Hello, Colts fans. It seems like forever since the team last played. Maybe that’s a good thing considering how the last game played out, but I have to admit I’ve missed the boys. A winnable game against the Jets looms next Monday, which is nice because everyone on the roster is concussed and could use the extra rest.
Let’s see what’s on your minds…
Q: How much to bribe Nate D for another Star Wars predictions? Wanna see who’s as clumsy as they are stupid.- AJ via Twitter
For those who may not understand the question, here’s a link to a previous Star Wars column. If it reads a little funky, keep in mind a couple of things: 1) It was written 9 years ago, and 2) We’ve recently changed sites, so you’re reading a new version of a really old version. I think you can still get the point though.
As for Nate, I’m not sure a bribe would work. He’s been pretty busy and has scaled back his writing for CA. One thing about a Star Wars post is it requires creativity, and to be honest, I think this version of the Colts has zapped the creativity in all of us. I know it has for me. It’s one thing to be an average team, it’s quite another to be an average team that’s also uninspiring. That’s our current Colts.
Q: Playoffs?!? Playoffs? Playoffs?!?! – Stan via Facebook
You kiddin’ me? Playoffs?! I just hope we can win a game. Another game.
God bless you, Jim Mora.
Playoffs? I’m saying there’s a chance. Their margin for error is pretty slim, and it’s that way because this team has failed to take advantage of the opportunities in front of them. The schedule for the remaining games looks like this: at NYJ, Houston, at Minnesota, at Oakland, Jacksonville. Nothing less than a division title is going to work, because the team has lost 4 games against AFC teams currently fighting for playoff spots: Denver, Houston, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh. The Colts have to go a minimum of 4-1 in order to accomplish this, and probably 5-0 to truly be safe. The strange thing is, it’s entirely possible. It’s also entirely possible they go 1-4, too.
The really sad part of it all is that the team should have a 2 or 3 game lead in the division right now.
Q: Is this the Sky Is Falling week or the All’s Good one? – AJ via Twitter
Aside from Week 1, hasn’t the sky been falling the entire season? It sure seems like it. According to Chuck Pagano, not only is the sky not falling, the team has actually went above the sky and is in outer space.
I guess this begs the question: Can you chop wood in outer space?
Q: Does Luck play this week? Or do you think we’ll have another wait? – Kimberly Anne via Facebook
Andrew is playing. He was a full go in practice today (Wednesday). I’ve had concussions before, and they’re a weird thing. Obviously, they do not affect people in the same manner. I know one of the ones I had was so strange because my train of thought was just gone. Someone could’ve asked me my full name, and once I got “Jeffrey” out I would’ve forgotten the question. It took me about 2 weeks to recover. Now imagine that kind of concussion happening to you 5 or 10 times. Eventually your recovery time would get longer and you’d wind up with permanent damage. That’s what’s so scary about concussions. I’m kind of split on this stuff. On one hand, part of me says “These guys signed up for this,” and on the other I’m thrilled to see younger guys like Tyler Varga and most recently, IU QB Zander Diamont, say, “You know what? My health is more important than a game.”
I’m extremely skeptical of how the NFL handles these injuries. They have people at each stadium who monitor every play for possible concussions. You mean to tell me no one said anything when Andrew took not just one, but two blows to the head? Was the TV monitor person not watching? Did said person let it go because Andrew didn’t get up like he’d just taken a right hook from Mike Tyson? The entire thing seemed odd to me. I’m not accusing the Colts or the league of anything. I can’t. I wasn’t on the sidelines or whatever. I’m just skeptical of the league when it comes to concussions. I think we all should be.
Q: So, what do you think it’ll take to keep next year from being a maddening season? – AJ via Twitter
Maybe an 0-5 end to the season resulting in a 5-11 record that will result in coaching/management changes? I think we all know that will not happen (the changes, not the 0-5 end).
Assuming current coaching staff/management stays intact, here’s what I’d like to see: They absolutely HAVE to address the linebacking group. I shouldn’t even need to explain why. The lack of pass rush is beyond glaring, but it goes beyond that. They don’t do well in coverage. Missed tackles have killed them. If I thought it were possible to fix in one off season, I’d suggest wiping out the entire linebacking group save for Edwin Jackson and Clayton Geathers (for the sake of it, let’s assume he’s a LB). Cris Collinsworth went bonkers over a Roethlisberger completion to a TE on 3rd down last week, failing to mention Erik Walden was trying to cover the guy. That was just Collinsworth being Collinsworth, but any QB worth his salt sees that match up and immediately goes to that receiver. That’s where the Colts are. Blow the group up except for the two I mentioned.
On the offensive side, they have to reign in what they’re trying to do. We all love the deep passes, but they can’t keep asking Andrew to take deep drops like they’ve been doing. The last drive at the end of the first half against Green Bay was nearly all short drops and quick passes. Why would you not make this more of your style? Now *that* is what’s maddening.
If they change the two things I’ve mentioned I think it would go a long way towards making next year better.
Q: I’m torn between asking you if you can give me the sweet sleep of death or if Scott Tolzien is the savior of the Colts. – C via Twitter
You will not have the sleep. If anyone’s going to have the sleep, it’s going to be me. Nice try.
Scott Tolzien isn’t the savior for the Colts. No one is the savior for the Colts. That aside, I thought Tolzien played about as well as one could expect given the short amount of time to prepare and given that he hadn’t taken a snap in a regular season game in 3 years. In fact, I’ll take the stand of saying Tolzien – for the most part – played well enough to win the game. He got let down by the defense, by dropped passes, and by bizarre play calls in goal line situations. In other words, it was a typical Colts game. I’ll credit Pagano for realizing right away his defense was going to have little to no success in stopping Pittsburgh, so he went for it. I had zero problem with them going for it on 4th down from the 1 twice. I had a big problem with the play calls. None of that is Tolzien’s fault.
Q: The Magic 8 Ball says it has no idea who will win the Colts – Jets game. What do you think? – Jodi via text
I’ve nothing but scorn for the Magic 8 Ball. When I was in like 5th grade – this is a true story, by the way – we were at Kmart. There was this girl I really liked. I saw a Magic 8 Ball and I asked it several times if this girl would like me back and each time it gave a negative answer. As it turns out, she didn’t like me back. I’ve hated the Magic 8 Ball ever since.
Since none of us have a clue which Colts team will show up Monday night, I’ll look at it from the Jets point of view. I’ve seen them 3 times this season: the opener against Cincinnati – a game they should’ve won but managed to blow – on TNF or MNF against Buffalo – a game they won where they looked pretty good on offense – and this past Sunday against the Patriots. They really should’ve beaten the Patriots, but they left Tom Brady too much time on the clock. Don’t be fooled by the record. The Jets are better than what people think, and I expect beating them to be difficult. They have a fairly strong defense, especially upfront. They’ve shown they can run the ball well. They used Brandon Marshall on crossing routes to great success against the Patriots. All three of these things don’t bode well for the Colts. If I’m the Jets I’m pretty confident about this game, especially given that they’re playing at home.
Since people always want to complain about the Colts current offensive line, now is a perfect time to mention a few things I saw Sunday. After New England scored what turned out to be the winning points, the Jets got the ball back with a chance to win. Those hopes ended on a turnover when Ryan Fitzpatrick had the ball knocked out of his hands by Chris Long. The guy Long beat almost immediately off the snap? Former Colt Ben Ijalana. It happened so fast Fitzpatrick never had a prayer.
Earlier in the day, I got to watch Arizona and Atlanta. Per the announcers, Arizona reshuffled their offensive line for this game because Carson Palmer was getting hit too much. The line featured center and former Colt AQ Shipley – who has apparently started all season – and newcomer to the lineup, former Colt Ulrick John. Early on, both offenses moved at will. Trailing 10-7, Arizona was around the Atlanta 10 when Shipley airmailed a snap to Palmer that resulted in a big loss. It ruined any chance of a touchdown, and they had to settle for a field goal. Shipley also committed a costly holding penalty in the 2nd quarter. For his part, John played well on the first few drives, but then the Falcons put Vic Beasley over him, and he was like a turnstile for the rest of the game. Atlanta destroyed them in the 2nd half, mostly because Arizona’s offense just couldn’t do anything with Palmer running for his life.
Make of that what you will.
Q: Even though we lost, what are some positives that we can take away from the Thanksgiving game?? – Amy Louise via Facebook
I think we were all dreading this game, even before news of Andrew’s concussion hit. We all feared what most fans do: That our team would get embarrassed in front of the entire country. Sunday and Monday night games are a bit different. Many NFL fans will watch, but not all will stay with it because most people don’t care and probably have to get up early for work the next day. Thanksgiving games are a whole other animal. Most fans do not have to go to work the next day, so they’re like “Another NFL game? Hell yeah!” and so the audience is strong and probably not going anywhere. A recipe for disaster. If someone didn’t watch the game, then saw “Pittsburgh 28, Indianapolis 7” they probably thought “Ah, that wasn’t much of a game” and they would be wrong.
If there’s a positive to take from it, it’s that the team came out and didn’t roll over after they immediately got behind. Even though they were minus the franchise QB and minus what is probably their best defensive player (at least as long as Vontae Davis is gimpy) they never quit. I’ll credit Pagano for this, because I think many teams in that situation would have. I’m not sure moral victories really exist in pro sports, but if they do, this would qualify. I also liked how Pagano kind of threw caution to the wind and just went for it. He knew his team was out-manned. Why doesn’t he coach like this when he has his players?
Q: If you could slap any player in the NFL, who would it be? – Nick via text
If this seems like a bizarre question, I should point out that Nick was sitting in Puerto Rico buzzed off of rum at the Bacardi distillery when he sent it. I’m totally fine with this.
After thinking it over, I believe this should be answered in a “power rankings” format, so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m also going to answer it under the idea that this slap would be the famous “head slap” move that has been outlawed by the NFL. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please watch the video below. The footage is bad, but it’s good enough for you to get the idea. The star of the video is David “Deacon” Jones, who may very well be the greatest defensive lineman to ever play the game.
This is how I feel entering Week 13, in order of who came to mind:
1- Tom Brady. I don’t feel like an explanation is necessary. Slap.
2- Tie. Although a tie may confuse Donovan McNabb, the combo of Dez Bryant and Josh Norman deserve this. While many say “they’re just really competitive guys!” I say “BS, every player in the NFL is competitive.” These two? A couple of idiots. Slap.
4- Phil Simms, Cris Collinsworth, Joe Buck, Chris Berman, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason, etc. I don’t think I have to explain this either. Yes, they’re not players, but they still deserve this. Slap. Twice.
5- Aqib Talib. Slap him before he does something dirty like poke your eye out. Slap.
6- The entire Seahawks roster. I’m sick of hearing about this team and their “diehard since 2012, baby!” fans. Slap.
7- Roger Goodell. Ol’ Rog doesn’t seem to have a problem with his players hitting people, so he deserves this tenfold. Slap.
8- Peyton Manning. Yep. He deserves this for not demanding to be hired as Colts team president. Snap out of it, Peyton. Slap.
9- The Texans cheerleaders. Just kidding. I just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention. No slap.
10- Wood chopping, blinders, earmuffs, poker chips. I’m not sure you can really slap these things, but they deserve it anyway. Slap.
Pimp hand strong.
See you soon, Colts fans.