Recap of the Bill Polian Show: December 26, 2011

Brett Mock recaps the weekly Bill Polian radio show. This week, Polian credits Coach Caldwell for offensive changes and defensive coordinator Mike Murphy for getting the team back to the Dungy-2 defense.

 

Each week, Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian holds 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 won their second game in a row in exciting fashion over division rival Houston, 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, and how to build a successful franchise. Enjoy the transcript.

Introductory Comments Polian opened the show discussing Christmas with host Bob Lamey. Lamey joked about a story that would make Mrs. Polian unhappy. Polian apparently got his grandson a plastic dart/pellet gun for Christmas and was getting ambushed throughout the day.

Christmas is a time to be thankful and can’t thank the fans enough. To stay behind us, and come out when nothing but pride to playfor speaks volumes. That fans have been loyal. The players responded to it and you could see that [on Thursday].

Comments Regarding the Colts Win Over the Texans

Another fourth quarter comeback by a defense that is “built to play with the lead.” All cliches aside, fans were great and great job by the defense. Played really good defense for four weeks — from New England on. Hasn’t showed up on the scoreboard until the last two weeks but anyone who knows football could see it coming. We flew to the ball, we limited their gains — they got some 30 yards run and we would rather they not get those — but they were 30 yard runs instead of 70 yard touchdowns runs.

Lamey:

Lots of yards but only one TD. Polian: That’s right, it’s all about points and turnovers. We harassed the quarterback. Good job with punting and coverage units. Credit to Orlovsky and the offense for getting things going when they had to. Third down defense allowed one first down out of 10 attempts and that was on a pass that bounced twice, including off of Bethea’s back.

Polian:

The whole performance is really what this team is all about. Grittiness, toughness. Donald Brown again stepping up and playing well Reggie, Garcon, when they had the opportunities to make plays, they made them. No one has ever swept us in the division, going to give it our best shot [keeping that streak alive]. Regarding Wayne’s TD catch for the win — great throw, great catch. Took a big hit and bounced right back up.

Lamey:

Field position. Won that battle much of the night.

Polian:

Yes we did. Really important to make sure you win the position battle [with a injury depleted roster]. Haven’t had to worry about that for a long time. Credit to McAfee for having a great game.

Caller Questions Caller:

Out of all the players who the team has picked up and had on the practice squad or brought onto the team, who has a good chance to stick next year?

Polian:

Anderson, Brayton, Sims, both full backs have been really good. Coach Caldwell reconfigured the offense. Hines had a good night. Those guys come to mind right off the bat. Scott Lutrus special teams really good pick up. AJ Edds is a really good pick up, may not play this week. Of all the moves we’ve made, the vast majority have panned out. Including Orlovsky. Next year’s roster remains to be seen. Salary cap is a part of the issue there. Scouting service suggests the team is much better than the record indicates. The last two games are probably evidence. Ran across some statistics today that were fairly interesting to tell us where we’ve been and where we’re going. Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are both top 25 receivers. Only 6 teams have two. New England, New Orleans, Detroit Atlanta, NYG, and Indianapolis. There are only eight rushers with a higher YPR than Donald Brown. Despite the fact that we’ve struggled on offense, we do have performers there who statistically — over the course of the season — who have performed well. With continued improvement could get better.

Caller:

If we win, and lose top pick, would you consider drafting RGIII and consider another hard-hitting player like Bob Sanders.

Polian:

Not without two number one picks [could we get RGIII and another Sanders] laughs . Very lucky to get Bob. I don’t know that we’re going to draft second if we win [in Jacksonville]. League has not said. We would consider a mobile quarterback, yes. I think every QB coming out this year is mobile — the vast majority of them are mobile. As to Bob Sanders. Sanders was considered a solid mid-level Round 1 pick. We were drafting low. Everyone is talking about the team drafting specific players. Moral of the story. In late March, the doctor’s walked in to talk to us about players we really liked leading up to the draft. They knew we were high on Sanders but the doctors reported that he failed his physical — many doctors in the league would not pick him due to a foot issue and said you can’t draft him. We have a foot specialist, fortunately, and he was able to figure out after research that he could fix Bob’s foot to play in time. We were able to move down in the draft twice and realized he was off of team’s draft boards. The moral of the story, don’t expect to draft anyone. Go through the process and make sure every base is covered because you never know what a player may or may not be like. What some guru is saying now may be 100% false/nullified come March/April. You don’t just quit, you find a way to get good players. The answer, would we take another Bob Sanders? In a heartbeat.

Go Further Player of the Game: Reggie Wayne Caller:

Why throw long to Reggie Wayne?

Polian:

Had to stretch the field, lots of man coverage. Loosens up the defense and helps short routes open up.

Caller:

Orlovsky did a really good job directing the offense and the defense did well.

Polian:

I agree. Dan’s come a long way. Learned the offense. Stays within himself. Takes care of the football. The defense has really turned it up. It’s nice to see those guys get rewarded for their efforts.

Caller:

I know the team is not likely to switch to a 3-4 and with Pat Angerer playing so well, and you mentioning he should probably go to the Pro Bowl, can Brackett move to outside linebacker? Along those lines, Brackett has a $7 million bonus, if you trade or cut a player — is the remaining bonus money a cap hit that season?

Polian:

We are back to the original Tony Dungy version of this defense. It would be possible to move Angerer to WILL and put Brackett back at Mike. Pat played SAM a year ago and WILL. I’m confident Pat can play at any three of the positions. It’s also true that we drafted him to play Mike. He has played outside linebacker. WILL would probably be the position you want for him because that’s the impact position. Mentioned not farming on Murphy’s land. Regarding the bonus money. Waive, trade, or cut a player before before June 1, the entire bonus would hit the salary cap for that year. If after June 1, 3.5 million that year and 3.5 million the following year. The June 1 Rule.

Caller:

Seems like offenses have big tall fast guys [receiving options]. Do the Colts have big tall fast types on the roster now and do you have eyes on those in draft?

Polian:

You’re referring to what we call the athletic TE. We have two, Tamme/Clark. Clark is shorter but Tamme is right up there with the Saints Jimmy Graham, including in speed. It’s interesting that your question occurs now when we’ve been criticized for drafting TEs who can’t block and now other teams are following suit and that is what colleges are producing. Clark’s numbers haven’t been as high with new QBs. Clark’s status for this week is touch and go.

Caller:

Thanks for a decade of leadership. Season ticket holder. Anchor position – 18 of them you talked about at a speech. Has that altered since your speech?

Polian:

Main cogs on winning NFL team are basically third down positions. QB, DE, CB, WR, RB, DT (who can rush), S, C are premier positions. Have to have top flight guys. Kicker is another but you can acquire him differently than the other positions. Over time the only thing that has really changed is at S — big-hitting, powerful playing safeties like Sanders/Polamalu. With new rules, that may change over time. We have basically had All Pro or close to All Pro players at those positions. Freeney, Mathis, Bethea, Sanders, Saturday… if you’re able to fill those spots, you can achieve success. Not just one position. I give short-shrift to people in the media who think QB is all you need. Football is the ultimate team game. Basketball, Larry Bird says if you have three great players you can go a long way. Baseball if you have great pitching. Football requires both sides of the ball.

Caller:

Jacob Lacey is a physical corner, good corner. In the past he has struggled. Maybe a Ronnie Lott move to safety?

Polian:

The answer to that would be “no” because cornerback is really a very important position – especially in the Dungy defense which we’re now playing all hog. Which is part of the reason I think Lacey has played better for the last few weeks. He’s been doing a great job instinctively and physically coming up against the run. He plays big but he isn’t very big. Courageous, tough, and hard-nosed and turned his season around over the last five weeks. He needs to stay at corner and continue getting better. If he continues to play well and get better, we have ourselves a really good corner.

Caller:

Polian, you have the most diverse way to go through struggles like this. Best piece of information to help through these times? Respect you for that and do a good job and have success. Dungy defense was really good in Tampa Bay but you say it’s okay if the defense is not top 20 now. Why?

Polian:

Answer to Tampa 2 defense is that, first of all we’re now playing what we played while Tony was here. Good enough to take us to two Super Bowls. Second, the statistics don’t do much. The stats are turnovers and points, and those have improved dramatically. Joe Paterno said tough times don’t last, tough people do. So you have to persevere and keep doing the right things and those times will pass.

Very important things were said regarding where Polian feels the team is currently and the changes that have been made that have contributed to a drastic defensive turnaround. It was very clear that Polian gives new defensive coordinator Mike Murphy a great deal of deference in making defensive decisions. It is also clear that he chose Murphy in no small part because he intended to see the Colts defense return to a truer “Dungy defense” like it was prior to the move from Meeks to Coyer. It is also worth noting that although some have used Polian’s comments regarding third down positions to suggest that he is tipping his hand regarding the players or positions he might be targeting in the upcoming draft, listening to the show live it seemed clear that his comments were much more anecdotal. Beyond that, almost every position is mentioned in his answer so, I don’t see much information to glean other than that he thinks every position is important in its own way. Although Polian answered a caller question regarding bigger/fast guys on offense with a nod to the athletic tight ends like Clark and Tamme — who have played important roles in the success of the Colts offense — I think he missed the direction the caller was going. The question the caller was really try to ask was regarding bigger and faster receivers like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson, etc. That was my impression. It’s also worth noting that his response regarding the athletic tight ends is absolutely accurate — more and more teams are going that direction, especially successful ones. Finally, it was interesting that Polian credited Caldwell with making the offensive changes. Remember that Caldwell was the Colts quarterback coach prior to his move to head coach but it’s still interesting that Clyde Christensen was not even mentioned in the comment regarding offensive changes. I don’t “read into” the absence of Christensen to have a bigger meaning necessarily, but I think it’s worth noting. Follow us on Twitter at @coltsauthority if you would like to follow the show live each week. Be sure to visit and sign up and ColtsAuthority.com this week. The site goes live January 1!

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