Believe it or not, games like last night make me want to quit writing about the Colts.
It's not because I'm disgusted by the performance. I mostly just hate having to invest time in discussing the ins and outs of preseason games. There's going to be a lot of hand wringing and a lot of national recrimination over that game last night, and frankly it exhausts me. Honestly, I'd rather just move along, and forget it ever happened. I'm in a horribly surly mood about the whole thing.
Against my better judgement here's what I took away from the game:
- Addai looks terrific (no surprise).
- I don't want to hear about how Manning had to move around in the pocket. He's been doing that since 2006. Until Ugoh went out with a toe injury, the offensive line had not had a penalty, had given up no sacks, had blocked for long runs and passes and the offense had scored 17 points. Is this the best line in football? No, obviously not. Does it matter? I just don't think so. I'm not beating the drum for Charlie Johnson to come back. Did you notice the Colts ran left last night? They hadn't run left in forever with CJ. I'm not saying that Ugoh is great shakes, and maybe having him and CJ playing together will make the line better, but I'm just as comfortable with Ugoh as I am with CJ.
- Bob Sanders looked great.
- Painter is the backup QB. Is he good? Lord, no. Might he be tradable in a few more years...yeah, maybe. He has a nice arm. I'm just happy we can stop talking about this issue.
- The injuries. Duh. This is the only thing that matters at all. We simply can't hope for a good defensive season if Brackett misses a ton of time. Remember the 6 catches for 85 yards from Finley and all the talk about how great the Packers tight ends are? Well, that's what we have to look forward to EVERY WEEK if Brackett is out. Angerer had some moments, and will be a player, but he isn't Gary Brackett yet. Ugoh, Lacey, and Addai all got dinged. I hate preseason.
- The pass rush. Don't sweat the secondary. Sweat the fact that there was no rush. It reminded me a lot of the Super Bowl. When the Colts don't get a rush, bad things happen.
- The blitz. I hate blitzing. I don't mind it in the red zone or on 3rd and shortish, but I HATE it on almost all other downs. I loved the Tampa 2, vanilla defense. We won a lot of games like that. I don't trust Coyer at all. I don't like all the blitzing. The blitzes aren't landing and it's making the secondary look terrible. Taking chances is stupid. I know fans love it, but it doesn't pay off against good QBs. Ask yourself: do I want teams to blitz Manning? Of course. Now ask yourself: do I want to blitz Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, ect? It's the same answer.
- Brandon James' muff. He won't be on the team. Wipe that from your mind.
- The special teams. Special teams are overrated anyway, but in the preseason they are crazy unimportant.
- The score. Yawn. Stop with the "59 points is 59 points" crap. It's not. Not in the preseason.
- Jerry Hughes on the goal line. That drove me nuts. First of all, the Colts didn't draft Jerry Hughes to stop run plays on the goal line. I doubt he'll ever be in that position again this year. The announcers were talking about being a 'complete' football player and stopping the run. STOPPING THE RUN DOESN'T MATTER. It certainly doesn't matter for Jerry Hughes. Robert Mathis is one of the worst run stoppers in football. If Hughes turns into the next Mathis, I'll be thrilled.
The BIG issue:
Anyone not dumbfounded by the officiating last night wasn't watching the same game I was. The calls were sloppy, wrong and generally about as good as the football. All of that pales in comparison to the idiocy of the new rules related to umpire positioning and the snap of the ball.
The umpire has to be moved out from behind the D-line. I fully accept that. It's simply too dangerous. Someone will get seriously hurt. I accept the need for a change. However, the fact that the ball is spotted, yet can't be snapped immediately is absurd. I don't know if a different official needs to spot the ball. I don't know if the umpires should run faster. I have no answer. However, spotting the ball and then penalizing the quarterback for asking for the snap is NOT a solution. That's just stupid.
This seems to me like a resolvable issue. Frankly, I hoped the umpire in the backfield would help with holding calls, but after watching Freeney get mugged about 2 feet from the umpire who was staring at the play, I've given up hope of that. There ought to be a way for the NFL to work out spotting the ball for a quick snap that allows the umpire time to get to his position. Giving up on the system with 2 minutes to play doesn't strike me as a reasonable plan either. The league is going to have to work out the mechanics of this. Changing back won't (and shouldn't) happen. But letting someone other than the umpire spot the ball has to. If the ball is spotted, it should be ready for play. It's been that way for many years. It needs to go back.
Peyton picked up those penalites last night on purpose. He knew this was a nationally televised game. He wanted the issue out and dealt with now. He forced the league to go back to the drawing board to come up with something that would actually work.