Livefyre Profile

Activity Stream

Sounds like part of his problem was lack of practice time. Remember he didn't join the Colts until after the season started, so he didn't have any training camp or other off season opportunities to work with Luck or learn the very complicated playbook. That doesn't excuse poor route running or drops, but probably limited his assignments while hindering Luck's ability to find and hit him.


Two other questions I'm curious about with Rogers: (1) would he be eligible for the practice squad this year? and (2) is he a plausible option for returning kicks or punts? With Reed, Vaughn, and Brazill gone and T.Y. hopefully too valuable, seems like Whalen is basically the incumbent for both return spots. Could be a key factor in which one the Colts keep, or in deciding whether to keep both instead of an extra guy somewhere else.

1 week, 4 days ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/

Reply

@bengundy @ECB Thanks.I'd have expected that role to have been more common.

1 month ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/

Reply

Why the distinction between lead blocks and kick-outs? They certainly are different, but both are important. And if Havili is kicking out, that frees up someone else to either lead block or double team.

1 month ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/

Reply

The decline of NFL RB valuation is an interesting study. The increased importance of the passing game is surely part of it, but a typical starting RB still gets the ball twice as often as even the most prolific WRs. I suggest that a bigger reason is that teams are realizing that (1) there isn't a huge difference between the 5th RB in the league and the 50th; (2) it is difficult to predict RB success. And (3) career trajectory for an RB is faster than other positions. It is not unusual for a rookie to be among the league rushing leaders, but they also wear out faster so that it is rare for an RB to keep playing at a high level much beyond his rookie contract. By the time they're eligible for free agency, teams figure they're on their last legs and don't offer long term contracts. So even a solid starter gets get paid less than a rookie 1st round pick. And the 1st rounders are far from sure things - Richardson is just the latest of a long line of top 5 picks whose NFL careers were so-so or worse.


Basicallly, a team can usually assemble a decent set of RBs with a combination of mid to late round picks and bargain free agents. Investing in 1st rounders or expensive free agents gives maybe a slightly better chance of finding the next superstar, but that's outweighed by all the expensive busts. Most teams that pursue the expensive route won't end up with much better quality than those that follow the cheap route. So they're learning to invest their money and 1st round picks on positions that are easier to predict, and where there isn't a glut of talent.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/14364.html

Reply

I expect a big reason for the decline in percentages is that defenses adjusted to the Colts' tendencies. 2012 defenses expected the Colts to pass alot, and their focus on stopping it made it easier to run. In 2013 they expected the Colts to run more and therefore focused on stopping the run. I'm curious about the Colts' success percentage when they passed on 3rd down, particularly in short yardage situations. I expect it improved in 2013 for the same reason the running success declined. 

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/2014-articles/cacp-third-down-series-running-the-ball-on-third-down.html

Reply

@Bobman1 @ECB  Just to clarify, I think Brown was allowed to leave with little apparent effort to keep him because he never showed himself to be a premier running back. Even last year he was a good guy to have around, but no one was talking about him for the pro bowl, or even as a guy the Colts should keep around as their long term starter. If he had come back, it'd have been as a change of pace guy. Nice to have, but not worth a first round pick.

3 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/uncategorized/colts-go-back-to-work-four-things-to-keep-an-eye-on-in-2014.html

Reply

Trent Richardson needs more than a Donald Brown-type resurgence. Brown had a decent career with the Colts, but never reached the kind of quality you'd like to see from a first round pick - which was why the Colts decided not to bring him back. It'd be nice if Richardson at least reached a Brown-type level, but he was brought in to be much better than that.

3 months ago on Conversation @ http://coltsauthority.com/uncategorized/colts-go-back-to-work-four-things-to-keep-an-eye-on-in-2014.html

Reply

@Stuebers_Inn @ECBThanks, that makes sense. Figured someone around here would know the answer.

3 months, 4 weeks ago on Colts 2014 Draft Order Finalized

Reply

What happened to the other 7th round pick? I recall we traded one to SF for Cam Johnson, but I thought we'd gotten one from Dallas for Caesar Rayford.

3 months, 4 weeks ago on Colts 2014 Draft Order Finalized

Reply

I wonder if he is the reason we haven't signed a free agent NT to replace Aubrayo Franklin. I recall Pagano initially talking about him as a DE, but he has the size for NT and seems to have had his best performance there so far.

4 months ago on Dregs of the Roster: Montori Hughes Film Review

Reply

@GeorgeCostanzaIII @ECBPass protection could certainly be better, and I suspect it will be with Thomas and Allen plus a more experienced Thornton. But any NFL team will have some weak spots, and those can be compensated for in various ways. My point is that you don't have to be solid at every position, and in fact can't be.

4 months ago on Colts Authority Fireside Chats: Grading Grigson's Shopping Spree

Reply

@Payton @ECBI largely agree with your analysis of the 2009 team, and that is basically my point - you can't be stocked at every position, and you don't need to be to have a lot of success. In the salary cap era, the key is being able to compensate for those holes elsewhere. And even if a position starts out as a strength, it can become a liability due to injuries - consider corners in 2009 or receivers last year. The Colts are coming off a year in which they won their division and a playoff game, and beat both Super Bowl teams plus another team that barely lost the league championship. And they did it despite some serious injury losses.


I'm hoping they do add another veteran guard or center, and expect that they will. But probably not a stud. But their line will likely be much better anyway because Thomas and Allen will be back, Thornton will have a year of experience, and Holmes/Costa/mystery pickup can't be much worse than Satele at center.

4 months ago on Colts Authority Fireside Chats: Grading Grigson's Shopping Spree

Reply

I'm not getting this "team full of holes" meme. Look back at the Colts' roster from when they actually went to the Super Bowl in 2009. Their offensive line was Jeff Saturday and four stop-gap to average players. Gijon Robinson was a starter. Defensive tackles were a collection of guys we'd grabbed off other teams' practice squads. Jacob Lacey was a key member of the secondary. But they came heartbreakingly close to both a Super Bowl win and an undefeated season because they played well together and had Peyton Manning and some other great players.


Colts don't need to bring in a big name free agent at center, safety, or anywhere else to be a Super Bowl contender. They're contenders because of Andrew Luck and a great corp of receivers and Robert Mathis. The D should be much better this year because they'll have had more time to gell after all of last year's additions. And the O was outstanding despite missing two pro bowl-quality receivers most of the year.

4 months ago on Colts Authority Fireside Chats: Grading Grigson's Shopping Spree

Reply

Interesting that they are loading up the cap hit next year instead of this year. That allows them to make another big signing or so this year, but taking the hit this year would let them make another signing or two next year.

4 months, 1 week ago on Breaking Down the Colts' Free Agent Contract Structures

Reply

Grigson shouldn't draft a WR unless he see someone he thinks is likely to be a special player. For now we have two very good WRs, two serviceable ones, and an intriguing project. It'd be nice to have a better third WR now, and to have a guy who can step up as a star when Wayne retires - e.g. another T.Y. Hilton-quality find. But unless he sees a "I can't believe this guy is still there" type player, we have more pressing needs for the 2nd & 3rd rounders, and a later round pick is unlikely to yield a player significantly better than any of the five we already have.

5 months, 2 weeks ago on CA Draft Position Overviews: Wide Receiver

Reply

I feel better about the players and coaches as a whole because they've now put together two playoff seasons, including a win. This year showed that last year wasn't just a fluke fueled by the emotions surrounding Pagano's illness.

On the other hand, I have less confidence in Grigson. Last year he looked like a miracle worker, at least in the draft. This year I'm hoping he can learn from his mistakes, and probably bring in someone who specializes in evaluating veteran talent. That seems to be a major weakness.

5 months, 2 weeks ago on Fireside Chats with Colts Authority

Reply

@Lou Pin @ECBThat's a possibility. But Brown seems like an ideal change of pace back. He did okay as a starter, but had several games where he pretty much disappeared. He'd be a great complement to either Richardson or Ballard if they pan out, but I don't see him as an ideal replacement if they aren't.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Bowen: how the heck did Indy beat Seattle?

Reply

I dunno, RB is actually one of the positions that worries me the most for the Colts next year. Ballard's coming off an ACL reconstruction, and a lot of guys are never quite the same after those. An NFL RB depends so much on his ability to make sharp cuts and accelerate rapidly that just a slight loss of quickness can make a big impact. Sometimes guys come back and have great years, e.g. Adrian Peterson, but that's a rare exception. I expect Ballard to play, but it'll be a very pleasant surprise if he can match his 2012 output.


And hopefully Trent Richardson will be earning a big share of carries, but I'm not terribly optimistic about that either.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Bowen: how the heck did Indy beat Seattle?

Reply

As I understand Pagano & co, they aren't saying the Colts have to have an elite running game & run defense, but that they have to be good at those things. They need to be able to do it consistently. They also have to be able to pass very well, but that is pretty much a given with Luck at QB. Building a strong running attack means that they make sure their guys can run block, and keep the running game as a (not "the") focus of the offense so they get and stay good at it. That'll keep defenses from doing what they need to do to stop Andrew Luck's passing.


Not many teams have won Super Bowls without solid running games. Even fewer have done it without solid passing games. An elite passing game is more likely to get you there than an elite running game, but you need to be solid at both. Of course, the real dynasties have tended to have both - Troy Aikman & Emmit Smith, Joe Montana & Roger Craig, Terry Bradshaw & Franco Harris, Roger Staubach & Tony Dorsett. Maybe include John Elway & Terrell Davis.


Of course, this doesn't mean the Colts have to regularly use a fullback. There's other ways of maintaining a strong running game.

6 months ago on Franchise Building: It's All About Efficiency

Reply

@thejoshbakerAnd what if next October Luck breaks his arm or something and misses a bunch of games? With a Hasselback, we'd expect to still win half or more of those and still be in position for a playoff run when Luck returns. With a Painter who doesn't have the ability to win, the season's basically over.


Though admittedly there is a middle ground. An Orlovsky could probably keep the Colts in contention and cost much less than Hasselback.

6 months, 1 week ago on Grigson, Colts Entering Crucial, Defining Off-season

Reply

Run the Ball, Stop the Run is absolutely the right mantra for Pagano & co. going forward. If the Colts are going to win a Super Bowl anytime soon, they must make major improvements to their running game, and probably to their run defense. Note that the teams who are still playing are all pretty good at running the football, as were most of the other playoff teams. There were a few years where offenses briefly found a way to win championships without effective running, but it looks like that time is over. Even the Colts this year were 10-2 when Luck threw for less than 300 yards and 1-4 when he threw for more.


The problem was not that the Colts tried to be a power running team, it was that they were terrible at it. Part of that was losing Thomas, Allen, Bradshaw & Ballard, but the guys who actually played didn't get it done. Same thing on the defensive side - Grigson may have brought in a bunch of guys to be run stuffers, but you'd never have guessed that watching them play this year.

6 months, 1 week ago on Grigson, Colts Entering Crucial, Defining Off-season

Reply

Assuming that they can sign McAfee, the Colts ought to keep Vinatieri around as long as he can kick, and then bring in another old reliable guy to replace him. One of the great advantages of having a punter like McAfee is that you don't need a placekicker who can kickoff. He could even handle the long field goals if those start to be a problem.


With both Moala and Mathews, I'd offer a short term deal near league minimum. They're both solid backups who can provide depth if needed, but I'd like to see the Colts bring in some D-linemen with more upside.


If we're going to lose a safety, I'd much rather it be Landry. Wonder if the cap situation makes sense to cut him and use the money to re-sign Bethea.

6 months, 1 week ago on Hayes: Free agent questions for Indy

Reply

Kind of amazing the Pats have even fewer guys from that 2007 game than we do.

6 months, 1 week ago on Colts Playoff Notebook: Pep Talks

Reply

I had similar feelings watching at home with my 13 and 6 yr old boys. Told them to cherish this team and the special things we have come to expect from them. It is very rare, though they have been common in Indy for the past decade except in the playoffs and the mercifully short Painter interregnum. Also told the 6 yr old to expect to regularly see that highlight of Luck's fumble recovery TD until he's well into his 20's.

6 months, 2 weeks ago on Growing Up Before My Eyes

Reply

Another reason to root for the Chargers this weekend is that they are the only team the Colts could potentially play at home after this weekend. That'd be a nice consolation if they beat Peyton. Assuming that the Colts win the war of 12-12, of course.

6 months, 3 weeks ago on Coping with Conflict

Reply

On that screen to Rogers, I think that's on Rogers rather than the blockers. Pulling O-linemen are taught not to look back or slow down when they're pulling. The runner should be right behind them, so that if the lineman doesn't find a blocking target, the runner doesn't find a tackler. If they slow down to look around, they get in the runner's way and can mess up a big play. If Rogers followed his pullers like he was supposed to do, then they would have been in the way of the pursuing linebackers, and Fleener's CB and the safety would have been running into the blocking path where the pullers could have seen them and picked them off.

7 months ago on CA Charting Project: Charting the Colts' Offensive Line, Week 15

Reply

I disagree that the Colts' record is inflated by "throwing out the records" of their opponents. The Colts' own division may be down this year, but their schedule has otherwise been pretty tough, playing two of the NFL's deepest divisions and plus drawing games vs. likely playoff teams Cincy and Miami. While they have been awful vs. good teams, they've also been great against the league's best, and usually taken care of business against weaker teams. A 9-5 team should struggle vs. teams with better records, but the Colts are 3-0 vs teams with 10 or more wins. They should generally split vs. teams with comparable records, but the Colts are 0-4 vs. teams with 7 to 9 wins. And they should mop up against weaker teams, which the Colts have done, going 6-1 against teams with 6 or fewer wins. Though admittedly that loss was really ugly.

If they'd lost to all the teams who are currently at 9 or more wins and lost to those with less, they'd be 9-5. If they'd split the games vs. 9-5 teams (Cards & Bengals), they'd actually be 10-4. Looked at another way, the Colts are 3-2 vs. teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today, and 6-3 vs. the rest of the league. One could actually argue that ignoring the records of their opponents makes the Colts' record look worse than it is.

7 months, 1 week ago on Monday Morning Moaner: Colts vs Texans

Reply

I think the two huge problems would be the travel and the fact that most players will have a strong preference to play in the USA. They'll do it if that's what they have to do to play pro football, but I'd expect European teams to be at a major competitive disadvantage with any sort of free agency.

Eventually I think we'll see something like the Canadian Football League in Europe. There will be plenty of Americans willing to live in Europe in order to play professional football. Usually after they give up on their NFL dreams. I believe that sort of arrangement is common in basketball and hockey - lots of 2nd tier American players go over there while some of the top Europeans come here.

1 year, 1 month ago on Considering the Role of Player Health in NFL Expansion to Europe

Reply

 @cwjwl You can run a solid 3-4 without a pass rushing DE, but it is a great asset to have one.

1 year, 3 months ago on Colts' Biggest Needs Post-Free Agency

Reply

Don't forget DE. It looks like we have solid starters and perhaps depth there, but a 3-4 really hums when it has a pass rushing DE, which we don't have. Plus Redding probably doesn't have too many good seasons left in him.

1 year, 3 months ago on Colts' Biggest Needs Post-Free Agency

Reply

The system is actually set up so that every team plays four first place teams, four second place teams, four third place teams, and four fourth place teams from the year before. Everyone plays two complete divisions, and the two "parity" games actually just replace your own spot within your division. So the Colts last year got to play the last place teams from the AFC North and West, but couldn't play the fourth place team from their own division because it was themselves. This year they get two out-of-division games vs. 2nd place teams because they can't play the 2nd place team in their own division.

1 year, 5 months ago on The Myth of Parity Scheduling in the NFL

Reply

Another approach the Colts should take is to "bank" some of this cap space for the future. This can be done by structuring contracts to count bonuses in the year paid rather than over the entire length of the contract.  There is a limit to how much a team can improve itself with one free agent class - as Grigson's former team has demonstrated. But stretching out the cap space can keep the window from Luck's rookie contract open for an extra year or two.

1 year, 5 months ago on The Colts' unique situation heading into Free Agency

Reply

 @Colt_Following  @jelewin I hope they bring Collie back. It'll probably come down to whether someone else wants to pay him the top dollars it looked like he was worth before he got his concussions in 2010. If not, the Colts should hold onto him.

1 year, 5 months ago on Team Needs - Offense

Reply

As with many of our free agents, the decision on Powers probably comes down to price. He seems a shoo-in to make the roster, and would be a starter unless we bring in at least one new corner who is pretty good. Question is whether he's worth the money, and with the Colts in pretty good financial shape for a change, that will come down to whether someone else decides he's worth more to them than the Colts think he's worth to them. My guess is that someone is going to significantly overpay him compared to his value as a Colt. Corner is usually a pretty hot market for free agency, he seems better suited towards other schemes, and he only has one season invested in learning the Colts' current system. So where we'd be viewing him as a tolerable #2, someone is going to see him as a decent #1 or solid #2. I doubt we match them.

1 year, 6 months ago on Colts Offseason Outlook - Should the Colts re-sign CB Jerraud Powers?

Reply

 @AJ_ I'd actually point to a different reason why the O-line wasn't a priority when Peyton was here - he didn't need one, so Polian prioritized other positions. Between his quick release, phenomenal ability to read defenses, and in-depth knowledge of his own offense and receivers, Peyton needed very little time in the pocket to be highly effective. Despite playing his last few years here behind a patchwork line, he averaged over twelve wins a season, seldom got sacked, and didn't even get hit all that much. And when the Colts couldn't run the ball, he could make up for it with a reliable short passing game. So Polian was able to keep focusing his high draft picks on skill players and defense, and try to stock the O-line with late round picks and UFAs.

 

Of course, it didn't help that many of the linemen picked in the late Polian years were busts. But the line would not have been dominant even if we'd gotten above average value with the picks we used on linemen instead of Ugoh, Pollack, McClendon, et al.

1 year, 7 months ago on Indianapolis Colts' 2013 Free Agency Preview: Offensive Line

Reply

 @AJ_ Culpepper was already on the team when George was there. My understanding was that George was very eager to re-sign, but they were unwilling to offer a multi-year contract, and didn't have cap space to offer much in a one year deal. Basically they wanted to get the QB of the future onto the field.

 

Too bad as I recall they went to the NFC championship game with Culpepper and probably would have gone further with George, who was a much better QB by that point in his career. Having a QB with his arm throwing to Moss & Carter with a solid O-line and RB was amazing.

1 year, 8 months ago on 5 Reasons It’s Awesome To Be A Fan Of The Colts

Reply

 @AJ_ As a former Viking fan, I did love the year Jeff George played in Minnesota. Glad I missed his stint here in Indy though.

1 year, 8 months ago on 5 Reasons It’s Awesome To Be A Fan Of The Colts

Reply

They'll have to keep improving to do it, but the Colts also have a serious shot at winning the division. Just sweep Houston and match the Texans' record in the other five games.

1 year, 8 months ago on Colts Monday Musings: Playoffs? Playoffs?! We're talking about Playoffs, Man | November

Reply

I've always thought the blackout rule was pretty stupid because it generates too much ill will for the limited impact on ticket sales. But if it was dumb for the league to do it, it is ten times worse for an individual team to do it. If the Colts got blacked out because of a league rule, people would blame the NFL for having a dumb rule that keeps them from watching their favorite team. But now that it is the Colts themselves doing it, the anger will get directed at the team and probably have a negative impact on the fan base. I doubt it will be an issue this year - 2,000 tickets should be pretty easy to sell individually. But if the Colts ever do black out a game, I think Mr. Irsay will come to regret this decision.

2 years ago on Fed Up Isn't Fair Weather | July

Reply

 @BlueAndWhite17 I do still go there occasionally because it is still a good source of news about the Colts. Even the post discussed here actually has some good info and analysis included. But Wells has gotten really annoying with his schtick of repeating the same outrageously exaggerated claims ("Indiana sports fans are fickle," "Bill Polian destroyed the Colts by busting all his draft picks") in every post.

2 years ago on Are you Buying what the Colts are Selling? | July

Reply

Two attributes Indiana fans tend to value very highly are hard work and playing smart. Think of our biggest heroes here: Peyton Manning, Larry Bird, A.J. Foyt. It was a theme of the "Hoosiers" movie. Look at the enthusiasm for Butler's recent NCAA runs. Even Bobby Knight, though his national reputation was a chair-throwing bully, was loved locally because his teams always played great fundamental basketball & had high graduation rates. I sense that Irsay recognizes that and is bringing in people who will develop that kind of team. Andrew Luck so far seems to exemplify those values.

2 years ago on Winning Over a City and Growing a Fanbase, Part III | June

Reply

I'm not sure how relevant the other pro sports teams are to the intensity of fan support. The Packers may have Green Bay to themselves, but most Packer fans are from elsewhere in Wisconsin. Pittsburgh seemed pretty nuts about the Penguins during the Lemieux era.  At any rate, I don't see that the Pacers are much of a threat. This has been a basketball state, but it's been a high school and college basketball state. A Final Four appearance by an Indiana school generates comparable excitement to a Pacer title run.

 

I think the real key is that the Colts need to establish a great image that fits the city. Steelers have that great image of blue collar toughness that ties in with their city's position as a steel town. Packers have that image of playing in the frozen tundra. Colts during the Manning/Dungy era have built an image of winning with lots of "high character" players, which Irsay, Grigson & co. seem intent on continuing. It fits well with the city's image as a great place to raise a family.

2 years, 1 month ago on Winning Over a City and Growing a Fanbase, Part II | June

Reply

Two other thoughts occur to me regarding fullbacks in our new offense. First, remember that "spider 2 Y banana" play that Gruden was raving about how much Stanford used it in his interview with Luck? It was a play action pass to the FB. I believe Fleener was the FB on some of those on the film, but it wouldn't work unless he was frequently making a kick-out block on an off tackle run. Second, wasn't Arians' decision not to use a fullback one of the reasons he was unpopular in Pittsburgh? Suggests we have a QB who often threw to FBs in college and an OC who doesn't like to use them. Wonder whether we'll frequently see Fleener or Allen line up at H-back, motion into the backfield, and either kick-out on a run or fake the kick-out on a play-action. I'm sure Arians would have a few other wrinkles in the series as well.

2 years, 1 month ago on To Use or Not to Use: The Forgotten Fullback | May

Reply

I see the point of this, but it makes me more skeptical of the Brody Eldridge cut. At the time I thought that made sense because there weren't enough roster spots available to keep a blocking TE who wasn't a receiving threat if they were planning on using two receiving TEs and a FB on a regular basis. And the FB would fill roughly the role that Eldridge would have had. But without a FB it seems like there is room for an Eldridge-type blocker as well as a back-up receiving TE, and that there will be plenty of situations where it would be helpful to have a guy like Eldridge on the field.

2 years, 1 month ago on Kuharsky hates the fullback | Articles

Reply

 @Kyle Rodriguez  @naptown_ninja I think the blame for bad special teams has to go much more to Caldwell than Polian. Aside from the three specialists, your special team players are going to be your offensive and defensive back-ups. They're on your team because they're the 4th WR or the 3rd OLB. Most teams are going to have pretty similar talent level at those spots because if someone else's third string is better than your second string, you sign those third stringers when they get cut. Special team ability on most teams is a tie breaker to see which marginal players get to stick around. Occasionally you get someone who sticks because they're especially good on special teams, but Polian did pick up a few of those guys - think Taj Smith or Aaron Fransisco. He also brought it some late round picks and free agents who were supposed to be good return men. But they didn't pan out. Polian also made sure we had good people at the specialist positions - think how much worse our return game would have been if he'd tried out UFA's instead of drafting McAfee.

 

What does make a big difference is the emphasis that the HC puts on special teams. How much practice time do they get? How many players are off-limits to the special teams because of their value on O or D? When you're making roster recommendations, how important is special teams ability to your evaluation? I don't get the impression that those things were a particularly high priority during the Caldwell era.

2 years, 2 months ago on The 2011 Colts Special Teams: The Good, Ugly, and Just Plain Awful | May

Reply

You know your special teams are bad when you always root for touchbacks regardless of which team is kicking.

2 years, 2 months ago on The 2011 Colts Special Teams: The Good, Ugly, and Just Plain Awful | May

Reply

I expect the Colts will keep a TE or two beyond Fleener, Allen & Eldridge, at least on the practice squad. If you're going to use two tight ends with two pass-catchers and also with a blocking specialist, you need to have some backups for them.

2 years, 2 months ago on Colts roster growing | Articles

Reply

 @LukeNukem The Texans went 7-3 with Schaub and 3-4 with Yates, though Yates' wins were oddly all over playoff teams while his regular season losses were here and at home to the Panthers & Titans. But I'd count Yates at the low end of the "typical" range with Schaub at the high end of that. I think a better example of what I'm talking about is the Patriots going 11-5 after Brady went down in game 1, or the success the Packers have had when Rodgers has been out.

 

But the larger point is that it is very hard to predict how an NFL team will do. We have just seen our team finish an exceptionally long stretch of consistent success, but most teams bounce up and down. Remember last year at this time the Bengals looked so bad coming off a 4-12 season that their star QB insisted he'd rather retire than play for them again. He looked pretty foolish when they made the playoffs without him.

 

Many things have to go well for the Colts to have a strong season: Pagano needs to revitalize the defense, many defensive players have to adjust and thrive in the new scheme, the new QB and a few of the new receivers need to have an immediate impact, the O-line needs to gell and its young players need to develop quickly. But all those things could happen, and if they do we can make a playoff run.

2 years, 2 months ago on Hopeful Fodder - What if We're Wrong? | Articles

Reply

 @LukeNukem  My point is that the 2010 and 2011 teams had comparable talent outside the QB position. The 2010 teams' wins were inflated by a few games by stellar QB play while the 2011 wins were diminished by abysmal QB play. I expect that Peyton was usually worth 2-3 wins a year over a typical NFL starter, Painter & co. probably lost us 4-5 that a typical QB would have won, and there's probably a difference of a game or two within the typical range. These estimates are based on a couple decades of watching NFL teams continue to play well and win games when a star QB is replaced by a quality backup, but collapsing with incompetent ones - sometimes even the same time when a quality backup goes down and is replaced by a lousy #3, or a lousy backup is replaced by a quality veteran. So I'd expect a typical QB to have won around 7-8 games both years. Barring another rash of injuries, I would expect the 2012 Colts to have a similar or better non-QB talent level, so if Andrew Luck can play at the level of a typical NFL QB, we ought to win around 7 or 8 games. If he exceeds that and the team wins more than its share of close ones, then we get the 10 wins that usually qualify for the playoffs.

2 years, 2 months ago on Hopeful Fodder - What if We're Wrong? | Articles

Reply

Another way to reach the same conclusion is to compare the 2011 team with the 2010 team. With the concentration of injuries the 2010 team had at the offensive skill positions and defensive secondary, a strong argument can be made that the 2011 team was actually stronger at every position except QB and CB. But the 2010 team won the division. That's obviously with spectacular rather than merely solid QB play, but it seems reasonable to expect that a healthy Peyton Manning would have gotten the 2011 team at least into playoff contention. If Andrew Luck can hit the ground running and Pagano can re-kindle this team's ability to win close games, a 2012 playoff run is not out of the question.

2 years, 2 months ago on Hopeful Fodder - What if We're Wrong? | Articles

Reply

I agree the line should be better than we've had for awhile. Actually last year's was probably an upgrade over recent years when we had most of the starters healthy. But remember that we were able to win with a lousy O-line because Peyton's quick release and amazing understanding of NFL defenses allowed us to establish a pretty good short passing game whether anyone blocked or not. Luck may perhaps reach that point, but it'll surely take him a few years to build his knowledge to that level.

2 years, 3 months ago on Analyzing the Colts Pre-Draft Offensive Line | April

Reply

I doubt 2012 would have been a Super Bowl run if we'd kept Peyton, but I do think we'd have had a good shot for one by 2013 and 2014. Key is that keeping Peyton would have allowed us to trade the #1 pick. All those extra draft picks would have accelerated the rebuilding process. Only way this was a good move is either if Peyton really isn't as healthy as we're hearing from Denver or the Colts are very confident that Andrew Luck is a future hall of famer.

2 years, 3 months ago on Square in Bargaining: The Colts Wouldn’t Have Won Anyway | April

Reply

I think when Pagano talks about emphasizing the run he is speaking of run defense/offense as a foundational thing. If your base personnel and scheme is effective in the running game, it makes the passing game much easier. And it allows you to control the game because a good running game brings a greater certainty of success on each play. It isn't how often you run or even how many yards - a 50 yard rushing game is good if it was 9 1st down runs of 4-6 yards and 4 3rd and short conversion. Conversely, a team that rushes 20 times for 100 yards will have a busy punter if 80 of the yards were on one play. That team will win some games on breakaway runs, but it won't win a championship because it can't consistently control the line of scrimmage.

 

The comparison I'd really like to see is running efficiency and Super Bowl success. While recent Super Bowl champs have tended to throw more than run, they have also had the ability to run.

2 years, 3 months ago on Building the Monster: Defense 2012 | April

Reply

It'd be interesting to see a breakdown like this on Brady. He's had a really odd career: first four years as a starter he was a solid but not spectacular QB with a reputation for coming up huge in the clutch with three Super Bowl  wins and 9-0 in the playoffs. But since then he's put up Hall of Fame stats, but no more Super Bowl victories and a 7-6 playoff record.

2 years, 3 months ago on The Clutch Enigma: Peyton Manning, Part II | April

Reply

After following the links to the Freakonomics chart on the Super Bowl teams O & D rankings, I was somewhat surprised that the trend has actually been towards defenses in recent years. Since 2000 we've seen seven Super Bowl champions with offenses outside the top 10, and only the Colts & Saints won with 1st or 2nd rated O's. Defense has similar stats during that stretch. But from 1991-99 the champs' offensive ratings were all in the top three, with five #1's. Five championship D's during that stretch were outside the top 10, though none was lower than 15. I'd be curious what the chart would look like for the 70's and 80's.

2 years, 3 months ago on GM Boot camp lesson 4 | Articles

Reply

I'm curious how the Colts will compare with the rest of the league once PFF releases its analysis of the other teams' drafts. Seems like they graded pretty tough. I'd argue for quite a few of those rankings being a notch higher. But I think the basic flaw with the Colts' drafts in recent years has been the failure to find any really top notch players. They've gotten some good but not great players from the late round picks, but Angerer is the only above average value in the top two rounds. Nothing really special anywhere.

 

Draft position explains much of the drop-off from the days when Polian grabbed stars like Manning, Freeney, Wayne & Clark in the 1st round, but it has also been awhile since he found a Bethea, Mathis or June in the later rounds, or a UFA like Saturday or Brackett.

2 years, 3 months ago on Unfortunate Misconceptions: Judging the 2008-2010 Drafts | April

Reply

A lot has to go right, but I don't think a playoff run is unrealistic this year - not probable, but certainly possible. NFL teams can turn around pretty fast, and I think this team does have some talent. I'd rate the O-line, D-line, and LBs as the best we've had for quite awhile. Receiving corp needs to be rebuilt, but still has some pretty good talent, RBs are solid. DBs need some corners to develop or be added. Big questions are: (1) is Andrew Luck for real, and how quickly does he catch on; (2) how well can Pagano revitalize the defense; (3) how well does the young O-line develop and gell; and (4) how well do they handle close games?

 

Note that at this time last year the Bengals' QB was demanding a trade so he could play for a playoff contender, and predicting that the 49ers would host the championship game would have been pretty funny. For the Colts to do it, the old guys have to stay good another year, the young guys have to develop, the new system needs to take hold, but if all that happens they could be good right away.

2 years, 3 months ago on Colts reincarnated | Articles

Reply

I'd suggest that this stat tells us a great deal about why Peyton's playoff record was only so-so: his teams were seldom as good as their record. Even though their record was usually among the top 2 or 3 in the conference, their talent level was usually that of a marginal playoff team, and hence below most of the teams they'd meet in the playoffs. That 9-10 record may actually be better than what would be predicted based on this stat.

2 years, 3 months ago on MUST READ: Colts and pythagorean wins | Articles

Reply

Seems to me that the reason you put in $14m in base salary for the last year of a contract is to force a decision to either cut or extend him. Give him a two year extension, convert the $14m to $12m signing bonus and $2m 2012 base, and the cap number for this year drops to a much more manageable $11m. They're probably just negotiating what he gets in the extension years.

 

Or they might be waiting until mini-camps to get a better read for how well he does in the new system.

2 years, 3 months ago on Freeney stays...for now | Articles

Reply

I wonder what he means by "early." It would make sense to sign Luck before the draft just to get it out of the way and use whatever leverage you get from the hypothetical threat to pass on him. But it really doesn't make much sense to do it this early. May as well make sure the private workout goes well first. Plus there's always the outside chance of an injury or other problem materializing in early April. So waiting until just before the draft reduces risk a little.

2 years, 3 months ago on Nuggets from Grigson press conference | Articles

Reply

I think an easier way to benchmark the current level of talent is to compare to the 2010 team that went 10-6 and won the division. I would suggest that the only position areas that were really worse in 2011 than 2010 were QB and DB. O-line was strengthened by addition of Castonzo and development of Reitz, receivers were better as Clark and Collie got back on the field, RBs were better with addition of Carter and Brown's development. LBs were the best group in a long time, D-line was buttressed by Nevis, Anderson & Brayton. DB declined from adequate to horrible, and QB of course dropped from the best in the league to the worst.

 

Looking ahead to 2012 is more speculative since we don't know who all the draft picks and free agents will be, what progress or regress people will make, or who will get hurt. But I'd expect both lines, RB & LB to all be better than 2010. Redding should more than replace Brayton & Anderson (assuming those guys are gone), adding Satele and Justice combined with expected development from the young guys should make the O-line better than the 2010 edition.

 

With the other three groups, Luck should at least split the difference between the 2010 and 2011 QBs. Zbikowski should be better than Aaron Fransisco and they ought to be able to find someone who can at least be adequate at CB. Receiving corp is depleted by free agency, but still looks decent if we can find a TE or two who can catch.

 

So all together, I'd suggest that the 2012 Colts should only be a few players from being as good as the 2010 team that won the division. Of course, one of those players is Peyton Manning. But if Luck is the real deal, he should have the supporting cast to make a playoff run in the near future.

2 years, 3 months ago on Did the 1998 Colts Have More Talent than the 2012 Colts? | March

Reply

Making judgments either way about young teams is necessarily pretty speculative. At this point we don't know whether Castonzo is the next Tarik Glenn, or the next Tony Ugoh. The other guys could also have already hit their peak, or be on the verge of a breakout.

 

And of course one huge asset that the Colts had at the end of the 1997 season was the # overall pick in a draft whose premier prospect was a QB who turned out to be the best to ever play the game. Only time will tell if the current Colts have a similar asset in the right to pick Andrew Luck.

2 years, 3 months ago on Did the 1998 Colts Have More Talent than the 2012 Colts? | March

Reply

 @19>18  @colt44 My understanding is that they could at least have moved back the date of the bonus, though I don't know that I ever heard that confirmed. But certainly they could have released him and signed a new deal.

2 years, 4 months ago on Did Irsay pull the chute too soon? | Articles

Reply

 @Sinn0331  @pierrezombie  @kasey_junk  @EconolineVan Ask the Lions about "can't miss" QB prospects like Joey Harrington, Andre Ware & Chuck Long. Or the Browns about Tim Couch. Picking a QB early in the first round is a big gamble because they are likely to be busts as superstars. And if you pick a bust with a top pick you are committed to several lousy seasons "giving him a chance" hoping he'll finally come around like Alex Smith. Many franchise QBs get drafted later in the first round or later, and you can usually evaluate them as backups for awhile before you bet a season on them.

 

Using a 2nd or 3rd rounder this year would have given us one shot at a guy who could have been ready to step in when Peyton retired, and if he didn't pan out we could have used one of the extra picks in 2014. Or signed someone else's promising back-up as a free agent - sometimes those turn out to be Drew Brees.

2 years, 4 months ago on Did Irsay pull the chute too soon? | Articles

Reply

 @colt44 I disagreed with those who wanted to start over with Luck, but the sentiment was based on what now appears to have been bad information. Until a few weeks ago it sounded like his return would be very iffy, and not really knowable until late summer. Plus there was a belief that Peyton wanted out because he didn't want to wait for a rebuilding process to make another Super Bowl run. If that had been true, then there wouldn't have been any way to push back the decision. It was pay $28 million today for a QB who might never take another snap, or let him go and let someone else take a gamble on him. Personally, I thought that he would stay because it made too much sense for both he and Irsay to work out a deal that would reflect the health issues. But I didn't think anyone would offer Peyton the kind of contract it sounds like Elway just gave him.

2 years, 4 months ago on Did Irsay pull the chute too soon? | Articles

Reply

Agreed. If Peyton is worth the money the Broncos are paying him, then Irsay made an extremely poor decision. Even if Andrew Luck turns out to be a hall of famer himself, I'd still rather have four or five years of a healthy Manning plus all the draft picks we could have gotten by trading the #1. The only way that Irsay's move made any sense at all was if there was a high risk that Peyton was done playing at a high level. He was worth more to us than to Denver, and he would have cost us less since we already paid him a big chunk of his 5 year contract.

2 years, 4 months ago on Did Irsay pull the chute too soon? | Articles

Reply

I could have fully understood Peyton going to Tennessee. I don't think he was considering it for revenge, but because he'd played his college ball there. He already has a fan base there, and I think that was a big part of his consideration. But it would have been really awkward rooting against him twice a year.

2 years, 4 months ago on On Manning, Pride, and Legacies | March

Reply

Don't forget about linebackers. I believe Angerer and Conner are the only guys on our roster who have started an NFL game at linebacker: The rest are all guys we picked up as UFA's, waivers, cut by other teams, etc. In a 3-4 we probably start Freeney & Mathis with Hughes as a backup, but we need someone who can be the third LB in the 4-3 and also get reps when we need a coverage or run support guy in the 3-4. I expect we'll either re-sign Sims or Wheeler, or pick up someone like them. But I'd expect us to also draft at least one more.

 

We also need a backup QB. Probably we'll sign a veteran, but could be a late round draft pick.

2 years, 4 months ago on Colts Draft Needs List (Post FA Signings) | Articles

Reply

You can win with big O-linemen, or you can win with smaller, quicker O-linemen. But which way you choose needs to fit with how your coaches train them, how your plays are designed, etc. The front office seems to have been trying to move towards a bigger O-line for several years - e.g. picking Jaimie Thomas & Jacques McClendon, signing some big free agent linemen, etc. Not sure whether the problem was Polian not being good at evaluating large linemen, the o-line coaches not being good at working with them, or Caldwell & Christensen not designing plays & game plans that utilized their skills. But all of them have now been replaced. If the new guys want big guys and are good at working with them, then these new additions could pan out. If not, they'll end up like the prior attempts to beef up.

2 years, 4 months ago on Dunlevy looks at McGlynn | Articles

Reply

I sure hope you are wrong about giving up on 2012. Certainly they aren't looking at a Super Bowl run, but having some success on the field this year would be an important first step in the rebuilding process. First of all, Pagano needs to show that he can be a head coach, and in particular he needs to show that he can turn around the defense.  And Luck needs to show some talent on offense. He should be a substantial improvement over Painter & co. If both of those happen, the team should be decent.

 

Also, it is difficult to incorporate too many free agents at once - as Grigson's Eagles demonstrated last year. Starting to fill some holes this year will ease that process, and also give us two year's worth of players to draw from.

@DougEngland 

2 years, 4 months ago on Why the Colts Are Unlikely to be Big Free Agent Players | March

Reply

I doubt very much that we will make any high profile signings this year, for the reasons expressed. Exception might be if Grigson really wants a solid veteran at a specific position, most likely NT or CB. I do think we will have to fill some holes with guys who are just glad to keep playing - think Brayton, Anderson & Sims last year. We have to add a WR, TE, C, & NT because we don't have plausible starters on the roster - though some of those could be re-signing our own FA's. We also need upgrades at CB & SS, and it would be helpful to add an OG. We'll be drafting many of those positions, but you can't depend on later round picks to come in and start right away.

2 years, 4 months ago on Why the Colts Are Unlikely to be Big Free Agent Players | March

Reply

 @PeytonTheManning  @omahacolt  @Goodrich138 I agree that extreme projections aren't too helpful at this point. But that is what Irsay has set up. Dropping Peyton to open the position for this kid only makes sense if Peyton is washed up or if Luck is a Hall of Famer in waiting. If Luck ends up having a career like Philip Rivers or Carson Palmer, I think he'll be regarded as something of a bust. Probably not fair, but that's the expectations you set when you release the best player of all time to make room for a rookie.

2 years, 4 months ago on Five Plays and the Draft - Andrew Luck. | March

Reply

I'd say he clearly has arm strength - otherwise he wouldn't be able to make those amazing throws when he's running away from the receiver or falling down. If there is a problem, it looks like it is in supplementing that arm strength with power from the rest of the body when he has the time to use it. I would think that would be fairly easy for a good QB coach to fix.

2 years, 4 months ago on Five Plays and the Draft - Andrew Luck. | March

Reply

 @Ajit Agreed. I know he's at an age when WRs usually start slowing down, but I expect he's the type who will be able to play at a high level into his late 30's. He'd be a terrific asset for a young QB, and with Collie and Tamme (assuming he re-signs) would give us a pretty respectable receiving core.

2 years, 4 months ago on The Purge | March

Reply

 @jopat Really makes you wonder what Irsay & Polian were thinking when they structured Peyton's contract last summer.

 

I think most of today's cuts would have come anyway - Bullitt's unlikely to come back from his shoulder injury, Brackett probably lost his spot to Angerer, Clark looked old last year and probably isn't as good an option as Tamme anymore, Addai has had trouble staying healthy and would have started camp as the third RB next year. Note we also have replacements for most of those guys already. But if we were trying to keep reloading for Manning Super Bowl runs, it seems like it would be essential to hold onto Freeney and either Wayne or Garcon.

2 years, 4 months ago on The Purge | March

Reply

Today's cuts made sense. None of these guys made much of a contribution last year, and all are at or near the end of the road. But I look at the deal the Redskins made to get Griffin and wish we were getting those picks to rebuild quickly around Peyton. Unless Peyton's health is a whole lot iffier than his potential suitors are letting on, letting him go to make room for a rookie makes no sense to me.

 

The other guy I really hope we hold onto is Wayne. He's a really special player, and would be a terrific aid to developing a new QB.

2 years, 4 months ago on The Purge | March

Reply

This is one reason why I thought it was foolish to let Peyton go. While other teams have let superstar QBs go to make room for younger players, I don't believe it has ever been done for a rookie - Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers had been on their teams for several years when Montana and Favre were let go. It would be very tough for anyone to be Peyton Manning's replacement. Tougher still for a rookie. To have the added pressure of being a major cause of Peyton's release is just incredible. I think fans will be understanding of mistakes this year, but Luck had better be awfully good in 2013 or there's going to be some major outcry against Irsay for letting Peyton go. And avoiding the "bust" label probably requires either a hall of fame career or winning multiple Super Bowls. I hope he's up to it.

2 years, 4 months ago on How will Peyton Manning's Release Affect the Next Colts Quarterback? | March

Reply

Taking everyone at their word in today's conference, I think Irsay is putting way too much stock in Andrew Luck. Unless Peyton is a really terrific actor, I think he was willing to sign a new contract that reflected the uncertainty of his recovery. I'd have taken him up on that and probably traded the Luck pick, or maybe drafted him as an insurance policy that could be traded later if Peyton was fully healthy.

 

I understand other owners have made similar decisions - dropping Montana for Young or Favre for Rodgers. But both of those replacements had spent several years on the roster and the teams had plenty of time to evaluate them. Luck is a rookie. Rookie QBs often don't turn out as well as advertised. Lots of top 5 picks end up as complete busts, many become solid players, but very few become superstars. I think three QBs taken in the top 5 picks over the last 30 years warrant that title: Elway, Aikman & Manning. Hopefully Luck will be the fourth, but giving up two or three years of Manning to make room for any of the others would have been a major mistake.

2 years, 4 months ago on Kravitz: Don't blame Irsay or Manning | Articles

Reply

 @SouthernColt  @ECB You are looking at the past busts with 20/20 hindsight. If they had reputations for being lazy, partiers, overrated, etc., they wouldn't have been drafted so high. And there's no guarantee that the Colts are a better franchise today than Couch's Browns.

 

And even if he turns out to be a Drew Bledsoe or Carson Palmer, I don't think that'd be worth giving up the last few years of Manning. I do expect Peyton to have more than one good year left. And there will be other good QBs available when he leaves. For example, if we'd known this last year that he wouldn't play we could have either signed Matt Hasselback or possibly drafted a QB.

2 years, 4 months ago on The Mythology of Manning | March

Reply

 @dmstorm22  @18to88 I was just going with conventional wisdom on Brees vs. Rivers, but by taking Rivers they ended up losing Brees as a free agent. If they had committed to him, they could have used the Rivers pick on another position. Really the same reason that they got the better of the Rivers-Eli trade. Eli may be a marginally better QB, but the Chargers also got Merriman and some other players from the deal.

2 years, 4 months ago on The Mythology of Manning | March

Reply

 @SouthernColt Peyton won't play ten years, but he is likely to be very good for four. Luck could be great for a very long time, but he could also suck for a few years before getting cut. See, for example, Tim Couch, JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Joey Harrington, etc.

2 years, 4 months ago on The Mythology of Manning | March

Reply

 @dmstorm22 That is an interesting point, it is possible that the Saints made Brees rather than Brees making the Saints. Similarly, it is possible that Luck could become a superstar on some teams and just be an okay QB on others. That is basically why Eli balked at playing for the Chargers - he didn't think he'd get the support he needed there.

 

Coming back to Manning, I'd note that he's worked with our OC and QB coaches. Luck hasn't.

2 years, 4 months ago on The Mythology of Manning | March

Reply

Excellent article. I'd just add that keeping Peyton also allows us to trade the #1 pick for a bunch of high picks who can help fill holes elsewhere. They can use a non-1st rounder this year to pick a backup QB who can groom behind Peyton for a few years, and if he doesn't look like an eventual replacement in a few years, we draft another one then. Despite all the hype about taking QBs 1st overall, lots of great QBs were taken much later - Montana, Favre & Brees were all 2nd rounders, Brady even later, Kurt Warner wasn't drafted at all.

 

Consider what the Chargers have done by trading the #1 overall pick - when they traded the rights to Vick they instead drafted LT and got Drew Brees in the 2nd round. Trading Eli got them a comparable QB in Philip Rivers plus a 1st rounder the next year that became Shawn Merriman. Of course, they should have kept Brees and used the Rivers pick on a different position, but that just shows the difficulty of predicting how young QBs will turn out.

2 years, 4 months ago on The Mythology of Manning | March

Reply

 @SouthernColt I'd argue that Peyton staying is by far the safest and best option for both Manning and the Colts. With a healthy Manning, next year's Colts should be as good as the team that won the division in 2011. Trade the #1 pick for a bunch of high picks over the next few years and they can easily get back to Super Bowl contenders. Ask Carson Palmer about jumping teams to play for a contender.

 

For the Colts, Manning is a known quantity if he is healthy, and no one has ever been better. If Andrew Luck turns out as good as some people are saying, he might be close to Peyton, but there have been lots of QBs who were supposed to be surefire superstars but fell short. Look at the other QBs taken with the #1 pick over the last 30 years, and there are very few whose careers would have made it worthwhile dumping a healthy Peyton Manning to make room for them. If Peyton is healthy, I think the Colts would be very foolish to let him go.

2 years, 4 months ago on Video Released of Manning Throwing | March

Reply

I think this is a way for Manning to give the Colts an opportunity to evaluate his progress without violating the CBA rules against him working out with Colts' coaches or management. By going to Duke he is able to throw with supervision and evaluation by a high level offensive coach who can then report to the Colts. They also have this video and can also talk to the receivers.

2 years, 4 months ago on nuttin' but questions | Articles

Reply

Assuming that the Colts can confirm the progress (from their medical staff, talking to the coach & receivers who ran the workout with him, probably getting more tape), this doesn't make Irsay's decision more difficult, it should make it pretty simple: Keep Peyton. Maybe you try to negotiate some modifications to the deal, but if Peyton is healthy, he should be the Colts' starting QB this season.

 

As for Luck, if he's as hot a commodity as the media "draft experts" are saying, we should be able to get pretty good return in a trade.

2 years, 4 months ago on Video Released of Manning Throwing | March

Reply

 @squirrel I agree that the $28 million probably should not be paid unless the Colts are solidly convinced that Peyton will make a full recovery. But as long as the questions linger, no one else is going to give him $28 million either. Any contract that Peyton signs anywhere is going to reflect the reality that no one really knows whether or how well he will be able to play. So given the risk level, the Colts should match whatever other teams are willing to offer. The only way Peyton should be playing somewhere else is if either (a) he doesn't want to play here (which I doubt very much); or (b) the Colts' view of his prognosis is far more negative than that of other teams.

2 years, 4 months ago on If Kuharsky ran the Colts | Articles

Reply

I agree with this with one huge exception - if Peyton Manning can play, then Irsay and Grigson should do everything they can to make sure it is in a Colts' uniform. I just don't see how it makes any sense to dump the greatest QB of all time to make room for an untried rookie. I know the media scouts are raving about him being the next Peyton Manning or John Elway, but they say that about someone in most drafts. He's more likely to be the next Eli Manning or Drew Bledsoe, or even the next Tim Couch or David Carr. If Peyton can't play, then we need to move on and hope Luck lives up to his billing. But if Peyton can play, it should be here.

2 years, 4 months ago on If Kuharsky ran the Colts | Articles

Reply

I think Pagano's point is that the run game is foundational. If you can play solid run defense with your basic packages, stopping the pass becomes much easier. You can keep 4 DBs out of the box, don't bite so hard on play action, call pass-blitzes rather than run-blitzes, put the O into lots of 3rd & long situations, etc. And the reverse is true for your run offense - being able to run consistently opens up all sorts of things in the passing game. Of course, being solid on running plays doesn't do much if you have Curtis Painter at QB and your defensive backfield is a bunch of rookies with lousy coverage skills.

2 years, 4 months ago on Teams Must Think Differently About Football | February

Reply

All of these obstacles can be overcome if Peyton and Irsay are both sincere about wanting Peyton to finish his career in Indianapolis. They can change the contract to reflect the new uncertainties. They can push back the deadline. Peyton could film the workouts the Colts need to see and leak them to the media or on the internet. Or he could work out for a college or retired coach who could report to the Colts in an unofficial capacity - perhaps this was the purpose of his visit to Duke. If both parties really want him to come back, then the only reason that should keep him from doing so would be if he can't, or if he and the Colts have vastly different opinions about his prospects.

2 years, 4 months ago on Watching Manning: Something Doesn't Add Up | February

Reply

This would explain why nothing has happened yet as the pace of regeneration may provide a great deal of guidance as to the eventual outcome. It could also explain some of the discrepancies we've been hearing about Peyton's throwing abilities - perhaps regeneration had not started yet at the end of the season when the Colts were doing their preliminary evaluations of him, but is now showing steady progress.

2 years, 4 months ago on Time Is What Peyton Needs | Articles

Reply

I think this is right. Just imagine the following scenario's and how they'd play out if Peyton stays here vs. if he goes somewhere else: (a) his arm strength never returns and he retires; (b) he's still making progress as the season starts, but still isn't ready to play; (c) he can play, but his arm is no longer among the best in the league; (d) he can play, but he's a bit rusty and showing the lack of opportunity to work extensively with his receivers. Here, people would be very understanding because he's been our guy for so long. Coming in somewhere else where he's supposed to be the savior of the franchise and a ticket to the Super Bowl, he'd better be back to his old self pretty quickly.

2 years, 5 months ago on Kuharsky: Manning better off with Colts | Articles

Reply

@Nate Dunlevy@LeviFuller If Manning can come back I'd really like to see us trade the #1 pick, and wouldn't mind if we did even if Peyton wasn't healthy. Picking a QB #1 overall is risky, and good QB's can be found elsewhere. Since Peyton there have been nine QB's taken #1 overall: Tim Couch, Michael Vick, David Carr, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Alex Smith, JaMarcus Russell, Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford. A few solid players, a few outright busts, and a few in between. No real superstars. Draft picks are always a risk, even the #1 overall. If we can work a trade where we get a bunch of high picks, I think we have a better chance to rebuild.

San Diego's experiences with #1 picks is illustrative. Since whiffing on Leaf they have twice had the #1 pick. Both times they traded it and still ended up getting pretty good QBs. In 2001 they traded their shot at Michael Vick to Atlanta, used Atlanta's pick on LaDamien Tomlinson, and then picked Drew Brees in the 2nd round. In 2004 they traded Eli for Phillip Rivers and a #1 pick the following year who turned out to be Shawne Merriman.

2 years, 5 months ago on An Alternative Perspective: Trading Away the Franchise | February

Reply

If Peyton really prefers to play somewhere else, I don't see why he would be interested in moving the deadline. Why would he shift it to give the Colts a chance to trade him? Free agency gives him more control and doesn't weaken his new team.

But if Peyton really wants to stay and try to finish his career here, then there are many other ways to work things out because the Colts can decline the option to extend the current contract and sign him to a new one. That does mean a bigger hit on the 2012 salary cap since the release would accelerate last summer's money, but in the long run it would be far less risky and probably less expensive than paying the option bonus.

2 years, 5 months ago on An Alternative Perspective: Trading Away the Franchise | February

Reply

I wonder if the key to this is the Lombardi quote that he can't throw to his left across his body. That uses a little different part of the muscles than throwing to the right does. Could be that he throws with good velocity to his right, but the muscle he needs to go left is still numb. What that means for his likelihood of full recovery, I have no idea.

2 years, 5 months ago on Noodle Arm or Laser Rocket Arm? | February

Reply

If Peyton is really willing to do a nothing-guaranteed, incentive-laden contract, that seems like something the Colts could and should do. If he can't play, Colts don't lose anything besides tying up some cap room during the present off-season (which would be freed up when he retires), and he gets to formally retire as a Colt. If he can play, he does, and gets paid for the current year's work. If he's his old self, then they keep him as originally planned and think about trading Luck. If he's lost too much zip, then he retires or perhaps gets let go under circumstances with far less guessing. For Peyton, he avoids the scenario of signing with a new team that he never actually plays for. And I doubt anyone else is going to give him anything guaranteed until he can prove he's worth it. May as well stick around where he's built up so much goodwill.

Frankly, this explains the recent exchanges of media leaks. Why would either side bother with that kind of game if release and free agency were certain? Instead, they have been acting like they are trying to gain leverage in negotiations, and this sort of thing would make sense for both.

2 years, 5 months ago on Why Peyton Can't Go Back | February

Reply