Hello, Colts fans. I don’t really want to rehash it, but the thinkable happened last Sunday. The Colts came out uninspired and off kilter at the biggest point of the season. I was hopeful the team would play well in spite of some of its players, and in spite of its coach. It never happened. Yes, technically the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, but she’s in the vocal booth warming up and the engineer is about to hit record.
Let’s see what’s on your minds…
Q: Should we expect anyone to be fired before the end of the season? – Amy Louise via Facebook
It may not be this particular week, but I have a feeling I’m going to be talking about Chuck Pagano, Ryan Grigson, and Jim Irsay quite a bit in the near future. Irsay himself was kind enough to answer Amy’s question for me:
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 14, 2016
Well, there we are. Just going off of written words, it’s hard to tell exactly what Irsay is getting at. I’d like to hear the audio to see if there’s any difference in his tone when he says “That can always change.” I think it’s clear there won’t be a change before the season is over, and I can understand why. A coaching change right now isn’t really going to change anything. I’m thinking the only way he cans Pagano before the season ends is if they just get obliterated by Minnesota and the players roll over and quit. Even then, I’ll only be convinced when it actually happens.
Q: The last time the Colts headed up north, a squirrel caught our attention. What do you think will catch our attention against Minnesota? – Jodi via text
Probably the loud chorus of “Hail Mary’s” after Andrew gets up slowly when he takes yet another hit from Minnesota’s stout pass rush (in case one wants to prepare, Minnesota ranks 3rd in the league in sacks).
My friend Nick, a regular contributor to these articles, used to live in Minneapolis, and he swears the place is full of good looking ladies. Like most of you, I find that hard to believe, but I know Nick wouldn’t BS over something this important. To put it a different way, while some of you may be screaming out your “Hail Mary’s” for Andrew, I’ll be hoping the TV cameras find some of the aforementioned good looking ladies in the crowd.
Let’s see…what else?
She’ll be there…
This guy will probably be there, too…
(Is that seriously an NFL logo tattoo?)
What else? Hmmm….
It’s always possible the Colts could stop off in Green Bay on their way to Minnesota. Trent Cole likes to hunt. He could trap the “Lambeau Squirrel” and bring it to this game for good luck (and good Luck). It would be his biggest accomplishment of the season, right?
Also, as if having them call the death knell game of the season for the Colts wasn’t enough, CBS is kind enough to give us Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon again this week. In this case, what we want to attract our attention is a drunken fan or two rushing the field. Harlan is pretty good at calling games, but he is the absolute GOAT at describing drunken fans on the field. In Minnesota, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that this could occur.
Just don’t let it be you.
Q: Are we wasting away Andrew Luck’s talent? Also, I’m not thinking playoffs anymore – Christy via Facebook
That is exactly what’s happening. Andrew took a season high – actually, I think it was a tie – 13 hits last Sunday. The outsider looks at that stat and moves on, quickly writing it off as a product of the “Colts’ offensive line sucks” stuff. It’s more than that, though. Last week I was on my friend Marcia’s show to recap the Colts – Jets game, and one of the things I brought up was the myth about how many weapons Andrew Luck has. Think about it: You have Hilton, who is one of the best in the league. You have Moncrief, who is a decent player and is great in the red zone, but who gets hurt a lot and disappears from games also. Dwayne Allen? LOL. Jack Doyle has made some nice plays this season, but he too has disappeared in the passing game. Phillip Dorsett? LOL times like 100. Frank Gore is a true professional and still an effective player, but is he really a weapon to be feared? Sometimes I look at these guys and wonder how in the heck they’ve managed to score as many points as they have. I don’t mean to sound overly critical of guys like Moncrief or Doyle. It’s also not entirely their fault – there’s no question the play calls on offense have sometimes left a lot to be desired. What I will say without hesitation is this offense – this entire organization, really -has let Luck down an awful lot. It’s way beyond the guys who are doing the blocking.
Speaking of blocking – or of not blocking, in this case – Dwayne Allen got absolutely destroyed trying to block (term used loosely) Jadeveon Clowney. The result was a turnover that probably ended the game for good. To be fair to Allen, Clowney is one of the best in the league at getting into the backfield and destroying plays. I’m not sure exactly what they were thinking trying to use Allen to block him, but they did, and Allen came nowhere close to doing the job. Between that play and his odd fall earlier in the game that resulted in an easy interception, it almost looked like Allen had money on Houston. TY Hilton was visibly upset after Allen allowed the Clowney sack. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I wonder if Allen isn’t who Hilton was referring to when he said afterwards that some guys “laid down” during the game.
Q: How would you grade our rookie class so far? Both individually and as a group. – Nick via Facebook
As of this writing, the team has 13 rookies on the active roster, 3 on injured reserve, 4 on the practice squad, 1 on the practice squad injured reserve, and 1 on the injured reserve, non-football injury list. I don’t know much about a lot of these guys because they either haven’t spent much time on the field beyond special teams, or they’ve been on the practice squad all season, so I won’t comment on everyone.
Here’s how I’d rate the best individuals:
1- Ryan Kelly. Say whatever about Grigson, but he guessed correctly drafting this kid. Kelly’s probably been their best lineman all season. I know this much: If you think the Colts’ line is bad, close your eyes and envision it with Jon Harrison at center all season instead of Kelly.
2-Joe Haeg. I know, I can’t believe I’m listing another offensive lineman, either, but Haeg has done alright for the most part. He’s had more missteps than Kelly, but he was a 5th round pick. He’s capable of playing multiple positions, and when it’s all said and done, I think he’ll be a pretty good find for the team.
3- Chester Rogers. Rogers has only contributed 12 catches this season, but he helped pick up the slack when Moncrief was injured the first time around. For a guy who wasn’t even drafted, he’s been pretty good. He’s fast and has shown the ability to juke defenders out of their cleats. He’s also contributed a couple of nice punt returns. I think he’s a guy who can stick with the team going forward. We’ll see.
4- Antonio Morrison. I’m 50/50 on Morrison. In some ways I feel like I should rate him higher, and in other ways I feel like he could easily be not even listed. He’s a hard hitter, and he’s just slow enough where he’s a liability in coverage (please stop if you’ve heard that about a Colts linebacker before). He’s basically been what his draft profile said he would be, but the team likes him, and we’re going to see a lot of him over these next few weeks. When the season is over, he may be deserving of a higher spot.
5- Hassan Ridgeway. I had high hopes for this kid. He hasn’t been awful, but hasn’t made the jump out of the tape plays he made in college. The team likes him a lot – he’s started what, the last 5 games or so? – and I think he’ll get better with more experience. As with Morrison, he too could move up the list. I know Robert Mathis spoke very highly of Ridgeway and the work he puts in.
Just based off my list, I’d say the offensive line rookies have contributed the most in terms of position.
There’s one person you might have noticed who isn’t on my list, and it’s because he deserves it. He would be TJ Green.
I just don’t know what to think about this kid anymore. He has good physical talent, but so do 98% of the guys in the league. He is fairly inexperienced at being a defensive back, as he played wide receiver for two years in college.
He also has consistently made some of the dumbest plays I’ve seen this year. If he’s not getting lost in coverage, he’s committing stupid penalties. If he’s not committing stupid penalties, he’s out there on Twitter insulting the fans who pay to watch him look clueless on the field.
The author deleted the above gem, I’m guessing because the team got word of it in about 2.5 seconds and read him the riot act. Now, it’s not my place to tell TJ Green what to say on social media, but this display is the act of someone who is at best unprofessional. TJ, I’m sorry you don’t like being criticized. None of us are making you “play” in the NFL. It’s a tough world out there. Grow up.
After he deleted the above, he followed up with this nice passive-aggressive thought:
I'd never take a shot at our fans. Not a chance in a million years. Always loved people who support. But if the shoe fits, wear it. #GoColts
— T.J. Green (@BossGreen256) December 12, 2016
I’d never take a shot at our fans, says the guy who took a shot at the fans.
The thing he really doesn’t get is that if ANYONE should be tweeting middle finger emojis, it should be the very fans he’s criticizing. WE are the ones who have been watching this nonsense all season.
Let’s move on before I actually get mad…
Q: IF they keep GrigGano, can the Colts actually compete or has the AFC South passed them by? – J Newton via Twitter
Right now, the division has passed them by. Division games are always weird, because records just don’t matter. You can be really good and your rival can be really bad, and it’ll end up being a 20-17 game. People operate under the assumption that during the Peyton Manning era, the Colts never lost an AFC South game and won every game 55-10 or something. Nothing could be further from the truth. What the Colts DID do that they aren’t doing anymore is win the majority of those games, and do so in part because their opponents knew they were facing a stronger, more mentally tough team. None of their division rivals fear them anymore, although for some reason – I’m guessing because Marcus Mariota is still a baby in the league – the Titans haven’t yet figured out the things Jacksonville and Houston have. It’s embarrassing, really. It says so much about where this franchise is at right now, none of it good.
Q: Which Colt player do you think could ride a bull the longest? – Nick via text
Fortunately, Nick provided some background to this question. He was recently in Vegas, and apparently there was a large rodeo taking place. As he put it, one of the locals referred to said rodeo as “Cowboy Christmas.” Nick added he felt a big lineman might wear down a bull quickly, but a receiver, or a tight end, or a running back might have better grip on the rope.
I’ll go through a list of guys here and see if I can’t find a winner….
Andrew Luck: Nope. He’s already been trampled by the “bulls on parade” (also known as the Texans defense). No way.
D’Qwell Jackson: Is it really in the best interests of the sport of bull riding to have a rider who has taken as many injections as the bull has? I say nay.
Trent Cole: He’d just shoot the bull, then post pics of it on social media and draw the ire of animal rights activists. With the season the team’s had, we really don’t need anymore trouble.
Anthony Castonzo: He’ll try to jump on, but the bull will just run by him before he even realizes what’s going on, then gore Luck.
Dwayne Allen: Ditto.
Joe Reitz: Played (basketball) for the Western Michigan University Broncos, but also allowed Luck to get destroyed by Bronco Von Miller. The second one of these things outweighs the first, so let’s move on.
Jack Doyle: He’d show up, the bull would look at him and swoon, then race off to hire an airplane to fly a “I love Jack Doyle” banner. Tell me I’m wrong.
Phillip Dorsett: They’d try to hand him the rope, and he’d keep dropping it.
Pat McAfee: I’m tempted to go with Pat here, because he’s just crazy enough to pull this off, but I think he would be more awesome as one of the rodeo clowns instead. He’d be the one out there throwing things at the bull or sticking a bottle rocket in its rear end and trying to light it. Pat’s just the greatest.
TJ Green: There are a few possibilities here: 1) He’d let the bull run right past him, then afterwards say that while the bull is fast, he’s fast too. 2) He’d attempt to tackle the bull, but completely miss and concuss Vontae Davis, who isn’t even at the rodeo. 3) After getting thrown from the bull like a rag doll, would tweet a middle finger emoji and talk about how bulls don’t know what’s going on because “they on they couch.”
Franklin Delano Gore.
How can a guy with the last name Gore not be able to handle a bull? It’s a lock. Frank is tough, strong, and always looks mad as hell about everything – attention TJ Green, this is how we feel watching you guys play – and you just know he wouldn’t put up with any nonsense out of a bull. He’d walk in there, look at the bull with that scowl, and the bull would run for its mama.
See you soon Colts fans.