#1 – The staff. Mike Smith and the whole staff is basically intact from 2008…that’s a rarity for this franchise over the recent history.
#2 – They had a 2nd consecutive great draft. Jeria will make an instant impact on the defensive line and probably 3 guys from the rest of the pool will make a Harry Douglas-type impact by the end of the season.
#3 – They have tons of playmakers on offense. They didn’t need Tony Gonzalez, but he makes covering Turner, White, Norwood, Jenkins and Douglas THAT much more difficult.
#4 – Matt Ryan is really good. You are always in good shape with a top quarterback. Peyton Manning has guided Indy to 12 wins so many times it’s hard to count. Tom Brady is a winner when he is healthy. The great ones lift up the team.
#5 – Curtis Lofton will be the leader of a defense that has youth and talent on its side. Outside of John Abraham and Mike Peterson, the defense is really young, but a good young. The type that can gel and have the same core players for years.