7 Things to Watch for In Sunday's Colts Jaguars Game
No joke today. Thank someone who served.
Last week, the Colts didn't bother to show up, as they got shellacked by the Falcons. Now the two-win Jaguars come to town, representing the Colts' last best hope for a win in 2011. Assuming you bother, here's what to watch for:
1. Watch the one thing to improve. The 2011 Colts are bad at a lot of things, but the one part of the team that isn't just a little better, but a lot better is the offensive line. Check these numbers out:
|Adj Line Yards||Power Success||Stuffed||Sack %||YPC|
|2009||3.93 (25th)||66% (12th)||22% (27th)||3.1% (1)||3.5|
|2010||3.82 (22nd)||56% (22nd)||20% (20th)||2.8% (1)||3.8|
|2011||4.4 (5th)||64% (11th)||16% (6th)||6.2% (14)||4.5|
The Colts tried to fix the O line in the offseason, and they plainly did. The sack percentage is actually the number that impresses me the most. Sacks are primarily tied to the quarterback, not the line. Given how bad the Indy QBs have been, being middle of the pack in pass protection is amazing, frankly. All the of the run numbers are markedly better over last year, and the 'stuffed' ranking (how many times a RB is tackled for 0 or negative yards) is vastly improved.
Unfortunately, all this proves is exactly what I've been saying for a year now...offensive line doesn't matter nearly as much as the QB and the pass defense. But hey, at least something is working right!
2. Watch an old friend. Clint Sessions (officially his name now) is back. He's been gloating all about how the Colts haven't won a game. I'm glad Clint made his money, because he's one tough dude, but it's like he doesn't realize the Jags only have two wins. The Jags are an interesting case. They managed to turn their defense around radically after spending a lot of money on free agents, but it hasn't helped them win many games. They paid $5 million for Session. He's started 4 games, has 1 sack and 16 tackles. They've gotten some solid play out of Posluzny and Landry, but they spent big bucks to only win two games. The Jags spending spree isn't going to turn into a lot of wins, and judging by Session's play this year, I doubt the Colts regret letting him walk.
3. Watch the worst QBs in football. The worst offense in the NFL by DVOA? It's not the Colts! It's the Jaguars. You can make a pretty convincing case that Blaine Gabbert and Curtis Painter are the worst starting quarterbacks in football. If you go by DVOA (and you know I do!), Painter ranks 35th in the league in DVOA, while Gabbert ranks 38th, dead last. This is actually a fascinating study for Colts fans. If you gave the Colts the #6 D in the league and paired it with Curtis Painter...they'd be about where the Jags are: 2 wins. That's how much difference the QB makes. I'd run down the QB numbers for you all, but this is a family site, and the results are gruesome.
4. Watch the end of a hilariously bad era. Del Rio ball is mercifully close to the end. I don't know what I'll do when he's gone. Without two games a year against a coach who once chopped the leg off his punter, what will I joke about? I'll miss lots of things about Jackie D, but mostly I'll miss the way he would needlessly torch his veterans. No wait, I'll miss his spot challenges. No, no, I'll miss him losing to the Colts all the time. Yeah. That's the thing I'll miss the most.
5. Watch the dead man walking. I don't believe Jim Caldwell has to win this game to keep his job, but honestly, if the Colts get run out of the building on Sunday, I don't know how he survives the bye week. I get all the reasons people think the Colts might keep him, but please. We all know he's not coming back. Firing him now opens the door for the Colts to freely approach all the major candidates without anyone feeling skeezy about it. If the team wins or even plays well, Caldwell might make it through week 16, but they've shown no life in weeks, and that's on the coach. He's got to go, and sooner is better than later.
6. Watch for the book party. Did you really think I was going to talk about this crap-fest for 7 points? Come down to the Colts Grille on Monday night. We are having a release party for Invincible, Indiana, my new book! You can get 10% off your meal if you buy a copy. Check out the party on Facebook! It's going to be fun.
7. Watch our last, best hope slip away. I don't think the Colts will win this week. I don't think it'll be close. My biggest mistake may have been not holding my ground on Painter. He's basically been horrible except for one half against KC. Jags 17 Colts 9.