Texans 34 Colts 24
Texans 34 Colts 24
Here's the catch though: a lot of you don't use and don't want to use Twitter.
I get it. For those of you who don't have twitter accounts, you can still follow all the running commentary. I've built the list into the Cover It Live client below. If you want to follow the conversation, just click below. You can see what all the key commentators are saying without having a Twitter account.
Please note: you won't be able to participate in the conversation, using this chat. Your questions and comments won't appear.
If you have something to say, you'll have to do it through Twitter.
But, at least you'll know what is going on. I'll activate the Cover It Live Feed about 12:45 Indy time. Again, if you have a good Twitter Client, just follow the list above and don't bother with Cover It Live.
Let's see how this works today. Feel free to dialogue with us in the comments below after the game about how you liked the experience.
I devote comparatively little time thinking about Tom Brady.
Except when his life intersects with the Colts for some reason, I happily ignore him these days.
However, this week he signed a contract extension making him the highest paid player in the NFL. (Make sure to read that link, the first paragraph is hilarious).
A couple of things struck me about this deal:
- The guarantee (always the first and ONLY number that matters in NFL deals) is $48.5 million. That's a lot, but is curiously less than what Sam Bradford just took home.
- It's short. This doesn't make Brady a Patriot for life. In fact, it is going to leave the door open for some really uncomfortable negotiations down the road.
- It doesn't push the envelope much for Manning's deal much at all.
One reader asked me to comment on why Brady took such relatively modest extension. I know it sounds funny to call that much money 'modest', but when a rookie who has never played gets more guaranteed money (over six years, not four, but still) it makes you wonder.
This deal gives Brady roughly $12 million guaranteed a year plus salary. The interesting thing about Peyton Manning's then record $99 million deal is that Manning was making around $7 million guaranteed per season, with high salaries. For instance, he's making $15 million in salary. What's 'ground breaking' about Brady's deal is the amount of guaranteed money he's getting each season.
Brady was in a precarious position with the Pats. Though he's a year younger than Manning, he has already had a season ending injury. Unlike the Colts, the Pats have a history of cheaping out on players. This is probably a deal that both sides HAD to sign before the Colts dealt with Manning. As it is, Brady gets to save face and be the highest paid player in the game for a short time. The Pats get to save face by signing Brady to a short extension without having to answer questions about why the Colts signed Manning to a five or even six year extension (please, please, please, let it be six!).
My hope for Manning's deal is that it effectively gives us an idea how long his career will last. Sign him through age 40. Let him break all the records he can, and then both sides can part ways as friends. It would let the franchise know when to draft his replacement (in 3-4 years).
Regardless of the details, we can be sure that Manning's deal will pay out more than Brady's. Brady's deal pays out roughly $18 million a season on average (some years are probably more than others). By comparison, Manning already beats that average this season. Irsay probably breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Brady's deal because on a per season basis, it's not any worse than what he already pays Peyton.
18 Things to Watch in Sunday's Colts/Texans Game
How scary could any team be that is quarterbacked by this?
Eyes in the Backfield is back for a record fourth season. Each week, we'll bring you 18 things to keep an eye on during the upcoming game. This week, the Colts take on the Houston Texans who are vying to take the AFC South Crown away from the champs. As you tune in, be sure to watch for:
1. Watch the starting LINEup. We have no idea what the Colts' line is going to look like on Sunday. If Saturday and CJ play, the line should look mostly familiar. However, CJ has been gimpy all week, and while Saturday might be sandbagging, we can't be sure what kind of shape he'll be in. Peyton could be running for his life. He's slow, too. That doesn't bode well for his life.
It's Gonna Happen!
We at 18to88.com generally have issues with witchcraft and divination, but we make an exception every year. Some years are better than others. This year we are taking on the NFL with a vengeance. As always, we mix in some old favorites with our new and penetrating insights.
1. The Colts will win the AFC South
How do we know? It's the Colts. It's the AFC South. You do the math.
Some or many of you may remember my 2009 Return to Football Soundtrack last year on SB. Well, it's back again this year, in a new and improved version (including a new hosting site). My purpose for this post remains the same. It's to get everyone as excited as possible for the return of NFL football today through the use of music! You'll notice some similarities to last year's post, but most of the videos are brand new. So, sit back in a recliner (if you have a laptop), grab some headphones, crank the volume on your computer up, and enjoy!
This first part is going to give you the game day experience by focusing on songs that are played on game day in Lucas Oil Stadium.
This first song has been played incessantly while the Colts warm-up every single year since I've been a season ticket holder (2004) to the point that it has been ingrained in my head. It's a great place to start:
Assuming that Tony Ugoh's Colts career is indeed over (and Phil B thinks it is), it's time to summarize his time with the Colts.
Without question, his career was disappointing, but I chafe at the word 'bust' being tossed around. While he was never able to keep hold of the left tackle job and never met all our expectations, the fact is that he was a contributor for three years. Those games he played carried real value. Others have discussed this issue before, but Tony Ugoh was far from a 'bust'.
Profootballreference has a way of rating player's contributions across position. The rating is called AV (approximate value). By this measure, Ugoh grades out fairly well. His career rating of 16 is tied for 28th best in the 2007 draft. Granted, other players who are still in the league will have the chance to add to their value, but through three seasons, Ugoh actually outperformed his draft slot.
Fans think of every late first and second round pick as future Pro Bowl player. Any player that fails to hit that level gets tagged as a 'bust'. That's simply a ridiculous way to view the draft. Some will point out that Ugoh was essentially a first round pick because of the trade the Colts made for him. It's hard to draw a 1:1 translation (because of fewer years played), but Ugoh would be roughly 26th (given an AV of around 5.5 each year) in that draft.
Ugoh was the the 42nd overall pick in the draft. The normal career AV for pick 42? It's about 26. That means Ugoh is a little worse than the normal 42nd pick. So how bad a pick was it? Instead of being an average late first round, mid second round pick (depending on how you want to classify him), Ugoh was basically an average bottom of the second round pick.
Disappointing? Without a doubt.
A bust? Not even close.
Like Ugoh or hate him, we needed the depth. This isn't a good thing.
It will be interesting to see what happens now with Ugoh and the roster.
Unless he's done for the year, in which case I would have expected an IR designation, I wouldn't be surprised to see him back.
CLARIFICATION: I'm adding this note becuase people are asking. I think this is a BAD sign for CJ and maybe Saturday. If CJ is healthy, there's no reason to cut Ugoh. You only drop him if you need to sign a healthy body for Sunday. Three injured linemen is a lot to carry. This is a bad sign about CJ, not a good one, in my estimation.
Update: Ugoh HAS been injured/waived. Joe Reitz was signed to replace him.
Some things to know:
- Coming this week: Cass's "2010 Return to Football Soundtrack" will come out tomorrow. On Friday, Eyes in the Backfield is back. At some point, I'll post my 2010 Bold Predictions. Maybe tomorrow. There's an outside chance it will be up late tonight. A very outside chance.
- Join the 18to88.com Pigskin Pick 'em League on ESPN. The password is: Bob Sanders. This was a great reader suggestion. Show up, pick who will win each NFL game. Winner gets...um, probably a copy of my book. The game is free and anyone can join!
- Be sure to check out the excellent NFL Preview from FootballSickness.com. Your's truly helped out with some perspective as the 'division insider' for the AFC South.
- A reminder to all members of the 18to88.com fantasy league: Get your Texans benched!
- Finally, 18to88.com was hit up more than a million times in the past year. Holy crap. Thank you all so much. Now if I could only get each one of those people to buy a book...
Has there ever been a highly favored team with more glaring unknowns than the Indianapolis Colts?
By unknowns, I don't mean that the organization is unclear who is playing on the line or at wide out or at punt returner. I believe the Colts coaching staff knows exactly what is going to happen on Sunday and who is going to play where.
The rest of us have no earthly idea.
Despite our confidence in the Colts' ability to win football games, the truth is we have little idea who will be playing on the offensive side of the football.
We don't know for sure who will play any spot on the line, except right guard. Even if all available players are healthy, we can't be certain of what combination will start. I'm fine with this because I long ago reached the conclusion that the O line is irrelevant. Most people don't buy into that theory, so why is everyone else in America so confident?
We know, or we think we know, that Wayne and Garcon are the top wideouts. I'm sure that's who Texas is preparing for this week. We have no idea who the slot receiver is. Will the Colts go four wide? Will they even play a slot guy? Maybe they are going to line up with two tight ends. This problem doesn't worry us only because we love all the options. The only option that looks bad right now is to run the ball without Eldrige in the game.
Finally, there is the drama at punt returner. Caldwell says that Anthony Gonzalez can do the job. Gonzo claims he's never done it before at any level. Doesn't that strike anyone as insane? Who came up with this plan? I saw Gonzo field some kicks in camp off a jugs machine, but doing so under live NFL fire is a whole different matter. Could he be an electric return man? Sure. Can he do it without ever taking a preseason kick? I'm not so sure. I have a baaaad feeling about this.
As Gonzo said, "All questions are answered on Sunday". I certainly hope so. Right now, I'm staring at a coaching staff who can't communicate with the players and a special teams plan that invovles running Gonzo out to field punts without ever having done it under live fire. Frankly, none of that bodes well.
My suspicion is that this is just such a huge game that the Colts are just messing with everyone. Something is up. On Sunday, we are all either going to slap our foreheads and say, "Of course! Those wily Colts! That's what this was all about!" or we are going to see Gonzo on the bench except when he comes out to misplay a punt, and suddenly we'll all realize that internally, the coaching staff is falling apart and the beginning of the end is here.
I wish I had total confidence in Caldwell. I wish I could just grin slyly and say, "Something is up...".
Maybe I'll get there by Sunday.
Demond Sanders: I think you are reading too much into the punt return story. Many teams use their third or fourth receiver as a punt returner. I understand Gonzo has limited experience, but it isn't exactly a demanding job. Heck, the Colts used Jamie Silva as a punt returner a couple times last year. The Colts have basically one directive for this job: catch the ball and get down (if you accidentally pick up a couple yards in the process it is a bonus). I think Caldwell sees this as a potential way for the team to keep Gonzo involved and useful. It is a reality of the 53 man roster that lower-string recievers are expected to contribute somewhere on special teams (see Hank "Effing" Baskett).