Enemy Intel: How'd the Colts do in the draft?

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Enemy Intel: How'd the Colts do in the draft?

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

The Colts' draft approach is the inverse of the Patriots. They wait for their turn to come. They take a player. They wait for their turn to come. They take a player. And while their overall team-building approach has been good enough to make them a quasi-dynasty - or at least the greatest team in the history of the AFC South - the draft hasn't been a strong suit, as evidenced by the four drafts preceding this year's.The best players they've taken in that span were Jacob Tamme, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon and Clint Session. Tamme, Collie and Garcon's resumes to date have been aided by the fact Peyton Manning throws them the football. This year? Seemed very good. In the first round, the Colts took Boston College left tackle Anthony Castonzo. The Colts' offensive line has been borderline embarrassing the past two seasons. Indy allowed it to get old and brittle. They couldn't run block at all. Their protection of Manning - especially against higher-tier teams - was atrocious last season. Castonzo becomes the first offensive linemen the Colts have drafted since team president Bill Polian took over in Indy. Ironically, Polian's son Chris "ran" this draft. Indy came back in the secondround, making a deal to get up and draft Villanova offensive lineman Ben Ijalana. Castonzo will go to left guard; Ijalana becomes either a right tackle or a guard. TheColts came back in the thirdround and got Drake Nevis, a defensive tackle from LSU. Nevis is just 6-1 but he's swollen up to 308. My buddy Wes Bunting at the National Football Post loves him in a scheme like the Colts with asks for penetration from the D-line. Nevis gets off the ball fast and "violently," according to Bunting, and for a team that's also allowed 4.2, 4.3 and 4.6 yards per carry against it the past three seasons, they need D-line assistance .In the fourth round, they again went for a direct statistical need and took a running back, 5-9, 225-pound Delone Carter from Syracuse. He's a between-the-tackles guy and maybe can be the correct complement for the Colts running game that helps Donald Brown be less of a disappointment than he has been. The Colts took a corner in the sixth round, a kid named Mike Rucker from Michigan State. SUMMARYThe Colts were in decline. Manning's ability effectively masked that fact until last year. Butthe talent drain caused by age and years of unimaginativedrafting was approaching critical mass. They moved to fix that this year. Two rookie offensive linemen and an undersized but explosive defensive lineman aren't going to alter everything. But at least Indy moved to protect its asset, Manning.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

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Green has big game as Bengals dominate Dolphins 22-7

CINCINNATI -- For most of the game, A.J. Green piled up more yards than the entire Miami Dolphins offense in a virtuoso performance. As an encore, he thrilled the crowd by juggling some Florida citrus.

The Bengals receiver followed his disappointing game with a dominating one - 173 yards and a touchdown - and a Cincinnati defense that was inspired by Vontaze Burfict's return clamped down on the Dolphins for a 22-7 victory Thursday night.

The Bengals (2-2) rebounded from a 29-17 home loss to Denver on Sunday with a solid all-around game against a depleted team.

Green led the way, beating the Dolphins (1-3) on every type of route . He was upset with himself after he dropped a pivotal third-down pass and failed to make an impact against the Broncos.

"I hold myself to a very high standard," said Green, who had 10 catches. "I know what I'm capable of. Last week I didn't perform to that level. I had to refocus on a short week."

During the first three quarters, Green had 166 yards on catches while Miami had 152 total yards. The Bengals' season-long problem of stalling out near the goal line forced them to settle for Mike Nugent's season-high five field goals.

Afterward, Green and Andy Dalton appeared on the postgame show, and the receiver entertained the dozens of Bengals fans who stayed around by smoothly juggling three oranges at the interview desk.

"Any time he was one-on-one, he was able to make the play," Dalton said.

The Dolphins were missing four starting offensive linemen, two linebackers, running back Arian Foster and tight end Jordan Cameron. They had one big play - Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills - but couldn't do anything else on offense.

"We've got to get it fixed and quick, and by that I mean Monday," Tannehill said. "We're kind of in a dark spot right now. It's squarely on our shoulders."

The Bengals' defense expected to get a lift from Burfict's return. The volatile linebacker was suspended by the NFL for the first three games because of his illegal hits. He got a loud ovation when he ran onto the field during introductions wearing a baseball cap. Burfict knocked down a pass and had three tackles.

"He's amazing," end Carlos Dunlap said. "Did you see the plays he made? Those aren't plays you can coach. He came off his couch and played great. It's good to have him back."

Mostly, it was Green's show. He caught a 51-yard pass off Dalton's scramble in the first half, and had a 43-yard catch that set up another field goal in the third quarter for a 19-7 lead.

REMEMBERING FERNANDEZ

A large fan banner in the upper deck at Paul Brown Stadium honored Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died with two friends in a boat crash early Sunday near Miami Beach. The banner read: "Jose 16 Heaven's Bright."

STILL CAN'T RUN

The Bengals rushed for 77 yards and only a 2.1-yard average against the second-worst run defense in the league, one missing two starting linebackers.

SLOPPY DOLPHINS

Miami had seven penalties for 68 yards. The most egregious was by Terrence Fede, who pushed Kevin Huber to the ground after he punted in the third quarter. The penalty gave Cincinnati the ball, and the Bengals got a field goal out of it.

INJURIES

Dolphins: LT Branden Albert and C Anthony Steen were inactive with sprained ankles. Also missing were LBs Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin). C Mike Pouncey has missed all four games with a hip injury.

Bengals: TE Tyler Eifert was inactive again, contributing to the Bengals' trouble close to the goal line. He's recovering from offseason ankle surgery and returned to practice on a limited basis last week. CB Dre Kirkpatrick was inactive with a hamstring injury suffered Sunday. G Clint Boling sat out most of the fourth quarter with an injured left shoulder.

ANTHEM STATEMENTS

Stills and Dolphins safety Michael Thomas knelt with their hands over their hearts during the anthem.

FANTASY IMPACT

Tannehill was 15 of 25 for 189 yards with a touchdown, an interception, a fumble and five sacks. Dalton was 22 of 31 for 296 yards with a touchdown and a sack.

UP NEXT

The Dolphins begin a stretch of four straight home games against Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and the New York Jets.

The Bengals have a tough two-game stretch, playing Dallas and New England on the road. They're 1-5 in Dallas, dropping their last three. They've dropped their last six at New England, last winning in 1986.