Welcome back to the #CATweetbag everyone!
I'll lead off the tweetbag with a few of those emails this week. Notably absent is the reader who called me "a fraud" because I refused to accept his premise that Coby Fleener was a fifth-round draft pick and no other team in the NFL wanted him.
Needless to say, that was the most amusing thing I had read all week.
Today's first question comes from long-time reader Doug England who asks:
It may be a little early for this, but how do you think the fans should react to Peyton when the Broncos come to town this season? And what should the team do?
Let's take the last part first on our way to 21.
The team should honor Manning exactly as they have all other honored alumni who have returned. There will be a video tribute at the two-minute warning. It will be simple and understated.
As for fans, I plan on wearing my Manning jersey that night.
There is only one possible breach of etiquette: wearing a Denver jersey.
Manning should be cheered in opening introductions and during the video tribute.
If the game is a blowout either way, there's nothing wrong with cheering him if he does something great.
If it's close, you cheer for the Colts exclusively. Denver has to be up at least 24 points before it's kosher to cheer a Manning touchdown.
You never, ever, never boo Peyton.
You'd be lucky if he let you live.
Henry chips in the second question:
I'd like to hear your take on a theory that has been bandied about Coltsauthority and a few other blogs. The theory is that the new rookie contracts give a huge advantage to teams with high quality cheep rookie QBs (Colts, Seattle, Washington) and these teams have a chance dominate for the next three years. My question: is this really a new development? And if so, do you think Grigson has recognized it an is trying to take advantage of the window?
Henry, this is an absolutely terrific question.
First, the advantage to having players on their rookie deals is not new. It is, however, more pronounced than it ever has been. Rookies have always been a huge value, but that value didn't kick in for players at the top of the draft.
High picks have long been over-compensated financially, but the new rookie wage scale has brought that back into line. Now all picks are a value.
As for Grigson, he has done everything in his power to surround Luck with viable weapons. That's really all a GM can do. I thought his first five rounds were really text-book in 2012, so you'll find no complaints here.
On to the tweets now:
A: How you view Indy's offense says a lot about how you viewed the last decade.
Many fans welcome a more ground-and-pound approach.
Of course, we all know they are wrong ;).
In all seriousness, I was more concerned about Indy running too much before last year. If they try to go run-heavy in 2013, they'll lose (because run-heavy offenses tend to lose) and be forced to throw more.
We've seen what Luck's got. There's no putting that genie back in the bottle.
A: Whalen is a popular topic for fans, and I understand why.
I think he had a fighting shot at making the team before his injuries, but he's a long-shot at best. I think he's more Blair White than Austin Collie.
A: Centers don't tend to go high in the draft. You're dead on about Satele, and I think the Colts wouldn't mind replacing him. Still, since 1983, there have been only 14 centers taken in the first round of the draft. Add that to the 29 taken in the second round, and you get just 43 centers in the last 30 years who have been early-round picks.
It's not unheard of to take a center early, but for as much as everyone talks about guards being under-valued, there have been 95 of them taken in the same time frame.
Center just isn't considered a premium position, but yes, the Colts do need to upgrade.
A: Funny you should mention it, but I do!
There's this incredible book called The Book of Sight which just happens to be free on Amazon through April 5th!
All joking aside, my wife's Deb's books are what inspired me to write. I've always mocked internet clowns who tried to guess at what motivates me or my writing. My entire career has been about getting to this point. All I've ever wanted was to get as much attention for Deb's books because they are fan-freaking-tastic.
A: Let's try and think more broadly.
Ideally, Heyward-Bey rarely sees the field. The Colts don't need him to be their third receiver. He's there for depth.
There's little chance he turns into a steal or is anything of note. He is not "low-risk" as some have said. Playing a bad player is a always a risk. See Avery, Donnie as exhibit A. Heyward-Bey has a similar profile to Avery. You never want to put a weak player on the field, regardless of what he's making.
Best case scenario is that Indy goes two tight-end heavy and lets Allen, Fleener, Wayne and Hilton do the heavy lifting. With any luck, we'll forget Heyward-Bey is even on the roster.
A: There's really not much correlation in kicking percentages form year to year. You never want to pay a kicker based on what he did last season.
AV is just fine.
#CATweetbag Which second year colt is set for the biggest leap in production?— Ben Feddersen (@slash196) April 4, 2013
A: In a pool of great candidates the two players with the most room to grow statistically are Fleener and LaVon Brazill. Obviously, improved health and playing time are often big factors.
I don't know that Allen, Hilton or Ballard can peak much higher.
As for Andrew Luck, if the topic is raw production, he probably won't go higher than 4,374 yards and 28 total touchdowns.
I'm a huge Fleener backer (which makes me a fraud, obviously), so I think he's the player most likely to break out with a better-than-expected season.
A: Doesn't everyone?
Just for the wit to rhyme "peanut" with "I mean it"...I mean, come on people.
A: It is in all of our best interests to never see a healthy J.J. Watt.
Should Watt ever be allowed to become fully healthy, there will be no recourse for mankind but to cower before him and name him overlord.
Of course, should that happen humanity's last stand will be made a plucky band of rag-tag rebels led by Jeff Linkenbach and Mike McGlynn who will just crap themselves and run leaving the rest of us to serve as entertainment in Watt's hellish court-games.
Watt will then amuse himself by tossing chunks of Andrew Luck he picked out of his stool at us until we fall weeping at his ghastly feet stained red with the blood of Winston Justice.
Where are Shawn Eckhardt and Jeff Gillooly when you need them?
Skip to around the 5 min mark of the following video of Jordan's final game in Chicago (as a visiting Washington Wizard). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT16TKR0boA If Peyton doesn't get a comparible reception then I will be severely disappointed. And yes I plan on paying a ridiculous price to get a ticket for that game and travel from Toronto. It's a special game.
Thanks for answering my question Nate. I really hope Gigson can quickly surround Luck with weapons while he's still cheep. As for concerns over shifting to the futility of the ground and pound, I was worried. Then I found out Pep Hamilton was the Andrew Luck Director of Offence and I realized he knows where his bread is buttered.
Teams that run a lot tend to lose? Not sure that was teh case this year:
All in the top 11 in rushing yards.
All in the playoffs.
Two in the SB (4 and 11)
In Rushing Attempts (Top 10):
It should also be noted that 10-6 Chicago was in the top 10 in both categories as well.
Now, of course, some of that can be attributed to the fact that winning teams run late to protect the lead, but certainly not all of hit. FAct is, the teams that are running well...and running often...are more likely to be winning teams.
I am AJ_, the Tweetbag Clown, destroyer of all seriousness. :D
But honesly, man, Fezzik was smart enough to let the Man in Black defeat him, which freed him from the clutches of VIzzini. And he was farsighted enough to grab the Holocaust Cloak well before Wesley even knew he'd need it.
And the four horses? Genius in finding as well as timing it!
People may laugh, but I will assert to my dying breath that it all would've failed without Fezzik. Who's to say Grandfather wasn't reading out of Fezzik's autobiography?? ;)
@NateDunlevy totally agree, there's no way 18 can or should be booed win, lose or draw
I actually see Whalen more in the Collie role. He is a lot faster than White was and brings a physical presence. Route running is very good and has great hands. His familiarity with Pep's system and Luck should increase his chances of making the roster
If the Colts are willing to move on from Satele, they should let A.Q. Shipley start. Plain and simple. Not that he's a world beater, but he was miles better than Satele in 2012. Not saying he's a long-term answer, but I'm not convinced the Colts are even ready to move on from the one they signed to a big contract.
@BlueMark18 No Colts fan should. He should be celebrated by all.
@ColtsAuth_Kyle I will never Boo Peyton. Even if he were to knock us out at the AFCCG
Not sure why that's even being questioned. If Colts fans boo Peyton, then that's just ridiculous.
Coming from a football (soccer) background, it's pretty clear cut which returning players you boo, and which ones you cheer louder than your own team for. Pretty obvious which side Peyton falls on.
I have higher hopes for DHB. At the very least, I would hope that he could be a real deep threat, that would open the field up for Reggie and the TEs.
At best, I think he has enough talent and Luck is great enough to make him a legitament weapn. (60 plus catches with a high Yards per catch average.)
I think Peyton should get the longest standing ovation a player has ever recieved BEFORE the game. Then during the game, the fans should be as loud as if he was Tom Brady.
Regardless of how #18 really feels about Irsay and the organization, the love affair between Peyton and Colts fans must never be broken. He must always be ours.
@NateDunlevy that answer was everything I hoped it would be and more. Classic.
@Colts fan in Utah Yes, just about all of it. There's little actual causation between running and winning.
This stuff is well-proven.
Win to run, not run to win. You noted this, but you underestimate how important it is.
This particular season, there were some decent run teams in the playoffs, but those teams were also very good in terms of passing offense.
Check out the run and pass DVOA ranks this year. Some mediocre/bad run teams were good, but by and large they also passed at least as well as they ran.
Then the running QB issue muddies the water too, of course.
@Colts fan in Utah You are correct. I hope they do run more because I'm concerned about Luck getting hit so often. Pass happy teams win games not Championships. Unfortunately the rules almost dictate that teams throw more. i don't want to see Canadian football in the NFL..
@RobertItoh I see him as a solid, cheap, replacement for injured players. He is probably better here than other teams due to his past relationship with Luck (and with the new OC). I don't see him as a potential star or even long term starter.
@RobertItoh I agree, that would be his role. I just don't think he has that kind of talent.
@ColtsAuth_Kyle It still makes me very happy to see him win somewhere else.I root for him.Not against the Colts, but won't be mad if he wins
@MinneapolisColt Completely agree.
@GarethThomas If Colts fans boo Peyton, I'm booing the Colts fans. I'm sorry, but I will.
Doesn't mean I'll root for him that game. But I was upset enough at them booing Stokely. My God, what sort of asinine mindset was <i>that</i>??
Hopefully your optimism is warented. Personally I'm hoping Pep builds the offence around the TEs. I think Fleener should get a bit better and Allen is already excellent.
@DougEngland I agree with your optimism in regards to DHB. But then again I did not share Nate's harsh negative appraisal of Avery's 2012 contributions, I think the entire receiver corp will benefit form more off season work out time with Luck that was limited to his graduation requirements last year. A less aggressive high risk down field oriented passing attack will yield more consistent results.
If DHB stinks it up, we will quickly not see much of him barring WR injuries forcing NMU. Jim Irsay can afford him.
@DougEngland I agree. I think DHB was signed to "replace" Avery, and because of his speed, Luck will be able to get him a clean ball to catch. I also relish the moment when Luck picks up DHB on a hot -read and he sprints for 20+ YAC. Like, Joe Montana, I predict he will be a success in Indy. I just hope Indianapolis can wash the Oakland thuggery off him.
@Nate Dunlevy I'll gladly concede the point...my position is more that you have to be able to run to maximize your effectiveness. Look at the effectiveness of Peyton's play action the last few years he was here. Getting the linebackers to take that step forward is huge for a QB...especially a young QB. Manning was good enough to still get the ball in there, but those windows were a lot smaller those last few years (and for the life of me, I can't figure out why any linebackers would bite on that fake with the anemic running attack we had).
If we can run...not necessarily that we run 40 times a game, just that we have the ability to get good yardage when we do...it opens up the play action for Luck, and opens up those deep seams for Fleener and Hilton.
So, not so much game planning to run a lot, but being able to be successful running when you want to. And, as with all situations, this is not exclusive (see Colts vs. Saints Super Bowl).
@Colts fan in Utah No question. Running effectively is better than running poorly. I hope Indy can run effectively too.
I just don't want to see a "run-first" offense. That doesn't end well. Now, if they pile up the carries salting away wins, I won't complatin.
The Colts ran the ball effectively because the Bears kept playing back to stop the pass in the second half. Urlacher said it was their fear of Manning (who had huge passing totals in the first half) that led them to play back.
Running doesn't win.
There's almost no first-half correlation between running and scoring, and tons between passing and scoring.
All the connect between running and winning is about bleeding clock when you have a lead you built by passing.
If the Colts develop a running-style attack, they will cease to be a relevant offense and it will be disaster.
I like effective football, and most research shows a 70-30 pass to run ratio is most optimal. That's what teams should be aiming for.
@Nate Dunlevy @Colts fan in Utah The Ravens and 48'ers ran more running plays in the Super Bowl than passing plays. The Green Bay, New Orleans and Old Colts pass happy ratios won't be winning in the near future. Ironically the one Super that the Colts won, they ran for 191 yards. The passing game will get you to a certain but you have to be tough to win a championship. The YPC are that important as long as you take pressure of the QB. I'm happy to see the Colts moving in that direction. I'm happy that you like Canadian football.