Championship Pigskin

One of the most unexpected benefits of the Peyton Manning era has been the general elevation of the IQ of the average Colts fan.  Indy fans watch more games and read more than they used to, and it has generally elevated the level of debate.  Back in the day, Demond and I used to bemoan the general idiocy of the Horseshoe hearty.  After a loss to Baltimore in 2001, I actually heard fans on the radio suggest benching Peyton to get a better look at whatever clown was the backup.  Seriously.  Colts fans were that stupid/drunk. 

Honestly, it amazes me that we don’t get more crazies around here.  In general, none of the regular commenters or emailers would qualify as idiots (JC excepted, of course…but he doesn’t count).  I realize that most of the mouth breathers are too busy hanging around ESPN.com and foxsports.com to risk coming over here and be exposed as retards.  But, if you doubt that the loonies are still out there, check out this insane collection of clowns.  Kuharsky asked the question:  How would you change the Colts?  The answers were collectively the largest pile of crap gathered in one place this side of the elephant pen. 

I spent the last day trying to ignore them, but I still went to bed with arguments churning in my head.  I can hold my peace no longer.   I must respond in order to nearly every one of them.  It’s a personality defect; I’m sorry.
Watch this and you’ll understand (language NSFW)

1.  The one thing I wish they’d change would be a bit more transparency with fans and media. It’s easy
for fans to get frustrated when we don’t really understand the mindset
of the organization and sometimes I think the people in the
organization refrain from sharing their ideas simply because they don’t
think the fans will understand. This can be agonizing at times like
last year when the Colts lose in the playoffs in the first round and
lose to the same team they’ve lost to several times in the past several
years and the only thing we here is “We need to keep doing what we do.”
For once, I’d like to hear “We screwed up and we’ll need to change
something.” No one likes to admit when they’re wrong, but it really
hurts the fans (or at least me) when we only get one Super Bowl in 10
years despite “doing everything right.”

Wow.  First this guy is upset about “only one Super Bowl in the last 10 years”.  He seems to forget that 7 years ago the Colts fired their coach and installed a whole new system.  Beyond that, Polian does explain things every week on his radio show, which was so transparent that they had to stop streaming it because the media was starting to listen.  I’m sorry that this guy wants to hear “We screwed up and we’ll need to change something”.  I’m not sure when, if ever, that would have been an appropriate response.  What people like this want to hear is something to make them feel better, rather than the truth.  The truth is that most football games between good teams are won and lost on the bounce of the ball.  Changing just because the ball didn’t bounce your way doesn’t make sense.

2. I’d like to see some explosiveness on our team, in both the offense
and the special teams. Too often it seems like the Colts thrive on
these brilliantly planned, methodical drives, but every once in a while
I’d like to see a deep threat linger with a speedster wideout (Wayne is
many things but he is not a true home run threat. The two long TD
passes I can remember with him were fluky, the one this year in the SD
where Peyton caught the defense napping, and the same thing in SB 41).
We have a dominant and great offense, but the problem is it takes a bit
to get going. We don’t have an RB who can break the long run, just a
few who can get us the 4 yards most of the time. Nor do we have the
wideout who can get 30 yards deep before the pocket collapses on
Peyton. We don’t need the deep pass as much as we need fewer LB’s and
DB’s clogging the windows of the passing lanes.

 

Hmm, so this guy wants an ‘explosive WR’.  This is a classic case of not paying attention.  The Colts were bad on deep balls all THIS season.  We’ve endlessly debated the reasons why:  Peyton’s knee, a lack of timing, lousy pass protection, WRs dropping balls, Marvin losing a step.  Saying that Reggie Wayne isn’t capable of catching deep balls…well that’s just bizarre.  How about wishing for a line that gives Manning time to set up and throw, or wishing for a solid offseason with no surgery so he can be on the same page with the wideouts?

3. I’d like to see the Colts draft a DT in the first round, and try
something different with the offense for once, like a 2 WR, 2 RB, 2 TE
set instead of the 3 WR set they use constantly.
Defenses know what the
Colts are going to do. When they execute perfectly, they can do it
anyway, but they need to come up with something different to use as
well. It was painfully obvious that the single back set did not work for
the running game last year, so try a power running formation. If you
gain 5 yards on 1st down instead of 2, that gives you a lot more
flexibility.

Ok, so this guy apparently hasn’t paid any attention for the past season.  He advocates two things:  1. taking a DT in round one.  Polian has said repeatedly, that he’d love to take a DT, but all the good ones are gone by the end of round one.  2.  This guy wants the Colts to run the Darrell Reid offense more?  He thinks that it will generate 5 yards a play on run downs?  WOW.  Again, this is classic ‘stupid person thinking’.  Instead of recognizing the Colts line was a mess, his solution is to blame the running backs (always a mistake) and formations. Raise your hand if you think the Reid O would generate 5 yards a run on first down.  No?  No one?  Bueller?  

4. The Colts need more creativity in play calling. The basic tenet of
football is that a defense can’t effectively stop an offense from
getting 3.34 yards on a run play without blatantly risking giving up 6
points.  Bill Polian has publicly stated that the statistics he builds
his team around are turnover differential and pass yards per attempt,
and this is extremely effective until you come across a critical 3rd
and 3 in the playoffs and the opposing defense guesses pass. The Colts
never run the ball 10 straight times and they never pass 10 straight
times; if they were willing to do that they might keep defenses from
trying to guess.

Uh, the Chargers guessed pass because the Colts couldn’t run on 3rd and 3.  They had already tried several times in that game without result.  Did this guy really just suggest running on 10 straight downs?  What is this? Tecmo Bowl?

5.  Instead of drafting the best available player overall, how about
drafting the best available player only on defensive.
The Colts will
have a top 10 ranked offense going into next season with Manning being
healthy, so adding key 1st and 2nd round defensive players in the draft
would be very welcoming.

(Shaking my head)  Class would anyone like to field this one?  My blood pressure can’t take it.

6.  I’d love to see increased stability in the LB corps. Over the years, we’ve seen great linebackers like Mike Peterson, Cato June, David Thornton,
and now Freddy Keiaho (who may or may not be “great,” but certainly
capable) leave Indy and sign lucrative deals elsewhere. If we could
re-sign a few of our LB mainstays (like we did with Brackett), I feel
like we’d be stouter against the run and the short/mid-range passing
game.

Uh, the Colts are awesome in the short/mid-range passing game (as long as Brackett is healthy).  The answer to this is contained in the question. If the Colts keep putting together a string of viable linebackers…why should they resign them?  This yahoo forgot to mention the best one of the bunch to leave…Marcus Washington.

7. Why is everyone so quick to complain about the Colts’ defense while
praising the offense. By no means is Indy’s defense stifling, but it
does exactly what it is designed to do: bend, don’t break. Indy has
ranked very well in defensive pts/game the past two years(7th in 2008,
1st in 2007), a huge jump from 23rd in the Super Bowl season. I agree a
big run stuffing DT would be nice, but we don’t need somebody like
Albert or the Williams’, just somebody a little bigger.

Ok, here’s a reasonable fan.  I agree.  The Colts need a run stuffing DT.  We all agree.  Polian agrees.  The problem is the curse of Corey Simon has wiped out six DTs since 2005 (Simon, Reagor, McFarland, Pitcock, Johnson, McCargo).  This guy gets a pass though.  His answer was at least accurate.

8.  To be fair, BP has tried to address the d-line size issue yet has run
into some bad luck..Simon, Sweet Pea Burns was just a bust, Pitcock
suddenly retiring, Ed Johnson
being dumb again. I’d like some more size but the linebackers thing is
an issue that bothers me as well. Peterson, Washington, Thorton,
June…all have been pro bowlers who the Colts let walk away (Yes, I
realize June is a 10 as a pass defender and a 0 on run support but he
did start for the team that won it all). I just think there has to be a
better solution than letting guys walk…

Wow, so this guy starts out smart, but then gets back into whining about the linebackers.  Are people really upset because we let Cato June go?  Really?  Because he just got cut…

9.  I equate the Colts to a college team. Its filled with
seniors and freshman and no middle class. Those are the ones you need
for good depth. And with the Colts you either become a senior or let go
when its time to become a junior. I wouldn’t mind seeing colts let the
high price guys go and bring in 2 or 3 others for same price
.

Hmmm.  Which high price guy should go?  Here’s a list of the Colts top 7 paid players.  You let me know which one to cut:

Manning, Freeney, Sanders, Wayne, Mathis, Clark, Hayden.

Idiot.

10.   If I had to change one thing, it would
be to adopt a more west-coast style offense
. The O-line can’t forever
rely on Peyton’s ability to deftly move around the pocket to avoid
sacks. More three-step drops and quick passes might see Anthony
Gonzalez become one of the best possession receivers in the game.

What?

11. I would like to see the Colts not rest their starters the last week(s)
of the season just because their playoff seed is set
. They did it every
year under Tony Dungy except for one, they year they had to play every
game to get the 3 seed; they won the Super Bowl that year. The year
they started 13-0, they rested guys for 2-3 weeks and threw off the
timing and rhythm of the offense. Same thing happened this year. I want
to see Meeks play them every week this year.

Ok, we’ll ignore the fact that he thinks Ron Meeks is the new head coach of the Colts.  It’s an easy mistake to make.  All black assistants look alike, right? Can anyone explain to me how “the same thing happened this year”?  Do people even watch the games?

Now in all fairness to the fans of the Colts, one or two guys on the list had some brains.  One guy said everything was fine, but he wanted a new mascot.  I also suspect that most Colts fans recognized this as a bogus question for this franchise.  I usually participate in Kurahsky’s stuff (just to get some pub for the blog…which has worked), but passed on this because there is nothing I would change about the Colts. 

Yes, I would love for players not to get hurt.  There is nothing that can be done about that.

I would love for Indy to field a credible DT.  They’ve tried and met with the craziest bunch of dead ends imaginable (chronic fatness, car wreck, blown knee, weed, 23 old wants to retire, spontaneous human combustion).  I don’t fault the franchise for that.

I want the O-line to play better this year.  They drafted a ton of linemen last year, and they resigned Saturday. Not much more can be done.

Ultimately, I like most Colts fans realize that the playoffs have become a crap shoot.  The Colts have had the best team in the NFL one time in the past 7 years.  They’ve won one Super Bowl (in a different year).  Along the way, they’ve had some bad luck (robo-punter, Freeney, Nick Harper’s wife going all stabby on him), some bad performances (O-line and Vandy in 2005, D-line, Kenton Keith, and 88 in 07), and a little glory (2006).  Mostly…I wouldn’t change a thing. 

At this point, my biggest fear is that there has been too much change.  At least I can still count on fans to be stupid.  Some things never change.

Demond Sanders:  What brings out the worst in us is the idea that there is some quick-fix solution that Polian and Manning just haven’t thought of yet.  Regular readers know that unlike 95% of other NFL fans in that we like and respect our team’s management.  We don’t expect a Super Bowl appearance every year.  We expect good decisions, but we know that even consistently great decision-making guarantees you nothing.     

I think Kuharsky’s question is an okay idea.  But the whiny answers it was bound to generate deserve to be mocked.  In a sport where there is lots of gray area most of those answers managed to be conclusively wrong.  What would I change?  I’d go back in time and convince a teenaged Mike Scifres to take up soccer, rugby, or Australian rules football.  If that doesn’t work for you I’d suggest bringing in Edgerrin James for 2009.  The correct and boring answer, as most of you have pointed, is more depth on the O and D line.  So there you go Kuharsky:  “The Colts linemen weren’t as good as a lot of the others in the league.  Especially the ones I saw playing in the Pro Bowl.  My general philosophy would be to try and change that.”

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