore on. The defense however was like a roller coaster ride. If they were playing a sub-par team then the defense steamrolled teams. If they were playing a contender then you didn’t know what you were going get. Blown out be the Steelers and Patriots within weeks of each other but having a defensive battle with Baltimore. Let’s not even bring up the Dallas game. So who has the most pressure?
Lets take a look at the offense. Pep has tons of weapons this season. He has his trusty quarterback and the sure-handedness of T.Y. Hilton. They still have two outstanding tight ends and the offensive line seems to have improved some. The team added even more weapons this offseason. They brought in promising wide receiver Duron Carter, veteran Andre Johnson and a power running back in Frank Gore. Adding Carter and Johnson to Hilton, Moncrief, Allen and Fleener I would have to say that Luck has all the weapons he needs. Then you add in Gore and Herron running ball. If the offensive line shapes up there is no reason this offense shouldn’t be number one in the league the entire season and possibly push to break the NFL record for most points scored in a season.
Hamilton has all this at his disposal and by now he should have realized if something isn’t working, ahem power running game, then it’s time to unleash Luck and let him do what he does best, win games. If the offense sputters again and they cannot be the juggernaut they have been assembled to be then Hamilton may find himself looking for employment next season.
The defensive side of things has received much talk during this offseason. Talks of what does the team need to add to stop New England and the Colts have to stop the run. Both of these statements are very true but here is what I’m thinking. The team does need to be able to stop the run. Teams with good backs knew last year they could be successful just by running the ball and they wouldn’t have to worry about the No Fly Zone, Colts defensive backfield, making plays. However I’m not looking at this as they have to put a team together to beat the Patriots. Yes I understand that the Pats are the best team in the AFC and the Colts will have to get by them, but saying they should put a team together to beat one team out of the 16 they will face is crazy to me.
Like the offense, the defense received some upgrades this offseason with the addition of Kendall Langford, Nate Irving, Dwight Lowery and Trent Cole. I do not feel that these additions are going to help the Colts stop the run but I have been wrong many times before and would love to be proven wrong about this. Manusky has a great defensive backfield with Toler, Davis, Buter and Adams already. Lowery is a huge upgrade over Landry and can cover receivers much like Adams can. Cole is a pass rushing crazy train but he is aging and I’m not sure he will be as productive hear as he has been with Philly. Langford is my wild card here. He played with some of the best pass rusher in the NFL and has a good nose for the ball but I’m not sold that he is an upgrade over Cory Redding. Nate Irving is a run-stopping inside linebacker and that is all. He will be like Jackson who cannot cover a grandma in his electric scooter.
Manusky has to turn this around for sure. He cannot be seen as a coach that cannot put a solid product on the field week in and week out. Like Hamilton, Manusky has to put all his weapons in place and prepare them for anything to be successful this season. If he can put a great product on the field I feel the Colts will be an amazing team and he will be able to breathe easier.
So who does have the most pressure? My conclusion is Greg Manusky. The defense has to be able to step up it’s pass rushing ability and must stop the run. This is the same thing Colts fans and football analysts have been saying for years, the Colts must stop the run. They have to add personnel that can stuff the run and it’s very true. At this point I feel that Manusky must put a defense on the field that scare opposing teams and coaches to save his job after this season.