Anybody who has read my posts knows that I am deeply critical of the Indianapolis Colts and their commitment to contracts with heavily back loaded cap ramifications. But its time to acknowledge that the 2007 Indianapolis Colts are a great team. This isn't to say that I think they are on the Patriots level (when they play I'll likely predict a 10-14 point victory for the Pats) or that they are locks to win on Monday (I'll be rooting for the Jags and I think they have a 35-40% chance). But for a team with so much money locked up in the back loaded contracts of a few players, who lost their top offensive lineman, they are doing incredibly well. I think that the performance of the Colts comes down to two things: 1. The development of players in their first four years or on their initial contracts into quality starters. By quality starter, I mean somebody who is starting games for them without creating a serious exploitable weakness at their position. Players who have not yet become UFAs are generally paid far less money than their talent would demand on the FA market. Since the Colts have to abide by the same salary cap as everybody else, they are able to use this discount to field superior talent. I'd like to know if anybody maintains stats on this, because it seems like the Colts have an enormous lead over any other NFL Franchise in this department. If so, Dungy deserves enormous credit for coaching these players up, and Polian probably deserves enormous credit for identifying these players in the first place. 2. By choosing to field a small, fast defense, the Colts are use players that aren't greatly in demand by the majority of teams which are focused more on size. This allows them to pay less for these players who, coming out of college, are already comparatively plentiful. Again savings in one area allows to Colts to increase their talent across the board. This year the Colts appear to have saved enough cap space to eat the back loading of Harrison's contract. It remains to be seen whether the Colts have sufficient depth to make it through the season. Many Football folks believe that small, fast defenders have a much greater potential to get hurt, especially against hard nosed offenses. But for the moment, I think that what the Colts have accomplished in these two areas is incredible.