The NFL announced today that OLB Erik Walden will serve a one game suspension for head-butting Tennessee Titans TE Dalanie Walker after forcibly removing Walker’s helmet.
Walden lost his temper and would surely do things differently if given another chance. Nevertheless, his act drew the anger of Colts fans (and QB Andrew Luck), and outside of the team and fans, people viewed it as a cheap shot of near-Ndamukong Suh proportion.
Walden has apologized, and he is appealing the suspension. He is likely to be made an example by the league, though, as they are cracking down on this type of thing. From NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus:
The NFL is making a concerted effort to closely monitor post-whistle skirmishes. The NFL's reaction to Walden's behavior sends a message.
"It was a selfish act," Walden said after the game, per ESPN.com. "It could have cost my team bigger than I did. I lost my composure. It's something that can't happen. It wasn't really something he did, it was ticky-tack. I can't allow myself to take it that far."
Walker’s quote, if you haven’t seen it yet, was a bit more colorful. From The Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt, via USA Today:
"What got him riled up? I was whupping his butt, that's what happened, and the cat couldn't take it when he was getting whupped,'' Walker said afterward. "He got frustrated, and he should have been ejected for what he did. That's bush league and that's the type of stuff we don't need in this league."
Obviously, the sooner the whole thing blows over, the better. The punishment appears to most to fit the crime, though many expected Walden to be ejected from Thursday night’s game.
Assuming the suspension goes through, rookie Bjoern Werner will start in Walden’s place at Arizona (unless the appeal causes a delay), with Andy Studebaker and Cam Johnson picking up the slack as backups (Studebaker is the third stringer on Walden’s side, and Johnson is listed as Mathis’s backup).
I'm fine with him appealing his suspension. It is well within his rights. However I think the punishment does fit the crime. Not only did he fight with Walker and rip his helmet off, he headbutted him with his helmet still on. Frankly I'd have expected an ejection for ripping his helmet off.
As to the fine, I'm not sure there is any budge room on that. The NFL isn't assessing the fine on top of of missing the game. The fine is because it's a one-game suspension. That's 1/16th of his yearly salary. He forfeits that salary if he is suspended for a game. If he weren't suspended for a game and got slapped with that fine, I'd be in favor of a reduction too.
You guys in this thread trying to predict what this Colts team will do the rest of the season are... how should I politely word this... bat ass crazy. Honestly, you might as well be trying to guess Alec Baldwin mood swings. As far as I am concerned the whole range from 6-0 to 0-6 is in play.
I am wondering why Walden is even appealing this. Does he really think that his actions don't warrant a suspension? Is this just an automatic thing? Is the NFLPA behind this? He should have been ejected from the Titans game. Since he wasn't, take the suspension and move on.
I could see the appeal converting the penalty to $100k fine (which is hugely steep, but I think we'd all prefer it, even Walden. Not sure if there has ever been a $100k fine for a first offense.) He's had no on-field problems before and the guys who were suspended recently all had histories of this kind of crap.
Still amazed he was not ejected, as was Delanie Walker. One thing I'd like to see is an actual apology--not to the team and fans, but to Walker. That would take a big man. Walden had the first part down, by being contrite (as opposed to Suh-like statements about "that's the way that I play the game and I am not about to apologize for it."). Now it's time to bury this thing and show how big you are.
Hey, Pats just lost--sweet. For the moment, we are in the #2 slot. Pats have an easier closing schedule--probably one more loss (Denver) but Balt away shouldn't be a cakewalk. Indy should rack up 3 home wins, and at least 1 road win (AZ). The other two road games, I would not be surprised if we won, or lost, but I think we split them. If each team (NE and IND) has one more conf loss, we still hold the upper hand for seeding.
CIN has a deceptive closing slate: @SD (who the hell knows?), IND, @ PIT (who the hell knows?), MN, BALT. I think they still lose one or two--hopefully to us, and maybe another. They have 3 conf losses, like NE. They could run the table or lose twice; Pitt looks weirdly competent these days. A long road trip to SD and no Geno Atkins to harass Rivers...? It depends on whether Dalton decides to have one of his Jeckyll or Hyde days. (Or Heckle and Jeckle... who was the Colts DB back in the 90s who said that's how the team played--meaning Jeckyll and Hyde? Tom Jackson giggled about that for a solid month on Sports Center. Eugene Daniel? Jason Belser? rats!)
He deserves the punishment even though it may have been his first offense. He could have hurt Walker really bad because the guy didn't have his helmet on.
It was bush-league alright! However, he plays real well against the run, but he has no clue when dropping back in coverage. Marcus, How many wins do you give this colts' team? If they split the last six, they go 10-6. These last three road games are real tough. The Baltimore loss was good, get them out of the way, and root for Carolina to take out Pats tonite.
@DougEngland It could just be strategy. If the suspension gets delayed a week, he's suspended for a home game rather than an away game.
@Bobman1 I don't see any way the suspension turns into a fine. Walden is lucky he didn't knock out a few of Walker's teeth. Totally agree with you on a man to man apology, and for all we know, that could have happened already.
@Lvl9LightSpell That was supremely funny.
@codrutc We sure are lucky we aren't talking about a broken jaw or concussion or something along those lines.
@unitas19 I don't like predicting wins, but it'll be hard to get a win in Cincinnati or KC, so with that and maybe one other loss, since they're not super consistent (who is?), I wouldn't feel badly about 10-6, though it would have everyone crying "slump."
Still, I think they can get 11, even with their weaknesses, if 2 things happen (just off the top of my head right now)
1. Fleener continues to play the way he did on Thursday without any drop off from T.Y. Luck needs two reliable options (preferably three, but Whalen looks more like Craphonso Thorpe than Austin Collie). It's not going to come from DHB, sadly, and this staff won't bench a FA acquisition unless they never intended him to start.
2. The coaching staff continues to let go of their stubbornness and go with what works. They can pay lip service to their offensive philosophy and T Rich all they want, but the truth is they passed to set up the run and finally went with the RB who was playing better.
Much about that Tennessee game was encouraging to me. I think 11-5 could happen, but I won't be too down on them if it doesn't. How about you?
With any luck, at that point the Colts have a 2-game lead for the #2 seed (9-3 vs. 8-4, holding tie-breaker) and at least a 1-game lead for the #3 seed (9-3 vs. 8-4), entering Week 14 with a head-to-head with Cincinnati to determine the 3-seed tiebreaker. (But if Cincinnati loses to San Diego, that game becomes much less meaningful.)
If the Colts lose to Arizona, then beat Tennessee at home, then they go into Cincinnati with the division title on the line. I think they win that game. The Cincinnati defense is stout and they feed off of turnovers, but Andy Dalton can be rattled, seemingly easily.
With either scenario, 9 wins after Week 14 puts the Colts in position to complete a division sweep to reach 11 wins. That will be good enough for the #3 seed, and possibly for the #2. But to get the #2, I think the Colts *have* to beat either Cincinnati or Kansas City, in order to keep the tiebreaker versus New England. (I've not looked at it that closely, though; I figured all hope of a bye was effectively lost after the St. Louis game.)
@chip_bennett @MarcusDugan @unitas19 The Bengals are absolutely loaded - defense and skill positions. The one glaring exception is Dalton, and he's no scrub. Dude is just so ridiculously inconsistent, and, as you say, very easily rattled.
When they win, they to do so convincingly. Just seems like they should be able to do that on a more consistent basis. Must be some of the Cleveland curse creeping into Cinci.