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Good God... people did stop talking about Vick Ballard. Only to turn their attention to Adrian Peterson...
Time for a followup series of articles, Kyle: Please stop talking about "X", starting with Peterson and his contract, then staying in a holding pattern until the next dumb rumor crops up.
4 days, 12 hours ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/
@Kyle Rodriguez @apom95 @Brad Cronin Hey, think about this: We could have the "Dan Snyder Memorial Free Agent Signing award" if we pick up him and Reggie Bush together!
Whaddaya think??!! :D
5 days, 17 hours ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/
In all seriousness: As a relief guy/3rd or 4th stringer RB, sure, Ballard would be great. He's hardworking and a good teammate.
But as a starter? Nope. We all like the guy, but as Kyle pointed out, he's not starter material, not with that DVOA and DYAR. That said, I'd rather have him rise to be 2nd on the depth chart than have Indianapolis get stupid and throw too much money at a street free agent with a big name. Yes, I know Indy has a fat bankroll to spend this year. But roster candidates are investments, and it's the long term that has to be accounted for, not just this year's cap space and required spending.
Anyway, Ballard: A role could be had for him. But it's not designated starter.
5 days, 18 hours ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/
Hey Kyle, let's talk about Vick Ballard... (*ducks*)
You heard what happened when Satele got released, right? He just stood there...
Man, I could do this all day. Do it well is a whole other issue, but I *could* do it all day. ;)
2 weeks, 5 days ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/bye-bye-laron.html
You are of course correct. I didn't clarify this in my post, but I had a longer, wordier version of it that went into the 53 man roster limit and how the "real" choice was not the sunk cost, but the roster spot. So yeah, I was indeed talking about keeping him after final cuts. It's just that that context was lost when I hacked the post down from its previous wordiness due to TL;DR.
I do agree: If you have to pay him, give him the one last chance in camp because it amounts to being a low cost measure and you can always cut him anyway if he doesn't show head-turning OMG level improvement. But, if you can void the contract, then yes, cut immediately, since his second, third, etc. chance was blown already, and you're just taking the camp "tryout" step out of convenience.
3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/
There may be some who point out that the Colts would still be paying him money if the conduct suspension thing ends up getting challenged and TR ends up winning. Emphasis: *IF*.
But, that would be falling prey to the Sunk Cost fallacy. The worst case scenario for the Colts is that the money expected to be spent is indeed spent. That still doesn't justify keeping him.
Well... if they're basing their drafting decisions on need and not best player available, then I'd argue they're doing it wrong to begin with. I'd hate for them to be juggling their draft board just because they feel pressure to replace Reggie soon and relieve Hakeem next season if possible. That's a recipe for reaches and drafting mistakes.
But yeah, if they *do* arrange their draft board that way, then yes, this will take that pressure off. I don't see any receivers listed in the first two rounds that come off as being immediately ready to play (although I admit to not having studied the prospects very deeply yet), so I don't see anyone who'd actually be a better receiver prospect than Carter at this point. My opinion may change at some point, but that's what I think right now.
Next stop this weekend: The prospects boards for pass rushers. I just wish all those damn videos out there were more for scouting and less for showing off someone's ability to mix heavy beat music with nothing but highlight snippets. :-/
1 month ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/a-deeper-look-at-this-weeks-colts-news-duron-carter-rob-chudzinski-david-walker-trent-richardson.html
Is Carter really that big a deal? I see people cooing like parents over a baby at his lineage and what he's done in the CFL, but as Kyle pointed out, this is the same guy that didn't even make New Orleans' and Minnesota's rosters just two years ago. And was on a CFL practice squad for a good bit of time.
I'm not saying Marcus is the one making too a big deal; on the contrary, he couched his article as a bunch of "ifs", which is the right thing to do. But there's some opinion out there that's making him sound like a guaranteed deal, and as Marcus and others have noted, this is far more a Da'Rick Rogers type signing more than anything else.
Yes, he's got potential. I get it. And I think the Colts fully realize that they're signing potential that may not pan out. I'm just not sure some fans and a few analysts out there are keeping the "may not pan out" part in mind in their exclamations. It's like they're already on the buyer's honeymoon and the product hasn't even made it to the store yet.
I think this is a good signing of talent with potential, and if it works out then yes, as Marcus said, it does help out in future drafts, free agent resigning decisions, etc. But the Colts needs to see how he develops first. I don't see him changing the upcoming draft focus nor the resigning decisions quite yet.
@Brad Cronin @AJ_
I think we should draft some dumpy, naive, but good natured PK/Punter, just so we could get a 3 Stooges thing going with the kicking unit. ;) :D
But yeah, otherwise agreed with the non-need list.
1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/ca-offseason-primer-nfl-draft.html
I won't lie, I'd want him to be BPA at minimum, if not "WOW, CAN'T PASS UP" before drafting a NT in the first round. After all, Art Jones, RJF, and Montori Hughes are all still there, and hopefully Chapman will finally take the next step and fulfill his potential, rather than be "just another guy" in the middle. So Indy seems to be set at that position for now.
Plus, Josh Chapman is instructive for me: While Indy got a steal when he dropped in the draft, I just don't see that big a difference with him in the game. Don't get me wrong, he doesn't stink, far from that. It's just that he doesn't dominate like I hoped he would. Nobody's comparing him with Wilfork, for example, yet that's definitely his potential. Because of that, it seems to me that the NT/DT position is more fungible in Pagano's/Manusky's system than I had first thought. So really, any good lane plugger should do, and likely Indy won't have to go searching for more.
But like I said above: I'm not opposed as much as I just think he'd need to be BPA over any DE, edge rusher, LB, safety, etc. We all have seen what happens to other teams when draft reaches don't pan out. Hell, it's bad enough when a pick isn't a reach but flops anyway.
You mean positive difference maker, right? And selected in the draft? Because if the post is open to negative difference makers signed in free agency, well, I think any of us can make a list. ;) :D
Hmm... I don't know if I agree with BleacherReport that Indy needs yet another NT... but I haven't looked at the draft prospects yet. If he's BPA, then yeah, pull the trigger.
Frankly, I'm hoping there's a good pass rusher at pick 29, but you shouldn't reach if one's not there. Best to go BPA pretty much always (rare exceptions, of course. A QB would be a wasted high round draft pick). And it's not like getting another fatty on the interior line would hurt; on the contrary, it'd be nice to have competition at the interior lane-clogging position.
Ahhh, one of the few places on the internet where I can come for sane analysis and commentary.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-patriots-45-colts-7.html
You know, on the one hand I do like having scenarios conducive to Indy making it all the way happen. That said, I do admit to sort of have this inner feeling of personal... well, disgust at having to wish for the Colts to not face certain teams on the way in. I don't like to think of it as hiding from other teams, but let's face it, Indy needs some breaks to go all the way. They just have too many fundamental flaws.
Big change from the old days. Back then, the attitude was "Anyone. Bring it on". Yeah, even New England; it's just that they brought it on too often and too successfully. :-S
Yes, the rational part of me realizes that the story of any and all Super Bowl champs is having the right path and facing the right teams at the right times for you and the wrong times for them. I totally recognize that getting a better path to The Big Game won't result in an asterisk next to the listing in all the records. If it would happen - a big if, considering our flaws - then it would be just as legitimate as any other Super Bowl win by any other team. The rules say, win your games, and if you make it, you did it legit.
But at the same time, deep inside, the thought that we're best off not facing other teams just bugs me. It's like it'd be too soon for this team (again, hypothetically; I realize that even the Bengals, good a matchup as that is, is far from guaranteed, especially since they'll be coming for revenge and have had all season to get better). As if there's still more to do before they're "ready".
But that's the reality. And yeah, if it happened, it'd be a good problem to have, don't get me wrong. All the same, though, I can't deny that feeling. Weird feeling, true, but honestly held.
2 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-27-titans-10.html
That... picture. Why, Nate? Why???
2 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/dallas-shell-shocks-colts-42-7.html
2 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-17-texans-10.html
"Do not ask who to root for.
It roots for you."
(*Blinks*) Wow. I get it now. Rooting is the abyss...
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/who-to-root-for-week-15-2.html
I wouldn't quite say the end is near for Reggie as much as I'd say that he just needs some healing time. That said, he did say he was considering retirement... so maybe that end is near for reasons other than the injuries Pagano alluded to.
Nicks, though... I'd like to hear what's going on there. I don't think he's a DHB, but he hasn't been as productive as hoped. Another nagging yet undisclosed injury, perhaps?
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/week-14-report-card-colts-at-browns.html
It has to be a LOT. Remember when we thought Vinateri was washed up because of those misses? The front office held onto him, then BAM, he came roaring back. I never got confirmation, but I've 100% convinced myself that he had a small injury that was going unreported.
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/stubborn-colts-storm-back-25-24-over-cleveland.html
3 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/
Start having Siri transcribe your stream-of-consciousness opinions from now on. That'd be a hoot! :D
3 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/who-to-root-for-week-14-2.html
I can never root against Manning either... but given Del Rio's stewardship of the defense, I can easily root against half of the Bronco's any day of the week. Despite seeing some players on D (Ware, Miller) that I really like. I just root for the defense to take it in the nuts. All because of their coordinator.
Yeah, I got a long memory. Just look up some of my posts in various forums about the body slam Stokley took for no reason way back when he was with Indy and Del Rio helmed Jacksonville.
Look, I like Whalen. But lets be honest: He's got all the afterburners of a crop duster. There were times I'd see lanes in front of him, then notice he was tackled too far back to get to them.
He's a good receiver, tough, works hard, but without any real burst, his time as a kick returner was going to be limited. That's just the way things are in the NFL.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/colts-sign-receiverreturner-josh-cribbs.html
Yes, the loss sucked. There's no question. But I'll get over it soon enough as long as Dwayne Allen doesn't end up on IR. I think poor Bradshaw's already a lost cause due to the reports that he's suffered a broken ankle, which is bad enough. But Losing Dwayne Allen too puts us down one tough blocker and receiver.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/trampled-colts-20-patriots-42.html
I hate to say it, but this isn't a Super Bowl year. No Bob Sanders is coming back to rescue the defense. What I'm hoping for is a smoking, ruined path of defeated foes in the playoffs before someone bounces us, and a good draft in the offseason to patch up holes. At least Indy's still got it's 1st round pick this year.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-patriots-42-colts-20.html
"John Gruden cannot pronounce Bjoern Werner"
Man, Gruden couldn't pronounce "cat" without rolling off into some Madden-esque malapropistic digression over once seeing a feline run the z route in a Spider 2-y banana play.
4 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/colts-whip-new-york-40-24.html
Oh yes, I also agree about Bellichick: He's the proven master at attacking your weak points. He's actually the one who makes it manifestly obvious that too many coaches in the league - even ones who are considered very good - don't adjust as well as they can or should to opponents.
4 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-40-giants-24.html
While I don't know if it'll be solely because of Gronk, I do think it'll be because Indy will have coverage problems from throwing so many people onto the blitz. Sure, the scheme works great when a QB has no one to depend on (Eli, who's otherwise ranges from okay to damn good) or can be rattled (Fitzpatrick). But Brady has neither problem. I'm genuinely concerned about him lighting up the defense when it blitzes. And when it doesn't get pressure, the backfield has to fold; it can't keep up forever. But it can't drop into a coverage shell either because that's not what this defense is; it's built on attacking and tight man coverage, and even with Davis on the field that's simply not sustainable if the pass rush doesn't land.
What I'm hoping for is a game close enough to where Luck has a chance to out-accelerate Brady. And if it were anyone but Luck, I'd already be counting the loss. Thing is, it's actually possible with The Bearded One under center. The defense just has to hang on and not give up TDs too easily. Force just a few punts, and it can be a real game. Let Brady dismantle the coverage and torch the blitz, and it'll be a long night.
"(S)easoning the bacon with Revlon"... Usually that bit of folksy wisdom presumes the pig is still alive, but you had to take it all the way to the breakfast table. ;)
Oh well... maybe in another,more logical universe, this game would convince critics that Luck is legitimately great (*cough*SkipBayless*cough*), but I guess it takes a whole other universe where porcine aeronautics is the norm. :D
You all missed the coaching comparison: Pagano and Hamilton have let up a bit and allowed things to slide towards being more pass friendly, and have also been more risk taking. But Coughlin? Still being dinged for conservative coaching.
Don't get me wrong, Pags and Pep have hardly gone all K-Gun on us. But relatively speaking I view Indy as being the more risk-taking team. And while that has the possibility of biting one in the rear, it also has the potential to win games.
4 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/i-believe-that-we-will-win-colts-at-giants.html
Apropos of nothing: Did anyone else find those Pittsburgh uniforms to be hideous?
4 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-steelers-51-colts-34.html
Well now... as odd as this sounds to me, I'm only pissed in a minor way at last night. Logically, I should be more mad. But while a lot of what I saw bugs me, it doesn't yet strike a fundamental blow to my opinion of the team. Like Nate alluded: Not a top tier team, but one that's knocking on the door from the tier below. And one that can put a frightful fear of defeat into just about any team it faces.
Yeah, there's a flaw in the pass rush that I've feared was fundamental since week 1: It's that a solid QB would eat it alive. We saw that last night. To a degree, we saw that in the preseason against Brees (although we should take care in assigning importance to observations from a preseason game), and Peyton Manning was his usual self against us. So really, Nate is right: Blitzing *is* unsustainable. Worse yet, if it's your bread-and-butter, abandoning it for a zone isn't going to help things. If it's not getting through with who you've got, you've got to find better pass rushers. Part of that will be solved next year when Mathis comes back, but no one can do it alone; it's necessary to find another threat in the draft.
But despite that, I feel that last night would've been solved with some different scheming. The pass rush wasn't getting home... yet the defense *did* force some punts. Not enough, and when Big Ben was driving, they got abused mightily. But there was still a core of defense there that held at moments. If the coaches can identify how to defend when the pass rush doesn't land, then this team as built can overcome an offense like they saw last night. While problematic with a fundamental flaw, the encouraging thing is that it can be overcome, and in the future outright fixed with a good draft.
Offensive line actually concerns me a little more. And not in the talent, but (again) in the scheming: How in heaven's name could they not identify and handle the blitz? Yes, Luck hangs on longer than most other QBs - that's especially noticeable when your prior passer was Peyton Manning - but it's still frightening that the rush was getting through even on quick passes. That said, unless I see more failures, I'm ready to write this of as just a single-game letdown. Sure, it is something to watch, but at the same time it's not a trend we've seen this year. Evidence says it's a fluke. So I'm not yet worried. Some of the future games against good defensive fronts will be ones to watch, though.
So out of all of that negativity, why am I still not majorly angry? Well, it's because the team overcame a TON of problems to chase Pittsburgh till the end. When a team hangs 40+ points on an opponent, they don't normally expect to have to climb to 51 to put the game away. Yet that's what happened. Nothing says firepower like an opponent thinking "Man, 40 points isn't enough...". And despite the whooping Indy took, they made Pittsburgh beat them senseless. That's a sign of a team that doesn't fold.
Also, how about losing one of your primary receivers and still getting a passing game going? Reggie being sat should've been fatal. And while I have a lower opinion of Richardson, it's still a fact that a starting RB was on the sidelines. Both in many cases should've been fatal or at least highly disruptive. Neither were nowhere near being so. That speaks volumes of how sturdy this team's offense is.
And Luck? Having your QB position set overcomes so many ills. The defense wasn't landing home, special teams simply didn't matter, Big Ben was passing like it was a scrimmage, yet it took Luck doing a butt safety to really put the game out of reach. So sure, when he borks up, the team is at risk, but what team does that not apply to? When he's on, he's ON, and he can light up opponents like a lightning bolt. Our defense can stay how it is, our special teams can degrade somewhat, our running game can go downhill a bit, and this team would still be a threat. All because of the QB.
There are flaws, there are problems, but nothing shakes my fundamental opinion of this team. It's one that has some issues to overcome, one that needs some lucky breaks to go all the way, but one that can go all the way. And one that's only getting better as time passes. You have to love a team who's arrow is pointing up.
"Do you remember that feeling? Where you knew that each and every week you were going to get that level of play from your quarterback? Where even if he had an off game, by his standards, he would do amazing things?
We’re experiencing that again. Don’t take it for granted."
Good advice. If anyone wants to see what QB hell feels like, go read a Houston Texans blog. In their minds, just getting a guy who strives for average would be an upgrade, and getting a truly elite one would be a miracle not to be overlooked.
We Colts fans are blessed with a QB who can tear the fanbase into two parts - not quite as good as Manning yet vs. may end up better than Manning - and that is not something to take for granted. Having an entire generation of fans who don't know what QB hell feels like (I mean perpetual hell, not just the partial season of Curtis Painter... although that does provide a taste) sort of skews our perception.
It is possible to be in a wasteland of QB hell. It in fact is the frightening norm. You can't name too many franchises that went from great to great - San Fran with Montanna to Young, Green Bay from Favre to Rodgers - but many that went from great to GAAAH! The Titans went from Steve McNair to solid but old in Collins to unintentional comedy. The Rams have gone from Warner to Bulger to Bradford to someone to be determined, and in a judgement that should induce fright in any Colts, Packers, or Patriots fan that team is arguably not that bad off. And how about the 'Phins? The debate is whether Pennington or Fiedler - solid, but unspectacular players - represents the post-Marino highpoint.
It's not easy to get a good QB in this league. It's even harder to get a great one.
Since 2003, when it became clear to me (it was clear to others before that) that Manning was going to be a transcendent quarterback, I've been viewing these years of fandom as something to hold as valuable and dear. And that's partially because I remember the Jeff George years, and also because I shudder to think that for some teams, the Jeff George years would represent a high point. Getting Manning alone was already two lucky stars for the Colts when you consider Unitas way back in the dim past. Getting Luck now is just a bonus. An incredible, lucky bonus that gives us yet another generation of great QB play, and puts even farther back the memories of what it's like to not be able to depend on the guy under center.
These years are not to be taken for granted. Ask about any other franchise who's lost an elite QB. Or who've never had one.
4 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/i-believe-that-we-will-win-colts-at-steelers.html
I'm familiar with 5 foot 2 haters. They're normally the ones who give the outward appearance of being normal, but don't show their true colors until you've got a relationship going and even then the weird stuff only happens in private with no witnesses but they act psycho in small doses at first yet the acts get larger and larger until they've got you at the point where you look like the psycho for just relating these incredible unbelievable stories that no one can ever buy because so-and-so is such a cute little defenseless nice personage that so-and-so would never ever Ever EVER do such wild malicious s*** and you must be the bastard...
... uh, wait. You meant something else, didn't you? (*blush*)
Ok, before saying anything else: Am I the only one who looked at that picture and first thought Sergio Brown was going "WHEEEE! I'm an airplane!"?
And now the game:
Are there spots of worry? Yeah. I'm concerned that so many people have to be kept in for pass protection. I'm worried that right tackle and interior guards sometimes lose their battles at bad moments. I'm concerned that a good opponent's offense can nullify that pass rush. I'm worried about the corners standing up to a good stable of receivers.
But let's be honest: Not only are all those fixable, they're not keeping this team from winning. It says a lot that I can reel off those criticisms in a game where the Colts just flat out dominated a good opponent. What does it say about a team when it absolutely dictates a game to an opponents despite having flaws? It means this is already a good team that's only getting better. It means that the flaws are simply needs for upgrades or items to correct. It means nothing other than that the team is not perfect. But really, it doesn't need to be "perfect", it just needs to win.
It's going to be a good season.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/colts-shut-out-the-bengals-27-0.html
You know what's probably frightening to other franchises? The fact that this Colts team is good right now, and has tons of potential to get far better. Note that there are still points of poor execution. Note that there are still issues that require resolution. Note that as good as Luck is, he's still got miscues. Note that as good as the defense does, they still have spots that cry out for a shoring up.
Yet, these Colts are on a roll, and while hardly favored to reach (let alone win) The Big Game, they're definitely contenders.
What's frightening is that this team can, with the right breaks, go all the way right now, and at the same time improve what they are in seasons to come. So it's not just that they're contenders this year, it's that there's a core there that opens the possibility of a firm foundation for years to come. They can go all the way right now and still get better. That, right there, has got to be an opponent's nightmare.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-27-bengals-0.html
Yes, this. What I loved wasn't just that Björn got a sack, it's that he got one through two defenders. I won't go so far as to say any idiot can get a sack if the defensive scheme gets them an unobstructed shot - it's patently not true, plus there's definite skill in getting by linemen untouched - but at the same time getting free shots isn't the same as having to fight through 2 blockers. One's basically pure athleticism taking advantage of an opening; the other is technique creating an opportunity. The latter is what makes a pass rusher a promising talent.
I want to see more of that. I'm really, really hoping that the game's just clicking for Björn now. Having him in form next year when Mathis returns has the potential to turn this defense into something special.
"Good Luck Chuck"
I hereby declare a thread devoted to extolling Pagano's virtues. Said virtues taken from another admirable Chuck: Norris.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/i-believe-that-we-will-win-bengals-at-colts.html
You been reading the Houston fans blogs? I swear, that is the **exact** argument I've seen out of a bunch of them. Otherwise rational people in that fanbase suddenly go all aggro and start picking apart Luck to a greater degree than even their own QB (although a lot of that is because Luck manages to accomplish more than theirs - which they all realize - and thus gives them more to choose from). It's gotten to the point to where the most extreme of them start spouting ludicrosities like "he's not even a top 10 QB", or saying they'd take RG3 ahead of him.
RG3. Who's a damn fine person, admirable and laudable, a guy to be proud of and root for... but who at the same time simply isn't the QB Luck is.
It's fundamentally irrational. A few of the saner ones of that fanbase have come out and said that people are just mad/sad/jealous/aggravated/astonished/etc. that Indianapolis went from Peyton F'ing Manning to Andrew Bleepin' Luck, whereas their team can't even kidnap a good QB. A few more put things into perspective (i.e. "we stand by the 'luckiest QB on interceptions' thing, but that's because he's still young and tries too hard"... or "Well, Manning did the same his 3rd year, look at him now"), but there's that small core of Houston fans who for some odd reason obsess with taking Luck down a few pegs. It drives me bonkers. The crazy thing is that I've actually not seen as much of this from Seahawks fans (even the ones who claim Wilson is better) as Houston ones, despite the Wilson/Luck comparisons that were made all over the place a year ago.
I'm just flabberboggled.
4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/ross-andrew-luck-does-not-have-an-interception-problem.html
I had some critiques of our QB after the Ravens game, but against a different yet every bit as good defense in the Texans, everything I had a problem with before was basically gone. Didn't see sails, only saw maybe three forced efforts (and against a hard rushing defense, that's an admirably low number), and saw plenty of good decision-making. The pick was, as noted above, a batted pass. It was an excellent, sharp game from Luck, and on a short week of prep at that.
It's really heartening to see the reasons for one week's criticisms basically erased by the next week.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/week-6-report-card-colts-at-texans.html
... But yes, the positives: Luck, Luck, and more Luck. He's already performing at a high level, and the scary thing is that I don't see any limit to his ceiling yet. He can still get better! He's still got room to improve! Granted, that's due to the bar being set so high by guys like Peyton now, and Elway, Marino, and Montana in the past, that even striving for it is an accomplishment, but in Luck you see someone who can not only reach that rareified air, but has the potential to exceed what's gone before. It's exciting. I was worried that once the Peyton Manning era was over we'd have to suffer only middling QB play, but Luck's assured me that there's still years left to admire that in the Colts.
And how about TY? Dwayne Allen? Reggie "Methuselah" Wayne? That combination of old, sure hand and exciting new talent is just awesome.
There's just a completely bright future ahead. This good offensive unit practically guarantees that it'll at least be exciting. The problems I noted above are not insurmountable, and they merely mean that there's room for improvement. It's a great era Indy is entering.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-texans.html
While I'm happy to the point of squeeing like a girl about the pass rush effectiveness, I'm also worried that it worked because the QBs faced simply cannot make decisions fast enough to avoid it. Indy blitzes to get those sacks, and I could see either of the Mannings, Brady (when he's in good form; this year, not so much), Big Ben, and multiple other QBs not only not succumbing to the blitz, but actively taking advantage of it to complete passes against single coverage.
In short, I *still* worry about the pass rush, and openly fear that a lot of the effectiveness has simply been our list of opponents. Although a couple of those - Baltimore especially - weren't some weak O-lines at all, therefore were genuine accomplishments. But really, part of me worries that it won't hold up so well in the playoffs.
Here's to being wrong about that, though. I recall writing off the 2006 team's defense as being woefully incompetent... and they were, right up until the playoffs. I'd really much rather be wrong about my analysis.
Part of it was the Texans actually and finally waking up and executing properly (there were some horrid execution by them in the first quarter). Part of it was calling some smarter plays that took advantage of the Colts blitz. Part of it was Fitzgerald actually hitting his receivers, and Foster and Blue hitting holes and getting downfield. And part of it was the Colts not adjusting on the spot to what Houston was doing.
It's less any one thing and more a culmination of factors. Had the Colts pass rush not run hot and cold, I think the game would've been more even. Had Houston called smarter plays to let Fitzgerald throw quicker, they would've moved the ball better and not had so many quick 3 and outs. Had the Colts defensive backfield been more consistent, they might have weathered the pass rush dip in the middle of the game. Had Houston relied on Foster more earlier in the game, they would've had more possessions. Just a whole lot of small things adding up.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/15443.html
Here's the weird thing: For the first time ever, Luck was one of the limiting factors on this team. Before going crazy over that, keep in mind that I'm only talking in spots, on a few plays, not overall. But still... it seems as though he sometimes tries a bit too hard and overthrows receivers, and that he tries to keep plays alive in the hopes something will develop instead of throwing the ball away. Peyton's not the only guy who throws quickly and gets to receivers before the defense has any chance to do anything; Brady used to do the same to devastating effect, and even Flacco was doing that at the end of the game (aided by slightly soft coverage called in the hopes of slowing them down enough to only score once, but he still did it). But Luck's gotten so good at bailing out possessions that he's ending up doing it on possessions where the ball is better thrown away or checked down quickly. Sure, Luck scrambling around is exciting, akin to what people loved about Favre, and Montana back in the day. And some of the plays he salvages are just nuts. But wouldn't it be better to be efficient, and make quicker diagnoses of the defense and faster throws to where you're 100% dictating the course of the play? Scrambling looks fun to a fan, but it's giving the defense a hell of a lot of initiative, not to mention potential to end a play with a loss of yards. Plus, it opens Luck up to injury.
Don't get me wrong, he's still the future of the franchise. And I still don't see a limit on the sky-high ceiling he had coming into the league. Rather, I think he's simply hit one of the inevitable bumps on the road of development, and he needs to work through it. Remember that even Peyton had some early tendencies towards bad throws, and cleaned that up well by his 5th year (possibly earlier, but I'm struggling to remember...). By his Super Bowl period he was one of the quickest release passers out there (necessitated by that horrid line he had, but it had the advantage of getting the ball where it needed to go before defenders had time to effectively read the offense). Luck, on the other hand, hasn't learned to "beat" the defense in terms of getting things done before they develop their plan. He's been relying on Houdini-esque talents - quite impressive ones, I admit - and an insane ability to salvage something out of nothing, but he's doing it in the face of defenses that are allowed to get their plan going. Manning, Brady, and a few others I can't think of at the moment do the opposite: They get their stuff done and let the defenses react. And there's little doubt that's part of what makes those guys elite.
One of the best things for Luck's development right now would be for the coaches to drill into him the fact that he's got to beat defenses with timing and quick decisions. Show him those plays he salvaged were indeed great, and showed great will but also were the result of non-optimal decision making. Get him in the mindset that the way to beat a defense is with his mind in charge of his great physical talents. Get him to force defenses to react to him even more, to actually be forced to "dance to his tune", so to speak. Do that, and he'll be every bit as elite as the others I've mentioned here.
Now is just a bump in his development, and I have no doubt he's got the ability, will, discipline, and intelligence to get past it. It's really up to the coaches to coach him right. That's what I hope to see.
4 months, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-20-ravens-13.html
@Brad Cronin Oddly enough, I'd say that Flacco is better than Dilfer. But that's a low bar, akin to damning with faint praise.... the reality is that Nate's right, he is the heir to that throne, in more ways than by just being the QB of a Super Bowl Baltimore team.
Heh, onsides kick. What goes around...
Anyone remember that one year when Jeff Fisher was still the Titans' coach, and he led off with those 3 onsides kicks? It was during the '04 season with that lethal Manning offense? Yeah, that game. At first I was appalled, then amazed, and finally appreciative of Fisher's chutzpah. He knew his team couldn't stand up to Indy conventionally, so he gave them every chance he could think of. And sure, it didn't work - Indy plastered them 51-24 - but I still loved the fact that Fisher took those chances, even though it was against my Colts team.
Yesterday's onsides could hardly be called revenge - not 10 years after the fact, with different personnel and even the stadium not being the same - but still, it's a great reminder of a fun game in Indy's past.
5 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/15326.html
This article is unfair! There has to be something positive you can say about Locker and Whitehurst!
Yeah, seriously, there must be! And as soon as I find it, I'll let you all know (*mumbles "somethings something not Blaine Gabbert?..."*).
5 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/i-believe-that-we-will-win-titans-at-colts.html
Side note regarding Texans: With all the other pieces they have, it's amazing but not surprising that they're simply not a favored team. They've got phenomenal talent in their defensive front, a scary receiver in Andre, do I even need to say the obvious about Foster (well, at least when he's not nursing a bad hamstring, like yesterday)... they've got so many pieces, yet it means nothing without a quarterback. Nothing.
What a sad statement on how a franchise can do well on 90+% of the team, yet legitimately earn harsh judgement on the remainder. Until and unless they get a reputable signal caller under center - and keep in mind I'm not talking a Hall of Fame level guy, I'm just talking about a reasonable talent - then they're just not going to be predicted to go far. They'll roll easy teams every single time, but they won't keep up with even flawed teams that have that piece in place.
Look at Denver pre-Peyton Manning as an example. They were excited about a limited, rush-threat but poor passing QB in Tebow because as bad as he was, at least he gave them a little bit of an edge where the rest of the team's performance all added up to a decent win possibility. That was enough for them emotionally for a while, yet that team didn't truly blossom until Peyton came to town. Manning is what made them legitimate. And he was what made flawed Indianapolis teams - like the 2010 Super Bowl runner up - legit. Bad offensive line, soft corners, undersided front line, and they made it to the Super Bowl.
I actually like the Texans. I'm no fan, but I'm on good terms with many in their online fan base. They've got good pieces in place. But with no legit QB, they're going to be an also-ran. It's sad, terribly so, but it's the reality of the modern NFL.
5 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/eyes-in-the-backfield-colts-44-jaguars-17.html