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FOA 2010-The Defense

Every year, the Football Outsiders publish their guide to the new season.  The Football Outsiders 2010 Almanac went on sale yesterday, and is the second most important book that a Colts fan can buy this summer.  Every serious football fan ought to give it a look.  All week, I’ll be reviewing the book to share some of the great insights they have into the Colts.  Today: the defense.

The Outsiders did not think kindly of the Colts defense in 2009, especially the defensive tackles.  They said of Muir and Johnson:

By Week 10 of 2009, Antonio Johnson and Daniel Muir had settled in as the starting tackles, but the results left a lot to be desired. Johnson’s average play came further downfield than any other defensive tackle in the league, and Muir was hardly much better. The Colts are obviously looking for more push here.

The Outsiders also didn’t like the move to resign Brackett, although in defense of the team, it was a move for “now” in a capless environment.  If Brackett plays well this year and/or next, then the move worked.  In two more seasons, Angerer should be ready sto step in.

If history is any indication, the Colts will regret that deal. We used the FO defensive similarity scores system to look for the ten players coming off three-year spans most similar to Brackett’s last three seasons. Out of the ten players most similar to Brackett, only Derek Smith was still starting three years later (although Keith Brooking could join him this season, as could Gerald Hayes in 2011). Three of the top ten — Al Wilson, Ian Gold, and Marvin Jones — never played again. Brackett weighs just 235 pounds, much less than Wilson or Jones, making him one of the smallest inside linebackers in the league. He’s also 30 years old. There are only so many times a body that small can withstand the violent collision of an NFL play.Despite his talent, the end for Brackett will likely come sooner rather than later.

FOA 2010 is loaded with more observations (like calling Lacey and Powers performances “amazing”), but I don’t want to spoil the book for you.  FOA 2010 is 617 pages long.  It’s chock full of informative and insightful writing, sprinkled with some humor as well.  I cover FOA each year for the following reasons:

1.  I love the analysis that FO does.  To be clear, there is another website called Pro Football Focus.  They do interesting, but highly suspect individual player rankings.  The Football Outsiders are different.

2.  FOA is the best preseason read available.

3.  It’s July and I’m ready to talk football, and this is the only way to do it without feeling like I’m just recycling points we’ve already beat into the ground for months.

For the record, I get nothing for promoting this book.  I buy my copy just like everyone else.  I do have an interview pending on their site about Blue Blood (I’ll be in the Walkthrough column in a couple of weeks-cue happiness for Bobman), but there has never been any quid pro quo.  I talk about FOA 2010 simply because I believe in the product.   So, do yourself a favor and pick FOA 2010 today.