There's been some discussion this week in the ColtPower forums about the possibility of Shaun Alexander ending up on the Colts after he was released by the Seahawks this week.
Alexander's sudden fall from the NFL's elite is a sad story. After a phenomenal MVP season in 2005 in which he rushed for 1,880 yards, set the NFL touchdown record with 27, and led his team to the Super Bowl, injuries have limited Alexander over the last two seasons.
He rushed for just 1,612 yards and 11 touchdowns combined in 2006 and 2007, and when Seattle signed Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett in free agency, the writing was on the wall for the Seahawks all-time leading rusher.
When the team cut him Tuesday, ESPN.com quickly reported that Alexander told teammates that both the New England Patriots and the Colts have expressed interest in possibly picking up the veteran.
Shaun Alexander a Colt? Not likely
It's widely accepted that the Colts are looking to help juice up their running game, particularly after backup Kenton Keith was arrested outside a nightclub early Sunday morning. But in this case, the team would be better served to look towards the deep running back class in Saturday's draft than take a chance on a veteran — even one with a resumé as impressive as Alexander's.
Perhaps his decline was a case of bad luck with injuries and the fact that Seattle has revamped its offensive line since appearing in Super Bowl XL, but Alexander just doesn't seem like a Colts back — he's used to being featured in a run-heavy offense and probably wouldn't enjoy being asked to block for Peyton Manning when he does get on the field behind Joseph Addai.
And, while Keith is no Marshall Faulk — or even Kevin Faulk — when it comes to catching the ball, neither is Alexander, who's never had more than 460 receiving yards in a season and has averaged just 14 catches over the last three seasons.
I asked Doug Farrar of Seahawks.net and FootballOutsiders.com for his thoughts on Alexander's decline and the prospects of him with the Colts:
"There's no doubt that Seattle's line has gone way downhill since the loss of Steve Hutchinson after the 2005 season, but age, workload and injury have conspired to rob Alexander of his most important attribute — his second-level burst," Farrar said. "At his best he was a patient runner at the line, waiting for the hope to slip through so that he could hit that second gear.
"The second gear is pretty much gone, and what's left is a runner who will have to engage in high-contact running more than he would want to, or is good for him, to put together any serious productivity. The Colts have a history of putting together good run-blocking lines in the Dungy era, but I'm not sure why any team would want to take the shot on Alexander when backs are so fungible as a rule and this draft class is so talented at the position."
Farrar suggests checking out this story at FootballOutsiders.com to read about how dependent teams are on their line blocking through a concept called Adjusted Line Yardage. "One thing ALY does is to differentiate short-burst yardage from long-breaking plays, and that's where Alexander encountered more and more difficulty through the last three seasons," Farrar said.
The wear and tear on his body, and the fact that the Colts would have to pay him significantly more than a backup, means the team would be much better served drafting a young back in the middle rounds of this year's draft and seeing if he can unseat Keith in training camp.
Count on Bill Polian to make the correct move here, which, when it comes to Alexander, is no move at all.
Just a couple of real quick items before a big NFL Draft weekend ...
PARTY TIME: For you local fans, the Colts are holding a Draft party downtown Saturday afternoon.
The "Draft Jam at the Ram" will be held at the Ram Restaurant and Brewery on Illinois St. from 1-5 p.m.
The newly selected Colts cheerleaders, as well as former Colt great Tarik Glenn, will be on hand for an afternoon of fun, with autographs and Colts prizes available during the festivities.
If you go, be sure to stop by the ColtPower.com fan forums and tell us all about it. And have fun, but not too much — it's a long time before the Colts' first selection.
WELL-DESERVED: It was announced last Friday that the Colts leadership trio of owner Jim Irsay, president Bill Polian and head coach Tony Dungy will be inducted together into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame this spring.
"The success they've had, starting with Mr. Irsay, and being able to bring the type of people they have brought in to Indiana, made them an easy choice," Indiana Football Hall of Fame President Richard Bryant told Colts.com.
It's a fitting recognition for the three, who have not only brought a Super Bowl championship to Indianapolis, but have built a team with the type of character and personality the city and all Hoosiers can be proud of. Bravo, gentlemen.
I'm still trying to track down details of the induction ceremony, which will be next month at the Hall of Fame in Richmond. Look for an update at ColtPower soon!
THREE TIMES THE FUN: Don't forget, ColtPower.com's Buy One Month, Get Two Free special runs through Monday night. Click here to take advantage of this very special subscription offer!