Week 9 Mailbag

Week 9 Mailbag

Colts

Week 9 Mailbag

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Hello, Colts fans. The boys lost to Kansas City last Sunday in a game the Chiefs spent a large portion of trying to allow the Colts to win. True to form, the Colts refused to prosper and fell 30-14. It was a frustrating, disgusting performance in many ways. Here was a golden chance to make a statement against a good but not great Chiefs team, and they flat blew it.

Let’s see what’s on your minds before I get further disgusted thinking about that game…

Q: Should I wash my hands of this team this season and root for next season? – Jodi via text

I felt like the Kansas City game and the upcoming Green Bay game were going to determine once and for all if this team had a chance to make a legitimate playoff push. They failed the first part miserably, and are now looking at a 2nd half schedule that includes Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Oakland, and Minnesota. Ouch. Read that list again, then remember the Colts’ defense is on pace to be one of the worst in team history. My goodness. It is going to get UGLY.

I’m not going to tell people to stop watching the team though, even if the season is lost. For one, no one’s going to listen to me anyway. People will make their own choices. Two, even if the team wins the other three games on the 2nd half schedule (the three games against divisional opponents), it still leaves them with a 6-10 mark, and I’m not convinced that is enough to prompt the change this organization needs.

#StuckWithChuck

Q: Would you rather the Colts go on an amazing win streak but lose to the Patriots in the AFC championship, or for the Patriots and Colts to not win another game this season? – Nick via Facebook

As tempting as it would be to see the team right the ship and go on a long win streak, I’m going to choose your latter option. For one, a win streak would only serve to fool Jim Irsay into believing the current regime is what they need when it is so clearly not. Two, it would be funny as hell seeing Patriot fans try to pin their lost season on Brady’s suspension.

Q: This team is a turd right? After all these weeks this is it…this is our 2016 Colts? – Griff via Twitter

Yes and yes. As I noted above by mentioning some of the remaining opponents, it’s probably going to get a lot worse.

This team is hilariously bad. It’s pathetic. You know what really sucks? The division, so if you’re three games out at the halfway point you have really, really sucked. If someone had told me at the beginning of the season that the team’s signature win through 8 games would be at Tennessee, I’m not sure I would’ve bothered to watch a game.

You know what will really be funny? When they beat Houston in December and it gives the Titans the divisional title.

Q: Did you hear Andre Johnson’s retiring? How come he couldn’t do that BEFORE we paid him? – Kimberly Anne via Facebook

Yep, #80 announced this week that he’s hanging up the cleats for good. There was nothing wrong with the Colts bringing him in. I certainly didn’t hear much complaining when they did. It just didn’t work out, but his contract didn’t hurt the team, nor did he really have anything to do with the team not being very good. He’s gone, and guess what? The team still isn’t any good.

I think very highly of Andre Johnson. He was a rare combination of speed and power at the WR position, and put up HOF numbers despite playing with some terrible QB’s. He’s the best player in Texans history, and it’s a big deal when a player can claim that, no matter who he played for.

Get this list:

Willis McGahee, Frank Gore, Clinton Portis, Jeremy Shockey, Sean Taylor, Ed Reed, Antrel Rolle, Jonathan Vilma, Vince Wilfork.

Recognize any of these names? Of course you do. These are just *some* of the guys who played with Johnson on the 2001 Miami Hurricanes and made a big impact in the NFL. Incredible.

Q: Obvious question of the week: does Pagano get fired if they get blown out by GB? – Braden via Twitter

Nope, not unless they lose like 65-14 or something. Even then, I’m not convinced it would happen. I would love to be a fly on the wall and hear some of the conversations going on inside W. 56th. There is no way that privately they’re all putting on the brave faces they do when a mic is stuck in their faces. There’s no way. Right? There can’t be. There’s no way Jim Irsay can be happy with this and believe this is working. It just can’t be true. Right?

Q: Can we start a “Peyton for team President” social media campaign? I’d also love to hire Reggie as our O-coordinator – Matt via Twitter

I love it. I’m totally on board with a “Peyton for President” campaign. Now all we need is a catchy slogan or hashtag to spread among the masses. I was talking with a friend the other day who isn’t a big NFL fan – believe it or not, these people do exist – and he mentioned maybe the Colts should hire Peyton as a coach. Despite my occasional inclusion of “Coach Peyton” in the “score more” pieces, I think Peyton would be at best an average head coach and would be pretty miserable doing it. Yes, there have been a couple of great players who did alright as head coaches – Bart Starr and Mike Ditka are two names which come to my mind – but Ditka played TE, and although Starr was a HOF QB, he certainly wasn’t given the freedom under Vince Lombardi to run the show like Peyton was. In other words, Peyton needs that control. You let him sit back and call the shots from above, and I’m convinced he would be successful. I’m also convinced Peyton will be back in the NFL soon, but I would be shocked if it was in anything less than a John Elway-type role. Jim Irsay, what are you waiting for????

As for Reggie, I can’t say I disagree, but I also can’t say it would work either. Would he have the ability to work with players who don’t want to work as hard as he did? Would he be able to work under a head coach who maybe isn’t very good? Would he still be willing to make zany training camp arrivals? I’m definitely intrigued by the idea. I just don’t have a clue if it’d work.

Here’s what #87 had to say when I asked him the question:

Related to this: I may or may not have shrieked like a 12 year old girl when I saw that he replied to me. It’s very rare for me to “fangirl” over any entertainer, but Reggie is my all-time favorite Colt, so this was like Christmas or something.

Q: Is it possible, for as many boneheaded plays as they make, for anyone on this team to be benched by Pagano? – Jason via Twitter

I do not believe so. You know that saying about how pets take on the personality of their owner? I think the same applies to this Colts team as well, only in this case the owner is the head coach. Near the end of the first half last Sunday, the Chiefs scored a touchdown on a pass. Now, at this point, Vontae Davis was already out of the game (more on this is a bit), and Mike Adams might have been out as well. You know who else was out? Patrick Robinson. We all destroyed Robinson for his performance against the Bears, but he has played better as he’s gotten healthier. At this point, with Vontae out, he’s your top corner. Why wasn’t he in the game??? There was no update anywhere about a possible injury, at least that I saw. Unless he was shaken up and due to the time remaining in the half it wasn’t reported, this is completely inexcusable. Boneheaded.

With about 8 minutes left against Kansas City, Pagano had them punt despite being down 13. After then giving up a 4 minute drive resulting in a field goal which iced the game, Pagano had them go mad hurry up, and even called for a “Hail Mary” with a few seconds left that resulted in Phillip Dorsett getting hurt. I’m not sure I even need to say this, but…boneheaded.

Now, back to Vontae Davis. As most of you are aware, Vontae suffered a concussion on a touchdown pass to Travis Kelce. Poor guy. He got totally lost in coverage, then got concussed. Several times this week I’ve seen various NFL media tweet things like “#Colts Vontae Davis in concussion protocol. Status uncertain for Sunday” and I just wanted to reply in all caps with “DON’T YOU KNOW HOW THIS HAPPENED??”

Vontae is probably going to miss a game against the best QB they’ve played to this point because he was concussed by his own teammate, TJ Green. TJ GREEN CONCUSSED HIS OWN TEAMMATE. My God.

I’ve tried like crazy to give Green the benefit of the doubt since he’s a rookie and still fairly new to playing in the secondary, but we’re halfway home now and the kid makes 2-3 dumb plays every game. It’s crazy. I almost feel embarrassed for him sometimes. Boneheaded.

Q: What changes to approach, game plan, etc does the team need to make to start winning? – Amy Louise via Facebook

LOL, did you say winning? Pardon me for taking a few moments here. I can’t stop laughing. Honestly, I’m not sure it matters what they try. Everyone took delight in pointing out how they hadn’t had a back run for 100 yards in a game since 2012. In Houston they put together a pretty good attack and Gore got his 100, but then they made two ridiculous play calls (the infamous “4th and inches” sequence) and wound up losing. Last Sunday they were pass heavy, and it might’ve worked, but guys dropped passes and penalties wiped out a minimum of 85 yards passing (including a 45 yard TD). If guys are going to drop passes, commit penalties, or fail to pick up blitzes does it even matter what the plan is?

My opinion is this: I think they need to come out and play a quick tempo right from the start. This doesn’t mean just passing. You can speed up the tempo and still run the ball. Too often Chuck Pagano allows his team to let the other guys set the tempo or flow of a game. That needs to change. I’m just not convinced it ever will.

Q: When are they going to get a decent offensive line? This one sucks. – Bill via Facebook

I don’t think the line sucks. I think they’re average, and injuries haven’t helped. They’ve used what, 5 or 6 different starting combinations in 8 games? I’m not sure anyone else in the NFL can say that. The problems haven’t just been the fault of the line. They’re trying to bomb the ball down the field – which we all enjoy – which leaves Andrew dropping back 7-10 yards, and means the line is going backwards to begin their blocks. I can’t fault the line if they break down in these situations, because the play type is allowing the defense to get up field before the play really starts. The other issue is you have receivers who don’t get off the line well in man-to-man coverage. The line can execute well, but if guys aren’t getting open, eventually someone’s going to get to the QB. If they want the line to help Andrew, then they need to help the line. Minimize the 7-10 yard drops and play faster. If there’s one thing about the line that definitely needs improvement, it’s the penalties. They have killed the offense multiple times this season, but hey, Chuck Pagano is aware of it and they’re going to fix it *rolls eyes*

Another disturbing part about the line has been the decline of Anthony Castonzo at left tackle. In 2014 he was one of the best in the game, then he got paid and his play has went backwards. I think Anthony is probably too proud of a guy to have let the money affect him. I think part of the problem is what I mentioned above with the play calls. I also wonder if he’s doing something wrong with his technique that teams have picked up on and are on exploiting. Who knows? I just know Anthony has played fairly poorly for a season and a half now.

Q: Two current Colts players are promoted to GM and Head Coach. But you also lose them on the field. Who do you chose? – JR via Twitter

This is an excellent question, and my initial urge is to say I wouldn’t wish these jobs on any guy on the team.

Let’s start by ruling out some guys:

Castonzo: Nope. It would get him off the hook from having to re-watch his game tape. He’s not getting away that easy. Nice try, though.

Mathis: I love Robert, but I hear too many Pagano-isms for my taste.

Green: If I have to explain why, then no one has been paying attention this season.

Hilton: Saying “I was injured” to explain a poor performance is not the kind of accountability this team needs. Plus he’s the top receiver.

E. Jackson: The hair. The hair won’t cut it.

D. Jackson: Intriguing for two reasons: One, I think he’d hold guys accountable publicly. Two, we wouldn’t have to worry about seeing him in coverage anymore. I nearly chose him, but I could see him slapping a reporter over a dumb question, and we can’t be having that no matter how much fun it sounds. I’m tempted though.

Luck: He majored in Architecture at Stanford, so he should be able to build a football team, right? Maybe not. Let’s just have him stick to throwing TD passes for now.

Walden: I almost picked him as well, for no reason other than he’s due to be a free agent, and you know damn well Grigson will give him a 4 year, $38 million deal after this season because he’s the only person who can occasionally sack the QB. Never mind he’ll be like 34 next year.

4th Down Army: Can’t sacrifice any of the guys from the best unit on the entire team. I do think McAfee’s “Colts fans for 2 tix n $200” Irsay-type giveaway tweets would be pretty cool though.

I’m going to go with Frank Gore as my coach. Even though he’s just played on two teams during his long career, he’s been exposed to many different coaches and offensive schemes. In other words, he’s a smart guy who probably has a pretty good grasp of what isn’t going to work. I think of Frank as a leader, as a tough guy who isn’t going to put up with any BS or say things like “this is a good football team” after they blow a game for the umpteenth time. I think Frank would publicly hold players accountable and if possible, could give us “Playoffs?!?! You kiddin’ me??” part two. I hate losing him on the field, but hell, I’m sure Ahmad Bradshaw would probably play again if they asked nicely.

My choice for GM is Jack Doyle. As with Gore, I hate losing him on the field, but I’m sure Chase Coffman would come running back to play if they called him. I pick Doyle only on a hunch. This is a guy who only got one FBS scholarship offer, but by the time he was a senior had turned himself into one of the nation’s top tight ends (Mackey Award semi-finalist). This is a guy who went un-drafted in the NFL, but found a home in Indy (thank you for cutting him, Tennessee) and has become a pretty decent player and a top weapon on offense. This is a guy who I think understands work ethic, who understands raw talent sometimes takes a bit to blossom. He also has a reputation for being pretty smart. Again, this is totally a hunch pick, but Doyle is my guy.

Q: What would life look like if we all lived by Paganoisms in our everyday life? – Matt via Twitter

Wow. It would be the happiest bunch of people refusing to accept reality ever.

“I heard about your mom. I hope she’s okay.” “Everything’s going to be fine. It’s a quintuple bypass, but the surgeon trusts the process and we have our blinders on.” Surgeon: “I just keep choppin’.”

“I think people are too harsh on the 0-16 2008 Detroit Lions. That was a good football team.”

Occasionally it could backfire though, like if you visit a casino. You: “I’ve got my chips on the table, and I believe.” Dealer: “We can see that, genius.”

Or this: Wife: “I’m pregnant.” You: “So what, now what?”

Anyone else got any good ones? Send them our way.

 

See you soon, Colts fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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