Colts getting healthy in time for the Steelers...fast facts about the Colts' 2005 season...Tony Dungy on retirment....Colts-Steelers comparisons and more!
The good news continue to roll out of Indianapolis as the team should have all of their starters healthy for the first time in almost a month. Returning to practice last week were LB Cato June, DT Montae Reagor, DE Robert Mathis, and S Bob Sanders. And on Monday, DT Corey Simon, WR Brandon Stokley, and OT Ryan Diem were all running and getting in some light work in hopes of being back in full swing by Wednesday's workouts. The Colts special teams will also get a boost by the return of defensive back Dexter Reid, who was also running on Monday. Out of the entire group, Diem's knee injury appeared to be the one most likely to keep a starter out of action. But he's been progressing well since last Thursday when he started doing some light running to test the knee.
The Colts improved substantially in the important area of penalties this season. With 94 calls going against them, they ended up tied for second as the least penalized team in the NFL. That's a nice improvement over 2004 when they finished in a tie for tenth in the category with 106.
Another area that shows the discipline of Tony Dungy's troops is their giveaway results for the season. The Colts surrendered the ball just 19 times over 16 games, 4th-best in the NFL.
Did you know? In his first four seasons as the head coach of the Colts, Tony Dungy hasn't had a season yet where the team failed to produce double-digit wins (10 or more). No other Colts coach has matched that during their first four seasons.
Tony Dungy left some doubt on the table at his Monday Press Conference when asked about how long he would continue to coach. "I always think about that at the end of the year," he said. "You hope they ask you back. That's the first thing I have learned about this, you can't assume that you're coming back. If they ask you back, you have to assess where you are. For me, it's if you still enjoy it, where you're family is and other things that you would like to do. I'm still enjoying it but we'll assess that at the end of the year. I had targeted 10 years when I started. I told a lot of people that I would be retired when I was 50, and I haven't quite made it. I always thought that 50, from the time I started at 24, would be close to where I would make a decision. I've made it farther than I thought I would."
Pittsburgh will likely be without their kickoff returner, Quincy Morgan, who suffered a high ankle sprain against the Bengals on Sunday.
Guess which college will have the most alumni on the field this Sunday when the Steelers and Colts face each other? Would you believe the University of North Carolina? Former Tar Heels who are now Colts include LB David Thornton, C Jeff Saturday, and DB Dexter Reid. Fellow NC alums who now wear the Black & Gold include K Jeff Reed, LS Greg Warren, and RB Willie Parker.
Statistically, the Colts and Steelers defenses have plenty in common. The Colts allowed 15.4 points per game versus 16.1 by the Steelers. Pittsburgh registered one more sack on the season than the Colts (47-46). Indianapolis snagged 18 interceptions versus Pittsburgh's 15.
Seven Colts are going to the Pro Bowl, but four of them were also honored with selections to the Associated Press All-Pro Team. Both QB Peyton Manning and DE Dwight Freeney were selected for the second time in their careers. But center Jeff Saturday and safety Bob Sanders were voted in for the first time. "There are a lot of great football players in the NFL, and to be called the best at your position, there's no greater honor," said Saturday.