Before I get into the game, I am sure by now everybody has heard about Pagano's post game press conference, his mentality-*! That's expected, but he was *! Never seen him like that, we have looked bad before, lost before, lost 2 in a row before, but this was different-very different! His comments-Very telling!! When asked if Luck seems to be trying to speed up his throws because of lack of protection, his answer was.... it's been that way for 3 years, he should be used to it by now. I was about ready to hit rewind, did he really just say that, are you kidding me???? Many feel it was a shot about Luck, I am not sure it was, Luck is not the G.M. and is not in charge of building the roster, we know who does that. Regardless of who it was directed to, that was indeed-telling and another comment about the turnovers being unaceptable (which is correct) but also said it's not hard, it's not trigonometry-which was also viewed as a shot about Luck ( with his math degree), only he knows who he had in mind, but that is not how you handle that situation, not if you really think your team and QB can get you where you want to go. I think the comments were for sure a shot at Grigson and to some degree-Luck, whether the issues can and will be fixed going forward, those type of comments are not healthy and there is never any guarantee of anything, but his future with this team, certainly appears over and those type of comments can destroy a locker room. For a team that has looked pathetic and needs to regroup and try to keep a positive outlook, even if that is not realistic-moving forward, that cannot happen, behind closed doors-go for it, but calling out your G.M. and QB in public? Expanding on that ..much has been said and written, after 1 game-it was just 1 game, but now it's 2 and that is totally different, about the rift between Pagano and Grigson and Grigson has been on the hot seat, He has done some good things, but not enough and after seeing the same result for the 2nd time, I have to say, if you have a G.M. who has been in charge going into season #4 and some units are worse off now than they were 4 years ago-he does not understand how to build a roster-which HAS GOT TO START UP FRONT- by now, he isn't going to, he does not get it. The beating Luck has taken since his arrival is UNACEPTABLE-PERIOD! I hate over-reaction and even if it's just 2 games, it really appears that there is alot more and bigger problems than any of us thought and not sure we have any of the things in place that needs to be in place with the leaders in this organization
I have giving alot of thought on how this could be...I am always trying to figure it out, we have 3 10+ wins season, 3 playoff appearances in a row and advanced further each year, we were in the AFC championship game last year? We are a very good team? We also have struggled against most of the other very good teams we have played, not just struggled, usually it's not even a competive game. What we have done is swept probably the weakest division in the NFL, which means we were kinda handed 6 wins each year, which leaves around a .500 record vs the rest of the league, how many really good teams have we beat in this era, not many and for sure, lost way more than we have won. My conclusion is that this team is not as good as hyped and is not that close to being a championship caliber team. Its been well documented that when you have an elite QB, you always have a chance, but even that is looking iffy at this point, not that he doesn't have elite talent, but he is not playing at an elite level. I also think his struggles are quite simple, he is trying to win the game by himself and has for his entire career and that is not going to work
On to the game:
Luck has not played well, his decisions, his accuracy, nothing is working. The O-line has been completly overmatched, although to some degree that is expected,we have faced 2 of the best defenses in the NFL these first 2 games, this team, for whatever reason seems to have a hard time getting going, slow starts to games and seasons is the norm. If we had played Jax-Houston and Tennesee the first 3 games, prob been 3-0, on a roll, we MIGHT have had more sucess vs these teams...who knows? Receivers are not getting open? How can that be? Hilton-Moncrief-Johnson-Dorsett-Allen-Fleener-Gore and nobody can get seperation? That has to be on Hamilton, that is too much talent to be shut down, all game. the players do have to perform and execute, but if the talent is there, then the scheme is not working. The O-line as Pagano pointed out, has been very bad Luck's entire career, but we were still productive. The tight ends have rarely been targeted. The running game has actually looked decent, Gore has looked good and with a balanced offense would be even more effective, but the entire offense is out of sync and it's the previously very productive and very hyped passing game that is not working. Hilton and Moncrief have looked good, Johnson and Dorsett look like they are going to be non factors this year.
The defense played well, but must be noted that the Jets were playing very conservative, had their game plan been different, it could have easily been a lot worse. We gave up 101 rushing yards, which is acceptable and would have looked even better, takeway a few big runs late in the game. It was great to see Mathis on the field again, is he back? will not be answered for a few more games. I really thought the pressure this year would be better and so far, has been non existent. In today's NFL you had better have 4 legit CB's if you want to survive, for most of the second half, we played with.....zero. I mentioned a few times before the season started how thin this group is and we all hope at least a few of them will be able to play next week, or it can get even uglier, going forward. Anderson again stood out and is on his way to a great career and it's not that Parry is playing bad, but have a hard time beleiving a 310 lb. NT can be a force in this league. Jackson led the way with 9 tackles, Adams had an outstanding pick near the end zone and there were several other turnovers left on the field.
The special team were ok, Adam is now 0-2 on the season, McAfee looked better, Varga is not dynamic, but he does give his all.
Where do we go from here? One thing you CANNOT do, is point fingers, it seems like Pagano is doing just that, if your coach and leader has that mentality, it is going to make what already is an uphill climb, even more difficult. 0-2 doesn't change the fact that this team has enough talent to compete, with all the turmoil and lack of production we have seen, I am not sure where this team is and where it's going, but I do know that I do not have a very good feeling about alot of things going forward and it could get worse, but since it is just 2 games and there is 14 left to play, some of those things will be better, some won't. But if you look at the big picture and some of the things going on, I think there is going to be some big changes......maybe soon. Penalties and turnovers are lethal, it is hard to win a game in this league and almost impossible when they occur too often. When you are overmatched, whether that is on the O-line or in the secondary, you grab, you hold, you do whatever you can to try to compete, when things are going bad, you try to hard, you try to win the game by your self, you force things, you don't focus, you don't trust the process. The next 3 games are our annual gimme games vs our 3 division foes, we will see where we are after that stretch, those are games that we not only should win and are expected to win, but need to win and need to perform at a high level. Then comes the game the world has been waiting for vs that team from the east. 3 games ........will be very telling!!!