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wow, Insert the Bolts here and we've all said the same things - Predictability plaguing the Colts

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by wrbanwal, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. wrbanwal

    wrbanwal Well-Known Member

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    Gregg Easterbrook: Tuesday Morning Quarterback: Fans booing the Colts? They should cheer while they still have the chance. - ESPN


    Booing -- the Indianapolis home crowd was booing the Colts early in the second half Sunday night, when the contest was far from over.

    Four seasons ago, these Colts won the Super Bowl. Just nine months ago, they held the lead in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. For the past eight seasons, the Colts have won at least 12 games, one of the top achievements in NFL annals. Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday are first-ballot Hall of Famers, and others on this team, including at least Dwight Freeney and Dallas Clark, will be considered to don the garish yellow jacket in Canton. Yet the home crowd was booing, and loudly.


    This tells us the Indianapolis fans are spoiled. Yet the Colts have real problems, not just injuries -- all NFL teams must deal with injuries. San Diego has beaten Indianapolis in five of the past six meetings. Stretching back to kickoff of this past February's Super Bowl, Indianapolis is 6-6. In that span, Manning has thrown three interceptions that got returned for touchdowns. The Colts' rushing attack is ranked 30th. The Colts' defense is renowned for keeping games close, yet San Diego scored 36 points against Indianapolis the week after New England scored 31.

    What's wrong with the Colts? Here is TMQ's take:

    • Predictable play calling. This column has been warning since before the Colts-Saints title game that the Indianapolis offense is too predictable. Tracy Porter's game-icing pick-six in the Super Bowl came, Porter said, because he knew what the Colts would run for the down-and-distance they were in. Two interceptions were returned for touchdowns by the Chargers on Sunday. One might be a fluke; two means the defense was guessing plays and jumping routes. Manning has always been so efficient that it didn't seem to matter if the Colts endlessly ran the same looks from the same formation. Now it matters.

    • Offensive line woes. For years, Manning has rarely been sacked or hurried; he's accustomed to a clean pocket. When he's hit, he becomes antsy, and in 2010, he's being hit. Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick -- these quarterbacks seem to like chaos and excel when the pocket breaks down. Manning is a straitlaced guy who wants everything just so. This season, it's not.

    • Ryan Lilja. After the Super Bowl loss, Colts general manager Bill Polian openly blamed the offensive line, which was a mean-spirited thing to do -- win as a team, lose as a team. He made guard Ryan Lilja the scapegoat, waiving him. Lilja was the Colts' best run-blocker, but Polian didn't care about that; rather, he blew his stack because there were two downs in the Super Bowl on which Lilja allowed Manning, the $100 million pretty boy, to get hit. This year, the Colts are having trouble running while Lilja is having a Pro Bowl season at Kansas City -- which leads the NFL in rushing. Oh, how the Colts now wish they still had Lilja.

    • Bill Polian. He blows his stack often. Polian is good at assembling NFL teams but wore out his welcome at Buffalo and Carolina, in playoff years in both places, because he's so hard to take. How much longer 'til he wears out his welcome in Indianapolis?

    • Dallas Clark. Last season, he won the coveted "longest award in sports," the Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-Quarterback Non-Running Back NFL MVP. Clark was chosen for "his disruptive impact on opposing secondaries." Now that disruption is missing, and safeties can choke up on Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon running the Colts' predictable routes.

    Clark's backup, Jacob Tamme, is OK but nowhere near as effective and not a good blocker. Because the Indianapolis line has long been so good, the Colts' offense is based on five-man patterns, the hardest kind to defend. Against the Chargers, Indianapolis tried to run five-man patterns, and when this wasn't working, by the second half, Tamme was staying in the backfield to block. He did not do well. The Colts have a blocking tight end on the roster, Gijon Robinson, but they use him only at the goal line because they've always believed pinpoint Manning passes are the answer to all questions. Problems at tight end are spoiling this formula -- and, perhaps, proving Clark truly was last season's non-quarterback non-running back MVP.

    • Gary Brackett. He was a finalist for the 2009 TMQ award. The little-known, undrafted Brackett numbers among the NFL's best defensive players. His absence is hurting the Colts much more than the absence of perennially injured Bob Sanders.

    • Tony Dungy. He's in the broadcast booth rather than on the Colts' sideline. New coach Jim Caldwell looks lost much of the time. Caldwell compiled a poor Super Bowl game plan, and his 2010 game plans haven't been worth writing home about, either. Does Caldwell even understand this? That's the big worry.

    With five weeks remaining, the Colts could still make a run -- I'd put a chip on them before I'd put it on several teams with better records. But the spoiled, booing Indianapolis spectators ought to cheer while they can because this franchise might be entering a cycle of decline.
     

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