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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.
6 months ago on Considering the Role of Player Health in NFL Expansion to Europe
@cwjwl You can run a solid 3-4 without a pass rushing DE, but it is a great asset to have one.
8 months, 2 weeks ago on Colts' Biggest Needs Post-Free Agency
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.
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.
10 months, 1 week ago on The Myth of Parity Scheduling in the NFL
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.
10 months, 1 week ago on The Colts' unique situation heading into Free Agency
@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.
10 months, 2 weeks ago on Team Needs - Offense
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.
11 months ago on Colts Offseason Outlook - Should the Colts re-sign CB Jerraud Powers?
@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 ago on Indianapolis Colts' 2013 Free Agency Preview: Offensive Line
@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 ago on 5 Reasons It’s Awesome To Be A Fan Of The Colts
@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.
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, 1 month ago on Colts Monday Musings: Playoffs? Playoffs?! We're talking about Playoffs, Man | November
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.
1 year, 5 months ago on Fed Up Isn't Fair Weather | July
@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.
1 year, 5 months ago on Are you Buying what the Colts are Selling? | July
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.
1 year, 5 months ago on Winning Over a City and Growing a Fanbase, Part III | June
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.
1 year, 5 months ago on Winning Over a City and Growing a Fanbase, Part II | June
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.
1 year, 6 months ago on To Use or Not to Use: The Forgotten Fullback | May
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.
1 year, 6 months ago on Kuharsky hates the fullback | Articles
@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.
1 year, 6 months ago on The 2011 Colts Special Teams: The Good, Ugly, and Just Plain Awful | May
You know your special teams are bad when you always root for touchbacks regardless of which team is kicking.
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.
1 year, 7 months ago on Colts roster growing | Articles