The Weekly Dosage – September 27th

NFL- Colts

The Indianapolis Colts played another solid game Sunday at Denver. They controlled the game from the outset. Despite injuries, the team is moving forward and not using it as an excuse. Per usual, “no excuses, no explanations.”

4-time MVP Peyton Manning has continued to excel this season. He was 27-43 for 325 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most of those incomplete passes were throwaways due to pressure and tremendous coverage by Denver.

Anthony Gonzalez, Pierre Garcon out—no problem. The Colts continue with their next man up philosophy. Blair White, an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State was signed late last week to the active roster from the practice squad. If I was a NFL player on the outside of a roster, I would hope to join the Colts practice squad because they truly get all they can out of a player.

Austin Collie had his best game as a Colt. The 2nd-year player from BYU set career-highs in both receptions (12) and yards (171) and also had two touchdowns. Manning took advantage of that matchup.

With the Colts, they have had stellar receivers in the last decade due to great draft picks, but even more so due to Peyton Manning. One media member jokingly said, “I could grab any Broncos fan at the game and put him on the Colts offense and he would score a touchdown with Manning.” I think one of the most under-rated thing Manning does, is make everyone around him better. Pierre Garcon is not that special, Blair White is not that special…but with #18 throwing them the football, all they have to do is squeeze the pigskin in.

The offensive line remains my number one question moving forward. Charlie Johnson was out at Denver and Jamey Richard exited early with an injury. The O’ line must provide the MVP with more time and open holes for the running game. 40 yards rushing is ridiculous. Donald Brown, the backup running back should have at least 40 yards himself a game. I understand with Manning under center, you want to take advantage of his arm. But remember come playoff time, teams win with a running game.

Pat McAfee had another great game as did Adam Vinatieri. The special teams covered well and even recovered a fumble after a muffed punt return. Jacob Lacey picked off Kyle Orton and almost took it to the house. The Colts are on the road again next week, at Jacksonville.

NBA- Pacers

The NBA season begins today as teams gathered together for the first time. Monday is media day throughout the league. The Indiana Pacers gathered at Conseco Fieldhouse to take pictures, record the intro video, meet with media members, and record PSA’s.

The Pacers had one of their best offseasons drafting Paul George, Lance Stephenson and Magnum Rolle. PG and Lance signed in July. Rolle signed a two-year contract too meaning Indiana must cut one player from their roster as teams can only carry a maximum of 15 players.

This is the first time the entire team will be healthy for the first day of practice (Tuesday) so they no limitations to begin training camp. Tyler Hansbrough will hopefully be ready after playing in just 29 games last season. He is fighting a vertigo problem.

Danny Granger must emerge as the true leader of the team this season. He had a great experience this offseason playing in the World Basketball Championships with Team USA and winning a gold medal. Granger must improve defensively and take advantage of being the “face of the franchise.”

Roy Hibbert has had the best offseason Coach O’Brien says he has ever seen. Hibbert spent nearly everyday working out at Conseco Fieldhouse. He trained with Bill Walton and participated in MMA which Hibbert indicated was the hardest thing he had ever done. Big Roy has lost weight and gained muscle—he is primed for his best season yet.

Indiana Football

The Hoosier football team remains unbeaten through three games. The competition hasn’t quite been there yet but that’s exactly what Coach Lynch and the team needs. These early games provide quality warm-up wins prior to the Big Ten season. IU is looking for its sixth 4-0 start in school history and its first since 1990. Indiana is also looking for its first victory over Michigan since 1987 and its first conference-opening win since 2001.

It will not be easy, as IU hosts Michigan to Memorial Stadium for an afternoon contest (3:30). Stopping Denard Robinson and wrapping up players will be their number one priority. The defense struggled to wrap up Akron last Saturday in the win—and it will be even more challenging with a quality team like Michigan.

IU should have defeated Michigan on the road last year if it wasn’t for a couple terrible calls by the referees. I would have to believe that image remains to the players and coaching staff and may provide extra incentive after being so close last year.

The offense is outstanding with so many weapons. Ben Chappell has 9 TDs, and 0 INTs in their three games this season. The receiving core of Tandon Doss, Demarlo Belcher, Terrance Turner, and Duwyce Wilson are arguably one of the best in the country. Add to that tight ends Ted Bolser and Max Dedmond—Ben Chappell is overwhelmed with his options.

The game will not be easy this weekend with Michigan. Denard Robinson could feast on Indiana’s defense. Hopefully that won’t be the situation. Don’t count Indiana out—this is one of their best teams this decade.

Indiana Basketball

Sunday night, 6-9, 210lb Tech freshman Trey Lyles verbally committed to Tom Crean and Indiana basketball. He is just a freshman in high school this year, yet to play a game. ESPN ranks Lyles as the number one player in the 2014 class. James Blackmon Jr. verbally committed to IU earlier this month and is ranked 7th according to ESPN.

It’s certainly a step in the right director for Crean and IU basketball. Things can change and players can change their mind, but Coach Crean is delivering on his promise to take back the state of Indiana and return the program to glory. Add to that Ron Patterson and Peter Jurkin for 2012 who already verbally committed as well. It takes time to develop relationships with players. He was given time and now it is beginning to come to fruition.

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