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Week 16 Mailbag

Hello, Colts fans. Last Sunday, the Colts turned in their most dominant performance in recent years, scoring an easy 34-6 win over the Vikings. The defense played so well that, despite switching to more of a prevent style at the end, they still managed to get a sack/fumble and prevent Minnesota from scoring the garbage time touchdown. It was a terrific performance in all phases of the game. That said performance occurred a week after the team was a no show in a game which decided the season should come as nothing less than a reminder of what might have been, and of about how dysfunctional this entire situation really is.

Let’s see what’s on your minds…

Q: Who were those guys in the Colts jerseys against Minnesota? They were pretty good. Can we keep them? – Stan via Facebook

They’re (mostly) the same guys who lost to Jacksonville, the same guys who beat Tennessee twice, and the same guys who blew two games against Houston. If we can skip the noise around the season for a second and look strictly at the Minnesota game, we can agree it was pretty amazing.  The offense threw it well and ran it well. The defense had 5 sacks and forced 3 turnovers. The special teams units played well. This wasn’t like the Jets game, where the opponent basically quit within the first 5 minutes. Minnesota is still fighting for a playoff spot, and they didn’t quit in this game – they just got pounded into the ground. I wish we could keep the team who destroyed Minnesota, but alas, it doesn’t work that way.

Q: So, is this the week everything’s great, or the week the sky’s falling? (yep, repeat question). – AJ via Twitter

The sky’s been falling since Week 1 (repeat answer). After this last game, everything was indeed great – for about 5 minutes, which is about how long it was afterwards for both Houston and Tennessee to complete comeback wins and further drive the stake into the heart of the Colts’ playoff chances. I was thrilled with the win over Minnesota, but it sure didn’t last long. Forget about how the rest of the Colts season has played out, and think about this: If you’re in Week 15 needing help from Jacksonville, well, the sky’s not only fallen, it’s almost in the Earth’s core.

Q: Why are we always ready for meaningless games but suck at the games that matter?? Is this a coaching issue? Give me some odds on the coach and GM being fired at season end. – Christy via Facebook

I’m not sure why it always seems to play out this way, but I blame them all. I blame the coaching staff for some of the decisions they make. I can think of four 4th and 1 situations – two against Pittsburgh and one each in the games against Houston – where they’ve failed, and in none of them did Robert Turbin run the ball. For crying out loud, this is why you signed him! He’s a big, powerful guy and the short yardage runs are his thing. To never give him the ball in these situations is inexcusable. It’s not like every time he comes into a game it means an automatic run. He’s proven he can catch passes and make plays in that area, so you do have an element of surprise there as well. Absolute terrible coaching by the staff. One of many instances.

I also blame the players. You’re professionals. This is your job. Even the worst and/or least experienced of you are getting paid a lot of money to be out there. You owe it to yourselves and your teammates to be prepared and to come out ready to play. Too many times this hasn’t happened. When two of the most respected veterans on the team – Mathis and Hilton – say things like “we’re not mentally tough” and “some of the guys laid down,” well, that speaks volumes.

As for odds on firings, I say slim to none. If you’d reversed how the Vikings game played out and put it in their favor instead, I might give higher odds, but based off what Irsay has said I just don’t see changes happening. Anything’s possible, but I just am not seeing it right now. Will 3rd place in the division and a mostly empty stadium in the last game of the season open Irsay’s eyes? I guess we’ll see.

Q: Why in God’s name do people ask if Rogue One will have a sequel? THE SEQUEL IS STAR WARS! – AJ via Twitter

As someone who has only seen the original trilogy, I don’t have the slightest idea. I’d rather see “Star Wars numbers” instead. I will not apologize for this either, Jim Irsay.

Q: If Grigson and Pagano get the ax, who would you like to see replace them and who would be the most likely candidates? (Please not Marvin Lewis) – Nick via Facebook

JEFF FISHER 4 LYFE!!!!!! COACH AND GM, BABY.

Alright, maybe not. I could totally see Jim Irsay hiring him, though. I may boycott the team if it happens.

Not to take the easy road out, but I haven’t given much thought to who I’d like to see, and 99% of this is because I just don’t see changes being made.

What I would like to see, however, is a VP/Director of Football Operations person. Someone who knows the game and who will be the one to call the head coach/offensive coaches into a room and say something like “We signed Robert Turbin to get the tough yards, but tonight we ran 8 plays from the 1 yard line and he never got the ball. Someone better give me a good &%^#%$%# reason why.” They need to have someone who will say “Ryan, this guy blows. Forget about it.” To put it another way, someone who is going to run the show and hold both coach and GM accountable for their jobs. Right now, nothing like this exists in Indianapolis, and it is killing the franchise.

Q: Have the last couple seasons turned me into a bad Colts fan? If so, should I care, and is there anything I could do about it anyway? – Stan via Facebook

Stan elaborated a bit by mentioning that at times this season he’s had scheduling conflicts which have prevented him from watching games during their regularly scheduled times. Sometimes his reaction to this has been “Eh, whatever.”

It’s not for me to say what does or doesn’t make someone a good or a bad fan. No matter what happens, you will always have extremists on both sides. You can have a 12-4 season, but there will be fans who’ll say “Yeah, but they lost to Jacksonville” (BTW, this has happened before, folks). Then you can have an 8-8 season and you’ll have fans believing the team is just a step from the Super Bowl and anyone who believes otherwise is a fool. I’ve seen both. It’s not my place to say which is right. I know most people who read these mailbag posts – and I thank you profusely for doing so – probably think every answer is 1000% my opinion. This is not true. It’s not unusual for me to reply with an answer I feel is best, and not necessarily one which reflects my true opinion.

I know this much: While I’d never say “Eh, whatever” about watching a Colts game, I believe Stan’s thoughts are more common than what Jim Irsay would like to believe, and perhaps this is a good thing. Maybe this fan apathy is what it’s going to take for the light to go off in his head. There certainly doesn’t seem to be the excitement over the team that there was before. I hate it.

Q: Do you see any difference makers out there via the draft, and which direction are the Colts going early in the draft? – Matt via Facebook

I’ll admit I’m not the best person to answer questions about the draft, mostly because I watch college football because it’s football, as opposed to looking out for guys who might help my NFL team. That said, there are two guys I’ve seen who I’d love for the Colts to land: Alabama’s Tim Williams and Texas A & M’s Myles Garrett. I expect neither to be around when the Colts pick, but a guy can dream. They both represent something the team sorely needs: Pass rushers. Ryan Grigson should be made to carry around a sign that says “Pass rushers needed. Excellent pay. ”

Even if the current regime is jettisoned, the Colts absolutely, positively HAVE to address the linebacking core if they have any hope of moving forward on defense. Save for Edwin Jackson, Clayton Geathers (the hybrid LB/S), Antonio Morrison and possibly Akeem Ayers, blow the entire current group up. I’m sorry, Robert Mathis. 14 seasons worth of giving your all and being an all-time Colt, but it’s time. D’Qwell Jackson? Bye. Erik Walden? Hey, what a time for a guy 30+ years old to have his best season – in terms of sacks – than during a contract year. Nothing more than a 2 year deal. Josh McNary? LOL. Fixing the holes at this position absolutely must be done.

I wish that was all, but it’s not. They need help at WR, RB and OL as well. TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief are a talented duo, but this is a team that likes to play three wide, and beyond them what have you got? It’s possible Chester Rogers could be that third guy. Phillip Dorsett is just…well, the team could use more help at WR. At RB, your top two are Gore and Turbin. Gore is an amazing physical specimen – you won’t have to worry about him showing up out of shape – but the clock is ticking on what’s been a fabulous career. Turbin has been a fantastic signing. He’s proven he can make plays on the ground and via the air, and PFF rates him as the third best pass blocking RB in the entire league. The problem is he’s just signed to a 1 year deal, so the possibility exists he won’t be back. Behind Gore and Turbin you have Jordan Todman – also signed to a 1 year deal – and Josh Ferguson. In other words, help! The line has three decent pieces – Jack Mewhort, Ryan Kelly, and Joe Haeg – but it’s clear the unit could use more help. It could use another solid player or two. The team could probably use a new punter as well, since Pat McAfee just isn’t doing the job. Just kidding. I’m only making sure you haven’t fallen asleep yet.

The laundry list of needs is long. Sigh.

Q: Is everyone getting fired? Is Irsay ever getting sober? – Amy Louise via Facebook

I’m not seeing regime changes right now. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that, but I’m going off of things Irsay has said publicly. It’s another downside to the nice win against Minnesota: It reaffirms belief in some people’s minds that this organization is on the right path, the whole “we’re close” stuff. If there’s a glimmer of hope (?) to some of his recent statements, it’s these four words: “That can always change.” What I want to know is, exactly what roles do Irsay’s daughters play in this organization? Do they have any say so, or are they just figureheads put into place in order to keep the team in the family? I’m not insinuating anything here – I’m simply asking. They’re all young enough to where it’s probably safe to assume they hear the rumblings from the fans that their father may not. Right? Maybe they just don’t care. I have no idea, but I am curious.

As for Irsay’s sobriety…Amy did elaborate by mentioning she saw him at the Super Bowl XLI reunion, that he looked and sounded badly. and her guess was he’s fallen off the wagon. I can’t even begin to speculate on this, but pray it isn’t true.

The lack of resources and understanding of mental illness – and yes, addiction qualifies here – within this country is staggering. I’ve personally seen Irsay get all kinds of grief for his addictions via social media, and it bothers the hell out of me. One, it’s just not funny. Two, the people who do this are most likely in denial about something similar within their own lives. Three, some people who do this are the small, fortunate few who haven’t had addiction touch their lives, and therefore just can’t – and refuse to – understand. Many don’t understand addiction because they only notice the stories of where some mother tried to sell her 6 month old baby in order to buy another hit, or where the guy kills three in a car crash because he was three times the legal alcohol limit. People don’t understand that, more often than not, the addict is just like them – they go to work, they do a hell of a job,  they get paid well but probably wish they got paid better, etc. This country needs to do a far, far better job of understanding addiction.

I apologize for veering off course, but it had to be said. Believe me, I could have went on much more. Maybe I should have.

Q: The Colts playoff chances are dimmer than night mode on Twitter. Who did we suck for this season? – Jodi via Facebook

Hmm. How about “Grin and bear it for Myles Garrett”? Too bad he’ll be gone long before the Colts draft. Last year I tried to make “Drinkin’ Mogen for Kevin Hogan” a thing and no one got on board with it, probably because they didn’t understand and also didn’t think it was funny (jerks). What about this: “Doin’ the butt for Butt”? “Butt” would be Michigan TE Jake Butt. I’m not sure the Colts really need a TE, but I think the slogan has promise, plus with Grigson you never know who they’ll draft. I tried to think of something for Alabama’s Tim Williams, but can’t get it.

How about “I’m a roadie for Jodi”?

Q: If we just bomb at football this season, would it be possible to create a boy band? Until this coaching poop is straightened out (fire everyone), I’m thinking out next best bet is a boy band. – Kimberly via Facebook

These are the kinds of questions I get when people finally give up on the season. I don’t blame them. In fact, I appreciate the diversion.

As someone who is primarily a fan of hard rock music, boy bands are gross, but I’m here for this idea and will see if I can construct the perfect Colts boy band. I also suddenly wish I could get Marcus to do a photoshop idea.

1- Pat McAfee. He *has* to be in this group, right? Pat is a multi-talented, charismatic guy and the fans love him. He would be the group spokesman and leader, though his insistence on doing a solo comedy tour could affect harmony within the group.

2- Andrew Luck. Every boy band has – whether fans admit it or not – that one guy who doesn’t really belong up there, but is in the group anyway. Plus, the “OMG! Andrew is totes adorbs with his flip phone!!1!1” tweets from 18 year old females make him a necessary part. Andrew would also provide a level of intrigue, as he likes to disguise himself in public, which would only make the fans clamor for more information about the mystery goofy guy.

3- TY Hilton. Best dance moves in the entire group. Will pen their signature hit song “Laid Down,” as in “some guys laid down” in the game against Houston.

4- Chester Rogers. The unheralded guy who seemingly came out of nowhere, but who you’re glad is around. Also with some nice dance moves, he earned his way into the group by outperforming another more highly touted guy who auditioned but couldn’t cut it.

Almost famous: Robert Turbin (solid performer, but forgotten during an audition in Pittsburgh when management went with 8 other guys instead). D’Qwell Jackson (no need for illegal substances in this group). Frank Gore (veteran of the tour circuit. Perhaps too much). TJ Green (a PR disaster, as noted by his middle finger emoji to fans).

Q: If Grigson and Pagano were types of cheese, what types of cheese would they be, why, and what type of dish (eg Mac-n-cheese, or chili cheese dog) would they each be best in? – Stan via Facebook

This question is trickier than one might think at first glance. There are some cheeses – Limburger and Munster come to mind – that don’t smell very good at all, or which look bad, yet taste glorious.

These two jokers both deserve the standard Kraft American cheese slice treatment. They neither look nor sound appealing, but sometimes you are stuck with them anyway. Best served on the 4th of July, when your annoying mother in law demands a cheeseburger, so you halfway melt a piece of this “paper cheese” on her burger so she’ll shut up for 5 minutes.

Q: With Santa coming to town, what gifts should he give to individual players and personnel? – Nick via Facebook

Jim Irsay: A wake up call.

Chuck Pagano: Coal.

Ryan Grigson: Ditto.

Andrew Luck: A clean pocket.

Frank Gore: A chance to win a Super Bowl.

Jack Doyle: Nothing. You don’t give Jack Doyle gifts, because Jack Doyle *is* the gift.

Phillip Dorsett: The Clapper. (Please tell me you get this)

Donte Moncrief: Health.

Anthony Castonzo: His 2014 self.

Henry Anderson: Health.

Kendall Langford: Ditto.

TY McGill: More chances.

D’Qwell Jackson: Clean urine and a pizza delivery guy-free zone.

Edwin Jackson: A new hairstylist.

Antonio Morrison: Speed.

Erik Walden: Nothing more than a 2 year contract.

Robert Mathis: A standing ovation in his final home game, and a spot in the team’s ring of honor.

Clayton Geathers: Health times 10.

TJ Green: Maturity times 10000000.

Mike Adams: A 1 year deal and the gift of one last round of health and vigor.

Vontae Davis: Health times 100.

Adam Vinatieri: 5 more years of drinking from the fountain of youth.

 

Thanks for all of the questions. I hope you all have a great holiday season.

See you soon, Colts fans.