Alrighty, ladies and gentlemen. . .after a bit of a delay, I've gotten the responses to my questions for BigBlueShoe, our Indianapolis Colts blogger from Stampede Blue. He's already been over here answering a few questions about his team, which is great, but he are his answers to the questions I sent him the other day. Enjoy!
Gonzo: The big story coming out of Indy over the last day or two has been the arrest, and subsequent release, of DT Ed Johnson. For those of us that aren't familiar with him, tell us exactly what his loss means to the Colts' defense.
BigBlueShoe: Well, I'm not quite sure to be honest with you. Ed Johnson was really the anchor for the interior of the defensive line, replacing Anthony McFarland, who blew out his knee in training camp last year. Big Ed had a very troubled college career at Penn State. Despite his tremendous talent out of college, he went undrafted. The Colts took a chance on him, and he seemed to turn his life around in 2007. Players like McFarland (on injured reserve) took Ed under their wing and tutored him. He had a great season last year, and was picked as a potential breakout player inn 2008.
However, I find it very hard to believe that arguably the greatest talent evaluator of his generation (Bill Polian) would just up and cut his best interior d-lineman without having a plan. Say what you will about Big Ed's talent, but after a blow out loss against a medicore Bears team to open your club's brand new stadium, what did Ed Johnson do immediately afterwards? Did he get mad? Hit the weight room? Watch extra tape? Call a meeting and challenge his mates? No. He got high and got arrested.
That's not how professional football players are to conduct thmeselves in this organization.
Character means something, and adversity can reveal character. Cutting Big Ed sent a message to the rest of the team, and I think that message was received. So, when I say I don't know, the reason I don't is because I need to see how they respond against your Vikings after the fallout of last weekend's debacle and the Ed Johnson fiasco.
G: We know all the big names on the Colts. . .Manning, Harrison, Wayne, etc. Who's a guy that not a lot of folks know about that will have a huge impact on this Sunday's game?
BBS: Two guys: Jacob Tamme and Gijon Robinson. Both play TE and H-Back in Indy's system, and if Dallas Clark cannot play, look for them to get involved in the passing game. Tamme is a Dallas Clark clone, while Robinson is more FB than TE.
G: Peyton Manning didn't see any action at all this pre-season, and the rust was evident in the Colts' season opener against Chicago. How long do you anticipate it will take the NFL's best quarterback to get back to his old form?
BBS: This Sunday. No, I'm not kidding. Peyton is very upset over the Week One loss, and you know he'll be working like a mad dog this week to prepare for Minnesota. I'm looking for a big game from Peyton. When he gets mad, he drops 400 yards and 5 TDs on people. This is not a slight to Minnesota's defense, because I think they are good. I think Peyton has a pretty good idea of how Minnesota will attack Indy's o-line, and he is working this week to counter-attack against that.
G: After getting gashed for 183 yards by Matt Forte and Kevin Jones last Sunday, what changes do you anticipate the Colts making in preparation for what might be the best 1-2 running back combo in the National Football League?
BBS: The Colts won't change anything. They don't do that. They won't re-scheme things just to stop Adrian Peterson and the Vikes awesome running game. They will go back and re-work on execution. There's nothing wrong with Indy's scheme. That's been proven time and time again. Players need to execute better, and Tony Dungy will go back and fine tune their execution. History is on Indy's side with this, for what it is worth. Whenever teams do well running one week, the Colts have a knack for fine tuning themselves, coming in the next week, and stoning the opponent's offense.
G: What do you feel the Colts need to do this Sunday to leave the Metrodome with a victory?
BBS: Obviously, Minnesota's running attack must be destroyed. Not stopped. Not kinda slowed down. Peterson, Taylor, and the other backs must be hit, knocked back, and stoned at the LOS. Tarvaris Jackson must then be forced to throw the ball. Key to this strategy is the Colts offense controlling the game, scoring TDs in the red zone and getting an early lead. If Jackson is forced to throw, and the running game obliterated, he will committ turnovers. And things will snowball from there. This will not be easy, but it is the tried and true strategy the Colts have used for years. Peyton Manning should be more comfortable, and he will likely stress the importance of running the ball. Minnesota will attack Indy's interior offensive and defensive lines, and it is up to the players in those positions to respond. Hook the chin strap and earn your six figures, or you're gone. that was the message sent this week.
We will see who responds. Look for big days from Manning, Sanders, and possibly Tamme. It should be a great game all-around, because both these teams are good.
Thanks to BigBlueShoe for taking the time to answer these questions, and be sure to keep checking out Stampede Blue over the course of the next couple of days as we lead up to what should be the best game on the Week 2 schedule.