Recap of the Bill Polian Show: December 19, 2011

Brett Mock recaps the weekly Bill Polian radio show. This week Polian compliments the fans and explains that the Colts could use a talent infusion at all positions except maybe the offensive line and running back.


Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian follows up the Colts first win of 2011 with his weekly radio show. Host Bob Lamey, the Voice of the Indianapolis Colts, asks questions and takes calls from listeners to pick the mind of the long-time Colts executive. Even though the Colts halted their 13-game regular season slide with a 27-13 victory, some difficult questions still face the franchise as it plans for the 2012 NFL Draft and a new season. Polian had the opportunity to discuss some of those topics and provide some insight into how decisions will be made regarding the team’s future. Enjoy the transcript.

  Comments Regarding the Colts win over the Titans:

Colts ran the ball and ran it well. Donald was the story offensively. Set a Colts record for longest run from scrimmage. Sooner or later, if you run it long enough you will break a big play. It came to fruition Sunday against a very good defense. Mookie ran Johnson down from the backside in the game on one occasion and it takes a great effort [to accomplish that]. Polian states that Pat Angerer deserves to make the Pro Bowl but he doubts anyone on the Colts will this year. So many times Chris Johnson had to run backwards, and that allows the safeties and others to make plays on the ball.

Comments Regarding How to Generate a Pass Rush:

The likelihood of defensive tackles getting tackles is small because they get double-teamed most of the time. You want penetration from the tackles. Inside pressure on the pass rush really creates the pass rush. The single-blocked player on the inside of the defensive line has to win and get pressure on the quarterback. That allows the defensive ends to have more success and it allows the linebackers and secondary to come up and clean up plays.

Thoughts on the Significance of the Win:

No one wants to be a historical footnote by losing every game. 1-15 and 2-14 teams happen every year. The Colts were 3-13 in Polian’s first year in Indy. You don’t want to write your name in the history books for the wrong reason. The most important thing from the win is it validated all of the important work the players and staff have done all season long. They have never backed off or let up. Caller: Winning has to be good, especially for rookies who haven’t won one. Polian: Absolutely. Few teams have the opportunity to win often and get into the playoffs continually. Patriots are an example of it. The way the team has fought and battled, it was gratifying to see the team win. The Colts have high expectations for the team but this year is closer to the norm of how the NFL typically goes. There are times when you get off of a plane and you look back and really don’t like your team, as a manager. And other times you really do like your team and I really like this team. I feel good for them.

Comments Regarding Colts Fans:

The crowd has been the same way as the players/staff. They’ve never backed off, have rarely booed, have supported the team week in and out. Can’t say enough about the fans. Polian knows the players and coaches feel the same way too. People come up and say hang in there in public. The mark of true fans. They [Colts fans] are amongs the greatest fans in any sport.

Comments Regarding the Colts Future at Running Back:

Caller: Curious about thoughts on Don Brown taking Addai’s starting spot next year. Polian: A lot depends on how the offense is constructed. We now have a fullback, which is not something we have had before. Blocking is different and holes are different. Joe will get used to that. Delone Carter is the most comfortable of all three with that system. If we stay with that construct, and I believe we will, we will have to see how it develops. The NFL is a three back system. You should use all three. The Colts have been an exception through all the years in the “Peyton offense,” if you want to call it that. Lamey wants to know if the fullback will stay or go when the team is entirely healthy. Polian says the Colts will most likely stick with a fullback.

Discussion on the Players’ Response to the Win:

Caller: Why did the Colts seem so smug after the game? Polian: I don’t know that they were smug and they certainly were not sad. They were really really happy. I think they were exhausted. Certainly the defensive guys were exhausted. They played 75 plays and that is 20 more than they’re used to. Lamey: One player who was smiling was Reggie and he loves to win more than anything else in the world. It’s a different feeling in the building. . . It was especially good for the holidays.

Go Further Player of the Game: Donald Brown Questions Regarding the Colts Future at Quarterback:

Will Peyton Manning be a Colt next year? Polian: I don’t know the answer to that. There are so many variables involved it is impossible to tell at this time. Can’t give you a yay or a nay.

Question Regarding Where the Colts want to Upgrade:

Caller: One position you would like to upgrade? Defense has been bad, needed a new coordinator a long time ago.

Polian: I think we need an infusion of talent at every position but offensive tackle. Young talent in Castonzo and Ijalana. Virtually every other position can use big play talent. 3rd down talent, get sacks. We’re in pretty good shape at running back. Game breakers in any area would be good.

Respectively disagree regarding the defensive coordinator scenario. We changed three weeks ago because management has not been happy with the results. Doesn’t mean Coyer was a bad person but he wasn’t the right fit. Murphy took over and the defense is back to where we want it to play.

One of the things that was important to us in bringing in Dungy was getting his defensive expertise. I wouldn’t change Dungy’s defensive expertise for that of any defensive coordinators, perhaps in the history of the league.

This defense is never going to lead the league statistically. The two most important statistics are points and turnovers. The defense was plus 2 against the Titans and the score was 27-13. The Colts defense is much like the Detroit Lions and Tennessee Titans.

A world of respect for Wade Phillips. He can go into a situation and take the existing talent and build upon it. If you say to me, “would you like to have Wade Phillips”… absolutely. Dom Capers… if you want a 3-4 pressure package, no man does a better job of succeeding in the 3-4 pressure package. Dungy, Phillips, and Capers are three of the best defensive minds in history. We had one of those three. I don’t think you can argue with the results, or the way we play.

Up until yesterday we had not played a complete game all year. We had been getting better and playing well in the second half. You can argue that maybe the 3-4 is better statistically, maybe the 3-4 pressure package is better at getting pressure, or maybe you like it more, but the defense is the way it is and with the personnel the team has is the best option.

Lamey: People don’t realize that yards affect defensive rank a lot. You can give up 400 yards a game and no points and rank low or last on defense.

Caller: No secret the entire team was built around Peyton Manning, defense with lead, offensive line blocking for the pass. With the draft, do we trust Manning is going to be back and continue as organized or look elsewhere? If we don’t get the first pick, and Luck is not coming out, is there a QB worth taking?

Polian: Many of the quarterbacks the gurus are talking about are not going to declare until January 15. So we don’t talk about them.

Disagree with the idea that the defense is built to play with the lead. Last year, the team led the league in fourth quarter comebacks. The defense is built to play with speed and aggression and to take away the big play. Which is not measured adequately statistically.

There is no doubt in my mind moving forward in the modern NFL, that the passing game is dominant. No matter what kind of offense you use. You must somehow create big plays in the passing game b/c it is much harder to create big plays in the running game. That isn’t going to change.

Numerous ways to skin a cat. New England is the only team that is up there with the Colts in the past 10-12 years. Bottom line: the two offenses are similar. Would you say that is the right way to go? I am not sure.

Green Bay is very explosive and a different kind of offensive. Giants and Baltimore have good records and differently focused offenses. We need young, explosive playmakers. Once we get those guys on board and add them to what we have now — a very good necleus — we will make those decisions.

Caller: Angerer did a hell of a job. LSU kick returner — Matthews — we need a returner bad. He is a good defensive back too.

Polian: He is only a sophomore so he isn’t close to coming into the NFL yet to my knowledge. You’re a good judge of talent I’ll give you that.

Comments Regarding the Thursday Night Game Against Houston:

Polian: Congratulations to Houston for winning the division. I think Wade Phillips is the biggest difference for that team. Huge plus for them. Concerned about the short week. Tough and a short roster due to injury. Practice this week will be more of a walk-through tempo and pace — won’t be out in pads at all. Really only have two days of practice because the players are off today and they deserve it. Houston runs more than they pass it, which is a rarity in the NFL. TJ Yates is similar to Matt Schaub — mobility and accuracy — four years of football at NC. He can operate the offense quite well. The running backs are what they are. Arian Foster and Tate is the toughest challenge, keep it in check. If we can do that, we will be halfway there. The other thing is we have to limit the big plays in the kicking game, it seems like they get one every game. If we can keep them check in the kicking game, limit big plays, and stop the running game we give ourselves a chance. In truth, meeting a team like this on a short week is a tall order.

It is worth pointing out an interesting dichotomy between Polian’s prior opinions about attempting to make NFL history with an undefeated season and his comments regarding going winless. There are important differences, of course, in that going winless does not carry any playoffs/championship baggage. Still, I’m sure it will be discussed or mentioned by members of the media and in the Colts blogosphere. I look forward to tuning in next week. Follow us on Twitter at @coltsauthority if you would like to follow the show live.