Join Colts Authority Radio as Scott Kacsmar and Kyle Rodriguez discuss the conference championship games and look forward to the Super Bowl.no comments
Each Sunday, I find myself in a state of confusion. A perfect hit will be delivered in the defensive backfield, and for a second all will be well. Then, the inevitable. A cascade of yellow fabric, and 15 yards for the offense. It's become ever more frequent with the increased focus on player safety from the NFL, with their increased drive towards concussion prevention something I wholeheartedly support. As Colts fans, we saw the Austin Collie storyline progress through the last couple of years. The image of Collie unconscious before hitting the ground - much as with Stevan Ridley on Sunday - isn't something i'm likely to forget quickly.
As such, it's a great thing that the NFL has decided to prioritise player safety in the wake of ex-player suicides and issues with mental illness. No-one wants to see players unconscious on the field, or suffering outside of it. The stories involving Dave Duerson and Junior Seau are harrowing to say the least - two men wrought by physical and mental torment, ultimately driven to suicide.
The issue I have with the NFL lies in enforcement - and the complete lack of consistency on behalf of every officiating crew in the league. This year in particular has been littered with officiating mistakes, and they've affected the Colts fairly frequently. It's in the nature of any fan to consider him/herself aggrieved when their team gets flagged, and it's also natural to exaggerate numbers, frequencies and such when your team is involved. While conscious of this, I completely believe that there was a disproportionate level of officiating ineptitude in Colts games this year. Every week there seemed to be a new interpretation of the rulebook - whether concerning pass interference; unnecessary roughness and even simple defensive holding. The net effect of this ambiguity fatally skews the balance in favour of offense, given that the defender is wrought by indecision and calculations that he now has to try and make in a split second.
As if the challenge wasn't hard enough, the new attention to DPI has made covering receivers somewhat of an impossibility. Example time - here's Vontae against the Chiefs.no comments
If you've read this column with any regularity this year, you know that I wasn't always Bruce Arians' biggest fan. As a head coach, I questioned his lack of aggression, along with his decision making on 3rd and 4th downs, and his usage of timeouts and challenges. As an offensive coordinator, I loved his willingness to go deep, but grew frustrated with the resulting hits to his QB - I desperately wanted him to develop a short and intermediate game to go along with the vertical attack.
And as the season ended and Arians' name was thrown out there as a hot commodity in head coaching searches, I was not-so-secretly okay with him moving on. But as the season ended, as I had time to digest what I had watched, what the Colts had been able to do, I started getting mixed feelings. I really did love the vertical aspects of Arians offense, his connection with the players on the roster was undeniable, and, most importantly, I had some major fear of the unknown. There are some seriously bad OC candidates out there, and some of them have ties to Pagano, and, oh, forget it: I was afraid they would hire Cam Cameron.
In the end, when I got down to it, the nits I was picking with Bruce Arians weren't to make him a good coordinator, they were to make him a darn near perfect one. Maybe my standards are too high.no comments
The Colts' biggest weakness this season is an interesting, albeit sad, battle.
On one hand, you have an abysmal offensive line in a system that was based around deep passing. That's not a good match.
On the other hand, you had a thin, injury prone secondary in a defensive system that likes to bring the blitz. Also not a good match.
The combination of the two helped kill the Colts at crucial times throughout the season, none bigger than the team's season ending loss in Baltimore. The offensive line allowed Luck to be pressured all game, negating the deep ball, and the defensive backs allowed Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin to connect on rainbow throw after rainbow throw in the second half, allowing the Ravens to get two second half touchdowns. If not for a couple of Ray Rice fumbles, it could have been even worse.
Today, I want to talk abou the latter as the Colts look towards 2013. Specifically, Cassius Vaughn and Darius Butler, two players who started for the Colts, despite having no business being starters, and who are free agents this year. Butler is an unrestricted FA, while Vaughn is restricted. But who is better for the Colts as they look forward?no comments
According to souces "with knowledge of the situation," Pep Hamilton has agreed to become the Indianapolis Colts' next offensive coordinator. Hamilton had been rumored to be interviewing for the University of Oregon head coaching position Friday as well, but is now expected to sign a contract with Indianapolis on Saturday.
Hamilton is currently the "Andrew Luck Director of Offense" at Stanford University, known as offensive coordinator to most fans. The position was renamed after Luck's senior season in 2011 when an anonymous donor requested a formal name change of the title. Speaking of Luck, the Colts' rookie quarterback is excited to reunite with his former coach, and while I had no qualms about Luck picking up a new playbook, the transition will be much easier with Hamilton than it would have been with another guy.no comments
Last week I took a look at the receivers closely evaluating free agent Donnie Avery. Maybe I was harsh but I suggested it's time for the Colts to look for a better option at wideout.
This week we tackle a tougher scenario: Dammit Donald.
Donald Brown, much maligned by media and fans, has one year left on his rookie deal. While Vick Ballard emerged as a standout rookie talent and long-term prospect Brown's future became increasingly cloudy as his injury history piled up and he missed six games in 2012. Brown is slotted to make $1.7M in 2013--he'll count $2.2M against the cap with his bonus. With an abundance of cap space that kind of hit is considerably less valuable than a roster spot.no comments
When the Colts' signed Samson Satele this past offseason, most fans looked at him with cautious hope. Satele was lauded by people like Pro Football Focus, who called him inconsistent, but capable of huge things, especially in the run game. PFF even labeled him the Colts' "Secret Superstar" heading into the 2012 season. The only concern with Satele was that he could be inconsistent.
Well, Satele was inconsistent in the run game, having a few good games in run blockign, along with a few bad. But Satele wasn't inconsistent at all in pass protection, just bad.
But, do the Colts have another option, or are they stuck with Satele?no comments
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, left, celebrates with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians after their 28-16 win over the Houston Texans in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Colts fans knew this was coming. Some saw it looming on the horizon by week 10 of the regular season. Bruce Arians, 9-3 when he filled in for his friend, Chuck Pagano, is now a head coach. The Cardinals are getting a very likeable coach with great motivational and leadership skills.
Indianapolis, however, is left with another vacancy to fill. With a young offense lead by a second year franchise quarterback, the wrong choice could be detrimental to the growth of this team. So, who is out there? Who is available?
Update: According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, Stanford Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach Pep Hamilton is likely the current frontrunner for the position. I will add Hamilton to the rest of the options below, a s he is the first confirmed candidate mentioned. So, while I spent time looking at coaches who either had connections to the current staff or were mentioned by a respected football reporter, the Colts have had their eye on someone with connections to Andrew Luck. Was this Grigson's plan all along? We could find out very soon. More on Hamilton below.no comments
Join Colts Authority Radio as Scott Kacsmar and Kyle Rodriguez discuss the divisional week of the playoffs and preview the conference championship games..no comments
Taking a leaf out of my colleague Todd Smith's book - after his breakdown of whether the Colts should keep Donnie Avery - it's time to consider free agency. In this case I'll alternate the focus to the defense, and specifically pending free agent cornerback Jerraud Powers. The Colts woes in the defensive backfield have been well-documented by all and sundry throughout this season, and thus the question becomes - is Powers worthy of retention?
Firstly, it makes sense to consider the defensive backfield as we look towards free agency and the draft. We have an entrenched quality safety in Antoine Bethea who is more favoured towards run defense than pass coverage. At cornerback, Vontae Davis can be considered at least a #2 with the size and speed to be coached into a #1, while the rest of the backfield is a complete wreck. Joe Lefeged has shown some aptitude on special teams and appears to be a better fit for the defense than Tom Zbikowski - though I question whether a Bethea-Lefeged tandem can work, given the lack of skills in coverage.
Unfortunately for Jerraud, he doesn't possess the strict cover skills we're looking for on the back end at this point in time. A proficient tackler when healthy, Jerraud was a good fit for the Cover 2 under Dungy and Caldwell, where his size wasn't an obstacle to potential success. With the hiring of Pagano & Manusky, the defense has changed completely - blitz happy and man-heavy on the outside, the aggressive 3-4 hybrid is the very antithesis of the Cover 2.
As such, I feel obliged to detail the following, for it sticks too prominently in my mind to ignore when considering Powers and whether he fits in the new system we're looking to institute on defense. It's from the Colts-Bengals game in the Year of the PaintOr, and it's AJ Green against Powers in man coverage - a rare prospect considering the Colts were still co-ordinated by Coyer and co.no comments