The Colts just lost a game 40-11. Two weeks ago they lost a game 38-8. In the last four weeks they've looked like one of the worst teams in football, save for two halves.
How do fans respond?
First, there's the backlash.
The popular response seems to be to call for the firing of head coach Chuck Pagano, which seems a little... extreme. Whether it's tweets, calls to radio shows or fan blogs, the amount of ire that Pagano has drawn over the last two days has been overwhelming. There's been some complaints about GM Ryan Grigson, but the coaching staff has gotten the vast majority of the criticism.
But after the backlash, or sometimes right alongside, comes the cry for perspective.
It's a reminder that this team is 7-4, something that every Colts fan would have been ecstatic about in the preseason. Despite all their flaws, the Colts have won, and should win the AFC South and make the playoffs for the second year in a row.
Remember, this team has five offensive starters on injured reserve, which would make it hard on any offense to sustain success. Expecting the Colts to be able to just keep rolling on without their top interior linemen, two best running backs, number one tight end and All-Pro wide receiver is unfair.
Above all though, fans must remember that this is still a re-build from the 2-14 roster that plagued Indianapolis in 2011. The Colts made the playoffs last year and likely will this year. This kind of turn around is incredibly lucky, and fans need to remember that.
After all, we could be fans of any other team in the AFC South and suffer these kind of losses and issues regularly, without the hope of a franchise quarterback to rest on.
To some extent, everything I just typed in the last four paragraphs is true. (Well, except that last one. We could be fans of water polo too, but that has nothing to do with the way things are. If you play the "YOU COULD BE A FAN OF ANOTHER TEAM" card, I stop listening.)
The problem with the argument of "keeping perspective" is that it actually is more shortsighted than its defenders want to admit. For this season, the Colts making the playoffs at all will be a successful season, and fans shouldn't be upset about a playoff loss. We knew coming into the season that this team wasn't going to be an elite team, so for them to still make the playoffs despite all the hardship really is remarkable.
But that's not the issue. The issue is much, much bigger than this season.
The concerning thing about this season, or rather the entire Grigson/Pagano initiative (dating back to 2012), is the long-term effects that could come of the team's collective actions. Should Grigson and Pagano be fired because the Colts are 7-4 and might not make the AFC Championship? Of course not!
But the past four weeks, and this season as a whole, has been one big example of what myself, Nate Dunlevy, Greg Cowan and others have been afraid of since Grigson and Pagano were first hired, and Jim Irsay proudly declared his mission to build a "balanced" team.
This is the terrifying reality that has been hinted at, one that may not be true (we certainly don't want it to be), but the one that we are all dreading: the Colts have wasted an opportunity to build a dynasty with Andrew Luck.
Andrew Luck is a special player, the type of player that you can have unprecedented amounts of success with. The Colts gave up everything for him because they thought he could be another Peyton Manning, another quarterback that could lead them through 10+ more years of winning. Unfortunately, the Colts have gone about it all the wrong way, and the issues that we've been warning about for the last eight months have reared their heads in an ugly fashion over the last four weeks.
You think I'm exaggerating? Here's the list of ways the actions of Grigson and the coaching staff can and will have negative long-term effects. It's not a fun list.
We'll start with the most-obvious one: the Trent Richardson trade. The trade was philosophically bad from the beginning. The Colts weren't a running back away from being a championship team, the offensive line was the problem offensively, along with a lack of weapons on the outside. Adding another running back, no matter how good, was going to have a minimal impact.
Now you lose a first round pick, which could have been used to address one of the Colts' real needs in the 2014 draft (like an offensive lineman, wide receiver, or pass-rushing defensive lineman). Making everything worse is the fact that Richardson isn't good. The Colts have gotten nothing from him that they couldn't have gotten from a guy off the street, and I don't anticipate that they will. But don't be deceived: the trade was going to handcuff the Colts long-term either way.
Second, the Colts attacked free agency this past season completely wrong. They overpaid for mediocre players, like Greg Toler, LaRon Landry or Erik Walden, or paid elite money for good players. They didn't go after the elite players (the thought of Louis Vasquez makes me ill), even though they actually had the money for them.
They focused on the completely wrong characteristics of players, finding run-stoppers (Ricky Jean Francois, Aubrayo Franklin, Walden, Landry) instead of pass-rushers or good coverage defensive backs (more on this later). They overpaid for an injury-prone cornerback who isn't much better, if at all, than the injury-prone cornerback they already had (who was cheaper).
Third, the Colts 2014 draft, so far, has yielded negative results. Full disclosure: I hate judging a draft class this early. One year (well half a year) isn't enough to accurately judge a draft class. But, the evidence so far is damning. Bjoern Werner looks bad, while receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and Justin Hunter impress elsewhere. Hugh Thornton has been awful in the regular season, while Khaled Holmes sits on the bench. The Colts traded up for Montori Hughes, but he has played in one game. They cut all of their sixth/seventh-round picks.
Again, this is one area that really could turn out ok, but right now isn't trending that way.
Fourth, and this will overlap a bit with the first three, the actions taken by Grigson to fill the holes on the roster this offseason have been overwhelming failures. Darrius Heyward-Bey has been terrible, and the lack of weapons outside has been frighteningly clear. Any plan to fix the offensive line that involved leaving Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn as starters wasn't going to work. Adding Erik Walden wasn't going to fill the pass-rushing void.
But the most important long-term effect is the problems inherent with a "stop the run, run the ball" mentality. It's this stubborn philosophy by the coaches that has led to struggles this season, as the team is determined to "trust the process" even though they don't have the personnel to work the process.
It's an offensive philosophy that is built around a strong offensive line that can overpower a defense, something the Colts do not have anything even similar too (and won't in the future when Andrew Luck's contract balloons). It's an offensive philosophy that at best won't take full advantage of Luck's skills, and at worst will harm his development.
It's a defensive philosophy that's going to continue to result in inconsistent results at best. This defense has the players that Pagano wanted, he's had a year and a half to get his system in place, and they're a bottom-ten defense in the league. No injury excuses for the defense.
I could go on, I really could. But we've talked about these issues pretty much non-stop since March. None of these things are new or unexpected.
Sure, there are bright spots. There is a lot of hope for the future (most of it riding on Andrew Luck). But there is also a lot of concern, concern that isn't going anywhere.
So yes, enjoy the Colts being 7-4. Enjoy a playoff spot and a possible playoff run.
But don't fool yourself. There are long-term issues that aren't going away. Just because Andrew Luck is good enough to carry the Colts to wins doesn't mean that the team is being built well. The Colts can eke out a big win here and there, avoid losing streaks and pick up playoff spots, and fans will stay satisfied for a while. I mean, it's all about winning, and as long as the Colts are winning, everything is fine, right?
The Colts have a special opportunity with Andrew Luck. They can't afford to waste it. Unfortunately, he might be good enough to mask these issues just enough for Irsay to have an excuse to ignore them.
That's the danger of "perspective."
"But the past four weeks, and this season as a whole, has been one big example of what myself, Nate Dunlevy, Greg Cowan and others have been afraid of since Grigson and Pagano were first hired, and Jim Irsay proudly declared his mission to build a "balanced" team. "
I guess this is the distilled essence of what really discourages me about this article, Kyle. You call for the people calling for perspective to rethink their position, but it seems like you, Nate, Greg and others here refuse to do that yourselves. I respect you all as writers, and have followed the site since its inception (and before, when Nate was still writing 18to88). I don't happen to agree w/ your stance, and that's fine. But the ideological rigidity with which you guys have embraced it -- the way its seemingly moved from thoughtful analysis to set-in-stone dogma -- is disconcerting.
I'm not arguing that the way you and the other writers here would prefer to see the team built -- developed into a dynamic passing offense centered around Luck, with a pass rush-oriented defense -- wouldn't be highly successful. Indeed we know it very can be -- after all, all you're really doing is advocating that the team be rebuilt into exactly the same team it was when we had Manning. But the insistence that the approach that Grigson, Pagano and Irsay is wrong, won't work, and is some sort of unforgivable sin is foolish.
There's no doubt that the model you guys prefer CAN work -- it did for the Manning-era Colts; it's working for the Broncos, Packers and Saints right now. But it's equally clear that the approach Grigson, Pagano, and Irsay can work in the modern "pass happy" era -- we've seen it do so w/ Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Francisco and Seattle.
I'm not saying that Grigson or Pagano will actually get us there -- it's one thing to have the concept in mind, but another to build it properly. But if they DO pull it off, if this Colts team stars to resemble, say, the current Seahawks, I fear you guys will still be here lamenting how they're "wasting" Luck, simply because they haven't built the team the way YOU want them to. And that'd be a damn shame.
Thank you all for both the kind words and your intelligent, respectful comments. We have the best readers on the interwebz.
Great article, Kyle.
What seems weird about all of this is going back to the 2012 draft. We already had Pagano and Grigson both preaching about running the ball and stopping the run, but then the draft happened and Grigson picked almost exclusively offensive players who have nothing to do with running the ball! QB, TE, TE, WR, DT, RB, DE, QB. And that draft, so far, has been one of the best drafts in recent years!
With the success of that draft, and the offensive philosophy we had last season, we thought Pagano and Grigson were just pulling our chain. They didn't really practiced what they preached, yet the team was wildly successful, especially for being 2-14 the previous year. Not even that success running systems that were the complete opposite of their supposed philosophy was could deter them from continuing down that road. It's mind-boggling.
What's most disturbing, though, is the fact that the defense has been so bad. Sure, they had good halves, and some decent games, but even being relatively healthy, they just gave up 33 points to the same offense they practiced against all year last year!
On top of all that, Pagano is a defensive backs coach whose philosophy is to stop the run. Isn't that kind of an oxymoron?
I just can't help but think what a shame it is that this team is being so hamstrung to follow such an outdated philosophy, especially with a superstar stud QB like Luck. The first rule of coaching football should be 'know thyself'. I can understand them gradually wanting to shift to their philosophy of running the ball and stopping the run over time (years), but stubbornly refusing to change and adapt to the current strengths of your team is asinine.
Well, this has been a productive group therapy session, with visits from Brad Pitt, Jim Brown, Knute Rockne, and that all-time draft bust Nero. It's all in the nature of being a fan--we form an irrational emotional bond with a shifting group of strangers. We have their pictures, and their clothes, and follow their doings daily. Elsewhere we'd be called stalkers! Enablers? Dependent personalities (for those of us who HAVE personalities...).
Yeah, hard to argue with this. It's funny, but in 1995, I was always hopeful because my expectations were so low. I felt as long as we were within 7 in the 4th quarter, we always had a chance. And we did.
I usually felt that way in the Manning years, but the D/ST always had the chance to cough up a furball and lose it late. Was it a Jets game in which Manning drove for the winning TD with about 1:50 left, only to have a KO return for a TD against us, so Manning had to drive then back down for ANOTHER game winner, this one final. (Scott Kaczmar should count that one TWICE!) So I was generally nervous unless we were up by about 2.5 scores.
Last year, with low expectations, I was in 1995 mode again. "We're really flawed, but with the right breaks, can make some serious noise in the post season." Sadly, we got all the breaks during the reg season (and NEEDED them to make the playoffs) and had none to spare at the end. But it was an appropriate outcome (except for Flacco getting hot for the first and only time in his life).
Enter 2013: Bigger expectations, a maturing core of youth, and some huge wins over quality opponents, but baffling face-plants against middling opponents. Well, says I, I can accept that since the playoffs feature the good teams we play well against and not the Miamis and St Louises of the world....
But kind of thinking that way was avoiding the real issues, which have been discussed by Kyle above. The team has flaws and they are not just injury/depth issues, or scheme issues (Pep? Pep? You there?). They appear to be fundamental underlying philosophy issues--if your foundation is crap, your house will never be great--it'll settle, it'll sag, cracks will appear, doors will never close right (I speak from experience and if anybody wants to build a house near Seattle, I'm glad to advise you whom you should NOT hire). You can slap on some paint and sell it, but it'll never meet your expectations. So ownership and management appear to have a bad world-view underpinning their regime. Any success they DO have will only reinforce that, perpetuating a system that will keep us from sustained elite success. I'm not sure I entirely buy that--why pick Luck first instead of TRich last year if that's the case? (They could have traded down and gotten a stud DT to stuff the run along with TRich, I bet. But they knew the QB was the building block, didn't they?) The TRich trade, which I had initially figured as a market-rate transaction that benefitted both teams... is not. He may well pan out to be a 50 yards per game guy and be reasonably priced, but the opportunity cost will be too high. (Unless of course Grigson would have selected a fullback or run-stuffing OLB with next year's 24th selection!)
I am willing to give them more time--if I was not I'd have to pray for five straight losses to close out the year, missing the playoffs, and an angry Irsay firing the coaches and maybe GM. That's not likely, and not really what I want. I think they have made progress, so long as they learn from what we generally see as clear mistakes, but they don't seem to. What were the top priorities Colts fans almost universally listed after last season: OL protection for Luck, DBs, pass rush, Reggie's replacement, in some order. The pieces they got (Cherilous and Thomas aside, unless they're better run blockers than pass blockers) were all slightly askew, like Walden, or DHB, or Landry. Toler might be good, but is injured and has had those issues in the past. Weird that we essentially switched DBs with Arizona. With Werner at OLB... there's not much there yet but still hope. Injuries have killed us on O. Yeah, I think I can give them time, so long as they face reality (and as a result, change the personality of the team they are trying to create). Which may be the problem....
A year, maybe two. No f'n around.
Kyle, this piece is a direct hit. I have been thinking about this very subject for the last couple of days. "Perspective, people!" is exactly what I was expecting to hear. That works if you are only focused on the short term. Once you zoom out and look at the big picture, you begin to be more worried.
This week, I don't even want to talk about football. I'm tired of arguing the points and getting into specifics. I hope this team does something soon to make me want to talk about it next week.
Depressing... yet necessary. I think it's something I've known since the start of the season, yet was able to ignore as the Colts kept winning. Success is an amazing analgesic.
Rome wasn't built in a day. They traded their first round pick for Nero and got burnt on that move too. But things eventually worked out... until they adopted Obamacare...
I think the jury is still out on whether the Colts are building the "wrong way." Teams built in the image Grigson/Pagano envision clearly can win the Super Bowl (Ravens, for one). For me, the question surrounds how they're doing it. 1) It is not the team they currently have, and they have shown a remarkable amount of strategic inflexibility in their refusal (inability?) to scheme for the current team's strengths. This is a core trait for a good coach. 2) Grigson is mortgaging too much of the team's future to try to assemble the team Pagano wants quicker.
There's an intellectual dissonance here. They're spending big to try to win now under Luck's rookie contract. Yet they're being slavish in their dedication to a playing style that it will take them at least four years to assemble the talent to play well. If Indy is going to be a Monster, it won't be until 2015 or so -- and perhaps much later if we keep giving away draft picks.
"But the past four weeks, and this season as a whole, has been one big example of what myself, Nate Dunlevy, Greg Cowan and others have been afraid of since Grigson and Pagano were first hired, and Jim Irsay proudly declared his mission to build a "balanced" team."
Yes! Thank you for saying that. The fear that rebuild is simply wrong headed really gnaws at me. I'm really hoping the Eagles and Cardinals kick some ass just to make it really obvious that went with the wrong coaching philosophy.
I agree with almost all of this, though I wouldn't say Thornton has been awful. He played a stinker against the Cardinals (more coming on that topic), but he's generally been the second-best lineman on the team after Castonzo. Of course, that's not saying much, and he does have a lot of learning left to do.
I think they're going all-in for trying to win a title while Luck is on his rookie contract, even if that means taking some shortcuts by overpaying for modest improvements. The new guys are all at least a little better than the guys they replaced, and other than Cherilus, all of their contracts will be up by the time Luck is due for a new deal.
On the other hand, Grigson's eagerness to trade away draft picks is really distressing, and some of his free agency targets were puzzling. Vasquez sure would have been nice. Here's hoping Donald Thomas comes back strong next year.
As for the "run the ball and stop the run" crap . . . sigh. At least it worked in San Francisco?
You make strong arguments. However, hindsight is always 20-20. Given that your basic premise is correct, and, I tend to agree, the real question is what the Colts do to correct it for next season. They would have to totally collapse (possible) to lose a playoff spot at this point but I don't see them winning even the first playoff game as they are now constructed. Assuming that Irsay stays with Grigson and Pagano, which is probable, what are the Colt's options to start the rebuild that is needed? And where do they start? My own preference is guard and center to protect their long term investment in Luck but is that doable with their draft situation? Is a #1 receiver easier to find? I'd be interested in your thoughts.
It doesn't seem like this regime can do anything right to you guys and Stampede Blue. Let's compare to Peyton's first 4 years, 3-13, 13-3 lost first round of playoffs, 10-6 lost first round of playoffs, 6-10 missed playoffs. Years 5-12 were amazing!! Winning takes time.
This offense is not very good, but that's more injuries and front office not coaching. Luck gets no time to throw, when he does, receivers drop passes. TRich has no holes to run, just as Donald Brown last few years.
If the Colts win the South, I think they can get to second round of playoffs and give Denver another good game.
Don't know how the Colts had him rated. Don't know how hard they went after him or what they offered him. Maybe he just wanted to play with Denver.
But IF Grigson did not have him targeted as his #1 free agent, then I am very concerned about his judgement. Vasquez would have immediately become the Colts second most important offensive player (and that is with a healthy Wayne). And this is not 20/20 hindsight. He was a known NFL commodity. Plus, he is everything the Colts say they want... he's tough and a great run blocker. (The fact he is also a great pass blocker I know doesn't interest them, but it is just a little added bonus to those of us who cherish Luck's health.)
I'll repeat what I said on the twitters the other day: Irsay & co. want the Colts to be a "power run" team? I want to be Brad Pitt's body double. Without the "talent", it just ain't gonna happen.
And really, it's not the best thing for either party.
Its really difficult to watch Luck play in this offense after watching him play in last year's offense. Sure the O-Line was bad then too but that philosophy fit them best. It actually hurts to watch the whole team with these offensive and defensive philosophies Stopping the run and running the ball just doesn't work for what we have. Everyone can see it. I bet the coaches can see it too but it seems like they are going to stick with it no matter what. That makes me sad. its so sad. What a shame. Like you I also am afraid that because Luck is good enough to pull out wins they will continue to hammer their head into a brick wall. What a shame. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. That hurts both short and long term.
All true. Still, a lot of these problems plagued Manning for years - an inconsistent defense and a shotty run game, for example. After the superbowl, the o-line broke down and hasn't recovered.
Out of curiosity, why did Indy hide Donald Brown last game, as if they were embarrased? Three touches all game? REALLY? Of all the things that went wrong last week, it hurts that, after one player finally went beyond anyone's expectations, the same guy was basically benched the following game.
Just another reason to hate the coaching this year.
@MarkSappenfield except that: the Colts draft pick was always likely to be low-mid 20s. Before the season, they were considered a bubble playoffs team, with a record near 10-6.
That changed briefly, when the Colts looked like they might compete for a first-round Playoffs bye - which at best would have moved their projected first-round draft pick from low-mid 20s to mid 20s. Anything higher than that would always have required a Super Bowl run that has always been a crapshoot, even before the decimating injuries to our offense.
As it is now: worst-case scenario is that the Colts win their division, and end up with a pick no worse than low 20s. And they would still have even odds to win a home playoff game as the #3 seed (the AFC North champion will almost certainly have a worse record than the Colts).
So as breathlessly as that article read: absolutely nothing has changed.
@bengundy the thing about the last decade was that the Polian method *worked*: build through the draft, don't overpay for veterans (either your own or free agents), unless they are franchise-quality players. All that method did was make the Colts the winningest team of the decade, setting a record number of wins and a record run of consecutive, 12-win seasons.
The Playoffs are fickle; rarely does the best team win it all. I fear that Irsay has fallen under the misconception that the Colts' unbalance was their undoing, when the exact opposite is true: the Colts' unbalance allowed them to accentuate their single, greatest strength (Manning), and ride him to unbelievable success that would not have otherwise been possible.
I fear that Irsay has eschewed a working philosophy for the fool's errand pursued by perennial failures like the Eagles and Redskins - teams that tried to build by overreaching in free agency, and who were repaid for their efforts with nothing but playoffs failures and salary cap hell.
@JohnTemple1 This wasn't hindsight, Kyle has been saying these things since the offseason.
@JohnTemple1 The first thing they can do is recongnize what they have on the roster game plan with that. They will never have dominant OL of the Stanford Cardinal and without that Pep's offense isn't going to be effective. As Schoetty puts it: "Unlike in college, where schools like Stanford, Wisconsin, Alabama and others can consistently recruit the best linemen on a yearly basis, the NFL game is often predicated around elite passers."
@indycrombie I don't mean to pile on, but your post doesn't refute Kyle's premise. If anything it supports it. it wasn't until Mora was gone and Dungy put in - 4 years after Peyton was drafted - and the offense was finally turned into what we now know as the Manning type of gameplay that the Colts really got rolling.
It does take time. Time **plus the correct style suitable for the roster**. Kyle's point still stands: There's a fundamental flaw here that's being overlooked. Yes, they were able to overcome those flaws in 7 games, but that doesn't mean they don't exist or are irrelevant.
@indycrombie There is so much off with this post I am going to have to think about how I want to deconstruct it for awhile before I actually respond.
@matt_has Look, you: Not being "talented" enough to be Brad Pitt's body double doesn't mean you have to go and try to be Helena Bonham-Carter's instead. Lose the dress and the goth makeup, for cryin' out loud!
@matt_has The first rule about being Brad Pitt's body double(s) is "We do not talk about being Brad Pitt's body double(s)."
@Lou Pin I heard a rumor that Donald Brown recently got the job of Brad Pitt's body double and this angered the coaches. That's why he only got three touches. That and his YPC was too high.
The use of Brown is mystifying.
I wrote in a previous post, that in wouldn't have mattered if Donald Brown was Jim Brown, the Colts weren't winning against the Cardinals. But to virtually not use him at all after the last game he had, it reeks of something much more... troubling? Like they don't want Brown to upstage Richardson. This would be exceedingly troubling because it would be putting saving face over the good of the team.
@chip_bennett @MarkSappenfield Agreed--The Colts only looked like a 28th or later pick for a few weeks (one of them their bye!). And what is the actual, historical value delta between the 23rd pick and the 30th? Not a lot. The 7-spot difference is much more important in the top 1/3 of the draft than in the bottom third.
The article also doesn't address the sunk costs--the Browns paid (estimating) about $10M for 18 games of TRich and the Colts would, in theory, pay his remaining salary and no bonus or about $6M for 46 games (if he's not, cough, cut or traded). So if he truly is a bust, then their trade certainly helped Cleveland but really just made a terrible black eye a little less ghastly. Good move by them, but in essence they replace a #3 selection with a #23 two years later. Not exactly a winning formula.
For the Colts, I no longer think it was a good move, but no matter how they fare this year, their record won't really affect the downside/lost opportunity cost all that much. We're without a 1st round pick and that hurts. Whether it's #23 or #28 is a pretty small difference.
@chip_bennett @bengundy I don't think anyone would argue against building through the draft as the best way to construct a team. However, it only works when the team drafts well, which Polian didn't do for his last several years in Indy (no need to get into all that). He left a hella bare cupboard for Grigson. And Grigson saw that he had an elite QB on a bargain of a rookie deal and said, "Hey, let's chase a title while Luck is still cheap!" That necessitated overpaying some veterans to make up for the cheap mid-level talent that should have been filling out the roster.
I have no problem with the approach, since as it stands now, the Colts aren't in danger of entering salary cap hell anytime soon, and they should have a pretty clean cap sheet when Luck comes due as long as they don't throw out any huge long-term deals after this year. But I do hate how many draft picks Grigson has traded away. Overpaying mid-level veterans doesn't tangibly hurt the future, but trading draft picks does.
@mattshedd @JohnTemple1 yep, that was a poor choice of words. No criticism of Kyle intended who does a great job. The point I was trying to make is that it's now at the point where serious consideration needs to be given to how we recover from bad choices. We can all see the problem now but we have to get past the 'I told you so's' and look for the best solutions. That is, the Colt's management needs to acknowledge the deficiencies and get on with the rebuild.
@hankster @JohnTemple1 Agree they need to work with what they have right now & that means more play action and rolling out as the line can't protect. However, that doesn't preclude upgrading over the next couple of seasons. To do that they need to stockpile some draft choices, quit trading away future #1 picks, and carefully select free agent linemen. There is no reason that they can't have a big, strong line in a couple of years if they make good choices.
I agree this team is flawed. But we are still first place in the South and 3rd place in AFC. I'm just trying to point out that this season isn't going as badly as most people say it is.
The other advantage Polian had with Manning was they had been drafting high in draft the years leading up to, and the year after Manning got here. Besides last years draft, Colts have been drafting at end of rounds and most picks haven't been working out.
Until i moved to North Carolina, I had great season tickets for years. I'm a huge Colts fan, I just don't like everyone being so down on a team that is sitting in good place for the playoffs.
@Bobman1 @chip_bennett Yeah, I was going to cite the Pats, too. Also, looking at the Super Bowl starters last year, the Ravens had a handful of mid-tier free agent/trade guys (McKinnie, Boldin, Matt Birk, Vonta Leach, Bernard Pollard), and the 49ers had Jonathan Goodwin, Justin Smith and Carlos Rogers. Most teams mix it up more than Polian did.
Again, I don't think it's a sound long-term strategy to rely on free agency, and I hate that Grigson keeps trading draft picks. But I don't see it as high-risk to overspend on some veterans for a few years before Luck's new contract forces them to alter the salary structure. Other than Cherilus, who is overpaid, none of the contracts are all that big, and they're still going to have quite a bit of cap room after this year to keep their own guys. What are they risking?
@chip_bennett @bengundy I think the Pats, in the heart of the 2000's, relied pretty heavily on FA, usually for one star and a few mid-level bargain type guys. Rodney Harrison, Welker, Corey Dillon at the top end, Mike Vrabel, Dan Klecko, Tyrone Poole at the mid-level. A new FA WR seemingly every year. They had some horrid draft years.
So it CAN be done. But I think it's the exception.
I do. Look at the most dominant teams of the past couple decades: which of them built primarily through free agency, rather than building through the draft?
I won't say that I've *never* seen it work, but the examples are the exceptions that prove the rule. Trying to "win now" through free agency is a fool's errand: high-risk and extremely low probability.
@indycrombie @AJ_ I see where you are coming from; I think the main issue is the future. We've all been spoiled by the Manning years and want that back, and I think most people can't really see where this regime is head, or how their philosophy will get us back to the promised land.
Most of the writers here have been skeptical for a long time ("run the ball/stop the run, are you serious, Knute Rockne?") and the season's unraveling seems to be supporting them. Even if we've been winning, it has not been very impressive/inspiring with the exception of three games, all against very good teams. Most wine end with thoughts like , "damn, we're lucky to walk away from that one...."
@matt_has Naw, I just subscribe to your Twitter account and see all the Instagram selfies. :D ;)
@Payton Then you haven't explored enough of the internet yet. ;)