A whole herd of Colts struggled with fairly major injuries last year and during the off-season, and many of them are poised to come back to the field presumably in a better state of health when the team finally reports for training camp. Here are some of the key Colts who should be available to give the Colts an early boost:
Peyton Manning, QB
Manning’s neck problems have been well-publicized over the last couple of months, and he is still a wild card at this point. If completely healed, then he may be more comfortable, and productive, than he was last year, when he favored the neck all season. If not, well, hopefully the Patriots won’t represent the AFC in the Indy Super Bowl.
Joseph Addai, RB
Addai missed half of last season with a nerve problem in his neck, but he should be ready to go for 2011. That is, if he re-signs with the Colts.
Dallas Clark, TE
Clark’s 2010 ended with wrist surgery, but he seems to be progressing well in his rehab. A healthy Clark completely opens up other options for the offense, so a strong return is vital to success this year.
Austin Collie, WR
Collie was decimated by concussions last year, and it has yet to be seen how his confidence will hold up when he returns. Even if he’s steady, a big hit could land him on the sidelines again.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR
Gonzalez was a solid target before two years’ worth of knee troubles sapped his playing time and productivity. He looks to be ready for camp, but he may not figure prominently in the offense right off the bat.
If all, or most, of these guys are ready to roll out of the gate, then the offense might be able to get in sync fairly quickly. If not, then it could be dismal start to the season. In either case, there will still be questions to answer on the offensive line and on defense.