Colts are softspoken, but remain hungry to excel
Posted: Thursday September 27, 2007 4:33PM; Updated: Thursday September 27, 2007 4:34PM
Tony Dungy was having a conversation in a hallway at the Colts' practice facility last week when a team employee came out of a door from a nearby office. As the employee approached, Dungy stopped him and appeared concerned.
"Are we too loud?" Dungy, ever courteous, asked.
The employee said no and continued walking.
That small snapshot is the essence of Dungy -- considerate, understated -- and, in some ways, the same applies to a Colts team that has quietly and without fanfare begun the defense of a Super Bowl title with a 3-0 record to sit atop the better-than-advertised AFC South.
Against the backdrop of quick starts by the New England Patriots in the AFC and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC, the Colts continue to stack win upon win with a smooth consistency. See Peyton Manning throw. See Marvin Harrison catch. Rinse and repeat.
The Colts, though, have proven to be so much more -- versatile, talented and apparently still hungry for championships. In the face of NFL parity, a possible Super Bowl hangover and several offseason questions, the Colts are playing sound and steady football in the season's early weeks. With great anticipation for their Nov. 4 tilt against New England at the RCA Dome -- a possible showdown for homefield advantage in the AFC -- the Colts are busy breaking in players at key positions and trying to build cohesion for the long haul.
During the offseason, the Colts lost their Pro Bowl left tackle, Tarik Glenn, their leading tackler in linebacker Cato June, and their four leaders in interceptions (June, Nick Harper, Mike Doss and Jason David).
How would running back Joseph Addai, who shared the load with Dominic Rhodes last year, fare with the bulk of the Colts' carries? Would another receiver emerge to complement Harrison, Reggie Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark? And how would that Colts' defense hold up?
Addai is tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns with four. Rookie receiver Anthony Gonzalez is averaging 17.6 yards a catch. The defense is ranked fifth in yards allowed per game at 286.7. Rookie left tackle Tony Ugoh and second-year linebacker Freddy Keiaho have been key contributors.