Tuesday, July 31, 2007
He had encouraging things to say about Ugoh and Gonzalez.
Monday, July 30, 2007
We stated on the Dungy article that Walsh was part of the most elite circle of Hall of Fame coaches. Perhaps only Halas, Lombardi, and the greatest of all Paul Brown were his equal. More importantly than rings or innovations, Walsh was known as a good man. He was fair and gave opportunities to men that might not have gotten them from lesser coaches. He gave Denny Green a chance, and Denny would later open doors for Tony Dungy. He was also one of the first of the 'non screamers' to head up an NFL team.
He will be missed.
He thought Harrison might wind up in the same boat as Art Monk. Forget that Harrison dwarfs Monk in every conceivable category. Forget that Harrison has almost THREE TIMES as many pro bowls as Monk. Forget that Harrison has more than twice as many all pro teams (7) as Monk does mere probowls (3). Forget all that, and yes, Monk and Harrison are comparable.
I hate the Jaguars. I really do. I'd rather lose to New England than those clowns. I can't wait to clown them in October. It'll make my freaking year.
Demond Sanders' Comments: Infuriating and lazy. We are talking about a player who is one of the twenty best NFL players ever at any position. (Not to mention the fact that Marvin had at least two memorable and important playoff moments this year.) Also, Marvin has 80 more receptions in his 11 seasons than Monk had in his entire 16 season career. Uh, yeah he might have a slightly stronger case for the HOF. . .
To update you on the Corey Simon drama: According to Tony Dungy, Simon has failed his physical, thus the greivance process will continue. More on this as it develops.
Seriously, he just didn't show up and won't tell anyone where he is. Hiiii-larious.
Also, vote for Peyton today in the world famous Who's Now? competition. He's going against some golfer, so how hard could it be to win? Do yourself a favor and skip the video in which they actually lower themselves to discuss who's wife is prettier. That's pathetic. I'm not going to link it today; just follow the same one from the post on Friday if you care.
UPDATE: It's official, Tiger Woods is more "Now" than Peyton Manning. It's only fair. The truth is, I cheated. I voted for Peyton on two different computers. I've decided to change my name to Daley and move to Chicago. Woods was going to win this thing from the get go. HE'S TIGER FREAKING WOODS. He's so rich, he can buy and sell almost every person on this list three times over. I smell a fix!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
He claims the Colts won't repeat because of NE, San Diego, and just flat being tired. For starters, reasons 1 and 3 should offset. If the Colts are tired from playing extra postseason games, I bet an OLD New England team is too. The Colts are so young, only a handfull of guys were even here in 2003. Bob doesn't realize that, because he doesn't do research or think deeply. Nice job, Bob. Obviously this year will be tough simply because the Colts play in the AFC and it is loaded. I'm more worried about the Pittsburghs, Balitmores, and Jacksonvilles of the world. We all know the top three teams are a meat grinder in the AFC, but the real problem is the next tier isn't far behind. Still, I like our chances.
For those that don't believe that Dungy has made a difference, check out the table on Manning before and after Dungy arrived in this article...
I think one of the big factors in this improvement was Tony's demeanor. I remember articles saying that when he arrived he told Peyton he had to cut down on the Ints. I think Tony's low key approach calmed Peyton down a little, and helped him to press less.
Demond Sanders' Comments: Dungy has had a huge impact on Peyton's game for just the reasons you gave. As for Kravitz, that is the latest in a long line of lame columns. Predicting they would win double-digit games, but not win the Super Bowl? Talk about playing it safe. Go out on a limb and pick them to go 9-7 or better yet predict a repeat. Why even bother writing that column?
Saturday, July 28, 2007
What a cool man. Irsay's and Polian's words were beautiful, but Glenn's speech was downright inspiring. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen. It's truly full of grace and beauty.
Demond Sanders' Comments: Pretty cool. As Bill Polian pointed out, not every player gets the chance to make that kind of retirement speech. Most NFL players don't actually. They re-sign elsewhere or get cut.
This is going to be a very interesting season. If the Colts make it back to the top, and we have gone on record saying that we think they can, it will be amazing. Although, I feel like we already found out about the team's resiliency after they came back from the difficult and tragic 2005 season. Losing a few starters, even one as foundational as Glenn, doesn't really compare.
In what continues to be the most mystifying Colts story since why my dad insisted that Lamont Warren was a better back than Marshal Faulk, Simon is reporting to camp and claims to want to play. The Colts are not commenting, seeming to question Simon's ability to pass his physical. If he does indeed pass it, it will curious to see what happens next. Will they cut Simon and save his base salary or call his bluff and let him play? Demond likened this to the Friends episode when Phoebe and Rachel knew that Monica and Chandler were dating and Monica and Chandler knew that they knew, and they all had a big bluff off involving Chandler and Phoebe pretending to want to get it on together in an attempt to flush out the bluffers.
Apparently, Demond is a teenaged girl trapped in 1998.
Maybe they'll name this episode "The one where a huge fat guy got paid for doing jack freaking squat".
Demond Sanders' Comments: That insightful analogy was not meant for public consumption you ass. Friends was way overrated, so much so that it later became slightly underrated. Anyway, check these websites out if you want a laugh: http://www.coreysimon97.com/ and http://www.coreysimonsc.org/ Yes, Corey Simon has his own "success center." I'm guessing it's not a gym.
When Corey Simon played, he played very well. The frustrating thing is that we all know the Colts are going to cut him, but these continued reports keep giving us hope. Let's face it a rotating DT-line of McFarland, a healthy Simon, Raheem Brock, Klecko, Reid, and the new kid Pitcock would be amazing. Yeah, right.
While googling images of Corey Simon in action, this was one of the few pics I came across. I believe it intends to show a natural progression.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Demond Sanders' Comments: Wow. That video was terrible, worse than you would even guess. You know it is bad when the crux of an argument is "It's baseball season now. . . so A-Rod must be more NOW ." ESPN is going the way of MTV (very dumb, little actual content) and has been for a couple years now. I know it is hip to rip the worldwide leader, but come on guys, you should have pulled the plug on this thing immediately.
Deshawn Zombie's Update: Peyton won! Oh joy, oh rapture! He's so now! BAAAAAARF
And just to prove we still think this year's team has a chance to be the best offense in NFL history:
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Also registration for the 18to88 fantasy is still open...join up soon.
Colts president Bill Polian was asked if Glenn is a Ring of Famer.
"If I have a vote, he is,'' he said.
Soooo, that means no Classic Colts induction for Glenn. I'm sure he's devastated. We reserve the Classic Colts designation for players that DON'T make the ring of honor. Currently awaiting induction are Marcus Pollard (he has to retire just so we are sure he doesn't become for famous with someone else), Jeff Saturday (I think he might wind up in the ring), and Reggie Wayne (ditto). As of this posting there is still no word on whether we will someday rename it the Demond "Zombie Bob" Sanders memorial Classic Colts. It depends on whether the various hexes against the undead that teams have been employing work. If Bob can just play a couple more seasons with at least 3 of his four limbs intact, we'll make the move. As for the now, the rest of the league should just keep their windows and doors boarded up.
Demond Sanders' Comments: Ding Ding Ding. The same thought ran through my mind regarding Tarik's status as a Classic Colt. All of this begs the question: With Tarik gone can The Zombie play left tackle? Que Lastima, Mario Williams.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
The shock has worn off, and a few days later Tarik Glenn's retirement has been formalized. It is kind of sad, and still a little shocking to see #78 leave this way. I do feel better knowing that this is a decision he is making out of his respect for the team and the game. When you're done, you're done. According to Mr. Glenn:
"Hearing people talk and players asking me to reconsider and reminding me of some of the things and what I mean to this team, it hurts. It really hurts. But I'm real convinced this is what I should do."I will reiterate what I believe is one of the most refreshing things about this era of the Indianapolis Colts: the players don't mess around or play head games. Tarik isn't using a ploy or acting out because Freeney got paid. He's just done. Good Luck Tarik and thanks for keeping our boy clean all these years.
Deshawn Zombie goes in depth with a detailed, stat-loaded look at Coach Dungy's chances of enshrinement. Excellent stuff.
As for me, I spent the Saturday before Super Bowl XLI watching ESPN2 air old NFL Films of the early Super Bowls. I'll never forget hearing John Facenda booming out at the end of the episode about Super Bowl II, "The players hoist Lombardi on their shoulders and carry him off the field towards the locker-room and one step closer to the Hall of Fame." I said to myself, "If the Colts win, I hope they carry Tony on their shoulders tommorrow like they used to back in the day."
Sure enough, Tony was up in the air as soon as the clock read 0:00. All of that to say, as of that moment I held zero doubt that Tony will be in Canton someday soon.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Want in? Send an email to email@example.com and we will give you the league name and password. It is that simple.
Why should you bother?
First place is two tickets to the HISTORIC FINAL REGULAR SEASON GAME at the RCA (Hoosier) Dome on December 30th, 2007 versus the Tennessee Titans. The seats are in Section 343, Row 6, Seats 101 & 102. The rules are simple: you have finish in first place to claim this coveted prize.
Second place will be the best t-shirt money can buy. https://www.spreadshirt.com/shop.php?sid=71780
Third place will be a signed photo of us at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium during our upcoming road trip in October. In other words: don't finish in third.
Also, I forgot to mention that there are a couple special rules for our league.
1. You can't play Jacksonville Jaguars players.
2. You can't play New England Patriots players.
3. If one of your players is playing against the Colts, you have to sit them that week.
These rules should be self-explanatory. There is never a good reason to root against the blue.
1. Manning was second last year in Comp % in the NFL, but if you count drops as catches, he soars to #1. Does anyone realize how amazing this is for a verticle passing offense. Not only that, but he only threw 9 Ints, and about half of those came on hail mary's and drops in and out of the hands of receivers (Harrison got him at least twice-against Tennessee and Philly). It shouldn't surprise anyone that David Carr led the league last year, most of his passes were short. Manning however, remains accurate despite an offense that varies it's depth. Absolutely tremendous.
2. Tom Brady was clear hurt by drops last year. He wasn't in the top 10, but if you adjust for drops, he's 6th. This is not really a compliment. Brady plays in a short pass, west coast offense. The CW around yak yak circles is that Brady is somehow more accurate than Manning. This largely comes from the high pick totals Manning threw in years 1-4 of his career. Since 2002, however, Manning has shown to be incredibly accurate, while Brady plays in a system that OUGHT to produce high completion % numbers and high QB ratings, yet doesn't. The reason is that Brady is just not that accurate a QB.
3. Manning is 3rd in adjusted completion % (that is subtracting tipped balls, throw aways, ect).
Drew Brees soars to #1. I wonder if his height, or lack there of, is what hurts him here. If you take out tipped passes, he looks even better than before. Possibly because he gets lots of balls tipped. I'm not ripping him; I love Brees, but it does merit mentioning.
4. If you take out short passes, Manning still completes an astounding 76.5% of his passes. Siiiiiick. That puts him at number 2; Tim Rattay led the league, but with a small sample size claims the article. Brady...? Don't bother looking for him. He's not there. Again, possibly his receivers share all the blame for this. But remember, drops are counted as completions for this number, so he should be somewhere right? Don't believe the hype about the wideouts transforming the NE passing game. 1. Their offense isn't vertically designed and 2. Brady doesn't really throw a top 10 deep ball. This is the year a lot myths fall about Brady melt away...
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Great work by Zombie. He has also done a more detailed write up on Tony Dungy's Hall of Fame candidacy, replete with facts, figures, and actual research. It should be be posted in the next few days.
The Colts went 3-3 in these games (they were 12-4 on the season), which included the classic 38-34 loss to New England at the Dome. The good news is they still averaged 27 points per game during this stretch. According to his Colts.com bio: Makoa Freitas replaced the injured Glenn vs. Carolina after 101 consecutive starts by Glenn and thus became the first Colts player other than Adam Meadows (1997) and Glenn to man that position in seven seasons.
Boy does that ever make a statement about Glenn's value. As far as I can tell Makoa is no longer in the league. . .
Deshawn Zombie's comments: I blame Manning. Why did he have to take Glenn to Cleveland? It obviously sucked out his will to live. Freaking Cleveland. You ruin everything.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Of course, they don't know my life. They don't know my pressures. They don't know that while $30,000 is a fortune to 99% of the world, it is not very much in my context and among my peers. I don't know Tarik Glenn. I don't know his pressures. I know that the $4.5 million he was slated to make this year was quite modest compared to his peers. I do know that I can't understand nor evaluate Glenn without far more information about his life and pressures. I want him to come back and play, but I'm not going to hold it against him if he doesn't. I've walked some in those shoes, and I don't envy them.
In other salary related news, if you are interested in the cap mechanics of Freeney's deal, here's a good recap:
Friday, July 20, 2007
What a disastrous blow to the defending champs. I can't even process what this means right now. My initial thoughts: Is this a negotiating ploy? I doubt it. Tarik is too much of a stand up guy. Seriously, come on back big fella. I will rename this site 18to88protectedby78.com if it means you'll come back for one more year.
The bright lights of Arizona and Super Bowl XLII now seem very dim. More on this story as it develops.
Deshawn Zombie's Comments: WTF? I take the night off to go to the movies with my wife and this happens? Freaking Harry Potter. Demond! How could you let this happen?? Seriously, though, this makes the Ugoh pick seem even more clutch. By the way, the reason the morons at Scouts Inc. didn't like that pick was they questioned his 'desire' to play football, because he skipped spring ball to compete in the shot put. Polian thought this spoke to his dedication and competitiveness. Fools like Jeremy "I drafted the Browns straight into Hell" Green differed. We'll miss Glenn. Should he retire, he'll get immediate nomination to the Classic Colts (unless lingering bitterness persists).
Why would a player who was about to cash in on the open market retire? Here's my best guesses: 1. Weight issues. My chief guess is that Glenn's weight got out of control after the Super Bowl, and he's too emotionally worn out to face camp again. 2. An unknown injury? 3. He just really doesn't want to do another training camp at his age and will wondrously reappear before the season starts.
Demond Sanders' Comments: The weight issue definitely shot through my mind, especially after the Corey Simon fiasco. I do understand it has to be incredibly hard on these guys. They pretty much sacrifice their physical health in the second half of their lives to play football. Looking back, we may end up respecting Glenn more for this decision, but liking him less. There has to be a pretty good reason for him to retire because he's leaving another ring and millions of dollars on the table.
Deshawn Zombie's Update: The ESPN story has been changed to say that Glenn has now informed the Colts of his intentions and that one teammate said that he is burnt out. I'll post later on my feelings about burn out, but for now, we should all remember that Johnathan Ogden 'retired' a few years ago as well, but came right back. You aren't retired in the NFL until you fill paperwork with the league. Just saying that you are retired doesn't make it real.
Also, check out the FO offensive line rankings:
The Colts line is ridiculously low. I'm not sure which stat sank them that far down, but they did admit that the Colts line is notoriously hard to evaluate. I would have liked more explanation about that.
Demond Sanders' comments: That seemed like a fair analysis of the Colts offensive line. That said, no one knows how these guys would look with a different QB under center (and I hope we never do). You can only evaluate what is in front of you, which is years of impressive performances. After THE PITTSBURGH GAME these guys made a commitment to win it all and they dominated when it counted. If they bring that same attitude this year it will be more of the same.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
The FO rankings of running backs are in as well. The Colts pull in at 13th, basically because of the lack of a proven back up. Once again, we'll reiterate that if the back up can pull of a pedestrian 3.5 ypc, and receive out of the backfield, we won't really miss Dom. That being said, everyone's skepticism is perfectly understandable.
We've decided not to really comment on the whole Vick thing. It's really too gross for words. But Don Banks had a couple of HI-larious quotes in his SI piece today that merit repeating:
"He's not very bright at all,'' the source said of Vick. "And that's a big part of his problems. He's a very unintelligent person and he makes poor decisions because of it. It's not a white or black thing. Paris Hilton is an idiot, too. Mike Tyson was totally dumb, but for a long time his trainer kept him protected from his worst mistakes. You have to have someone around you who can protect you from yourself at times.''
Another league source I talked to had a slightly different take. He too watched Vick up close for years and came to this conclusion:
"I've seen what he's truly about, and now, the rest of the world sees what he's truly about,'' the source said. "He's not dumb, and he's not a bad guy. He's just selfish. He's an extremely selfish human being. He doesn't care about his team or his teammates. He says he does, but he doesn't.''
Demond Sanders' comments: Love those quotes. However, I disagree that the world is suddenly realizing what a bad guy Vick is. Anyone with a brain had a sense of his selfishness. He flipped off the HOME crowd. Who does that?
And I'm not sure I equate level of intelligence with the capacity for such evil. Brilliant people do very evil things (i.e. Silence of the Lambs), and so do very stupid people. I think what Vick is alleged to have done in killing those dogs has less to do with his brain power and more to do with hate, pride, anger, and the desire to destroy life.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Check out this article exploring adjustments to the formula. It explains the whole formula (thanks to the footballoutsiders.com for the original link):
If you read the article and look at the stats, you'll notice that the Colts 'expected' win total was 9.6. That means that they should have been 10-6 just based on PF and PA. In fact, the Colts had the lowest Pythagorean win total of any champion in history. All of this should temper our expectations somewhat.
Of course, these stats aren't a rule. This doesn't mean the Colts will regress. I think there are good reasons why the Jags looked better on paper (more P wins), but couldn't put together wins. They are coached by a horrible game manager and have a dicey kicker. Of course the Colts clearly would not have won the Super Bowl had they played at the same level they did during the regular season. Defensively, they found a 'higher plane of existence' so to speak. I think we all know that the 07 Colts will not have a repeat if they finish 32nd against the run again. I personally expect them to improve dramatically on defensive. That is to say, they will have a middle of the pack D against the pass and the run. I think this will lead to larger margins of victory (if not more actual wins...12-4 will be hard to top with the schedule this year). Larger margins of victory in the pros DOES mean that a team is better.
All this to say, I'm optimistic, but do recognize that the numbers are somewhat stacked against us. We won a lot of games last year just because Peyton is king (Denver, Jets, Tennessee). I expect that to continue, but know the numbers have to improve. I don't think we can make history twice in a row.
Also, the FO site ranked all the wideout corps in the NFL. The Colts were 2nd behind Dallas. Before you get up in arms, recognize 2 things: 1. Their rankings are based on their statistical system which is very reliable and 2. It's impossible to appropriately measure Gonzalez's value until he plays. Unlike most internet hacks (hey!), these guys don't operate just on random opinion, but use real data and facts. As they point out in the rankings, the numbers for the WR on Dallas improved dramatically once Romo started QBing. Love him or hate him, Romo was a vast improvement over Bledsoe, even if he doesn't prove to be the second coming of Roger Staubach.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The Lions signing Cory Redding to a huge contract has to mollify those out there that claim Freeney was overpaid. The problem is that the new collective bargaining agreement pushed the salary cap up so much that we are now seeing a major jump in the value of contracts. You can't compare what guys who signed 2 years ago are making to guys who sign this year. The rules are different. By this time next year, Freeney's deal will seem like a bargain. Especially if he has a big year.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Rather than lead off today with yet ANOTHER LIST, I figured I'd recap my bitter-sweet soccer weekend. My beloved boys in blanco y celeste (Yeah, my other team is blue and white, too), took it in the shorts to Brazil 3-0 (Freaking Ayala own goal moron). The Sub-20 team won it's quaterfinal match with Mexico however, and moves on to the semis in the World Cup. So you take the good with the "national embarassement" level bad. To console ourselves, check out this sick goal by rising young star Lionel Messi against Mexico last week. And yes, if you've noticed a trend of Argentina beating Mexico, they get kicked around by Argentina on pretty regular basis.
In other surfing news, I was listening to the BS report (Bill Simmons' podcast). We like to kick him around for being a Boston loving tool, but in truth I love his stuff. His podcast is surprisingly good, even if his voice sounds like he's 12. Last week, he and ESPY host Jimmy Kimmel talked about that experience. Here is a transcript of some of that conversation:
Simmons: "You know what I hate working these award shows because you have people in your mind that you like and you don't want to want to meet because you don't want to find out they're a bad guy. And then you have people that you don't want to like because it's more fun not to like them, and when you meet them, they're a good guy. And for me, Peyton Manning, you know I hate the Colts. I always root against them; I always say he doesn't come through in the clutch. And then to meet him and see what a gracious guy he was. He's taking pictures with everybody...
Kimmel: Yeah, he's like funny (Simmons: yeah), and engaging. He was, he was much much friendlier than I would have guessed.
Simmons: yeah, actually he was more charismatic than I would have guessed
Kimmel: Yeah, his wife was nice too.
Simmons: I'm so glad I met him. My whole life will be different from this day on. I'm a Colts fan now. I've seen the light. Brady sucks. He and his metro sexual-self can shove it. I'm throwing on some Kenney Chesney, hoping in my car and going out to buy a #18 jersey.
No, actually his last words were: I'm really mad I met him, I'm going somehow have it digitally erased from my brain. The entire experience.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Why the Star article didn't even speculate on this angle to the Simon story, I'm not sure. I admit that there isn't any mention of the Simon thing in this article, but my guess this morning was the two stories are connected; I said as much then, and I'm sticking too it.
Freeney's contract was the right thing to do for the team both on and off the field. Freeney handled himself like a gentleman and a true pro during the entire process. You have to reward guys who handle negotiations right. If you don't, you can't complain when guys act the fool and negotiate in the press, skip functions, and hold out.
Nice job, Mrrs. Polian and Irsay. Congrats Mr. Freeney. Now let's win this damn thing again.
UPDATE: For cap ramifications and the the Simon connection, check out John Clayton:
UPDATE 2: Apparently I'm not really smart at all. Just lucky for no real reason. The Star had it wrong (at least I'm in good company). Simon has not been activated, and there is no change in his status. Crap. I was feeling good about myself too.
I wanted to get back to a couple of you on some good points you've made in the comments.
Coltsfanwalt opined about several topics:
1. I agree totally about how great the San Diego game was when Manning broke the TD record. It came in at #3 on our all time best Colts game lists. Best regular season game in the Dome. Ever.
2. He wonders if it's time to worry about #88's age. No. And here's why:
a. Marvin is the best route runner in football. We think of him as a speed guy, but it's the fact that he runs all his routes at the same speed and can come out of his breaks so quick that separates him. I don't know that losing a step would necessarily slow him down production wise.
b. Great WRs can play for a looooong time. Again, this goes back to #a (one of my favorite outlining anomalies). Marvin's role might have to change in coming seasons, but I see no reason he won't produce in some function
c. Tasty Cakes have tremendous regenerative properties
d. The Colts have ensured that even if Marvin does slip, they'll have productive WRs to take his place. Reggie Wayne is a GREAT receiver. We are clearly on the record as supporting Gonzalez as well. I think that the combined force of those two guys will both protect Marvin and extend his shelf life as well as ensure that if something bad does happen, #18 will have someone to throw to
e. Marvin avoids contact. I know people want to call him weak or slam him, but crap, look at the man. He's a rail. I'd rather him avoid a couple of big hits and play for 20 years than take stupid shots and have a short career. In the long run, we'll win more games like that.
3. He also weighs in on my proposal to add monkeys to the preseason:
Ha! Monkeys are a great idea. They could play the fourth quarter, as monkeys are easy to train to perform certain actions, more so than some Purdue linebackers. Actually, the monkeys would be more interesting than the third string-I'm-about-to-be-cut-but-here's-my-chance-to-prove-my-value-against-other-guys-who-are-about-to-be-cut-too.
Well, Walt. I'm not sure I'd go that far for 2 reasons: 1. If we employed all monkeys in the games who would right for Foxsports.com? and 2. Then we'd just be watching the Cleveland Browns, and I'm already tired of getting ripped off. Good thoughts though.
4. Thanks for your kind words, Walt.
Another fan shows some love for soccer:
I grew up playing soccer, so I wanted to let you know (re: "No one cares but me") you're not alone. I'm w/you. Maybe you could write an entry on the US/Mexico rivalry and the nuances of the recent history there? The tie in to the Colts? I don't know -- maybe the Colts/Pats rivalry. Pretty similar of late, if you think about it. "We" have beaten "them" the past half dozen times or so in each case, right?
Sweet man. We love to hear from soccer fans. I don't know that I can help you with the US/Mexico thing, though. In order my favorite soccer nations are:
2. (a distant second) Ireland
3. (an EXTREMELY DISTANT third) USA
When it comes to the beautiful game, I bleed blanco y celeste. I actually find the US/Mexico rivalry sort of quaint. Note that Argentina smoked both nations in the Copa America by a combined score of 7-1. Brazil/Argentina...that's your Colts/Pats connection. US/Mexico....that's more of a Falcons vs. Bucs sort of matchup. Division rivals with some real hatred of each other, often there's something on the line when the play, but rarely does it have any real bearing on what happens at the end. I will say the World Cup game in 2002 was sweet though.
Thanks for your comments and encouragements. Keep telling your friends about 18to88
Honestly, it has always dumbfounded me how the Colts could consistently lead the league in fewest sacks per attempt and have a huge rushing numbers from first Edge and then a great season by Joe Addai and NOT get ranked among the best lines in the league. For several years now, the Colts were passed over in such rankings by a variety of sources. I'm glad someone noticed. Again though, no mention of Jeff Saturday. It's a blurb about what these guys call the second best line in the game and not one mention of the guy who makes all the calls and makes the whole thing work. Geeze. They all must be Duke fans or something, hating on the Tar Heel.
To clean up a couple of loose ends, one reader wanted to know where the Colts ranked on TEs. 11th. Remember that these are unit rankings. Dallas is great, but Utech and Fletcher are a bit raw I suppose. Dallas Clark has to be nearing the end of his contract soon (I think it's up after this year). I love the dude, but it will be interesting to see if he gets resigned. He's now had a couple of injuries that caused him to miss time. His value is undeniable, and he carried the team through the first three playoff games. I started screaming after Manning hit him in the 4th quarter up the seam to set up the then tying FG, "BE THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE! BE THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE!". As it looked for a minute like he might take it to the house. Unfortunately, he wasn't the fastest man alive, but it was nearly as good.
Another reader mentioned the photos of Saturday's huge block. Gregg Easterbrook of TMQ wrote extensively about it as well and proceeded to give Saturday the ESPN TMQ non QB/non RB MVP award. Saturday took home a cool little trophy at the Super Bowl press day. Props to him for being one of the few cogent enough to mention the reason Joe Addai walked into the endzone on 3rd and 2. I really feel the line showed tremendous pride the entire postseason. They know they screwed the pooch against the Steelers. Manning took all the heat, but anyone who really watched that game knows, the line couldn't get the assignments right. That's Saturday's job, and on that day at least, he didn't do it. He came back huge this year though. Manning got the MVP of the Super Bowl, and that was right, but the line won the game.
Dan Patrick actually wanted to give the MVP award to the Colts line. I understood the sentiment, but thought that was stupid. 5 guys OUGHT to be more valuable than one. The award was MVPlayer not MVPlayerssssss. So was Manning more valuable than anyone member of the line that day? Yes. Was Manning more valuable than Rhodes/Addai that day? Maybe not as a tandem, but I think he was more valuable than either one individually.
Anyway, that's all a bit off track. The point is, YEAH! ESPN likes our line! They must be good!
If anyone is paying attention, the Colts have to agree to an extension with Freeney before the weekend is up. The clock is ticking and there is no word at all yet. So here's my best guess...
We've been told several times that the Simon situation has been holding up the Freeney negotiations. It may be that the Colts brass decided that they just can't wait any more for grievances to be heard and for the legal business to shake itself out. To get the Freeney deal done in time, they have to activate and cut Cory Simon right now. My guess is that these two stories are related and that this is ultimately good news for the Freeney talks. The fact that nothing has broken in the press about this would seem to confirm that both sides are progressing with satisfaction. If there were snags, surely someone would be trying to add pressure through the media. I think we'll be getting some clarity on both fronts possibly before the end of today.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Dale pibes! Traiganos la gloria! Ole, ole, ole....
The list is kind of bogus, as is the preseason itself, but it gives us the chance to comment on the biggest shaft job the NFL pulls. If you are a season ticket holder for most NFL teams, you are forced to pay for 10 games when you only get 8. That's because of the 2 dreaded preseason games per team. It's a chintzy way to add on an extra hundred bucks or so per seat (depending on which seats you have of course). Listen, preseason NFL games are horrible. Here's what a normal preseason looks like:
Game one: Peyton and the boys play one series. Then Sorgi, Morehead, and backup linemen named Igor take over. This game tells you nothing at all about the quality of your team.
Game two: Peyton and the boys might play an entire quarter (if you are lucky). Some of the starters, especially younger ones might go till half time. Maybe, if you are an experienced tea leaf reader, you can get a vague concept of how the team might play. Maybe.
Game three: This is the one game you pray is at home so the extra $ you plopped down can get you a little return. Usually the starters play, drum-roll please, AN ENTIRE HALF OF FOOTBALL. One time I think I saw Peyton play a series in the 3rd quarter. Maybe.
Game four: This game is a game of special religious significance. You've probably never had the uplifting spiritual experience of 56,000 people all praying at once with one heart and mind. They are all asking their special deities-I think the naked dude who paints himself and his kid blue to sell checking accounts prays to the Touchdown Monkey-to please, please, please DON'T LET ANYONE GET HURT IN THE FIVE MINUTES OF ACTUAL GAME TIME THEY SEE. I'm a spiritual man, but Lord, I HATE game four. Nothing good ever happens in game four of the preseason.
So with apologies to Mr. Judge, there is NOTHING watchable about the preseason. What can be done about it? Here's my suggestions:
1. Shorten the preseason to three games. This needs to happen. This won't happen. If you extend the regular season by a game to replace the preseason game, you have to pay the players more. If you just lop off one game, the owners lose one game's worth of gate. $ is king. This needs to happen. This won't happen.
2. The Colts, like the Packers, need to not sell preseason tickets as part of the regular season ticket package. The Pack sells out every seat no matter what. They don't force fleece the season ticket holders to purchase preseason games because there are enough people waiting to see the games. The Colts have their own mini-nation now (we'll see if it outlasts Peyton). Enough people want to see the boys in blue that season ticket holders should have the option to opt out of the preseason games. Give them first crack, but then let everyone else get a shot to see the boys. If you WILLINGLY pay to see the preseason because you can't get a ticket the rest of the season, then cool. Otherwise you feel coerced.
3. Play preseason games in Bloomington, West Lafayette, or South Bend. Give the rest of the Indiana the chance to see the boys. Play a game in Louisville even. The Colts have a strong fan base running south of Indy due to Peyton. Firm it up. Play other places.
4. Monkeys. I'm not sure how to incorporate them, but most things are more entertaining when monkeys are involved.
5. Pregame autograph/photo time on the field-open the field to fans with kids under 12, for an hour 3 hours before the game. This would actually help sell concessions as then the fans are in the stadium with kids for like a million hours before hand. Baseball teams do this. Why can't the NFL. Just do it before both preseason games as a thank you to the fans for paying full price to watch their stars for about 5 minutes.
6. Incorporate regional rivalries. HEY! They did this! I'm really glad to see the Bears, Lions, and Bengals on the preseason schedule. This should happen every year the Colts don't play the NFC North.
I don't think any of my several suggestions are all that likely to be done by the NFL. Actually, an increased involvement by monkeys probably has the best shot. So until it does, we'll just have to hope that Clark Judge is right and the Colts games are watchable. It could always be worse...
We could be Jags fans.
The Colts won in several categories including the prestigious 'Best team' category. I will now have my tongue surgically removed from my cheek.
In all, our boys won for:
Best Coach (Dungy)
Best Championship Performance (#18)
LT won for best male athlete and NFL player over Peyton. The Boise State game won best game, and the return of the SuperDome was the best moment.
I seriously can't wait until there is game tape to break down and meaningful commentary to add to things. Honestly, guys I apologize for this run of crappy list commentary and opinions about other people's opinions, but there just isn't that much going down right now. I'm just about reduced to handicapping the Reds managerial search or do some kind of analysis of Barry Larkin's Hall of Fame chances. I mean the only even vaguely interesting part of the ESPYs is whether or not Bill Simmons will break his fist pounding the wall (or a railing ala Bail Organa)watching the Colts win best team. I can just see himself mumbling incoherently "We had them! We had them!" I've wonder if he became an atheist after that game once it was definitively proved that Tom Brady is not in fact, God.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I think everyone was sorry to see him go, but understands that the Colts just couldn't keep him around with his injury history being what it is. I'll still never forget #18 hitting him on a wide open post route against San Diego for TD #49. It was a thing of beauty. All the best man.
Again, I think that Kravitz has no business asking questions about how the Dungy family handled their son's death. Those kind of gentle accusations are biting, painful, and not the kind of thing that he has the right to call for answers for. He also mischaracterized Dungy's support of a gay marriage ban. But that is a topic we addressed here in an earlier post, and I don't wish to revisit such red herrings here and now.
As I said, Dungy the man has prepared himself to be judged by only One, and I think he cares little what you and I opine when it comes to his life and character. He's written a book to encourage and inspire others; I for one am anxious to read it and gain strength from his insights.
Dungy the coach is, however, fair game. He has long been considered an elite coach with few knocks on him. He has been criticized at times for being too conservative, but I hardly think that applies to his tenure in Indy. He was ripped for not winning 'the big one', which I think is always a baseless and ignorant charge that forgets just how hard it is to win even one Super Bowl. Consider some of the most high profile coaches in the NFL today. Holmgren? Won once. Reid? Zero. Billick? Once. In fact, of active coaches in the NFL, only Belichick and Shanahan have more than one Super Bowl. Win one, and you've really accomplished something in today's NFL. I consider Coach Dungy a Hall of Famer, an opinion that I base on the following criteria in order of importance:
1. Head Coaching Record-At a remarkable 114-62, Tony's winning % sits at a lofty .648. This is 7th best all time. He sits behind names like Madden, Lombardi (as in trophy), Shula and Halas. He did this as a head coach of two of the typically worst franchises in the NFL. In fact, the combined record of Tampa and Indianapolis without Tony is 265 and 314 for a .458 mark. Tony has led the Colts to 5 playoff appearances and 5 seasons of 10 wins or more. Under all other coaches in Indy, the Colts have a total of 5 playoff appearances and 2 seasons of 10 wins or more. He has made the playoffs in 9 of the 11 years he coached. He's won 5 division championships and taken his team to 3 conference title games. The bottom line is that Tony wins and wins in places other guys can't. Oh yeah, he won a Super Bowl too. If not for a bad call in the NFC championship game against St. Louis and a Vandershank, he might have won more.
2. Defensive innovation-More than just posting a great record, Tony also proved to be an innovator, helping to tweak the classic cover two to fit his personnel in Tampa. The end result was the much copied Tampa 2 in which the MLB drops deeper over the middle and the front four provide all the pressure, while quick, sure tackling LBs not named Gilbert Gardner hold the gaps. Tony wasn't just a manager of players, but an innovative game planner who left his mark on the way football is played.
3. A Successful coaching tree-Tony has produced a very solid run of coaches. This speaks to his wider impact on the NFL. The following men are all Dungy protegees: Herm Edwards, Lovie Smith, Rod Marinelli, and Mike Tomlin. Lane Kiffen of the Raiders is also the son of Tony's defensive coordinator in Tampa, Monte Kiffen.
4. Social implications-This is only fourth on the list. Tony has earned the Hall on the strength of his coaching resume. While the plaques of several men in Cooperstown mention being instrumental in Jackie Robinson's entrance to MLB, Jackie's plaque says nothing about him being the first black player. He got in on his own merit as a player. So should Tony as a coach. That being said, if anyone thinks his resume still needs a boost, they should remember that Tony is the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl; his plight and struggles to get hired in the mid-90s called attention to the struggles of African American coaches to receive a fair look; his coaching tree which has always had many black coaches in it, struggled to get started because of exactly that fact.
The NFL HoF selectors notoriously are told to not consider off the field issues or character in the selection process, so the kind of man Tony is doesn't factor in. The NFL Hall of Fame is for the greats of football, not necessarily the greats of life. I think that's just fine in Tony's case. From all I've heard about him as a man, he's not looking for our opinions about his character. He's the kind of person who lives with the words "The world was not worthy of them" ringing in his ears. I won't lessen his pursuit of that by lowering it to a footnote in a meaningless argument about the Hall of Fame.
Buy Tony's book. I think you'll be glad you did.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Vic, of ask Vic fame, is up to his usually moronics (if that's not a word, they should make it one, just for Vic). In today's column, he fails to see the subtle differences between the Cover 2 and Tampa 2 (the MLB drops deeper into coverage in the Tampa 2), and then proceeds to denigrate the Colts ring of honor.
Seriously, Vic? You work for the Jaguars and you rip the COLTS ring of honor? He laughs that Jim Harbaugh only played 4 years with the Colts totally discounting the dramatic change he brought to Colts football during that time. Who's in the Jaguars ring of honor? Oh wait, THEY DON'T HAVE ONE! Vic and his reader want to wait until there are truly worthy Jaguars before the induct someone. Well, Vikki, IT'S GOING TO BE A LONG FREAKING WAIT. I'd say it would be a cold day in hell, but the snow outside is scaring me off that position.
Vic also reviews the Jags road games. He lists the December game as the #1 road game of the year and talks about how it might be a set up for the division title. Oooooooor, the Colts will have a 3 game lead and the Jags will be scrambling for the last wild card spot, and wondering why they underachieve so much. Jack Del Rio will just stare off into the distance blankly while he tries to figure out new ways to undermine his team leader.
In more ESPN list making news, Merril Hodge ranked Freeney and Manning the 3rd and 4th best 'playmakers' in the NFL. I hate terms like that. I get what it means, but do we really just have to turn everything into a cliche? Can't Freeney just be a great pass rusher? Can't Manning just be the best QB in the league? Do we really have to label the playmakers.
Tomorrow on 18to88.com: We get into a snit because Reggie Wayne wasn't listed on the list of playmakers. SERIOUSLY MAN! All he does is make plays! He's a playmaker! Like Michael Irvin. Only not on drugs.
The season can't start soon enough.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Bucky pretty much nails the talking points for the Colts' 2007 Offseason. The secondary does not worry me. Harper and David were competent performers, but I think letting them walk may end up being an upgrade for the team and at the very least a wash. Joseph Addai is a star in the making, and is capable of being the feature back. If the Colts can get 8 carries per game out of another back they'll be set. The Linebacking/Run D will be the story to follow again this year. No suprise there.
Incidentally, you have to love the Jaguars' Challenge #2: Build an explosive offense. Like that wasn't their goal each of the past five seasons. I would say this was the Jags' make or break year, but I thought that was true of last season.
And the verdict is...
They managed to get QB right. That's about it. Here's the link to see Prisco painting Manning as #1
After that they managed to jump both tracks and the shark at the same time.
Prisco had Tarik Glenn as the 5th best LT behind (among others) the now overrated Johnathan (I USED to be dominant Ogden). This was not his most egregious wrong.
He ignored Joe Addai at RB; ok, he's was a rookie last year, but to put FRED TAYLOR on the list? Was he ranking the 5 RBs most likely to get hurt three games in?
He slapped #88 down to 5th in receivers, while elevating Andre Johnson to 2nd. Really? Do you think if you asked 32 GMs to take a WR for this year that many would take Johnson over Harrison? Also, he didn't mention Reggie Wayne at all. Very bizarre.
At TE the insanely hyped Jeremy Shocky made the list at 3, but the man whose playoff dominance carried the Colts to the Super Bowl (Dallas Clark), was ignored.
None of this, NONE OF THIS, however, is as crazy as his complete omission of Jeff Saturday at Center. Horrible. Asleep at the wheel. If there is anyone out there who doesn't think Jeff Saturday is one of the two or three best centers in the game just ask this guy:
Yes, that's right. That block was so freaking good that I just showed you FIVE PICTURES OF IT. As much as we love 18 and 88, we also give love to 63. On the biggest play in franchise history, he threw the biggest block, springing Joe Addai and pancaking Vince Wilfork. Beautiful. By the way, to capture those shots, I watched (again) the last 3 minutes of the game. My favorite moment is still Phil Simms analysis after Addai scores, "whenever the Colts lineup with a running back behind Peyton Manning, you have to be ready for a run." Priceless.
Clark Judge put together the defensive rankings and landed Freeney as the third best DE. No other Colt made the list at any position. This means that Zombie Bob was NOT listed as one of the 5 (or really 6) best safeties. He will get his revenge by eating the brains of Prisco and Judge.
He's informed us that he expects it to be a *very* light snack.