Bye Week Report Card

The Colts are 5-0, and it's time to start getting ready for the St. Louis Rams this week. But first, check out how grades the team through its first five games of the season.


QB Peyton Manning has been on fire to begin the season. Manning has completed 133-of-181 pass attempts (73.5 percent) for 1.645 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has a 114.1 passer rating. The question was who would fill the shoes of veteran Marvin Harrison (who was released in the offseason) and rapidly-developing third-year WR Anthony Gonzalez (who was injured the Colts' season opening win over Jacksonville).

Those questions have been answered by rookie Austin Collie and second-year WR Pierre Garcon, who both have had breakout seasons so far. Of course, there's always primary WR Reggie Wayne and TE Dallas Clark to anchor everything.


Not great by any means. Indianapolis is averaging 79.8 yards per game on the ground (3.3 yards per rush). But the Colts' ground game is considerably better at this point of the season than it was at any point a year ago. Indianapolis has remained relatively injury free along the offensive line, which is a good thing. RB Joseph Addai had surgery during the offseason and has shown flashes of his rookie year experience. Rookie RB Donald Brown has been as good as advertised. On the whole, the running game remains a work in progress.


The Colts have had a pretty good job of defending the pass so far this season despite injuries to both starters at cornerback. Indianapolis' pass rush, keyed by DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, has been consistent. Freeney has a team-leading six sacks and 12 quarterback pressures this year while Mathis has 4.5 sacks and nine quarterback pressures. DT/DE Eric Foster has added five quarterback pressures. The Colts have four total interceptions, led by S Antoine Bethea's two.


Despite struggling to slow down Miami's vaunted "Wildcat" offense in Week Two, the Colts have been able to hold their own in stopping the run so far this season. Opposing teams are averaging 4.1 yards per carry and 103.2 yards per game. Still, Indianapolis' run defense has been consistently good in four of the team's five wins this season. That improvement was never more in evidence than in the Colts' Week Five win at Tennessee.


Improvement pretty much over the entire unit. Kickoff and punt coverage has improved under first-year special teams coach Larry Rychelski. Rookie P Pat McAfee has filled in admirably for former Colts P Hunter Smith, both as a punter and as a holder for placements. McAfee has also done a nice job handling kickoffs.

PK Adam Vinatieri has been bothered by a sore knee all season, but still managed to hit on six-of-eight field goal attempts this season. He will be sidelined for the next four-to-eight weeks after undergoing a second medical procedure on his knee last knee. PK Matt Stover was signed last week to take his place for however long it takes him to recover. The jury is still out on kickoff returns, which has been split between RB Chad Simpson and CB T.J. Rushing. Rushing has also handled punt returns this year.


First-year head coach Jim Caldwell has literally hit the ground running since taking over for former Colts head coach Tony Dungy and has not stopped to look back. While embracing 99.9 percent of what Dungy brought to the team in 2002, Caldwell has made this Indianapolis squad very much his own in a short amount of time. Just as quiet in coaching style as Dungy, Caldwell has been cool under pressure and has handled game management duties just fine.

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