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Contrary to popular belief, both optimists and pessimists contribute to society, though in significantly different ways. The optimist, you see, invents the airplane, while the pessimist invents the parachute... Yet while we can cut the pessimists in the world some slack, Indianapolis Colts cornerback Jacob Lacey was short on praise in the 2011 NFL season by about 100%. The prevailing opinion around the forum seems to be that if the optimist provides the airplane and the pessimist provides the parachute, Jacob Lacey must provide the upside-down pitchfork for the erstwhile parachuting survivor to land on top of. I knew that the Colts would soon be making a personnel decision in the upcoming weeks about this beleaguered and yet once promising player, and placed him as a possible candidate for a debate between my Heart and my Mind last Thursday night, as voted by the readers of my blog. Lacey won by double digits, and so Thursday evening (Between nose-blowing sessions) my Heart and my Mind launched into the debate about whether or not to keep him. I put the question to my Heart and my Mind this way: "What do you think the Indianapolis Colts should do with Jacob Lacey? Re-sign him or release him?" My Heart made the opening statement. "Well, Jacob Lacey certainly struggled this past year, but who didn't? This was a 2-14 team. Every player on the squad felt repercussions. Lacey deserves a new contract, but not for a starting position. He is better served as a nickel or dime corner, and should be paid accordingly." My Mind chuckled. "Heart, if you keep bringing every free agent we discuss back to this team you'll be over the salary cap before you ever draft a single player. As far as Lacey is concerned, this past season not only exposed his weaknesses, but italicized them, bolded them, underscored them, and then proceeded to highlight them in bright red. Other teams have seen that film too, and he'll never be effective again as a cornerback in this league. He should be released. You're talking about a guy who dropped from 69 tackles his rookie season to 51 and 48 the last two years. He dropped from 13 pass deflections as a rookie to 2 and 6 the next two seasons. He dropped from 3 picks his first season to 1 and 1 the following years. And all of this---while having more playing time on the field and having multiple years to learn the defense!" My Heart frowned. "Let me give you some of my statistics, Mind, to let you know where I'm coming from. Jacob Lacey certainly has regressed in the last few seasons, but the reason is because he has been forced into a starting role versus the opposing team's best or second best receiver. As a starter in 2011, Lacey allowed a completion percentage of 73%. In 2010, Lacey allowed a completion percentage of 74%. Both of those years, Lacey was playing the other team's best wideouts. However, in 2009, when he played as a nickel and dime package cornerback, he allowed a completion percentage of only 51% and allowed only 5 yards a catch, which incidentally was the 8th lowest in the league. In 2009 he also defended a TD pass, forced 3 fumbles, intercepted 3 passes, and had a pick six. I think my view that Lacey should play as a nickel/dime corner is amply justified, then." "I see your point, Heart," my Mind replied, "But I believe that my point is justified as well that he has continuously regressed each season. The Colts need a starting cornerback, not another 2nd and 3rd string situational football player! There are plenty of cornerbacks better than or equal to Jacob Lacey around the league who the Colts can sign who would probably cost less than Lacey. Not re-signing him would also free up needed cap space." I proceeded to end the debate on that note. I asked, "Okay, you've both had a chance to present your views. If Jacob Lacey was re-signed by the Colts, what kind of contract should he get?" My Mind said, "Well, he signed a 3 year $1,175,000 deal in 2009, and I don't think he's done much to merit a raise. I'd give him an identical deal at best." My Heart stated, "I'd offer him a 3 year deal worth $1.8 million. It increases his pay enough to reward him for the solid play he'll give the Colts playing situational football in a nickel or dime package, but keeps the cap down on a workable level." I have placed an outline listing the viewpoints of my Heart and Mind below. My Mind: Release Lacey! 1. He Is Regressing 2. He Is Not Starting Material 3. He Will Cost Too Much To Keep For Simply Situational Football ($813,000+ Cap Splash Last Year) *Salary $480,000 My Mind: Re-sign Lacey! 1. He Is A Solid Nickel/Dime Corner 2. He Doesn't Give Up Big Plays (Allowing 5 Yards A Catch) *In 2009 3. He Is An Inexpensive Option (Average Pay For A Corner is $1.1+ Million) Well, I hope you enjoyed the debate between my Heart and my Mind. He was actually a very tough player to analyze; the corner position is not easily assessed and Lacey has been radically inconsistent. Still, he looked good as a situational player in 2009, and the stats were positive. His 51% completion allowance in 2009 matches up with Revis' 41% in 2011 pretty well, if you ask me. But, hope you enjoyed this past week of free agency! Next week we'll focus in on a new subject, and I'm always open to ideas. God Bless America! 'Til next week!
For the past 13 years, it could be argued that Jeff Saturday has been the classiest player in the National Football League. When one says, "Jeff Saturday," smiling eyes, a friendly grin, a hearty laugh, and an unquestioned work ethic instantly come to mind. The Colts have to make a decision about him soon, and surprisingly, many fans are divided over what course of action to take. So, I asked my Heart and my Mind if they thought that the Colts should bring their hardy center back to the squad for a fourteenth season. I put the question to my Heart and Mind this way: "What do you think the Indianapolis Colts should do with Jeff Saturday? Re-sign him or release him?" My Mind began the discussion. "Jeff Saturday will be over 37 years old when the 2012 season even kicks off, and the average age of starting centers in the league is 28.8 years of age. Jeff is over the average by a good many years. It's time for him to hang up the cleats, because in 2012 he'll be a better NFLPA negotiator than he'll be a blocker. I think the Colts realize that. He should not be re-signed." My Heart was shocked. "Mind, I can't believe I actually heard you say that. Do you realize that in the years 2000-2010 Jeff Saturday gave up only 7.5 sacks? That's less than a sack a season! And on top of that, two of those came in 2008 when he was injured! Also, in 576 quarterback drop-backs this year, Jeff only gave up 11 pressures. Pressures, not sacks. That's one pressure every 52 drop-backs, or the equivalent of less than one a game. He is an integral part of this team, and deserves a contract if he wants one." "Yes, Heart," my Mind replied, "But the Colts running game has struggled under Saturday, averaging 3.3 yards a rush during that same 2000-2010 span. And the Colts drafted 3 offensive line players in the last two years and have shaken up the whole deal in the front five. There's not much room for aging veterans on the squad, either. The signs are there, Heart." "As far as the running game goes, Mind," my Heart retorted, "The Colts dropped one whole yard per run in 2008 when Saturday was out. And during the 2009 season, there were only 4 stuffs on 81 carries when they ran up the gut behind Saturday, or an average of good runs 95% of the time they ran behind him. Also, when the Colts runners toted the pigskin behind Jeff Saturday, they averaged 4.6 yards a carry and scored nine touchdowns. That's pretty good, Mind. And don't forget about the mental aspect Jeff Saturday brings. He must know the plays as well as Peyton, understand Peyton's audibles, and call his own audibles to the offensive line so they can adjust to the play call. No other center in the league has that mental pressure play by play." My Mind was stumbling around in search of a response, but I decided to end the debate there before he really got toasted. I queried, "Okay, you've both had a chance to present your views. If Jeff Saturday was re-signed by the Colts, what kind of contract should he get?" My Heart was ready and waiting. "I'd give him a one or two year deal for $3.5-7.5 million. He can retire a Colt, and play as one of the highest paid centers in the league." My Mind chimed in, "I'd only give him a two year deal worth about 5.5 million. That's plenty of money for a center, and he can retire a Colt. Incidentally, that's what the three year, $13.3 million contract he signed in 2009 was supposed to do." I have placed a summary of the views of my Heart and Mind below. My Mind: Release Saturday! 1. He Is Old 2. He Struggles In The Run Game 3. He Will Cost Too Much (Notching A $4.8 Million Cap Hit In 2011) My Mind: Re-sign Saturday! 1. He Is A Consistent Pass Blocker 2. He Is A Mental Giant 3. He Is A Capable Run Blocker Well, I hope you enjoyed the debate between my Heart and my Mind. I think that my Heart won this debate, and while I haven't quite decided where I stand yet---I think #63 has gas left in the tank. Tomorrow we'll see what my Mind and Heart have to say about Jacob Lacey. God Bless America! 'Til tomorrow!
Before I begin to recount the dialogue that my Mind and my Heart have shared over the past few days, let me first apologize for the delay in getting these posted here on my blog. My Mind and my Heart have continued to debate as usual, and I have continued chronicling those discussions for the stimulation and oftentimes amusement of my readers. However, a nasty cough, pestiferous sniffle, and irritating sinus drainage have kept me from posting those here on this blog. Let me also (for the benefit of the readers) clear up a misconception about this blog. My Mind and my Heart are merely an expression of what my brains tell me is the logical action and what my feelings tell me should be done. These blogs are not an endorsement of either view, they are merely expressions of both sides of argument, and are meant to present each viewpoint, back it with facts, and then allow the reader to make up his/her own mind. So even though it may seem that my Mind is the consistent antagonist, he really is a nice fellow once you get to know him. He's a little ditzy every now and then, but nice, nonetheless. Also, while my Mind and my Heart are most often on opposite sides, occasionally they will agree. Last Wednesday was one of those days. Wednesday was when my Mind and my Heart talked about Pierre Garcon, Free Agent. I put the question to my two best debaters this way: "What do you think the Indianapolis Colts should do with Pierre Garcon? Re-sign him or release him?" My Heart opened things up this time. "Look, Pierre Garcon won't set anyone's film room on fire with his brilliance, but he is a solid player. He runs polished routes, comes out of his breaks and cuts smoothly, and has good up field speed. While he hasn't been extremely consistent with his hands, I think he is definitely worth a contract as a starter." "I agree," commented my Mind. "Pierre has also been getting better each year. His catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns have gotten better each year. His targets have increased as well. He had 134 targets during 2011 as opposed to 126 targets in 2010. And while his reception percentage dropped from 57.1% to 52.2%, you must consider the fact that he played with 3 different quarterbacks last year." My Heart agreed. "True. And don't forget that he was labeled a 'priority' by Colts owner Jim Irsay, heading into this offseason. I believe it is imperative that he be re-signed. He is a good player who can excel in the Colts system and will be hard to cover one-on-one with Reggie Wayne possibly demanding double teams on the other side." I realized that my Mind and Heart were in total agreement and brought the discussion to a close. I asked, "Okay, you've both had a chance to present your views. If Pierre Garcon was re-signed by the Colts, what kind of contract should he get?" "Well," my Mind began, "He has played very cheaply the last few years, which has worked out extremely well. Inexpensive contribution is always appreciated by the front office. However, I don't believe that he has improved enough over the last few years to be given a large contract. I think that he should receive a 5 year 9.6 million dollar contract. That will substantially increase his level of pay, and if he continues his path of consistent improvement, will be commensurate." "Yes," my Heart stated. "You are correct. I think that your numbers are very good and that your view is well-stated. Pierre Garcon averaged $449,000 a year on his last contract, and lived up to the expectations. I think that a rewarding, but yet cautious contract is the way to go. " I have posted a brief summary of the opinion that my Mind and my Heart share. My Mind and Heart: Re-sign Pierre! 1. He Is A Young, Consistent Playmaker 2. He Is Familiar With The Colts Offense (Not To Mention Every QB On The Roster) 3. He Is Steadily Improving Each Year 4. He Will Not Have Much Of A Cap Hit How Much Should Pierre's Salary Be? My Mind and Heart: 5 Years, $9.6 Million Well, I hope you enjoyed the debate between my Heart and my Mind. Tomorrow we'll see what they have to say about Jeff Saturday, and Thursday, we'll discuss Free Agent Jacob Lacey, as voted by the readers of my blog. God Bless America! 'Til tomorrow