Week 11 Mailbag

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Hello, Colts fans. I hope everyone survived the bye week intact. I do find it kind of humorous that Week 10 was probably the best one the NFL’s had all season and the Colts were sitting at home. Even so, there’s a big game on the horizon this weekend. I don’t think it’s unfair to suggest this game is the biggest one of the season.

Let’s see what’s on your minds…

Q: Should I throw 4 picks in the 1st half on Sunday? – Andrew Luck’s Head via Twitter

Of course not, Head. What are you doing, trying to shave points here? Did you forget what Rob Schneider said in “The Longest Yard”? “Get that big Head of yours in the end zone. We gotta win this thing!”

Seriously though, Andrew – and his Head – has to play smart football against Tennessee.

Q: Will the Colts continue to utilize 6 DBs in their base defense, using Geathers like a LB & Butler as a FS? – Jason via Twitter

I’ll credit Pagano and Monachino here. The 6 DB scheme against Green Bay was clearly something the Packers were not expecting to see, and it worked long enough to help the Colts grab the win. I don’t think you’ll see it as much as in the Green Bay game – give teams enough of a look at the same thing and they’ll figure out how to beat it – but it’s not going to go away. I like what they’re doing with Geathers playing more of a LB role. He’s sort of in that “tweener” mold, and let’s be honest: He’s the only LB-type on the team who can cover anyone.

Speaking of the DB’s, I also have to credit Grigano & Co. for snagging Rashaan Melvin off waivers in September. He has really played well lately.

Q: Pep Hamilton O vs. Ron Meeks D: Who wins, who loses (besides the fans)? – AJ via Twitter

I was thinking about Ron Meeks the other day – I think it was the talk of the upcoming Super Bowl XLI reunion that sparked the thought – and wondered what happened to him. After a 20-year career in the NFL, he just disappeared. The latest I could find on him was from three years ago, and he was serving as a volunteer assistant for his son’s high school team. His last NFL job was with San Diego in 2012, where he served as DB coach working for….John Pagano.

Although it doesn’t seem like it, Meeks had some statistically good defenses in Indy. Oddly, the defense who may have been the worst during his tenure is the one that ended up passing the Lombardi around. Ron Meeks won a Super Bowl with Nick Harper and Jason David as his starting corners. Read that again. I think if you take into account he was never going to have the strongest of talent because most of the financial resources were put into the offense, Meeks did a pretty good job in Indy. It just doesn’t seem that way. I remember a lot of missed tackles. A defense that couldn’t stop the run. Corners who forever seemed to be playing 15 yards off the line. I can only imagine what the social media reaction would’ve been like if the infamous “376” game against Jacksonville had taken place in 2016 rather than 2006. Absolutely brutal performance.

Anyway, my pick between Hamilton’s offense and Meeks’ defense – with each one’s best talent group available – is Meeks, because after the 12th time Dwight Freeney sacked Andrew Luck I’m afraid Andrew wouldn’t be able to get up again.

Q: Mike Vanderjagt vs Disney’s Gus: Who do you take as your kicker? – AJ via Twitter

I don’t remember anything about Gus, but if I hear the name “Vanderjagt” one more time, I’m liable to go on a 10 state killing spree.

Q: How badly do you think we have to play to rid ourselves of Grigano? 10 losses? – Jason via Twitter

Losing out and losing out badly is about the only way I could see a change happening this year. I know that isn’t what most people want to hear, but I can’t see anything else that would do the trick. Huey Lewis & The News once sang a tune called “Stuck With You.” I’m afraid that’s where we are.

Q: Mora vs Pagano pressers. Who flabbergasts the press more? – AJ via Twitter

I think Pagano wins this easily because of his goofy sayings. “They can fire you, but they can’t eat you,” Chuck? Seriously? I’d have to do more research, but I don’t recall Mora saying ridiculous things like that. The thing about Mora is that if he was angry, everyone within 20 miles was aware of it. I’m not just talking about his “playoffs” rant while in Indy. He had some real gems with the Saints too. Mora absolutely hated it when reporters would ask dumb questions – or, to put it a different way, questions he felt were dumb – and he could never hide it, especially after his team lost. Pagano sometimes acts exasperated when he’s in that situation, but his is shown more with body language than with words. Mora would do both, but at least everyone knew where he stood.

Q: Why doesn’t the offense ever give Jordan Todman the ball or play him over Josh Ferguson? – Jason via Twitter

I was really happy for Todman after his kick return against Green Bay. He deservedly made the roster out of camp, but the only things I remembered him for this season were the mess ups trying to down punts. I don’t think the value of his TD can be overstated. It was more than just 6 points. It was a huge boost for a team that so often gets off to slow starts.

Like many, I had high hopes for Ferguson this year. I felt he could make a lot of plays in the passing game, but it just hasn’t materialized. Maybe our expectations were too high. He did go undrafted for a reason, you know.

I’m not sure why they haven’t given Todman many chances in the offense. I think now they’re comfortable with the Gore – Turbin duo and barring something unfortunate, this is what we’re going to see from here on. I can’t complain right now.

Q: Does everyone in the organization own earmuffs & blinders or just the players? – Jason via Twitter

Pagano: “Kelly, take the trash out.”

Pagano: “Kelly! I said take the trash out!”

Pagano’s wife: “Ugh, he has those earmuffs on again!”

If you ask me, I think the Colts are blowing it from a merchandising standpoint. Why they’re not selling official team earmuffs is beyond me. You know damn well Sally in Angola would buy them for her three young boys.

And why hasn’t Chuck Pagano gotten an endorsement deal from an ax manufacturer? You know John in Rising Sun would buy one.

Get with it, Colts and ax manufacturers.

Q: Phil Simms vs old John Madden in the booth: Who wins, who loses, who says weirdest thing? – AJ via Twitter

It’s probably closer than people think, but give me Madden as the winner. I loved him. He became so famous as a broadcaster that people forgot he was a hell of a coach. Madden won over 70% of his games during his 10 seasons with the Raiders. Think about it: That’s like going 11-5 every season for 10 years. Pretty damn good. Madden had this love-able personality that people took to, and one he took advantage of. Lost in it all is that behind the goofy persona was a guy who knew the game of football as well as any broadcaster who’s ever been behind a mic, and also someone who was a shrewd businessman. I’m not sure how much money he made as a broadcaster, but I think $60 million is probably a low figure. That’s $60 million calling games, and not even getting into his multiple commercial deals or a certain video game you might have heard of. John Madden is a genius. He was at his best when paired with Pat Summerall. It was an odd pairing. You had Summerall the quiet, understated guy, and Madden, who was all personality. Somehow it worked. My favorite moments were when the Telestrator became a thing. Madden was like a kid in a candy store.

“Well, you see here Pat, Russ Grimm…he’s gonna…Russ Grimm is gonna go like this *draws* and he’s gonna go this way, *draws* and whap! he’s gonna hit this guy, and then boom! John Riggins is gonna run into the end zone”


But was Madden really that good? It’s hard to say. I want to say yes, he was, but social media was in its infancy when John hung up the mic, so there just wasn’t the scrutiny there is now.

If there’s a difference between Simms and Madden, it’s the personality. I know Phil Simms understands the NFL game very well, but he just does not offer the pizzazz Madden had. Madden said silly things too, but Simms makes you want to throw your remote at the TV. Madden didn’t do that. Personality wins.

Q: I’m going to be in house Sunday. Should I expect a blowout? Or are we going to come back from BYE like a football team? – Kimberly Anne via Facebook

I’m glad you shared this information, because when the team loses we’ll have our scapegoat.

I don’t have a clue what to expect out of the Colts. Does anyone? We never know what we’re going to get. A lot of people criticized them for not taking the early bye week after the London game, but they’ve managed to weather the storm, and are probably going to be the healthiest they’ve been all season against Tennessee. In other words, there’s no convenient excuses. Now it’s up to having a good game plan and executing it.

Division games are always the toughest to predict. There’s so much familiarity between the teams that it doesn’t matter if one team has 10 wins and the other has 2. People get too caught up in who is playing who, and what their records are, and forget that anything can happen in a one game situation. It’s also very much a “what have you done lately?” league. Last Sunday I heard a lot about how Marcus Mariota did this and did that against the Packers. It’s like an in his prime Joe Montana emerged again. It’s also like those same people forgot he basically lost the games against the Colts and Chargers the two weeks prior because of his poor play. Funny how that works.

ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky tweeted earlier this week about how Titans coach Mike Mularkey mentioned in his press conference that they expected to have an entirely new game plan for this rematch. I’m not sure if this was just grandstanding, or if Mularkey was talking about his offense or his defense, but it’s worth mentioning. I thought the Titans played well enough to win the last game against the Colts. They didn’t win because of Mariota. I’m not sure game plan adjustments will make any difference this week if he plays poorly, but then again, I’m watching from home.

Don’t expect a blowout. Expect an ugly game, no matter who wins. Also, if the Titans win, you’re banned from Marion County.

Q: Which are you more anxious for, the game Sunday or the Super Bowl reunion? – Jodi via Twitter

I’m looking forward to both. It’s a pivotal moment for the now, and a glorious return to the past. Think about Chuck Pagano and all of the stuff he says. Is he ever going to have a better tool to draw motivation from than having guys like Peyton Manning around to speak to the team? No way. This is the time for the organization to seize the moment and build on the past.

The Colts teams from that era were so special. Indianapolis became spoiled, and that’s why so many fans can’t handle what they see these days. There are critics who say “Well, they only won one Super Bowl,” and that kind of stuff just kills me. Look at John Madden. I mentioned he won 70% of his games. He also coached in an era when the Dolphins and Steelers were both legitimately elite teams within his own conference, so he “only” won one Super Bowl. That doesn’t diminish his accomplishments. The guys like Shula, Noll, Landry, Walsh, Gibbs, Belichick, these guys are the exception rather than the rule. It’s damn hard to win a Super Bowl, no matter how good your team is.

I hope all Colts fans take the time to enjoy the coverage of the reunion. There are a whole slew of guys coming in for this, guys we’d probably forgotten about like Dominic Rhodes and…Ron Meeks (yes, it’s confirmed, he’s alive!). Enjoy it all. It was a special team and a special time.

Q: Your doctor tells you that you have to give up pizza or tacos. Which do you choose? – Nick via Facebook

Hey, it’s our first food question of the season! Nick elaborated by saying this: “We suck this year, I’m asking questions that people want to know.”

Valid point. I’m probably the wrong person to ask, though, because for me, the answer is easy.

I love tacos, but I could give them up in a heartbeat. For one, I could still eat burritos, which are bigger. Two, I mean, pizza. Pizza! I could never give up pizza. It’s 8 in the morning as I type this, and my mouth is watering thinking about pizza. Can you imagine a world without pizza? No wonder people always look miserable in those really old photographs and paintings. It’s like they knew the future of pizza was coming and there was nothing they could do about it. What a glorious invention.

Reminder: When the Colts win this weekend, if you live in Indiana you can get 50% off Papa John’s on Monday.


See you soon, Colts fans.








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