Kyle Rodriguez adds his quick comments on the final game of the 2011 season.
And with that, the Colts wrap up what has been an excruciating 2011 season with a 19-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Of course, as painful as the season has been, the next four months of speculation will be just as frustrating. The Colts have a lot of decisions to make, not only regarding Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, and the number one overall pick, but in regards to their head coach, front office, and whether or not it is time for a rebuilding period.
But, for now, we'll let that rest, as I'm sure we'll see more than enough commentary on those subjects in the coming weeks.
For the Jaguars game, it once again came down to quarterback play. Dan Orlovsky was horrendous throughout the game, and while the Colts played well enough on defense, the lack of offensive production and field position led to Maurice Jones Drew and Company being too much for the Colts.
- As I stated above, Dan Orlovsky was terrible this game, reverting to his true colors that most Colts fans realized in the preseason. Dan O finished with 264 yards on 27-40 passing, but killed the Colts' chances with two interceptions and two fumbles (one recovered by the Colts). The turnovers in Colts territory led directly to six points by the Jaguars, while a three and out and short punt (Jags received ball at Indy 35) led to the Jags only touchdown of the day.
- The Colts ran a very pass heavy offense again today, running 44 pass plays and and just 21 run plays. While the run game was often stymied by a very good Jaguars defense (just 2.3 YPC), that huge discrepancy seems like overkill, especially as bad as Orlovsky was playing. Also, despite once again playing better than his fellow running backs, Donald Brown received just 8 carries.
- Austin Collie was a bright spot in the game, finishing with nine catches for 96 yards and the Colts lone touchdown. If Manning is healthy in 2012, I am looking forward to a big season from the duo. Reggie Wayne finished what is likely his last game in a Colts uniform with eight catches for 73 yards.
- Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney both had a sack, with Mathis getting the strip-fumble as well (which resulted in no points by the offense, of course). Mathis seemed to be more visibly active on the day, but that's just my knee-jerk opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.
- Antoine Bethea was great, with the stand-up tackle of MJD on the goalline early in the game. He finished with 10 tackles on the day.
- The defense as a whole played sufficiently, allowing MJD to get his yards (169 on 25 carries), but stiffening in the red zone and holding the Jags to just one touchdown (and four field goals), despite the discrepency in field position.
- The offensive line seemed to struggle all game, not only failing to open up holes in the run game, but allowing the Jaguars to get three sacks and a boat load of pressure on Orlovsky.
Not a necessarily intriguing game, with the true impact of the game only being felt in draft position. Feel free to discuss the game, as well as the upcoming decisions awaiting Jim Irsay and the rest of the Colts front office.
Luck will follow in the paths of Eli and Elway by passing on the Colts. He don't want to sit for 4 yrs. ESPN reported that Peyton said he could now pass a physical so you know he'll be back. Irsay said after all if he's healthy he'll be back.
Kyle, can you explain Andrew Luck's (or his agent's) options if we draft and want to keep him, but tell him he'll be sitting behind Manning for three years? With the recent insta-success of guys like Cam Newton and Andy Dalton, I'm sure Luck (and his agent) wants to play right away. Can he refuse to sign or demand a trade, or would we have him locked down regardless? I seem to remember hearing about high draft picks demanding trades in the past...Eli for instance.
I like the new website layout. I am using it for the first time as I am an 18to88 user. I have one question and one comment. Question: will there be a coltsauthority.com iPhone app? Comment: when I set this website as a favorite on my home screen for my iPhone it shows a logo that doesn't really make sense for the site. You might ask your web developer to change this icon.
Really like the website! Would only ask that you allow the daily links to be on the left always, that way I don't have to go to the homepage to click to the next one.
Well, that was an exhausting season. Even though I wish they had won and ended the drama, I'm choosing to be excited about the upcoming draft. Whether they draft Luck or trade back, I see the Colts getting quality players in place from high positions in the early rounds.
I see in the comments that SS and DT are weak in this year's draft class. Aside from high 1st round prospects, how is it in the way of interior linemen, corners, and pass catchers?
The biggest thing to come from this game will be how much the Colts can get in the draft when/if Manning comes back healthy. They have the potential to stock up the bare cupboards for several years. I mean we're talking Madden Franchise ridiculous type trade for Andrew Luck.
@JustAJ Yeah, that's going to be the debate over the next months. (Assuming Peyton is healthy) do you try to fix immediate needs and trade the pick. Or do you bet Luck is the foundation for another 10 years of greatness? I'm a 'win now' guy, but I suspect I'll be wrong.
There is no debate. None. Even if Manning is a certified 100% by the draft (he won't be), they're taking Luck. No question. You can't gamble on the future.
It would be great to have Manning back and surround him with premium talent, but the reality is that there's no way to do that next year, and no way to know whether he'll even be back. Even if he is, we won't know that til Training Camp, not April.
@JustAJ@WillyDuer@smonroe Diversification is the safest way to insure profit. it's also the easiest way to lower potential profit. As Nate Dunleavy has pointed out in some of his research, part of the issue with the Colts drafts recently isn't that they've been bad, but that we've been picking near the bottom of each round. The quality of the players just isn't as good there. Now that we have the top pick, and a shot to get an elite prospect for the first time in years, you want to trade out of it?
Let's ignore all the hype. Let's assume that the Colts front office will do their due diligence and check out all the top prospects thoroughly. If they come back after that and say "Luck isn't all that," then fine, trade the pick. But if they come back and say "We're believers, he's as good as they say, a true franchise QB. Draft him!" are you actually going to ignore the people you hired to scout and evaluate players because you're worried you might get burned?
@WillyDuer@smonroe disagree 100%. What is the safest way to insure profit in any sort of gamble? Diversification. The biggest gamble with the first choice would be to take one guy. Taking Andrew Luck is the closest thing to gambling with the future that you could do in this context. If he doesn't work out you're screwed for another 3 years. If you trade the pick for the value that everyone is projecting Luck is worth, you reload at several places and go forth with Manning.
Of course they'll know where Manning stands before April of next year. Do you think their entire football career goes on hold between now and June? He'll spend more time throwing and displaying he's healthy than anyone in the next two months. We may not know his status for certain until June, but I guarantee you Jim Irsay and Bill Polian will know it before March.
Bye bye Jimmy Caldwell. Somebody gotta take the fall now that seasons over. You got your #1 pick Irsay in very unspectacular fashion. Problem is I bet Luck will do an Elway and take a flier on the Colts.
Brilliant move by Coach Caldwell in going for the field goal (2nd one for the Colts) when Colts were 4th & 2. This helped in losing the game and getting the 1st round pick and giving more stuff for Polian and Irsay to fire him. Awesome
DanO was mediocre, but a lot of the blame goes to the O line. Lots of room for improvement there. Hopefully between the draft and guys on IR, we'll be a lot better next season.
D played good enough to win.
@JaredMalott Wow did not know Ryan Diem made 6+ million this year, with his contract expiring, and Kerry Collins off the book that should open up a decent amount of money.
@JaredMalott Would love to re-sign Wayne, but I just doubt that he will be willing to take the amount that I think the front office will offer. He still runs good routes, knows how to get separation, and also has showed that his hands are still there.
I think Mathis will most likely go, he will probably try to get 1 more big contract and I doubt the Colts will be willing to pay that.
I have a feeling next years team could look really different.
Glad to see Donald Brown was playing good when he got in, I think that some money will be freed up by letting Addai go, not sure how his contract is structured but I think there is a pretty good chance he will no longer be a Colt next year.
@JaredMalott Reggie's a FA, right? We either sign him or he's gone to the best offer. Agree about Mathis, we have to figure out a way to pay him.
On another topic, I have been looking around this site, and I am wondering: do you all have a method for guest posts? The tab "Reader Blog" has me quite curious.
Mathis has been excellent for weeks now, i'd say.
Collie's obvious chemistry with Manning is taken to the opposite end with anyone else. Awful timing and problems with drops have beset his season, and it's a concern for me.
Collie's problem isn't timing or chemistry, in my mind. First, he was the victim of a ton of uncalled holds in the beginning of the season. Second, and more important, he has no space to operate. You could tell today, when he had space to operate, he was really good. He hasn't had that kind of space all year. The lack of Manning allows teams to play much tighter coverages, and Collie seemed to struggle with it. @Ben Savage
Collie's best asset is his route running in free space. This allowed Manning to use him as a primary weapon when he would change the play at the line to run Collie against mismatches / weak parts of the defense. He is not the athlete of the other WR's, but his precision is used best when plays are adjusted at the line. As none of the QB's this year have that ability, he is being wasted @GregC @Ben Savage
@Ben Savage Collie has looked better as time has gone on, imo. He just needed to get that timing w/ the awful rotation of QBs we've had this year. No matter who's the QB from here on out, Collie will benefit greatly from an offseason to work with them.
@Ben Savage It isn't that Collie is awful with anyone else, it is that his timing is off with the three-headed puke fest we have fielded at QB this year.
@mattshedd Painter and Orlovsky have been at acceptable levels at points in their tenure, and Collie exhibited a lot less than I thought he would.
I love Collie, I killed myself in fantasy by picking him in the top 5 rounds a couple of times, and I thought he'd be a Pro Bowler this year. Just hoped for more.
I really wish we could have gotten a win, but with the loss, I move on to thinking about coaching, Draft, and Free Agents. Personally, I would really love to see Mike Zimmer be our next HC. I also would love to see a new OC, and my knee-jerk thought would be to go get Jim Zorn. He has a lot of QB pedigree (his years in Seattle come to mind). Murph needs to stay as DC unless we are going to completely redesign our defense. If we do, we need to find someone else.
Draft depends entirely on Manning's health, but I would really love to see Blackmon and Vontaze Burfict both on our team next year.
Zorn would be a disaster.
If Peyton is back, so will be Coach Clyde. Otherwise, my enthusiastic vote goes to Norv Turner or his understudy after the SD staff gets the axe tomorrow.
I love what Zimmer has done but we have no idea whether he's cut out for the leadership required of a head coach. It's a great idea in theory but there may be a reason he has been a lifetime assistant.
I love the idea of Spagnuolo. Especially if Freeney gets cut for cap reasons. He can make a 4-3 work nicely and it looks like an issue could be brewing that prevents him from working in Philly as initially expected (Washburn conflict... though if we use Freeney that's the same issue here in terms of DL scheming. And I'd hate to lose Teerlinck.)
I disagree with the sentiment that Clyde is with Peyton. Peyton has as much if not more connection with Caldwell than Clyde, and that connection will not save Caldwell's job. A new HC will bring a new system, even if Manning returns. Manning will still be given great freedom to use his own signals/no-huddle awesomeness, but the coaching staff will be different.
Just curious, what do you have against Zorn? He was not a good HC, but he has shown solid capability as a QB coach, which would be very helpful if we have a young QB. If Manning is here, Zorn will not hurt his development.@WillyDuer
Your assumptions are wrong. A new HC doesn't necessarily have to touch the offense at all. There are dozens of examples of coaches coming in and being totally hands-off and ceding control to a coordinator. Rex left Schotty in charge of the offense, for instance (and a lot of good that has done him with their clown of a QB).
IF Peyton Manning returns, the last thing he needs to do at age 36 coming off a missed season is a) learn a new offense from a new OC or b) TEACH the existing offense to a new OC.
It is for that reason that I think Peyton and Clyde are linked. It's not because he (or I) like Clyde... hell, I think he's worthless. But the cost of a change in that scenario is too great. (This is another reason why this all gets so incredibly awkward if they keep both QBs.)
I'm not by any means implying that CC gets a promotion to head coach. If they thought he was worthy of that they'd have fired Caldwell at the bye.
Zorn does OK turning OK QB prospects into something slightly better than OK. If I recall correctly he's a west coast offense guy. Much like the idea that Peyton would go to SF and play in that offense makes absolutely no sense, having Zorn come coach QBs in a Manning-led system is also kind of pointless. And if they are Manning-free and want to go to a WCO and ditch Clyde, there are better options out there to work with Luck than Zorn. Luck is already on a higher plane than Zorn ever was.
You brought up some interesting names, and I think we stick with Mike Murphy. He's got the players and it would take time to move away from the Tampa-2 because that's the personnel we have. I think any DC we hire would run the Tampa-2.
Blackmon is interesting if he decides to come out. I'm going to have to try and get some tape on him because I'd like to see his downfield blocking and how crisp he runs his routes. Burfict is a headcase though. I wouldn't touch him with a 10 footpole. Plus, the defense has much bigger needs than linebacker.
Burfict is insane, but the thought of him and Angerer roaming the field together makes me smile. @TrueBlue87
@mattshedd Burflict would be a liability IMO. He is too emotional and gets a lot of personal fouls.
I agree about the DT and SS depth, based on what I've read.
CB is always a need. Not just due to poor talent, but also because it is always a depth issue. Every single year.
OL being fine is optimistic. It is on the right track but it still has issues. It's also losing two anchors next year.
Honestly, the reason is that I'd go for the best available players, and DT, SS are certainly not in this draft class. CB is not needed in our scheme, and DE will be ok for another year, IMO. TE will be available in later rounds, O-line should be fine, and WR is the other position I mentioned. Of course, all of this depends on who we grab as our next coach, what system he wants to run, etc. @WillyDuer @TrueBlue87
Oh, quick note: I was really glad to see the Colts play their starters and try to win the game. Tanking for the pick would have been despicable, in my mind, and I was very glad to see them go into the game the right way.