Monday, December 24, 2007

Sit 'Em or Start 'Em?

The Colts have locked up the division and bye week. This Tennessee game only matters to the Titans. If the Colts lose, bummer. If they win, great. The Colts do not need this game. However, it will be important to keep everyone healthy and rested for the playoff game. This will involve sitting players at the right time and playing others in the right places. This is how I would run this team if I were Coach Dungy.

Peyton Manning has been the key to this team's success over the past 10 years. He is already fourth in touchdown passes for a career, and he will break almost every major passing record over the next seven or eight years. They cannot risk him getting injured. Peyton should play the entire first quarter and maybe the first series in the second. In week 2, the Titans got good pressure on Peyton. The Colts can't risk him going down. If he plays the first quarter, the Colts should be able to score 14 points which may be enough to stay in this game.

Joseph Addai should not get more than five carries. Addai is getting banged up badly. He appeared to hurt his ankle against Houston to go along with a back and shoulder injury. Kenton Keith should be able to do well enough to keep the Colts in this game.

For the receivers, Wayne should play the whole game. He is a very safe player like most Colts receivers. He does not take big hits when he can help it. His chances of getting injured should not be very high. Gonzalez can play in some places, but he did bruise his foot last week. Maybe 15 snaps for him. He is inexperienced. I would also like to see a Marvin Harrison appearance, even if it is only for one snap.

Dallas Clark should play the entire game. I would, however, avoid sending him over the middle. He seems to be getting hit harder than any other Colt. He has to play in the playoff game. Ben Utecht has been getting banged up the past two weeks. No need to play him. Bryan Fletcher should get good playing time against Tennessee.

The offensive line should get regular playing time. No one is truly hurt besides Ryan Diem, but he will probably not play at all. The offensive line needs to protect whomever is playing. They can't let anyone get injured.

The defensive line should be the same as it has been over the past two weeks. Robert Mathis and Raheem Brock can have another week to rest their injuries. Keyunta Dawson, Dan Klecko, and Quinn Pitcock will be able to get some well needed experience. Dawson and Pitcock are both rookies, so any experience is good.

The linebackers should play like it was a regular game. Tyjuan Hagler, Rocky Boiman, Clint Session, Freddie Keaiho, and Gary Brackett all should get their normal playing time. They do not have any injuries, and no one should expect them to get injured.

The defensive backs will also stay the same as last week. Antoine Bethea should not play. He is too vital to this secondary for him to miss a game against a good quarterback like Ben Roethlisberger or David Garrard. Everyone else, however, should get good playing time.

Overall, the offensive stars should see less snaps than they would on a normal game. This Colts defense should be able to shut down a bad Tennessee offense. The offense needs to score around 24 points to win. Even with the backups in, that is more than likely. This strategy should be able to keep the stars healthy and clicking for their playoff game most likely against Pittsburgh or San Diego.

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