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  1. Well the Colts now have their man at HC in Former Pats OC Josh McDaniels. Although I admit I had some reservations on this hire even I can't deny the impact his offensive scheme should have with a healthy Andrew Luck and potential studs like Marlon Mack at his disposal. McDaniels is a mastermind in how to properly utilize the screen game, and when you have a suspect line like the Colts currently do, you can cover a lot of those holes with it. That brings us to the up coming draft and which direction the Colts should take between two outstanding talents who at the very least one of whom should be available when the Colts pick at #3 overall. The general consensus around the MSM sports personalities and Colts fans alike is that the Horseshoes should either draft Chubb, or address the O-line to protect 12. I am of the mindset that the team should go in a totally different direction and draft Barkley and here's why. In terms of acquiring players who have the best chance of impacting your team the most, there's no doubt in my mind that Barkley has the better chance to do just that than Chubb would. Now I know that all of the Josh McDaniels fanboys out there will say: "We don't need a guy like Barkley because look at what McDaniels did with Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, and James White." My answer to that is 1st off, McDaniels has never had a chance to have a back as dynamic as Barkley at his disposal, and there's a reason why he had to work with not 1, not 2, but 3 RBs for his offense: "All of them are just dudes" while Barkley is "the guy." The important thing to note here is that there's a difference between the type of RBs the Pats have been using vs that the caliber of Saquon Barkley. All of the backs the Pats have been using are 5,10, and occasionally (Key word: Occasionally) 15-20 yard "safety valve/dump off" guys. Barkley is a "68 and out the gate" guy... Let that sink in for a moment. I'll use one play from last weekend's SB for an example. Remember the screen play in the second qtr to Rex Burkhead that went for 46 yards that he was run down from behind on? Insert Barkley on that same play and its a TD. You aren't running Barkley down from behind once he gets into the open field and even if you do, at 230 lbs with 4.3 speed good luck bringing him down. NE's RBs are not guys you have to "game plan" for. Barkley on the other hand is the kind of talent you have to account for no matter where he is on the field. Not only does he provide a lethal weapon for McDaniels to terrorize defenses with, he also makes your O-line look better than it really is. That also protects your QB because as long as opponents have to account for Barkley, they can't pin their ears back and T-off on Luck. This also improves your defense because not only will they not be on the field as much, the pressure their opponents will be under in order to try and keep up with the Colts offense will keep them in high stakes situations. If you want proof of that you need look no further than this year's SB. The Pats just made it to yet another SB appearance with a defense in the opinion of many (Mine included) to be down right atrocious. Sorry Lions fans, but Matt Patricia is no "defensive guru" and I predict that the honey moon in Detroit will not only be short lived, but also Patricia will be added to the list of Patriot coaching castoffs who failed once they left BB. Still, the Pats made it to the SB in spite of their porous defense and if you take a look at history as well as factor in the way the league has been consistently catering to the offensive side of the ball in terms of officiating, the smart thing to do as far as building a team would be to take advantage of that by putting the most formidable offense that you possibly can together on the field. In terms of history, even before many of the league's rule changes for today's game, teams that were stacked on offense fared better in going deep into the playoffs vs teams with good defenses while suspect on the other side of the ball did. Look at the Niners of Steve Young's era, the Bills under Kelly, the Broncos with Elway, and the Rams of the late 90s early 2000's. Ladies & gentlemen the jury is in. Saquon Barkley without a doubt would impact the Colts much more than Bradley Chubb would, and when you look at the likely scenario that the Colts will be moving from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense there's a very real possibility that the pass rusher the Colts need is already on the team in Terrell Basham. I'm not ready to "give up" on the young guys from last year's draft, and as bad as the former coaching staff was from a player's developmental standpoint, there's only one direction those same players can go in with the new regime that's coming in: "up."
  2. Bleacher report just put out a story claiming that an "unknown scout" alleging the Colts are taking a hard look at Joe Mixon. I know this story probably has Indy's "conservative" fanbase up in arms over the thought of taking a player with Mixon's "checkered history"- many of whom instead are crying for the team to go "defense! defense! defense!" As I stated in a post I did a few weeks ago, Mixon is not only a 1st round talent, he's the best all around back coming out of college this year. If you've watched any of his tape, you won't have to wait long before his skill set "pops out" at you. The kid is special with the rock in his hands, and no-I'm not talking about his punch against Miss Molitor either for all of you "holier than thou-goodie two shoe saints" out there. All that said, I would love to see the Colts address the defense early like everyone else, but if Mixon falls to us and the Colts take him I won't lose any sleep over him coming here and would welcome him with open arms. I can also tell you one thing, one team out there has their radar on him besides the Colts and that's the Patriots. Forget about the story of them putting the league on notice that they've "taken him off their draft board." Knowing Belichek and his antics, this was nothing more than a smoke screen to throw everyone else off their trail for what they really want to do with him. By allegedly taking Mixon of their board the Pats will influence all of the other teams out there who want to mimic the "Patriot way" of doing things to follow suit by removing Mixon from their board as well. This in turn will give the Pats a "Bee line" to Mixon. For all of you naysayers out there who don't think Belichek would take a guy like Mixon remember Aaron Hernandez was no saint before he became a Patriot. In fact, his past had more red flags than Mixon's did long before the murder charges. So that being said, if you think for one second that the Pats won't take a player of Mixon's talent you're fooling yourself. As bad as Mixon's video of him punching a woman was, he didn't kill anyone. He's never been a gang member. He's never sold drugs either. If indeed other teams have taken Mixon off their draft board because the Pats did Belichek will prove to be the smartest person in the room again on draft day by taking Mixon. Also, forget about the reports of Brady being able to (play at the level he's been playing at until he's 45). Brady doesn't throw the ball down the field anymore and has been nothing but a system QB who has the benefit of playing on a team that doesn't get penalized for running pick plays. Brady's game is throwing 10-15 yard ins and outs for a reason. He doesn't have the arm strength that he once had and adding Brandon Cooks in the offseason isn't going to fix that. The Pats need a young RB for the future as bad as the Colts do. Belichek knows this and also knows he needs to surround Brady with as many weapons as possible to compensate for his QB's declining skill set due to father time. When it comes to Mixon, too many people are putting way too much negativity into an incident that happened 3 years ago. If we are going to hold something like this against him then we should all have things we've done in our past held against us as well. I can guarantee you that there's not a fan out there who hasn't done "something" in this world that's not in good taste. No, you might not have hit a woman, but you've done something. I'm even willing to bet that if the skeletons in your closet were out on display for the world to see a lot of you would be scattering like roaches whenever the lights come on. For those of you who keep clamoring for Christian McCaffrey just stop it. His talent is nowhere near that of Mixon's and no, he's not a franchise back. McCaffrey is a good RB. He's not a "great" RB and is not going to be one at the next level either. Can he help a team? Sure. He can help the right team. He's not a franchise RB though so stop right there. Joe Mixon is going to have the kind of impact on the league that Randy Moss did, and every team that passed up the chance to get him are going to regret it. It would be a shame to see him go to a shady organization like NE and become a rock star when so many will have the chance to get him when he falls in their lap 1st.
  3. With the 2017 draft quickly approaching, everyone (Especially Colts fans) has an idea of what areas the front office should address first. Most opinions fall on the defensive side of the ball since that was clearly the team's biggest problem not only last year, but for the past several to be fair. That's understandable. However, if the Colts went in a completely different direction and drafted say, a RB does that mean the Colts won't be able to address the holes in their defense? Let's explore the possibilities of that for second. Contrary to popular belief, drafting a RB with the 14th overall pick wouldn't exactly spell "Phillip Dorsett" all over again. While a lot of Colts fans would probably be disappointed with the selection, this in no way shape or form would be a disastrous thing to do, especially with the available talent that will be there when the Colts are on the clock. Let's take a trip down memory lane, 1999 to be exact. Die-hard Colts fans should remember that year forever since we witnessed the birth of the "triplets." That was the year the team drafted Edgerrin James. The Colts went from 3-13 to 13-3 as James's presence provided balance to a Colts offense that would ultimately take them to another level. James took a lot of pressure off of Peyton Manning because he was a threat to take it to the house at any given moment. When you give a QB of Manning's caliber (Or Luck for that matter) a running game that opponents have to respect it opens up the field in ways that make it darn near impossible for the opposition to stop. The byproduct of that is that great offenses can also make mediocre defenses look "un-mediocre." A lot of people also forget that as good as Kurt Warner was in his 1st two years with the Rams, "The Greatest Show on Turf's" most important player was not their Cinderella storied QB. It was RB Marshall Faulk. Faulk was the glue that made that offense as prolific as it was because he was such a dynamic threat as both a runner and wr out of the backfield. Still not convinced? How about Terrell Davis and John Elway? For all of Elway's masterful brilliance as one of the best QBs to ever play the game, he didn't win a SB until the Broncos front office gave him a true all around RB to play with. By adding a viable RB to the Colts backfield not only are you adding a home-run threat to Indy's backfield, but you're also addressing the team's future successor to Gore. At 14 the Colts will have their pick of some really good backs, and since it's highly unlikely that the kind of defensive day one difference maker will be available when the Colts are on the clock the smart choice would be to take one of the top RBs, especially if someone like Joe Mixon or Dalvin Cook is still on the board. Mixon in particular will probably fall due to character issues, but remembering what GM Chris Ballard said about drafting rookies that "pop off the tape consistently," Mixon definitely does just that. If not for his 2014 assault incident, Mixon would be in the top 2 conversation as the best RB prospect coming out of college. His size, speed and vision are rare combinations, reminiscent of Adrian Peterson except with better hands. I know he probably won't be drafted in the 1st round but if there's any chance the Colts can get him in the second, all reasonable options should be considered. All that said, does that mean the Colts don't get their defense fixed by drafting another weapon for Andrew Luck? The short and long answer is "No" it doesn't. What a lot of people seem to forget is that the Colts have over 50 million in cap space. With that kind of cheddar they can go "Costco" on ya via free-agency. I've said this before and will say it again. You don't draft a defensive player 1-15 unless he's a day one difference maker as a starter. You don't draft "projects" that high. You draft day one starters. If you can't get a starter when you're on the clock that high then you have to go BPA. I know some fans will ask: "But what about protecting Luck with drafting another O-lineman?" Again, if you can't get a day one difference maker even at that position are you really addressing it, especially since there's no guarantee that said player will ever develop into a starter? If the Colts do indeed draft a RB not only are the probable impact possibilities greater at RB, but adding a versatile threat to the backfield would not only add more juice to the offense, but even that would protect Luck better because teams won't be able to tee off and focus solely on him. Make no mistake, I'm not saying that my formula is the only one that's correct out there. Still, I have a hunch that the team's new GM will utilize free agency to fill more holes than many might expect, and that's regardless of the references he made regarding the draft at his introduction about "Growing your own." At any rate this should be an interesting off-season. One I think many of us can't wait to get underway.
  4. Andrew Luck is the new 140 Million dollar man and highest paid player in the NFL. His new contract extension has raised a lot of eyebrows around the NFL. Even before his massive new deal, Andrew Luck has had his fair share of critics throughout his short NFL career, many of whom stem from the sheer amount of hype that surrounded him from his days as the top QB in the nation at Stanford. The way scouts and NFL personalities around the league drooled over everything he did from throwing passes into the wind to simply tying his shoes both polarized him as well as brought out criticism (No matter how unfairly) from people who I can only imagine were just sick of hearing his name. Some NFL players even went on record to say in so many words that Luck wasn't the best QB in his draft class. Broncos standout CB Chris Harris is one of those players, and said in a post game interview on the heels of a 26-20 overtime loss to the Seahawks,that Wilson is a better QB than Luck. Luck has been under fire and unfairly criticized for his play last season. Most of the negative opinions have been misguided at best because there are several contributing factors that weren't taken into account as to why he had such a bad year, like the fact that he has been playing behind one of the worst O-lines in the league ever since he arrived. That gamble by the front office finally backfired on them last season as Luck missed the majority of the season with an assortment of injuries. Although at times when he did play he was a turnover machine, he also didn't have the kind of running game or defense that Russell Wilson has in Seattle either. For all of the adulation thrown Wilson's way, the fact that he hasn't been in a situation where he needs to carry the team on his back by himself gets lost in translation. Lets be honest here. The Seahawks have been a well oiled machine from the moment Wilson arrived and had enough pieces already in place to be a force regardless of who their QB was. Luck hasn't had that luxury and therefore it's unfair to judge him off of what Wilson has been able to accomplish during their time in the league when Luck hasn't had the same level of talent to work with that Wilson has. I know some will make the argument that Wilson plays in a tougher division and that by contrast Luck has had the benefit of playing in what many view as the weakest division in football. Still, Luck has beaten the best teams in the league when facing stiffer competition with the only team he hasn't cracked the code yet being the Pats. Outsiders have even gone as far as to say the Texans will win the AFC South this year with the addition of Brock Osweiler. I for one am sticking to my guns and saying that if the Colts O-line is improved, not only will they be able to play with anyone, but will also be a SB caliber team. Recognizing the importance of having a capable O-line is paramount to becoming an elite team in the NFL. The league has a long standing history of this simple rule of thumb. The Steelers of the and Bears of the 80s. The Cowboys, 49ers and Giants of the 90s. All of these teams had offensive lines that could protect them along with the running game to back them up as a bye product of the talent they had up front to play with. When you have an elite QB to play with an above average O-line, that puts you head and shoulders above the competition that can't match you in those two categories. The Colts are going to surprise a lot of people this year. Luck and his new O-line will be the main reasons why.
  5. The Colts haven't played a single down yet in 2016, yet that hasn't stopped some of their biggest critics from making predictions on how they think the Colts will finish this season. Some critics use last season's failures on a team as a projection of how it will do the following season (For whatever reason I don't know why). In the case of the Colts, it seems that a lot of those critics are bumpin the horns of our AFC South rivals because of their offseason moves; with the majority of them jumping on the Texans bandwagon. Like most Colts fans, I don't think Brock Osweiler has done enough in this league to make me think that he's the "missing link" for Houston. Let's be honest here. We're talking about a guy when given the chance, couldn't make enough of an impression on the Broncos coaches to give him the reins for the rest of the season over a broken down Peyton Manning who was practically a half step away from playing in a wheel chair, with the best defense in the league... Osweiler might be the QB Houston's been waiting for. He might also be a game manager who's a step above anything they've had at the position ever since their existence. In spite of how he turns out one thing can't be mistaken; Luck is still the best QB in the division. Period. That in and of itself could be enough to be the difference between where any of the Colts division rivals finish this season. At least that assumption can be backed up by the fact that with Luck healthy for a full season the Colts have finished at the top of the AFC South. That brings us to one Heath Evans of "NFL Now." According to Evans, the Colts not only won't compete in the AFC South, he doesn't even think it will be close: Now anyone who's not only followed the Colts, but also follows this game knows how important your offensive line is, especially when it comes to protecting your most valuable player on the team. If you look at the long list of some of the greatest QBs who've ever played the game you'll notice that all of the one's that have won multiple SBs also played behind solid O-lines. The presence of those O-lines not only opened up doors for their respective QBs to do well, but also provided lanes for the running game. It's no secret (apparently to everyone not named Heath Evans) that the Colts biggest issues over the past 4 years have been the lack of running game and the inability to protect Andrew Luck (Guess what we can attribute both of those problems to?). The lack of talent on the offensive line has had a trickle down effect on the rest of the team. The offense's inability to consistently move the ball on the ground hurt both the passing game as well as the defense. When your defense has to go right back on the field due to either turnovers or the offense continually having to punt, they stop performing at their best as fatigue sets in. So while NFL personalities like Heath Evans might think that the offseason moves by the Colts was "nothing to get excited about," even the average football fan can acknowledge the impact of what having a good O-line can do for you. Even though a lot of Colts fans might be upset at Evan's assessment, keep in mind that whenever you see material from analysts like Heath that seemingly come in practically out of nowhere from left field with absolutely no basis for validity, they are nothing more than than opinions intended for one purpose and one purpose only: "Shock value." Like Skip Bayless, even Heath doesn't believe the nonsense that he just predicted regarding the Colts. In fact, instead of adding any juice to their claims by clicking on their articles (or videos), there's a better way to get them to tell you how they "really" feel about the Colts. Write them a letter and tell them to put their money where their mouth is. If you bet Heath Evans $50,000 I guarantee you he won't take the bet, and the fact that he won't take the bet will prove how much he doesn't believe his own predictions.
  6. When the Polian regime exited Indy, team Owner Jim Irsay let it be known early that whom ever he brought in would be tasked with winning multiple SBs given the fact the team had "lucked up" (No pun intended) in the chance to go from one HOF franchise QB to potentially another with addition of Andrew Luck. Dubbed as the "most NFL ready QB since John Elway" entering the 2012 draft, the kid didn't take long making good on those claims as he would go on to lead a Colts team coming off of a disappointing 2-14 season into the playoffs that no one saw making much of an improvement from their disastrous 2011 campaign. The Colts would go on to make the post season 3 of the 4 next years as well with Luck leading the charge. Yet with the coming of his new "monster deal" pending, question marks regarding how the Colts would be able to surround him with enough talent using limited resources due to the impact of his contract are at the forefront all over again. One of the biggest regrets Owner Jim Irsay made known was the team's "failure" to win more SBs during the Manning era. Don't let wardrobe fool you. Irsay is as competitive as they come, and wants to win as badly as the most devoted fanatic does. So his disappointment of what the rings he feels were "left on the table" under Manning is more than understandable. That's why he went in the direction he did with hiring a coach like Chuck Pagano. Chuck's mantra of wanting to "build the monster" comes from his (bully) days with the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens and Steelers are two of the toughest teams in the NFL, and if the Ravens were in just about any other division in the AFC they would be perennial playoff contenders even more than what they've currently been. All-pro WR Steve Smith upon his arrival in Baltimore shared a quote he read on the wall of the Raven's defensive meeting room that I found very interesting, especially in how it relates to coach Pagano's philosophy: A bully takes your lunch, breaks your spork, and takes your juice. On the field a bully beats you up, and in the game of football that initial battle starts at the game's most critical point of attack: "The line of scrimmage." Both the Steelers and the Ravens are teams known for being strong up front, especially on defense. They've also been teams that are built with the intent of wrecking havoc on opposing QBs consistently. They might not always end up with the best records in at the end of the season, but come playoff time they are built to go on the road and impose their will on whomever they face. In both 2005 and 2009 the Steelers won the SB entering the playoffs as a wildcard. The Ravens won the 2000 SB as well as the 2012 SB as a Wildcard as well. Those accomplishments speak more to the toughness of their division than it does to their regular season records. Today the AFC North without question is one of the league's toughest divisions in the NFL, with 3 of the 4 teams in that division all being playoff caliber franchises. So what makes both of these franchises so successful? They're both "bullies" in the post season. In order to be a bully, you have to have the kind of players on both sides of the ball who can push their opponents around. Andrew Luck might be a better QB than either Ben Roethlesburger or Joe Flacco, but for the most part both of Roethlesburger and Flacco have been on better teams. You could also say the same thing about Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. I take nothing away from Wilson and his skill set as QB, but when you compare the kind of team that he's been on vs that of Luck, without question Wilson has had the luxury of not having the burden of carrying his team on his shoulders week in and week out. Put Andrew Luck on the Seahawks and I guarantee you that the same critics who dropped him from 85 spots on the "NFL's top 100" due to last season would have him #1 on that list in spite of the year Cam Newton had last season. If the Colts hope to have any success at making good on Irsay's desire to win "multiple SBs" with Luck at the helm, the front office is going to have to build the kind of team that can accomplish that goal via the draft. Quite frankly, this should have been the approach from day one of Luck's career in Indy. Let's hope the latest approach the Colts have shown in this year's draft class is a start of more things to come. At the very least, if the latest additions to the O-line pan out to be what the team intends them to be, the Colts should be a very scary opponent for the 2016 season. From the reports that are coming out of OTA's, it looks like "The Monster" finally has some claws.
  7. Let's take a trip back down memory lane. Remember when Bill Polian was the Colts GM? His first pick was a no brainer in picking "some guy" out Tennessee to play QB who would later go on to be one of he game's best ever at the position. Not many were picking Peyton Manning to slip by the Colts even with all the hype surrounding Ryan Leaf (Remember him?) as the only QB who was constantly mentioned along side his leading up to that infamous 98 draft. No, what Bill Polian and his staff did the following year is what gave a shining example of how a good GM earns his paycheck when they chose unknown commodity from "The U" in RB Edgerrin James. For those who don't remember, Ricky Williams was viewed as the "best RB in the draft" according to everyone, except those camped on West 56th street. The "nashing of the teeth" and "dismay" of Indy fans was short lived as it didn't take long for them to see how special James was as both a RB and WR out of the backfield. Another "under the radar" pick was a little known Safety out of Iowa in Bob Sanders. Drafted in the 2rd round, Sanders would go on and earn a reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the game, and one of its most feared. The only drawback on Sanders was his inability to stay healthy. Even more impressive was 5th round draft pick Rober Mathis. We all know how he turned out. All 4 of these picks were great examples of GMs earning their money in the war room of the NFL draft as they would all go on to become cornerstones of the franchise for years to come. 2015 is a year many of us would like to forget with regard to the Colts as it was one riddled with injuries to a squad that basically underachieved given the talent that it had available, especially on the offensive side of the ball. When the Colts front office selected Phillip Dorsett with the 29th overrall pick in the draft, in spite of the surprise to many, the overall perception from critics and analysts alike was that at the very least the Colts would be an offensive Juggernaut as Dorsett would only add to an embarrassment of riches QB Andrew Luck would have at his already potent disposal of weapons. that never materialized because the Colts had a more vital position that wasn't properly addressed: "The Offensive line." Andrew Luck not only got hurt, but also missed games for the 1st time in his young NFL career because of it. Time and time again we've all heard the coaches say "We are going to build monster on W 56th street." When you think of a monster, you think of a team that's a "bully" on both sides of the ball. A team that beats you up and out physicals you with a punishing running game on offense and a front seven that get's after the opposing team's QB on defense. A bully is a team that dominates the line of scrimmage and wins consistently in the trenches. When you look at the history of past SB winners, there's a reason why you see teams like the Steelers, Ravens, 49ers, Cowboys and even the current Seahawks consistently as either winners of multiple championships, or in the biggest games of the season come playoff time. All of those teams carry the same physical traits mentioned previously. They also prove another valuable point of reference: "When you have a franchise QB you don't have to surround him with 1st round talent at every skill position in order for him to be successful." A QB like Andrew Luck doesn't need A-1 talent at WR for him to be effective. Heck, look at what Cam Newton is doing in Carolina with the likes of Ted Ginn Jr. For those of you who missed that, Ted Ginn Jr is Carolina's #1 WR, and the Panthers are in the NFCCG... When you have a franchise QBs make the talent around them better. We've seen Manning do this many times when he was here in Indy during seasons like 2010 in with Blair White and Taj Smith filling in for an injured Marvin Harrison. Manning elevated the play of talent around him and led the Colts to a 10-6 record en-route to the playoffs. You can argue that the Colts had sub par competition from playing in the AFC South, but that still doesn't excuse the approach that should be used in building the current roster. As I said before, Andrew Luck doesn't need the best WRs money can buy in order to make the Colts a championship caliber team. All he needs is a team that's built to win the battle of the trenches on both sides of the ball. If you give Andrew Luck a the very least a top 10-15 defense with an o-line that can keep him clean, the Colts will be in the conversation for deep playoff runs for years to come. If you give Luck o-line that can no only protect him, but also a defense better than top 10, you've got a dynasty.
  8. From the moment Irsay let Future Hall of Famer and fan favorite Peyton Manning walk into free agency, the mercurial Colts team owner has had his sites on outdoing the accomplishments the team made with Manning under center. Irsay's been on record in saying that he felt the team should have won multiple championships during the Manning era, but failed to do so because of the way his team was structured. In placing 90% of the team's success squarely on the shoulder's of it's star QB the Colts won more games over a decade than most other franchises could only dream of. Although that approach seemed to work during the regular season, it all amounted to nothing in the playoffs as the Colts were consistently man-handled by teams like the Pats, Steelers, and Chargers. These three teams shared the same formula for success: "A stout defense, strong running game, and steady QB play. After Irsay made comments on how he expects the Colts to win at least two Superbowls with Luck under center you would think that the #1 priority going into this year's draft would be to address the teams biggest need: "The defense." That's why the selection of Phillip Dorsett was so surprising to most fans and sports personalities alike. Although the Dorsett pick may very well be "insurance" against the possible free agent departure of stud T.Y. Hilton, GM Ryan Grigson may regret choosing not to trust the available talent he already has on the roster who in the eyes of many feel could more than capably fill the hole that Hilton most assuredly would leave behind. I've said before in conversations that when you have a top notch QB the caliber of an Andrew Luck, you don't have to surround him with "home run" players at every possible position. Players like Luck have the ability to make those around him better, especially when you have a scheme that can take advantage of it's opponents on game day. One of the best examples of this I like to use is the 2000 Ravens, one of the best defensive teams to ever step on the field. That team was able to win a Superbowl with mediocre play from the QB position. Trent Dilfer was never asked to "win the game" for the Ravens. His job was to manage it by simply moving the chains and not turning the ball over. Dilfer didn't have anything special to write home about at the WR position. In fact the only consistent threat he had on that side of the ball was TE Shannon Sharpe and RB Jamal Lewis. Think for a second how many rings that team would have won if Luck was under center. Can you imagine the possibilities? If the Colts would've taken this approach from the beginning of Luck's career, primarily year two of his campaign this team at the very least would not resemble the one that's been man-handled by opponents like the Pats. Instead of making this team more like previous offensive juggernauts like the Manning-led Colts squads or the Rams of the Kurt Warner era, it simply needs to be more like the "Cardiac Kids" of 95. That team was led by QB Jim Harbaugh, a punishing one-two punch at RB with Lamont Warren and Zack Crockett, and backed up by a top 5 defense that was one of the league's best kept secrets all year long. Jim Harbaugh is not the QB that Andrew Luck is by any stretch, but with the pieces that were in place around him, he didn't have to be. Same goes for Jim McMahon of the 85 Bears. Even though that team only won one SB under McMahon, that was due more to the coaching staff not knowing how to maximize the talent they had at their disposal than it did with the QB under center. Jim McMahon isn't Luck either, but the point I'm making with all this is that you don't need to surround a QB who's above average with exceptional talent at the skill position in order to be successful at the highest level. Just give him a team that can be a bully in the post season. Give him a team that can run the ball when it wants to, stop the run when it needs to, and pressure the QB when it has to. Those are the true ingredients of a championship pedigree. If Luck is ever given that kind of team, the Colts will win a lot more than "2 Superbowls." Luck is good enough to bring home 4 or more when it's all said and done. If he doesn't, then Irsay will have come up short again with another franchise QB at his disposal.
  9. As we inch closer to the start of the 2015 season, the NFL finds itself at the center of yet another scandal. It's safe to say the 2014 season was not a good look for the NFL. From the mishandling of Ray Rice's and Greg Hardy's domestic violence cases to the infamous "Deflate Gate," the NFL has been a den full of mishaps. All of this has been happening under the watch of current commissioner Roger Goodell. While it seems that most of the owners have been happy with his job thus far, some within NFL circles haven't been pleased with many of the latest scandals that he's obviously mishandled. According to a report from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, at least one official has spoken up about it, pointing out the fact that the league had a chance to stop Deflate Gate well before it happened: "As one league source with no connection to the present controversy explained it to PFT in January, past Commissioners like Paul Tagliabue would have informed the Patriots of the situation," wrote Florio. "[Tagliabue would have] warned them that the NFL is paying attention, that the league reserves the right to check the air pressure in the footballs during the game, and that any funny business would be met with a decidedly unfunny reaction from the league office." This official, who spoke anonymously given his position and the sensitivity of the subject sheds light on a problem that has been going on for quite some time now. In fact, we can go on to say that the NFL's lack of accountability has become a serious problem since the beginning of Goodell's tenure as commissioner. This is even more evident given how Well's "report" from the Deflate Gate investigation comes out "after" the draft when we all know the league had this information well in advance and could have dealt out punishment to the Patriots before the draft, possibly taking some of their picks away. Richard Sherman stated last year that the "NFL has a conflict of interest" between Goodell and his "friendship" with some of the owners, Robert Craft in particular. "Will they be punished? Probably not," Sherman said. "Not as long as [NFL Commissioner] Roger Goodell and [Patriots owner] Robert Kraft are still taking pictures at their respective homes..." -Richard Sherman It's no secret that many around the league feel that not much will come of these latest allegations against the Patriots in terms of a viable punishment, and with the growing sentiment that there's a lack of accountability between the NFL with regard to punishing owners in the same manner that players are punished (see time frame of when the results of Deflate Gate were released vs that dealt to players) this will only increase the probability of teams taking up the "Patriot way" of obtaining a championship. "If you're not cheating your not trying." Who can blame them? If you can win the big one by cheating or manipulating the rules without getting the ultimate prize taken from you why not? The only way to put an end to all this ridiculous nonsense is to adopt the system of punishment seen at the college level. In College teams who are caught doing anything illegal of the magnitude oN what we see in the NFL lose their championship. Depending on the situation some may even lose scholarships of top recruits. I guarantee if you take away a ring from the Pats you will never see them or any other team for that matter "cheat" again. The fact that the league saw fit to make a rule change regarding their abuse of the "eligible/ineligible" Wr rules is just the latest fiasco in how the Patriots have yet again found themselves at the center of controversy. No team in the history of the game has been more responsible for changing the face of the NFL than NE has, and I don't mean in a good way either. It's time for the madness to stop. If the league has any "integrity" whatsoever, they should strip the Pats of their latest trophy and suspend Brady for at least 5 games. That's the right message to send to an organization that is not a "1st time offender."
  10. In a previous article I covered the Colts 1st round selection of Phillip Dorsett and offered my analogy behind the purpose of why the front office took him over addressing more pressing needs, particularly on defense. With players like Landon Collins and Malcom Brown still on the board, the Colts opted for the fleet footed Dorsett to shore up a WR group that in the eyes of many is already loaded. The timing of this pick couldn't be more impeccable when you take in Hilton on the edge of a contract year coming up. Hilton didn't sound too pleased when asked for his thoughts on the pick: “there was nothing he could do about that,” in regards to the pick. He (Hilton) went on to say that “(it was) a pick they thought they needed, so I guess that’s what we needed to help this team." So is it just me, or does anyone else get the feeling that Dorsett was brought on board to "soften the value" of Hilton to either get him to resign at a lower agreement or replace him if Hilton decides to go play for more money elsewhere? When prodded on this subject both Grigson and coach Pagano reiterated that they "stuck to the board" and took the BPA. Come on guys. We weren't born yesterday. It makes no sense to have two players with identical skill sets at a position that's clearly not a need, and for those who want to make the argument that "Johnson is 34 years old and Dorsett was brought in to be his replacement" need I remind you that the team already has a stud in Donte Moncrief as well as the addition of Duron Carter. What was the purpose of bringing him on? Drafting yet another WR (especially in the 1st round) clearly doesn't send the message that you have confidence in him being a major component of your offense, especially anytime soon. Carter also stated that he chose the Colts under the impression that he would be catching balls from Luck. Well as things look right now it doesn't seem that he will be seeing the field anytime soon. Are you going to put him in the rotation with Hilton, Johnson, Dorsett, and Moncrief? What the Colts do between using Dorsett and Moncrief should be interesting to say the least. With this luxury of weapons Pep Hamilton may have to ditch the two TE sets in order to utilize the stable of WRs he has at his disposal. What we are seeing right now with Grigson is a new trend amongst GMs in which they take advantage of the CBA by replacing players approaching the end of their rookie deals via the draft. The only players who aren't viewed as expendable once their rookie contracts are up are franchise QBs. Although I like Dorsett and view him as a special talent, I have to admit that I wasn't fully on board with this year's 1st round choice. After sleeping on it for a few days I am still not fully on board, especially given the fact that the team could have addressed so many other needs with better players on defense who were available. I don't argue the fact that Dorsett is an absolute stud. However, Andrew Luck doesn't need the best Wrs on the planet to be successful. Luck is a good enough QB that he can make average players around him better than what they really are (see Colts offensive line). Will the Colts be better on offense with this pick? That's a given. Will they be a better team overall? That's to be determined.
  11. Once again the Colts sent shockwaves throughout the NFL world with their 1st round latest selection via the 2015 NFL draft. With safety and D-line being the main talk entering the draft within the front office, just about everyone in and outside of Indy had the Colts taking either Landon Collins or Malcolm Brown still on the board. Yet the Colts took former Hurricane blazer Phillip Dorsett and turned the Indy fanbase upside down, with many gnashing their teeth & calling for GM Ryan Grigson’s head on a platter. On the surface this pick appears to be a wasted one given the fact the team is already loaded at the position, especially with the additions of Andre Johnson, and Duron Carter joining an already formidable stable of targets that include T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and TEs Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen from last year. However, there is one good reason why the front office made this move, and that’s to provide insurance at WR if T.Y. Hilton bolts via free agency after the Colts make Luck the league’s highest paid QB. As scary as that may sound, Losing Hilton is a very real possibility when taking into account all of the mouths the front office will have to feed in the next two years. "You have to be smart about it,” Grigson said. “We're always forward thinking. Before we make any type of move, [we] are looking down the line. Because you don't want to hamstring yourself and you don't want to lose your franchise. So, obviously I have very smart people around me that remind me, including our owner. So we'll be smart about that and we'll make sure that we keep our best players here as best we can." Those are the words of a man who is preparing for the “inevitable.” No matter how much we want to believe players we root for will never leave our teams, the harsh reality of the salary cap is a constant reminder that no team is exempt from the casualties of free agency. This year alone leading up to the draft should serve as proof of that reality, especially when you look at the flurry of blockbuster moves that took place. Do you think the possibility of Jimmy Graham being traded to the Seahawks ever crossed the mind of die-hard Saints fans? How about “Shady” McCoy being shipped to Buffalo? Didn’t think so. Those two moves alone should let Colts fans know that nothing can be taken for granted in this league, and with teams jockeying for position to make title runs as best they can, fans should always “expect the unexpected” during this time of year as we enter a new season.
  12. Path To the Draft 2015: “Where Would Colts Be Now If Team Kept Hughes?” Prior to 2012 and the beginning of the Andre Luck era, the Indianapolis Colts had one of the league’s more potent pass rushing defenses in the league. That defense was led by cornerstones Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis as that tandem routinely caused havoc on opposing offenses with regularity on Sundays. As both players reached towards the end of their careers, the Polian regime started addressing the future of the position, particularly in drafting Jerry Hughes towards the end of the 2010 draft. Hughes’ short career started off slow as he barely saw the field playing behind stalwarts Mathis and Freeney. When Grigson and Pagano were brought on board to replace Polian and company, the question marks on Hughes and his future with the Colts were at the forefront of discussion as the front office looked to shed teams’ staple 4-3 defense in order to become the smash-mouthed replica of the “bully” new coach Chuck Pagano helped build in Baltimore. In spite of Hughes’ limited playing time, he was already deemed a bust by both fans and the new front office. This led to his eventual trade to Buffalo for LB Kelvin Sheppard (Remember him?), a rare player for player swap. A quick examination of the careers of both players will tell you who got the better end of the deal in this transaction. While Kelvin Sheppard has yet to register as a blip on the radar screen, Hughes has gone on to blossom into one the league’s better young talents at his position. Now under the guidance of new HC and Defensive guru Rex Ryan, Hughes very well may become one the leagues more feared DEs in the league. "This just in: I am really happy we signed Jerry Hughes back," Ryan said Wednesday, via Syracuse.com's Matthew Fairburn. "It's rare that you have to pull a guy from practice because he's ruining your practice. I had to pull him today." I’ve made it no secret that I’m a big fan of Grigson and the front office currently in place. But I’ll be honest and blunt here, I think Grigson blew on this one. The one thing that held Hughes back on the Colts is the one thing that happens to be the biggest reason why his career has taken off with the Bills: “Opportunity to play consistently.” No matter what position you play in the NFL, your biggest teacher and best experience is always going to come from being on the field and in the trenches at your position. Hughes was not allotted the necessary time to develop with the Colts into the player he is now with the Bills. Giving him “spot” or “situational duty” is not the way you develop him, nor is it for any other player for that matter. When young QBs are drafted to be the future franchise players of the teams who take them, they aren’t given spot duty either. They either start right away or they start after sitting for a year or two. Hughes had the unfortunate task of playing behind two possible future HOFers, and I believe without question this stunted his growth as a player. Now in Buffalo under Rex Ryan’s tutelage he has the potential to become a monster at a position that’s still an obvious need for the team that gave up on him. Years from now NFL talking heads and fans alike will revisit this topic whenever the subject comes up of “Where are they now” with relation to Hughes and Sheppard, especially when the post season arrives. More importantly right now, the trickle down effect can even be measured by looking at the up coming draft. Had the Colts kept Hughes, their draft day needs most assuredly change as far as priorities are concerned.
  13. Defense has been the recurring theme amongst most Colts fans and NFL personalities as we draw nearer the upcoming draft. Most of the reasoning behind that being the team's innability to stop the run when it counts against the elite teams of the league. The image of LaGarrette Blount running wild against the Colts in the AFCCG in NE has been the latest rallying cry for why the team's primary focus should be on shoring up the defensive side of the ball. Still, the more prudent move might be for the team to solidify the future of the RB position by drafting such a talent as IU's Tevin Coleman. I know this isn't exactly a popular choice amongst the masses, but it just might be a move that could take the roof off of an offense that already has some pieces on it that will keep DCs up late at night for years to come. The only real weakness on the offensive side of the ball as far as skill position is at RB depth. Even though the addition of Frank Gore gives the team a bonified running threat they haven't had since Edgerrin James, there are legitimate question marks behind him. If Gore goes down at any point in the season for an extended time I'm not sure I'm willing to trust any of the current backups to carry the load. Are you ready to trust Vick Ballard and Boom Herron? Even with both being healthy, none of them have the type of home run ability that Coleman brings to the table. Not only does Coleman have good vision and great hands, he also has legitimate 4-3 speed. What's even more remarkable is that Coleman played through a broken toe on his right foot. IU running backs coach Deland McCullough said "Coleman left some yards on the field due to the injury" and that could have made him the top rushing back out of college. The fact is Coleman is the type of talent that won't be around in the second round when the Colts pick at 61. The Patriots have scheduled a meeting with him as we speak (You don't want to see him go there do you?). After putting on an impressive show at his recent pro day, Coleman has put himself on the radar for several teams including the Colts. There is really only one player (Based on need mind you) in this year's draft I would take over Coleman in the 1st round if he were available and that player would be Safety Landon Collins due to the obvious team need at the position. However Collins most likely won't be their when the Colts pick as he will probably end up in Pittsburgh especially now that all world Safety Troy Palamolu has retired.
  14. With free agency winding down and we shift focus to the 2015 NFL Draft, there were quite a few surprises (and shockers) that few outside of their respective organizations saw coming. While the Colts made significant acquisitions that should surely help them be amongst the elite again this year, without question the Philadelphia Eagles are this year’s bread winners for making the boldest moves. Sending LeSean McCoy to the Bills for LB Kiko Alonzo was the blockbuster of the offseason and left NFL and talking heads alike scratching their heads along with all-world Saints TE Jimmy Graham going to the Seahawks being a close second. Both of these moves were done in order to become more balanced on both sides of the ball and in the case of the Eagles and Saints, these were moves both could afford given the fact that they are two of the league’s premier offensive juggernauts yet in contrast were also two of the worst defenses on the planet. Towards the start of the free agent period there was big talk of top free agent prize Ndamukong Su possibly going to the Colts. At one point he was even dubbed a “shoe in” to be headed to Indy before things tailed off and reports came in with the team taking a “pass” on him due to question of whether he would fit “scheme wise.” I believe that Grigson and company did the right thing in taking a pass on the mercurial D-lineman because the cost of bringing him in would have limited their ability to address the rest of their needs via free agency. Su coming to the Colts had “Albert Haynesworth 2.0” written all over it. Su is not a 3-4 nose tackle and his skill set is best used in the type of 4-3 scheme he was used in during his career with the Lions. That said, another and more telling reason the front office didn’t go after the biggest fish available is due to the talent they already have in house. One such player is Aaron Morgan, dubbed by Grigson as his offseason sleeper. The intriguing thing about Morgan is that according to Grigson, he had only one practice with the team last year before being placed on IR/Future Reserve contract. That must have been one hell of a practice because the front office decided to keep him on the team. Morgan is a guy to keep an eye as the season approaches. Along with former Bronco FA pickup Nate Irving he should be in the mix with a LB core that should be much improved over last year. Three more players to look at are NT Josh Chapman, Kelcy Quarles and Montori Hughes. Grigson sent waves through the fan base when he said that he and coach Pagano like the young guys already on the team along the D-line. “We have guys that are big, athletic guys that can run, but they’ve got to develop and they have to come through,” Grigson said of the young linemen. “I don’t think they have a choice. None of us have a choice. “They have to be (ready).” These guys better be, because there are already rumors of this possibly being Coach Pagano and Grigson’s last year with the team. I know it sounds ridiculous given the recent success of the franchise under the new regime, but Irsay is an ultra-competitive owner, and not a day goes by that he doesn’t want to out-do his previous success under the Manning era in his quest to win “multiple SBs.” I’m rooting for both Pagano and Grigson and think that if they are let go not reaching the SB this year it would be a major mistake by Irsay. Grigson is one of the best in the biz in scouting talent and has put together one of the better talent scout teams in the league to date. No matter what you say about the moves that brought in Trent Richardson and Laron Landry, those failures shouldn’t out-weigh the T.Y. Hiltons, Donte Montcriefs, Vontae Davis’s, Coby Fleeners and Dwayne Allens who were brought and have become cornerstones of the franchise.
  15. Again, Richardson played for the Browns. Need I say anything more regarding their "production" as an offense? Like here, he faced 8 man fronts all game long because the Browns have nothing at the QB position to warrant any defense to change that approach. When T-Rich was there, he was the only player on offense opposing teams had to stop. Like I said earlier, Richardson will be fine once the coaching staff starts using him in sets and on downs where the defense can't tell whether a run or a pass is coming. You saw glimpses of that on Sunday night when the Colts got the ball to him in space.