Robert Mathis. What more can we say about this guy? Between being a mentor to his teammates and bridging two great eras of Colts football, Mathis has caused havoc in opposing backfields, no matter the opponent. With 11.5 sacks, he’s matched his career high through just seven games, answering the criticisms that he couldn’t do it without another dominant pass rusher on the other side.
The Houston Texans came into existence in 2002 as an expansion team. Brought in to fill the hole left behind by the then Houston Oilers - who had moved to Tennessee and became the Titans - the Texans satisfied Houston's hunger for an NFL team, but not for a winner. From 2002-2006, the Texans toiled in NFL hilarity, led by now-draft bust David Carr, the team never finished with a record of .500 or better, let alone a playoff berth.
Then, in 2007, the Texans traded for Atlanta Falcons' backup QB Matt Schaub. While the results remained relatively similar, the expectations grew exponentially. Year after year, the Texans were picked as the New Hotness, the team who would finally end the Colts reign of terror in the AFC South. Year after year, the Texans would fall flat on their face.
And then it happened. In 2011, aided by Peyton Manning's head literally falling off of his neck, the Houston Texans earned their first playoff berth and their first division title. With Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster leading the way, it seemed as though the years of frustration would be washed away by the joys of a stretch of Texans' dominance.
But maybe 2011, while providing the team's first real taste of success, also provided a bit of foreshadowing. People will remember that year: the 1-13 Colts against the 10-4 Texans, Thursday Night Football, "Reggie Wayne's last home game." And it was, as it always is when the Texans play in Indianapolis, a Colts victory.
The Texans would win the division in 2011, and again in 2012 - though just by the skin of their teeth. And now, 2 years into what was supposed to be a lifetime of memories and joy and happiness and winning, and the Texans are, well, the Texans again. At 2-5, this week - and every week hereafter - will be a must-win for the Houston Texans. Not only does a playoff berth rest on their success, so too do the jobs of HC Gary Kubiak and QB Matt Schaub - though the latter seems to have already lost his job.
On the other side of the field, you have a different story. The Indianapolis Colts weren't supposed to be this good this fast. But here they are, 5-2, and on the cusp of doing what the Olde Colts used to do: putting away the division by the mid-way point of the season. A victory on Sunday night would all but assure the Colts - barring the most bizarre, unexpected collapse of all time - the AFC South Title. But their success won't come without a struggle: the Colts will be without their leader, WR Reggie Wayne, for the first time since his rookie year. He tore his ACL in week 7, and we've yet to see how Pep Hamilton, Andrew Luck and the offense will respond to his absence.
Two teams at a crossroads. Who's moving ahead and who's doing an awkward U-Turn at 2am? We'll find out Sunday Night.no comments
On Sunday, convinced of my own brilliance, I made the following statement:
"If Ryan Grigson doesn't make a trade by Tuesday, I will never tweet again."
The possibility of Grigson NOT making a deal never entered my - surprisingly - limited brain. So here we are. Grigs let me down and now I'm a man without a tweet. It could be worse. I could be Blaine Gabbert.
Now, I'm not addicted to twitter or anything - pay no attention to my 52,000 tweets per month - so not tweeting is actually not that hard. Unless something incredibly stupid happens.
For example, what if the Colts decided to fill their roster spot with a tight end who had TWICE been suspended by the NFL for failing a drug test?
After the jump, we'll take a look at what my tweets may have looked like if such a ridiculous thing had actually happened.no comments
I sometimes play a card game called Blackout. Every turn, you declare how many tricks you’re hoping to win that round; each round, the number of cards in your hand increases by one. The point of the game is to evaluate your hand, estimate which cards you expect to win with, and which you expect to throw away. You gain points for guessing correctly.
Every team, midseason, has been dealt a hand. Our job: to figure out how where they stand, especially from Indy’s point of view. Hence …
… The AFC Midseason Blackout Shindig.
Well, the trade deadline passed, and that final roster spot remained empty. This evening, the team remedied that problem, welcoming tight end Weslye Saunders back to the active roster. They also signed tackle Xavier Nixon to the practice squad once again and released cornerback Daxton Swanson from Injured Reserve.
From the Colts’ press release:
Saunders, 6-5, 261 pounds, has played in 27 career games (10 starts), catching six passes for 44 yards and a touchdown. He was originally signed by the Colts as a free agent on October 16, 2012 and appeared in 11 games (four starts) last year, recording two catches for 15 yards. Saunders was waived by the Colts on July 25, 2013.
Who’s Playing Receiver?
The last time Reggie Wayne missed a game due to injury,
- Jim Mora was in his final season as the Colts head coach, his fate likely sealed after the infamous “Playoffs?!” rant.
- Andrew Luck was 12 years old, had just moved to Houston, TX, and quite possibly was still playing defensive end.
- Reggie Miller, Jalen Rose, and Austin Croshere were all Indiana Pacers.
- The guy writing this was still attending IUPUI in beautiful downtown Indianapolis.
- People still used flip phones, dial up, Hotmail, and occasionally something called AOL.
This past week I read an article by Mike Wells of ESPN.com, the former Pacers beat writer for the Indy Star. The article contained Wells' semi-regular Twitter mailbag, and included the following interaction:
Wait just a gosh darn minute.
Keep in mind that all this comes in the midst of a discussion on how the Reggie Wayne injury will affect the Colts' offense.
You lose your No. 1 receiving target, the second-most important player on the offense, and you're not going to make any adjustments? Why is this exactly?
Oh, because the Colts are a run-first team.
What a load of barn poop.no comments
Early Monday morning, after giving the players a week off, the Colts announced they had activated receiver Griff Whalen from the practice squad, shutting down – at least for now – the explosion of trade speculation that has swirled around since Reggie Wayne’s heartbreaking ACL tear. (A trade could still happen, but for now, the Colts have their fourth WR)
Whalen, a former Stanford walk-on, is primarily a slot receiver and has made a name for himself in the preseason as a sure handed target. Considering Wayne, a reliable possession receiver, spent 70.7 percent of his snaps (per Pro Football Focus) in the slot, Whalen may be exactly the type of receiver the Colts need at this time.