We'll see you here at One PM Indiana time.
We'll see you here at One PM Indiana time.
The always excellent Profootballreference.com blog addressed an interesting dilmena recently. Most fans know that John Elway is credited with the most comeback wins all time with 47. The problem is that "Come from behind wins" isn't an official stat, and that all teams track and count it differently. The PFR blog rightly suggests normalizing the way comebacks are credited:
1. The team has to win. For example, in 2003, Manning led the Colts on a brilliant drive to force overtime against the Panthers. The Panthers won in OT. That does not count as a comeback.
2. The team has to be trailing in the fourth quarter. Manning led a brilliant game winning drive in San Diego last year. The problem is that the Colts were tied at the time, and never trailed in the 4th quarter. That's a game winning drive, but obviously not a comeback. It doesn't count.
3. If the offense contributes to the comeback, but the defense scores the winning points, it's a comeback, but not a game winning drive. Think about the Jacksonville game last year. Indy is down 10 in the 4th quarter. Manning leads two drives to tie the game, Garrard throws the pick 6, and the Colts win. Manning gets a comeback win, but not a game winning drive.
I'm 100% on board with these definitions, which is why I titled my article on Manning's heroics "18 Best Fourth Quarter Victories" to distinguish between comebacks and game winning drives.
The Blog posts this chart to show the difference between reported totals of comebacks and actual totals:
QB Reported Actual
John Elway 47 34
Brett Favre 42 27
Dan Marino 37 36
Peyton Manning 37 28
Drew Bledsoe 32 24
Joe Montana 31 31
Johnny Unitas 31 34
Tom Brady 28 20
Roger Staubach 23 15
Ben Roethlisberger 19 15
Chad Pennington 7 7
Jay Cutler 7 5
So you can see from this list that Manning sits behind Marino, Unitas, Elway, and Montana on the all-time comebacks list.
I'm still scrambling to compile a list of those 28 comebacks. That's where I need your help. I've identified 25, but the other three elude me.
1998 NY Jets
1999 @ Cle
2000 @ Buff
2003 @ Tampa
2003 @ Buff
2003 @ Hou
2004 @ Tenn
2006 @ Jets
2006 @ Denver
2007 @ Oak
2008 @ Hou
2008 @ Minn
2008 @ Pitt
2008 @ Jacksonville
If anyone can come up with the last three comebacks that I don't mention, I'd appreciate it. Checking out Manning's game logs is a good place to start...
UPDATE: We found the missing three games.
In perusing the Football Ousiders Almanac 09 one more time, I ran across some fascinating stats about Peyton Manning's 2008 season:
Other Colts stats:
Just to have it all in one place, here's a quick guide to the NFL's labor situation as I understand it:
What happened: In 2008, the owners opted out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
What was the effect: It triggered a countdown designed to force the owners and players to sit down and deal before the clock hits zero.What are the key dates:
Why might the players not negotiate soon?
What might get them to the table?
Why might the owners not negotiate soon?
What might get them to the table?
What are the key issues?
What does this mean for the Colts?
1. An uncapped 2010 would probably be a short term boost. The Colts have two key players that would no longer be eligible for free agency. The top 4 teams are prohibited from signing free agents (unless they lose one of their own) with other restrictions on teams 5-8, so other top AFC teams that usually rely more on F/A than the Colts would suffer, while Indy could keep right on ignoring the market like always with no repercussions.
2. An uncapped NFL would push the Colts to the middle class. Irsay is never going to be cheap. The Colts perennially sit in the top 5 of most money spent under the cap system. Still, teams like the Cowboys, Redskins, Giants, and Patriots have virtually unlimited resources and would perpetually outspend Indy. As long as the Colts kept the system draft and develop talent, however, they would likely stay competitive.
3. A work stoppage would be devastating to the franchise. They play in a new stadium that is publicly funded and the 2012 Super Bowl is slated to be played in Indianapolis. A lost season would take away a year of Peyton Manning's career, a Super Bowl, and create ill will in the community.
What is happening now?
The two sides have talked a couple of times recently, but the players are bracing for a lockout. Little progress has been made, and the two sides are still arguing over what records to disclose.
Update: 9/4 Goodell says the league is prepared for an uncapped 2010. No significant negotiations have taken place.
Update: 9/20 FO has a great article explaining the restrictions on signing unrestricted free agents (UFA's) by the top teams.
TMQ (get the title now?) is back. Gregg Easterbrook kicks off the season by looking at the AFC. He starts out his breakdown of the Colts in fine fashion:
Have the Colts fallen off your radar in the two years since their Super Bowl triumph? Put them back on, because last season Indianapolis won nine of its final 10, the sole loss being a playoff defeat, at the hands of the Chargers, during which there were several fluky plays and questionable calls in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Good point, Gregg. That playoff game was full of weird, unrepeatable plays. I'm feeling better all ready. He goes on:
The sole Indianapolis weakness was the center of the team's run defense. Last season, Keyunta Dawson, a defensive end in college, started 14 games for Indianapolis as a defensive tackle -- at 254 pounds. This year he moves to defensive end, while enormous Fili Moala takes over the spot. If the Colts' rush defense can merely be average, TMQ makes this team the AFC favorite.
Hmm, he's sort of right. Ed Johnson will be playing the line, not Moala (who's in the backup rotation). He's got the details wrong, but the main point is valid. An average run defense would make the entire squad formidable. The Colts D is poised to strike. We'll give him a pass and thank him for the kind thoughts toward the Horse. Unfortunately, he kept typing...
Howard Mudd, the Colts' offensive line coach, had been the NFL's longest-serving assistant coach, at 35 years, when he "quit" this offseason. Eleven-year offensive coordinator Tom Moore "quit" too, at age 70. Neither said pension rules were the reason, though that angle got a lot of press.
Warning! Gregg, turn back! Don't go down this road! Nothing good can come of it. Actually, his statement to this point is technically accurate...while being deeply misleading. The pension plan got a lot of press because it was the reason for the retirement. There was no grand press conspiracy here. Here's how it played out:
According to ESPN NFL expert Chris Mortensen, who first reported the story that Mudd may retire, the crux of the issue is this:
Mudd, 67, believes he has to take his entire lump-sum pension payment now because if he does not exercise that right at 65 under the revised plan, he will be allowed only to accept annuity payments upon retirement that will be reduced to 50 percent value for his immediate survivors if he dies, according to sources. Mudd has already maximized his pension because he has surpassed the formula that requires a coach’s age and league tenure to equal 75. He has been an NFL assistant for 36 consecutive seasons.
Kennan, who told the Indianapolis Star that Mudd had asked him to speak for him on the issue, said he has spoken to Mudd extensively about the issue and said the decision to retire was a long process. Kennan described Mudd’s process of reaching the decision to retire as follows:
At the end of the season, somewhere in there, he said, ‘OK, I need to start thinking about retiring. I’m going to find out how much money I have in my retirement, how I go about doing it and if I decide to retire, what it is.’ He got involved in it and found out at one point, if he retired early in the spring, his lump-sum payment he was going to get would be more if he took it now as opposed to after June 1 because the index would change. That interested him, but that wasn’t enough to get him really stirred up.
Then, he found out that a number of teams were underfunded in the pension and if that was the case and he had coached for any of them, then those teams would not be able to give him a lump sum. He would have to take an annuity and he didn’t want to do that because it messes up your social security. People want their money. They don’t want to take an annuity. So, that really got him stirred up. He then decided, ‘OK, I better try to do this.’ He filed his papers and went through that process and in the meantime, about five weeks ago he’s in the middle of deciding and the NFL decides they’re going to change the pension for non-player employees. He’s like, ‘OK, I don’t know if I can get a lump sum and I don’t know what the funding is; now, the league totally disrespected all of us by announcing without any forewarning that our pensions have changed.’ The Colts haven’t changed their pension for this year. They’re going to remain the same, but the whole process just had Howard soured on the whole thing. He said, ‘I’m out of here.’ He has some principles. There has been several people in the leauge say, ‘He’s overreacting.’ Maybe he is, but I would, too, and so would they if they were going through that process and found out all of the stuff he found out.
Kennan said it is his understanding that Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Jim Irsay and Polian are working to find a way to retain Mudd.
That's it. It was the pension plan. There was no hidden agenda by anyone. There's nothing to see here, Gregg. This isn't a stor...oh damn. Easterbrook has taken the bait:
Maybe they were just burned out on football. Maybe because Tony Dungy departed, they decided not to start over with Jim Caldwell. Maybe they felt steamed that Caldwell forced aside their mutual friend, defensive coordinator Ron Meeks; anybody who was Dungy's longtime choice for defensive coordinator must be good. (Meeks took the defensive coordinator post at Carolina.) Maybe they were steamed that after lengthy loyal service to the Colts, Indianapolis did not offer them contract extensions, only one-season arrangements. Maybe they assumed Caldwell would show them the door soon, too. Maybe Indianapolis is in the process of changing from one of the NFL's best-coached teams to a franchise with sideline disarray. And maybe I'm amazed! Anyway, this summer Moore and Mudd came back, with the wonderfully glorified titles of senior offensive coordinator and senior offensive line coach. Perhaps next year, Moore will be offensive coordinator emeritus.
Easterbrook comes up with every possible reason for the two coaches' 'retirement' other than the actual one. In fact, Moore's own words seem to dismiss all the speculation...
"I'll coach as long as someone will hire me,'' said Moore, 70.
I know that Easterbrook's motivation is to create an entertaining read, and a story about coaches getting lofty titles is right up his alley. Still, he played fast and loose with the truth for remarkably little payoff. It sort of makes me regret his earlier endorsement.
(Cue a bevy of whiny pro-Pats comments still griping over the satirical Good v Evil piece he did two years ago)
1. It means Edge is coming back to Indianapolis. I fully expect him to receive nothing but the very warmest of welcomes from the faithful at the Luke. Edge is a Colt forever, and I'm sure the fans will greet him happily.
2. It means Edge has a serious chance to boost his Hall of Fame resume. Edge needs 618 yards rushing to pass Allen, Faulk, Brown and Dorsett on the all time list. He's just 1541 out of the top five all time. Obviously, he won't get that this year, but if he grinds out two seasons he could. In the HoF for football, players don't "go in as" members of one team or another. Still, if he should make it to Canton, there will be a sea of blue and white supporters there for him.
While Edge has been gone long enough that we can be happy for him to return, there is still no word on Marvin Harrison. Other than the quickly squelched rumor about the Titans recently, there has been little movement on the Marv Watch. Now would be the time that he would sign if it's going to happen. Training camps have ended, and if he doesn't sign soon, he's unlikely too. Perhaps if a contender has a serious injury at WR, he could sign during the season, but it would be unlikely that he could have much impact.
I wish Harrison the best, and I could have lived with him playing in Philly (just like the only other team I could ever be ok with Manning playing for is New Orleans), but the longer this goes on, the more I hope Marv retires having only worn blue and white.
UPDATE: Of course no sooner do I post this than PFT begins anew the speculation that the Titans might be interseted in Harrison. There is no evidence for the claim other than the Titans have injuries.
With Washington on the shelf and wideout Chris Davis cut by the team after being arrested for DUI last week, maybe the Titans will renew the dialogue with Marvin Harrison that Fisher denies ever occurred.
I seriously hope this doesn't happen.
As sports fans, we have short memories. There's always another season and yesterday's hero is tomorrow's goat.
When training camp started, our expectations were high for this year's team. The defense was restocked. Players were coming back from injury. The O-line was coming together. The 2009 Colts looked like they might be a sleeper juggernaut. Since then, reality has set in.
Charlie Johnson was named starting LT. Bob Sanders might not be ready on time. The rookie DTs haven't risen up to become instant starters.
The Colts still figure to be a strong team, but perhaps not the force of nature that we dreamed of.
That reality tempers the need for this post, but doesn't erase it entirely. There is a strong possibility the 2009 Colts will be dramatically better than the 2008 Colts. I think it likely they win a playoff game or more. When that happens, people will begin to whisper about whether or not Tony Dungy was really that great a coach. They'll point to a bounce from the Colts that mirrors perhaps the bounce Tampa received when Tony left the Bucs. If the defense improves, they'll praise Coyer's innovation and rail against Dungy for being too conservative. For whatever reason, they'll chose to view any future success by the Colts as a check mark against Dungy.
Don't be fooled or sucked in when it happens. Tony Dungy was the finest coach the Colts will likely ever have. I wish Jim Caldwell the best and support him fully. I expect great things from him. I will not hold his success against Dungy however.
A few weeks ago, BBS made a great point that people will overlook:
It's important to note that tweaks, like Coyer's, were not uncommon during Tony Dungy's tenure as coach. Recall last year's final game against the Jacksonville Jaguars: Dungy deployed DT Raheem Brock as a stand-up rusher coming from the interior of the defensive line. Brock would start outside and, prior to the snap of the ball, he'd swing inside. This way, when the ball was snapped, he already had a running start, and was pushing through the interior of the Jags' offensive line. The "tweak" worked. Brock was in David Garrard's face all night.
Dungy also deployed the famous (well, famous for us) Bob Sanders Beatdown Defense, which was a Cover-2 look that shifted to Cover-3 at the snap of the ball.
It will be easy to forget the tweaks and changes that Dungy made and turn 2002-2008 into a whitewash of vanilla Cover-2. It will be easy to remember the few coaching blunders he made. We all know what they were:
What we'll forget is that those are so memorable because he so rarely made those kinds of mistakes. Tony was a great in game coach. The Colts almost never botched end of half and end of game scenarios. We remember the mistakes because there were so few of them.
Revisionist history will tell us that the 2009 Colts exceeded the 2008 Colts because of a 'fresh start' or 'new vision' or because Dungy secretly stunk but was such a nice guy that no one wanted to say it out loud.
Don't believe it. The 2009 Indianapolis Colts will surpass the 2008 club because the 2008 team was a season long shell game operated by a master. Dungy hid how bad the club by coaching the hell out of his players.
So when the Colts get off to a fast start, and the articles start flowing and the talk radio nonsense starts building, just remember what really happened.
Tony Dungy was an incredible coach. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
A weird drum beat has emerged among Colts fans. Many people have begun to question whether or not Bob Sanders is worth the money. It was started by Kravitz last year and was recently echoed by BBS before being repeated today in Mike Chappell's "Ask the Experts" mailbag.
Let's stop the discussion right now.
Regardless of what you think about Bob Sanders, the entire debate is ignorant for reasons that have nothing to do with whether or not Sanders steps on the field.
According to Coltscap.net (I'm adjusting the numbers because the Colts reworked his deal which isn't reflected in the Coltscap page), Bob Sanders is slated to make $2.27 million in salary next year. In addition, his total cap hit is $4.1 million. Sanders still has at least $5.5 million in outstanding bonuses, by my count. Again, the numbers are rough because the page hasn't been updated since the renegotiation.
There are multiple problems with cutting Sanders:
1. Let's assume the old school rules were in effect, which they aren't. Under the old rules, the team could cut Sanders, save his salary and split his outstanding bonuses over two seasons. So, they could cut him, and take a $2.75 million cap hit. Cutting Bob Sanders would only save about $1.4 million under that scenario. The chance to have Sanders even for a handful of games is worth $1.4 million. There's no way the Colts would cut him just to save $1.4 million. Who would want that?
2. Let's assume the 2009 rules somehow applied to the 2010 season, which they don't. In that case, the Colts would have to absorb the full hit of Sanders' contract immediately. They'd save $2.27 million (his salary), but have to eat a $5.5 million cap hit. Keeping him will only cost $4.1 million. Here's the kicker: it would cost more to cut him than keep him. Cutting Bob Sanders wouldn't save the Colts cap space, it would cost them cap space.
3. None of it matters anyway, because 2010 is an uncapped year. There's no reason to save cap space. THERE IS NO CAP IN 2010. Everyone's worried about resigning Bethea, but under the rules, he won't actually be an unrestricted free agent until 2012. Guys have to wait 6 years instead of 4 to get unrestricted free agency. Bethea and Marlin Jackson will be restricted rights FAs, and the Colts won't have to worry about losing him without compensation. Beyond that, teams get both a transition AND a franchise tag (or two transition tags). Beyond that, assuming the Colts have a good year this year, they likely won't be eligible to sign free agents anyway, so no one can argue that cutting Sanders would allow the Colts to sign someone else.
Now, I believe that for football reasons alone, cutting Bob Sanders would be a mistake. That point isn't worth arguing because financially, there is no way the Colts will cut Sanders. Even if there were to miraculously be a cap in 2010, there's no way of predicting what the rules for it would be, and most likely they wouldn't result in significant savings to the team for cutting Sanders.
So, the next time someone floats the idea of cutting Bob Sanders, tell them to stop it. He doesn't make that much money comparitively. Next season he won't be among 5 highest paid Colts.
He's not going anywhere.
(warning: This post is not innate of anything. I thought about writing about the Bob Knight situation but figured this was more interesting)
There are many things that are odd about living in a foreign country. I especially love the names of car models they have here in Argentina.
These are my top three:
1. The Fiat Spazio
2. The Citroen Berlingo
3. The Ford Taunus (NOT the Taurus)
First the good from the game tonight:
Now the big, big, BIG negative:
The Colts don't have a left tackle.
Charlie Johnson was an abject disaster. He gave up a big hit on Peyton on the first TD drive. Manning avoided a sack with his lightening release on a sweet pass to Addai. Then CJ followed it up on the next Colts possession by getting whipped again, leading to a sack fumble. In fairness, Pollack got beat on the play as well (not that this makes me feel any better).
Unfortunately, Ugoh didn't play well either. He picked up a couple of penalties (although the second was not a good call), blew some run blocks, and looked generally lost. Johnson left the door wide open (as we knew he would), but Ugoh didn't walk through it. Instead, he laid down on the welcome mat and took a little nap.
I could list a few other negatives, but this overshadows everything else. Don't be fooled by Peyton's gaudy numbers. The Philly D was playing vanilla and had a blown coverage. The real story is that Indy is going to start the season without a credible answer at left tackle.
We've never been 100% sold on Ugoh and have only supported him as an alternative to Johnson who is too slow to play tackle. What concerns me is that with the job on his plate to take, Ugoh went out and played sub-standard football, making what appeared to be mental errors. That's the knock on him all along. All the tools but can't put it all together.
As I see it, the Colts' options are limited:
We agonized over the return of Howard Mudd, and now he has to earn his money. He has two more weeks to get through to Ugoh (who at least has the tools to play the position). Johnson may be a hard worker, but he simply isn't quick enough. Desire and effort are great, but he doesn't have the requisite skill set to play tackle. He's a valuable player to have on the team. He's a capable backup guard. He played great in the Super Bowl (in a soggy, wet field by the way...hard to have a guy run by you in the mud), but that doesn't make him an NFL starter.
Mr. Mudd, you have two weeks. The clock is ticking.
We need a left tackle.