After having a day to simmer down and reflect on the opener, I feel much better. The saying that the Colts love so much really is true: It never is as bad as it seems right after a loss. At the same time, some of the quotes from the team are downright wrong.
"None of us played well. It had nothing to do with Kerry (QB Kerry Collins). Fumbles, sacks, penalties. You name it. Any way that you can shoot yourself in the foot, we did it." "I don't think if Peyton would have been back there it would have been much better. We didn't play well." "We showed (in the second half of the Houston loss) that we can move the ball, we can be effective. And I think that's what you build on. We had a lot of self-inflicted wounds (against the Texans)."
While I admire Saturday's attempt to share the blame as a team, and not make excuses, the replacement of Peyton Manning by Kerry Collins is the biggest reason why the Colts lost the game on Sunday afternoon.
The Colts are built around the talents of Peyton Manning. The offense is built around his ability to make quick reads and accurate throws. The defense is built on the assumption that they will be playing with a lead, or at least close. This puts more pressure on the opposing offenses, causing them to make costly mistakes as they try to keep up with Peyton Manning.
On the offensive side, Collins did a number on the offense, although he definitely was helped by the sieve-like offensive line. Anyway, my point is that with Manning in the game, the fumbles likely never happen, giving the defense a better field to work with, and putting more pressure on the Texans' offense.
Yes, the defense was atrocious. But don't expect things to get much better without Manning. To Saturday's credit, the offense did move the ball better in the second half, but that was largely because the Texans stopped caring.
Other quotes from Monday: Austin Collie on if the team was nervous headed into the game:
“I think so. I think there was just so much anticipation throughout the week, and, like I said, with the first half everybody was a little bit anxious and on edge."
Gary Brackett on moving on:
"You just learn from it. You just watch the film and are very critical. Then you just get better. It’s too early to say, ‘Let’s pack up and go home.’"
“I’m sure there’s a host of things that we all could have done better. We need to take better care of the ball, and that’s the number one priority."
Uh yeah. That would be you. Dallas Clark on blocking Mario Williams one-on-one:
"There's no excuse, I've got to do my job and block him. For a guy like me, it has to be perfect. I just didn't get it done."
Clark is a class act, and shows it here, taking the blame for the failure of either Jeff Linkenbach or the scheme itself. Either way, there's no way Clark should be singled on a player like Mario Williams in pass protection. None.
Jim Caldwell on Kerry Collins and the offensive line:
“For his first time out he hung in there and fought. Things didn’t go as well as any of us would have liked, and there is certainly room for improvement. We were pretty inconsistent just in terms of protection. We were a bit inconsistent. There were some times where we did a pretty good job handling the line of scrimmage, and creating some holes."
Bill Polian on Manning:
"What I've said is we'll leave him on the active roster until the doctors tell us he cannot come back this season." "Peyton and I did talk when we did his last contract that the time is approaching to look at new quarterbacks, and we have to evaluate whether they could be starting quarterbacks for the Indianapoolis Colts." "Peyton's at the age now where he recognizes and we recognize that his career is in the home stretch. While we fully expect he'll be with us next year, it is time that we give the quarterback position some serious consideration, and we do that every year." "The question is what pick do you use on a quarterback and how do you structure the contract and that sort of thing."
Other notes from the game and Monday's practice include the injury situation. The known injuries from the loss on Sunday were LB Ernie Sims (knee), LB Gary Brackett (shoulder), and Kerry Collins (dislocated finger).
UPDATE: Phil B reports that Kavell Conner has his foot in a walking boot. When asked if Sims could miss extended time, Jim Caldwell stated: "That's a possibility."
There has been no update on Brackett's shoulder injury, but he was sore today. As for Collins, he played all game, and shouldn't miss any game time because of this injury. This should be evident by the fact that Collins practiced today. Speaking of which, here it is in it's entirety:
WRs Reggie Wayne , Anthony Gonzalez, Blair White ; S Antoine Bethea; DEs Tyler Brayton and Robert Mathis; LBs Kavell Conner, Gary Brackett, and Ernie Sims.
Also worth noting is the fact that the Colts (Finally!) cut Jamey Richard today, claiming guard Seth Olsen off of waivers from Minnesota. Olsen has been on Minnesota's practice squad for the last year.
So, yes, the Colts cut Kyle DeVan and Jacques McClendon for Richard, who they then dumped for a Minnesota practice squad guard. I think it's safe to say this was one of their bad decisions during the offseason (worth noting that I don't think they had a bad offseason in general, look for post soon analyzing the offseason).