Friday, August 31, 2007

It's week four of the preseason and the Colts officially clinch the AFC South!

Can life really be this good? Seriously, the Jags best hope for a great season was for Leftwich to elevate his game. Mad Jack just axed his job with this move. Gerrard is a turnover machine and is not even close to being a decent QB in this league. Hallelujah.

No Peyton! Don't shoot! I believe you...THERE WAS A ONE-ARMED MAN. What? Too obscure a reference? Sorry, it's the best I can do right now.

Blech

Thoughts from week four of the NFL Preseason (aka Soak the Fans!)

1. Kenton Keith really does look like the backup RB. He seems to bring a spark every time he touches the ball.

2. Doug Johnson is a horrible quarterback

3. It's nice to have a Dante Hughes sighting

4. Peyton looked miserable in every shot. Not a guy who enjoys sitting the pine.

5. I enjoy having Don Fischer call the games. I've been listening to him since I was a kid, and his voice feels like home.

6. Josh Betts always brings excitement. And turnovers.

7. Roger Goodell has to be concerned with the preseason. When Indy and Cincy are locked in a 0-0 snorefest, something is seriously wrong. That was a serious eyebleeder, and it's a shame that fans were forced to pay to watch it in order to have season tickets.

8. Craphonzo Thorpe HAS to make this team.

9. I'm glad Chris Shelton caught that ball for a first down on the final drive. I would have hated for his final moments as a pro to end with the ball bouncing off his chest. Twice.

10. I don't know about you, but after four weeks of preseason....

I'M READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL

Great article on Mudd...

Why didn't we jump off the roof when Tarik Glenn retired? Two words: Howard Mudd. Today Len Pasquereli had two articles which were of note to Colts fans. The first dealt with declining line play in the NFL, and the Colts own private cap saver in Howard Mudd. The Colts rarely draft linemen early in the draft. They rarely pay out big contracts. Yet every year, they produce great run totals and low sack numbers. It can't be overestimated how important Howard Mudd is to the Colts success. I really hope he can help Ryan Diem out though. I know Ugoh is getting all the scrutiny, but Diem is not playing well.

The second article dealt with whether Jacksonville is a viable place for an NFL team. In a day and age where virtually every NFL game is sold out, the fact that the Jags can't sell tickets is embarrassing. It's a small time town that doesn't belong in the NFL.

Footballoutsiders has a nice piece on statistical correlation. Don't start snoring! The concept is that just because something always occurs in a win or loss doesn't mean that that event CAUSES the win or loss. Such as the kneel down. Did you know that if your team kneels on the final three snaps of the game, they have a virtually 100% chance of winning? Duh. We all know that kneeling down doesn't MAKE you win, it is the effect not the cause. This article deals with other instances in which media guys try to say that event X causes a win or a loss, when it really might just be a result of winning or losing.

Bucky Brooks of SI made a critical mistake. He confused the words 'best' with 'most yards'. He picked his best offense of the year and went with last year's #1, the New Orleans Saints. The Saints did gain the most yards, but folks, the Colts offense was better. Simply put, the Colts have the most efficient offense in football. They gain fewer yards than a small handful of teams simply because they get FAAAAAR fewer plays than most teams. Last year the Saints were 2nd in yards and 1st in plays from scrimmage. The Colts were 14th in plays, but 3rd in total offense. That is sick. These two offenses aren't even on the same planet. He did pick Wayne and Harrison as the best WR duo, but that's an easy one.

Not much needs to be said about Pat Kirwan other than that he clearly hasn't been paying attention. He wonders how the Colts will replace a raft of players. Dude, they've been replaced. Where will the Colts find a wideout to fill the Stokely role? Where will they find TWO cornerbacks? What about a left tackle? Seriously man, wake up and smell the preseason.

Demond and I will check in later with our thoughts on tonight's game. It's basically just a watch Ugoh fest. I suppose we'll check out the 2nd string runners and kick coverage too. Does the fun ever stop??

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back in my good graces...

Pete Prisco put out his AFC South report, and hit the nail on the head. He says the Colts will actually be better because of the personnel changes in the secondary and at the linebacker spot.

In other news, 18to88.com reader JD has nominated Justin Snow for the Classic Colts. He says, "Just look at the guys he has been snapping the ball to and it's easy. Vandejerk was the most prolific % wise kicker in the league during his tenure with us. Hunter is always right up there tops in the league with his net yds allowed. These guys didn't get there by chasing balls around in the backfield as a result of a bad snap. Very unappreciated indeed."

I would add from Wikipedia: In 2003, long snapped for Mike Vanderjagt where they combined, along with the place kicker holder (Hunter Smith) becoming the first long snapper, holder and kicker trio in the league's history to go an entire season, including the playoffs, without missing a field goal or point-after attempt.

He jacked a snap in XLI, so that's a strike against him. I'm willing to put him on the waiting list to see if he does anything noteworthy, good or bad before he retires. If you have an opinion on Snow or any other nominee for the Classic Colts, drop us a line.

NFL Films? Sign me up!

According to Colts.com, the Colts will be featured on the latest, much anticipated episode of America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions. It airs on the NFL Network for the first time Wednesday, September 5th at 9:00 pm Eastern. That story about Marvin suggesting they run the ball is the stuff of legend (well, to me at least). Let's be clear:

1. NFL Films rule.

2. I don't get the NFL Network, but I now have a good reason to change that.

Flem in my throat

That sounded more disgusting than I intended somehow. Anyway, check out this terrific review of the Manning Passing Academy with regular ESPN contributor Dave Flemming. It's another cool insight into the life of America's favorite QB and his family. The camp sounds awesome, and it sounds like genuinely fun time for the kids.

Also, check out Dr. Z's preseason predictions. He puts the Colts at 12-4 and losing in the AFC Championship game to the Chargers. Totally reasonable. Our position on this season is that the playoffs will be a huge crap shoot. The AFC is so tough, there is no way to know who will emerge. Obviously, we hope it's the Colts, but the ball can bounce in funny ways. If you click on the Colts logo in that article, you get Peter King's preview of the Colts. The most interesting aspect of which is that he mentions Polian will be up for serious consideration for the HoF because of his draft record. This is significant because he's actually a voter. So that's encouraging.

Demond Sanders' Comments: Cool stuff. How did Polian manage to find Joseph Addai, knowing that he needed to replace Edge with a Pro Bowl caliber player? Three well-known backs were already selected, and Polian is left with what most analysts considered to be a second round player. How did he know? I have no idea.

Marvin article posted

Well, I didn't have time for any kind of thorough research or advanced data collection (hey, I used DPAR. Does that count?). But anyway, check out the new article on Marvin's current place among the game's elite. We are homers, but we are also honest. It's tough to argue that Marvin is the unquestioned best WR, but there isn't really anyone who you can prove is better. I know that's a frustrating answer, but hey, we just report the facts.

Marvin is the best at scoring touchdowns by far. He ranks very high in the new fangled DPAR stat (behind only Reggie Wayne). He lags a little in the yards category. His numbers last year were excellent, but you could argue he was further down the list two and three years ago. I think the numbers show he is definitely superior to Torry Holt but Steve Smith's durability (or severe lack there of) makes it hard to quantitatively judge the two against one another. Read it for yourself and judge by the numbers that are most convincing to you.

Demond Sanders' Comments: Next we should do an article on whether Peyton Manning is the best active quarterback in the NFL. Or not.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Some crap, fodder for an article, and one tremendous interview

Peter King has come out with a list of the 500 best NFL players. #18 is number one.

The best part of the exercise is this tremendous interview with Manning. It's loaded with great stuff that I haven't heard anywhere else. I'm sure Michael Silver is stewing somewhere. Honestly, if Peter King is worth anything, it has to be for his ability to get an interview like this. It's really good stuff, and I don't know that any of the other national guys could get it.

My main complaint with the list will center around Marvin being way too low and behind Holt and Smith. I could go over and shred the list, but why bother? It's one man's opinion. There's been a lot "Marvin's old now, he's clearly not the best WR in the league". King says he's "slipping a bit and not as physical". Ok, let's do some research. Our next article for 18to88.com will compare Marvin's last 3 seasons to those of Chad Johnson, TO, Steve Smith and Tory Holt. Then we'll see who the best WR in the league is. I hope to have this up by tomorrow.

By the way, Reggie Wayne at 68 behind guys like Todd Heap and Calvin Johnson? Let's offer him to the Ravens or Lions straight up for those guys. Bet you money they take that deal in a second.

And don't get me started on Vince "I completed 51% of my passes last year!" Young at 41, earning the comment "May become the NFL's Jordan".

A cry for help

We are looking for information on a game that has been nominated by a reader as one of the great Colts games ever.

Reader JD says:
You're gonna have to help me out with the year but what about the game against Pittsburgh when Butler caught the deflected pass for a long touchdown at the end of the game for the win. It was 1980 something at the dome.

Here's what I know:
On October 21st, 1984 at the Dome the Colts beat the Steelers 17-16. The Colts scored all 17 points in the 4th quarter. I can only assume this is the game he means. I was 7 or 8 at the time, so I don't remember this game. If anyone out there has the full story on this great comeback, drop us a line at 18to88@gmail.com. It seems like a natural nominee for important Colts game. A big home comeback in the first year in Indy certainly belongs on the list.

Learning from mistakes

There is a steadily rising drum beat for the Reds to rehire Pete Mackanin as manger. He has lead the Reds to great record over the past two months he's been on the job. Until last night, the Reds had climbed from 17 back and were on the verge of being in contention. Great job right?

Let's have a history lesson. A few years back the Reds were looking for a new manager after firing Jack Mckeon. They cheaped out and hired Bob Boone, who was far and away the worst manager I've seen (ok, Ray Knight was horrible as well). After firing Boone in midseason 2003, they hired Dave Miley, a baseball lifer to take over the team. The team played better, and Miley was hired permanently. 2004 was disappointing due to injuries, and partway through 2005, they fired Miley and hired Jerry Narron, a baseball lifer. The club played better, and Narron was hired permanently. In 2006, the team started strong, sputtered, and missed the playoffs. In 2007, they fired Narron after 3 months of eye bleedingly bad baseball, and hired Pete Mackanin a baseball lifer. The club immediately started playing better.

Do you detect a pattern here? Forget the fact that he GAVE away last night's key doubleheader by not starting his best lineup in either game. Forget the fact that he pulled Arroyo after 78 pitches and 6 innings to save him for a short rest start on Saturday (win TODAY'S game. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow-Call it the Sermon on the Mount school of managing). Yeah, I'm mad at him for giving away 2 games last night, but mostly, I want the Reds to stop hiring guys just because of the 'bump' that teams receive from a new guy. They need to take the time to find a real manager, someone who is a proven winner. I wonder what Cito Gaston is up to?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

That's no moon...

it's the new defensive tackle for the Titans.

Seriously? David Thorton, Nick Harper, Gilbert Gardner and now Corey Simon? Somebody has some serious Colts envy.

Demond Sanders' Comments: I think we've been kind of hard on this guy. Let's take just one minute and try to see the world through Corey Simon's eyes.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Is it all greek to you?

We've talked a lot about the concept of Pythagorean wins in the past few weeks. As we've pointed out, this solid predictor of future results does not look good for the boys in blue this year. We've also pointed out that the Colts tend to outperform their projected wins (a fact which gives us hope this year). The question is why? One of the obvious conclusions would be to say that Peyton Manning is elevating the team through his spectacular play. Footballoutsiders studied this very theory:

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/2007/08/27/extra-points/5397/

the conclusion? Meh, can't prove it's true. There is not statistical evidence that great QB play in general can cause a team to consistently over perform. I know that this is news to those who want to make the QB singlehandedly responsible for wins and losses (if you want a hoot check out the schlock on coldhardfootballfacts.com about Rothlisberger today- does he suck or not? He won so many games he must be great! But his numbers and play are erratic, what if he starts sucking? OUR BRAINS MIGHT EXPLODE!), but there just isn't any justification for it. QB play is one component of many. Let's keep it all in perspective. The Colts overperform every year. Some of that probably is Peyton. Some is Tony Dungy (the most overperforming coach in the NFL). There's no good way to know for sure.

Demond Sanders' Comments: Well that's underwhelming. This shows me that you can't use statistical analysis for everything. If you do then you will inevitibly spend loads to of time trying to prove things almost all of us have already accepted to be true, but for whatever reason can't be proven by numbers. For example: You can't put a number on leading two game winning touchdown drives in a five minute stretch. Those clutch scores against the Jets didn't affect the team stats that much, but they were the difference between a 12-4 and an 11-5 season.

Crimes are not mistakes

Picture featured on ESPN.com

To clarify a point that has been bothering me all day: if you go 45 in a 30 because your mind wanders, you've made a mistake. If you walk out of the store without paying for something because it stuck inside the cart, you've made a mistake. If you willfully, intentionally, and deliberately commit criminal actions for six years, you are a criminal. You haven't made a mistake. You've committed a crime.

Regardless of society's injustices toward African American men (they are many, and they egregious), regardless of how many people get away with worse crimes, regardless of how someone might have been treated if they were white, this fact remains: when you MEAN to do something wrong, something you KNOW is wrong, something so bad that you feel the need to consistently lie about doing it, you aren't making mistakes. If you want to 'fess up to a crime, call it a crime. Don't call it a mistake. It isn't. Everyone makes mistakes. Not everyone commits crimes.

I refuse to feel sorry for rich fools of any race when they get what's coming to them. I save my pity for those who never had a chance. I feel for the kid who gets sucked into a gang at 12. I feel for the kids who can't afford books and paper to study with. I spend my life working with people who never had a chance. I live with them. I fight for them. I cry for them. I do what I can to give them a chance. I spend my liberal angst on the poor. Don't ask me to feel sorry for Mike Vick. I can't do it. I don't feel sorry for multimillionaires who do dumbass things and then beg for the mercy of society. I'm sorry. I don't.

FO's audibles

One of my favorite parts of the week is reading the footballoutsiders audibles column. It's basically an email exchange among the writers commenting on the games as they go along. This week there are two Colts games covered. They had the Bears game and the Lions game on this week's column.

Statements like this:

There was a pass here where Marvin Harrison ran a simple curl route and came to a complete stop. Peyton began his throwing motion and the defensive back began to close in. As Peyton’s arm hit its highest point, Harrison suddenly cut to the outside. It looked like complete miscommunication that would lead to an easy pick for the defender, but in fact Harrison and Manning were in total sync. Manning was aiming for the outside all along, Harrison was right there to catch the pass and the defender was left guarding a curl route that wasn’t there and a ball that would never arrive. It was just a little eight-yard play in a meaningless game, but it reminded me how special these guys are and how, even after the Super Bowl win, it’s easy to take them for granted.

get me fired up for this season. 18 to 88 really is an amazing thing to behold.

Demond Sanders' Comments: The FO guys seem to have questions about Ugoh. I guess I need to rewatch the tape (yeah, right) to get a better feel for how he played. I just keep thinking about how easy they made it look in scoring 21 points. The question is what happens when they play against a great defense. Realistically, you can't get into third and long against the San Diegos of the league and expect to pull completions out of your rear every time. That said, it seems the strength of Indy's O alone is going to once again be sufficient to beat two-thirds of the league. And that's all that matters.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

18to88 Inbox

We've gotten a lot of mail and comments in the last few days...here's some highlights:

Stan from Nashville says:

I'm a native of Nashville. My parents and siblings are all Titan season ticket holders. I became a Titan fan when the Oilers moved (after rooting for the NY Giants ever since 1963 when I was 7).In 2003, the Colts and Titans became division rivals. I had been convinced for several years that Steve McNair was the Titans' weak link. That season turned me into a Peyton Manning fan (and thus one who roots for the Colts).In 2003, the Titans were better at defensive line, at LB and in the secondary. They were far superior at special teams (Jeff is always good atST). They had the best pass protecting offensive line that I have ever seen. They had quality TEs (better than the Colts -- Pollard was soover-rated) and a WR corps almost as good as the Colts (Mason and 88 werethe only pro bowlers, TN had a very good group of young WRs, and the passpro was so awesome, McNair had open receivers every play).

The only clear cut advantage the Colts had was at QB. They were basically equal on the whole at the other skill positions and significantly worse than the Titans at every other position. Because of the new division rivalry, I really paid attention to the Colts for the first time that year.Watching Manning outplay McNair week after week was as eye-opening as anything I could ever remember. Listening to people who voted for McNair for MVP justify their votes was perhaps even more amazing -- could people really be that stupid? Don't they pay attention to the quality of pass protection? Apparently not.

By November of 2003, I was convinced that Manning was the greatest QB I had ever seen and I was rooting for the Colts. Over the last four seasons, hehas played better and done more for his team than any QB in NFL history --and no one else is even close. And it has nothing to do with his stats.For example, he does more to create a running game from nothing than any QB ever. There is a reason he gets wider and quicker to the mesh point on the outside zone stretch than any other QB (a play that Jeff Fisher says theTitans simply cannot replicate in practice -- major deal since it is the Colts bread and butter running play). And of course, he gets no credit for it, at all, in the national media."

Wow, Stan, that's awesome stuff. My bet is that you aren't the only one in Nashville rooting for the blue and white due to the presence of #18.

Danny Cash says:
"Hilarious - that Star Wars page is awesome. I’m a huge Bears fan, so thanks for giving us at least a little respect"

Danny, we are not Bears haters. We are Jags and Pats haters. May you succeed in all you do, as long as your interests don't conflict with our interests (i.e. XLII).

Lee Beinkowski complained about VY:
"Since it looks as though Michael Vick is going to be out of the league for awhile, I think Vince Young will succeed to his title as the most over-rated player in the NFL. Every time I hear some talking head enthuse over Young I think back to the Jags' game versus the Titans in December last year. Young through for a very impressive 85 yards and the Titans rushed for 41 yards.The only reason the Titans won was because Garrard had THREE picks run back for TDs. The Titans offense failed to score a point. Yet after the game, I heard some twerp say that the "Vince Young legend continues"."

DING DING DING. That's exactly the problem. We aren't Vince Young haters; we just don't think he was responsible for the team going 8-8.

Buried in the comments sections of previous posts were a couple of thoughts that deserved to see the light of day. One Pats fan said the Pats were more like the cartoon Grievous and not the movie Grievous. Hmmm, so they are cowardly and run off in the face of danger, are pawns of Palpatine, and get their chest crushed by Mace Windu....maybe you're right!

Another fan blamed the Colts special teams play on coaching, saying that talent matters little on special teams. I wildly disagree. Speed, size and raw physical gifts matter on ST more than at any other point of the game. All you have to do is run and hit. The better you run and hit the better your ST unit is. The Colts perennially suck at ST because they have to use their best athletes on D (see Mathis, Robert). Their salary structure means that they aren't deep and don't have the talent to expend.

Thanks for your comments and email; you can always reach us at 18to88@gmail.com. Remember to check out the podcast!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blogging Preseason Game #3, Detroit at Indy

Random thoughts about the game:

1. Take back what I have said in this space in the past: The Colts need to think about bringing back Terrence Wilkins

2. A great early catch by Reggie Wayne on third down– laying out like a cartoon.

3. Anthony Gonzalez gets involved with his first preseason catch from Peyton and immediately fumbles. A Colts player whiffed on his attempt to recover the fumble. Turnovers are football death.

4. Brock beats his man easily. Mathis and Freeney get to the QB at the same time as Brock. This sack is all too easy. J.T. O’Sullivan is no match for the Colts’ first team D.

5. Addai looks like a freaking genius. Actually, the blocking made his nice 12 yard run elementary. Draft him fantasy people, draft him while you can!

6. A reverse to Dallas Clark? Would have worked for a nice gain, but two guys blocked the same man. If I know Dungy then we’ll see this play again when we least expect it.

7. You knew Peyton would go to Marvin on the very next play after so many looks at Wayne. His first incompletion of the night was a bit forced (I’m not going to complain though, because you have to keep #88 happy).

8. TOUCHDOWN MARVIN HARRISON. Peyton is 12 for 13 on the night and once again this is proof positive that the third preseason game is worth the full price of admission. The blinding speed of this offense is giving me chills and it’s only the preseason.

9. Bob “The Brain Eating Zombie” Sanders breaks up a pass. Now I really have chills.

10. Freddy Keiaho comes up with a nice run stopping tackle on first down. That is a play that Cato June makes only in his deepest REM sleep.

11. Holy Crap! Freddy Keiaho is everywhere.

12. The D has shown flashes of competence tonight. Detroit clearly has offensive talent and a scheme they seem to grasp well. The Colts do well to hold them to a long field goal.

13. This could be a big development. Kenton Keith has a heady runback on the kickoff return. If there isn’t a clear winner in the back up RB competition, special teams performance just might serve as the tiebreaker.

14. De De Dorsey has imploded in the preseason. They haven’t blocked well for him, but he hasn’t made anyone miss either. Two plays later, Dorsey’s first good run of the year is negated by a holding penalty on Jeff Saturday.

15. This just in: Peyton is 16 for 17.

16. Kenton Keith has two strong runs in a row. Dorsey is breaking out in hives at this point.

17. Dallas Clark and Peyton Manning should be on the Globetrotters. Manning lofts an alley oop, but Clark stumbles, managing to adjust his body while falling over and makes a playground grab for the touchdown.

18. Robert Mathis provides the pressure and Matt Giordano provides the highlight with a nice pick and suddenly it’s the Colts turn to take a shot at the one minute drill.

19. Peyton hits Gonzo down to the goal line. A quick bullet to Reggie Wayne and its 21-3. The Colts run the one-minute drill better than any professional team I’ve ever seen.

20. Peyton Manning finishes the game 23 for 27 for 233 yds with 3 TDs and no picks. Somehow this adds up to a rating of only 139. You read that correctly. Not a perfect passer rating.

Deshawn Zombie's Comments: Peyton was perfect. Ugoh struggled some. I'm worried about the run game to be honest. There was really no way to judge the D with O'Sullivan playing. Keiaho really was everywhere. Dallas Clark made several sick catches, and the Lions clearly have no one who can cover Reggie Wayne. It was definitely nice to see a lot more of AG, though I could have done w/o the fumble. I have some picks and witty comments, but I'm struggling to set up bluetooth on my new phone, so those will have to wait. It was a satisfying game to be at for a half. Have I mentioned how much I hate preseason?

I'm not Lion...

Preseason game number 3 is tonight. There was a good stat in the Star today that the Colts are 4-1 under Dungy in the key 3rd preseason game, despite losing virtually every other preseason contest. Still, even if they lose tonight, I'm not going to sweat it. Nor am I particularly worried because Brady and Young played last night. Extrapolating the preseason is a fool's game that I'm not really willing to play right now. We only did the 18 Plays podcast on a preseason game for practice, not because we really think it matters. I'll post some thoughts after the game tonight or tomorrow, but I'm not going to get too carried away either way.

In other 18to88.com news, the fantasy league IS FULL. The draft is next Saturday, and we'll be posting the standings weekly on 18to88.com. Good luck to the 18 (oooooh magic number) that will be taking on Demond and me this season.

It's been nice to see the comments and enthusiasm generated by our NFL Predicted Standings. Let me answer a couple of things I've seen around:

1. We've been asked for a Super Bowl pick- I think that was covered in our comment on the Colts/Luke. Look, we are a Colts fan blog. We think the Colts are going to win. Honestly, the AFC is a bit of a crapshoot because there are so many good teams. Whoever wins is going to need a lot of luck...but in my experience, there's no such thing as luck...so at the end of the day hokey religions (Steelers) and ancient weapons (Randy Moss) are no match for a good blaster...never mind, my geek quotient is multiplying exponentially for every word I type, so let's just kill that metaphor there.

2. No regular Han, Chewie, or Bobba Fett? Nope. Those guys are too easy. If you aren't trotting out Crix Madine (1 cameo in RoTJ and the subject of a great level of Dark Forces), then you aren't a real Star Wars fan. We debated whether to make the Colts Luke or Han, but let's face it, Peyton's geekiness is way more Mark Hamill than Harrison Ford. I would also have liked to use General Reiken for something. As a kid, I always thought his ensignia made it look like he worked for Purina.

3. Best idea floated to us was too good not to mention...The Jags should have been Gamorean Guards. Big, ax wielding fiends that were basically useless as Jabba's bodyguards. Nice job guys, make it so, Mr. Sulu. (somewhere somebody's head just exploded because I dared mix Star Wars and Star Trek). Thanks to Blacknblue on the Indystar Colts message board for that awesome idea. I'm literally furious with myself for not thinking of it first.
Jack Del Rio...punters beware. Keep choppin' wood guys. Keep choppin' wood.

Friday, August 24, 2007

My childhood is safe

From that fateful day in 1987 when the Pacers broke my heart and passed on Steve Alford, to take a skinny shooter from UCLA and Ed Sorenson of WRTV assured everyone that this kid was a serious player, I've been a Reggie Miller guy. Today, he made sure that I wouldn't have to avoid a whole season of NBA highlights just so I wouldn't have to look at one of my heroes wearing green.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070824/SPORTS0403/708240442/1088/SPORTS04

Sigh of relief.

18 Plays podcast is now available

Introducing the newest way to enjoy 18to88.com: The 18 Plays Podcast.

Each week, Demond and I will break down the most important 18 plays from each Colts game, and at the end of the year, we'll pick the 88 most important moments of the seasons. This week, we covered the first quarter plus of the Bears game on Monday night. We will NOT be doing this for the next two preseason games, but will begin fresh with the season opener. Normally, this podcast will debut each Tuesday with a fresh look at Sunday's game. We had a lot of fun doing the cast this week, but really want feedback from all of you. Please feel free to comment here or to email us at 18to88@gmail.com We want to know if: 1. You were entertained, 2. informed, 3. in rabid disagreement, 4. bored or 5. how we can improve. It's fun for us to do, but if no one is going to listen but us, we'll probably not go to the effort. So please let us know what you think. So without further ado, here's the link:

18to88.com/podcasts/18plays1bears.mp3

Save it to your desktop and have a listen as you jog, mow, or generally blow off working for a while. Remember, it's just our first attempt, and we are open to feedback. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Army or not, you must realize. . . you are doomed.

A couple of Hoosier-born Patriot fans took the time to send us their opinion on who from the Star Wars universe should have truly represented Brady-Nation:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (14-2) GENERAL GRIEVOUS

We got 4 new weapons..

(Moss, Stallworth, Wes Welker, Adalius Thomas)

Well, thanks for the e-mail boys. We are always more than happy to provide an outlet for the fans of "The Yankees of the NFL." Before we get too excited, let's all remember what happened to our favorite alien-droid-cyborg-warrior:

As you can see, his organ sac has burst into flames.

Deshawn Zombie's comments: One reader objected to us not using Bobba Fett for the Patriots. Actually, we almost used Jango Fett's headless body for the Falcons, because they also lost their head to law enforcement after a scrape with a dangerous animal. Finally, we just decided that Han in carbonite said it all. I think Grevious would have been a solid choice for the Pats becuase he kept getting arms sliced off, and it looks like Moss is already having trouble staying on the field.

Our 2007 Predicted NFL Standings

What does this video of Deshawn Zombie goofing around have to do with anything? Read our 2007 Predicted NFL Standings and find out!

FO projections don't like the Colts

We mentioned this before. There are a lot of statistical warning signs about the Colts. There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic if you are a Jags fan. Fortunately, we have Manning and Dungy and they have Del Rio and Leftwhich/Gerrard/Couch/Vic from Ask Vic. Stats do matter, but they don't tell the whole story....I hope
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/2007/08/22/ramblings/scramble/5381/

The comments section of the article pointed out that the comments on the Colts schedule vs the Jags schedule don't make a lot of sense considering that they play 12 games in common and 2 against each other.

In other news, I went to a Reds game tonight with my dad. I love baseball. The good guys won, and Hambone hit a homerun. I felt like I was 8, I was so happy. I just have one question though...with a runner at 3rd and none out and Chipper Jones pulled around toward short, would it freaking kill Dunn or Hatterberg to lay down a bunt? It would be a sure run. Instead, a whiff and a double play and the inning was over. Geeze guys. If they are going to play the shift, TAKE THE RBI. And yes, I used to make these observations when I was 8 too.

Day of the Living Dead...


He's baaaaaaack....




Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Update: I did wake up Joseph Addai

To update my non-story from two weeks ago: I got confirmation that I did, in fact, meet Joseph Addai. At work today I did a quote for his next door neighbor and she confirmed that Kid Joe lives there. She said they don't advertise it or anything because some street toughs came around asking for him one time. And to this I replied tearily, "Why would anyone ever want to hurt lil' Joe?"

Maybe they just wanted him to buy some Avon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Stuff people are talking about

It was interesting to see the surprising lack of Anthony Gonzalez last night given that I had heard that Manning was feeding him the ball a lot in practice. In light of that, check out this nice piece off of ESPN about AG:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/trainingcamp07/columns/story?columnist=sando_mike&id=2984221&CMP=OTC-DT9705204233

I'm starting to adjust my expectation for him downward. Maybe it's the lack of Tarik Glenn, necessitating more 2 TE sets, or just the desire to hide what the O will really be, but I sort of expected to see more of him.

Scouts Inc. blogger Marwan Maalouf also commented about weak play from the Indy special teams. Now, we'll address this more in our podcast this week, but honestly, are you really that surprised? The special teams were horrible (Smith and Vinatieri excluded) most of last year anyway, so I'm not jumping off of any bridges over this one.
http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=2984535&name=nfl_afc&CMP=OTC-DT9705204233

Monday, August 20, 2007

Watching the 4th quarter

after going to the game tonight. Yeah, we left at halftime. We'll be posting our first "18 Plays" podcast later this week where we break down the 18 most important plays. We have a lot of impressions from what was a VERY encouraging first quarter + of football from the 'real' Colts.

Did anyone catch the 4th quarter conversation about Dungy's HoF credentials? If Tony, Jaws, and Mike had only read 18to88.com, they wouldn't have made some easily correctable mistakes. They talked about Tony's '.640' win percentage as if it was low. They don't realize that it's the highest of any coach in the recent era. They mentioned Cowher and Jimmy Johnson as if they merited inclusion before Tony, when the numbers just don't support it.

Also, I heard Wil Wolford say this in the third quarter on the way home...

"it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog".

HA! Not the most sensitive thing to say on this day, Wil. Anyway, that phrase doesn't have to refer to 'man made' fights, but as it stood, it was high comedy.

Demond Sanders' Comments: At first I was happy after seeing how well the team was playing. Later, I was sad when Peyton Manning was sacked, and the special teams played badly. About halftime I was hungry. I ate two hotdogs which cost nine dollars, and I wasn't hungry anymore but I was angry. Later on I felt kind of sick.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

New articles posted

Just wanted to let everyone know that we have new stuff up on the main page. First off is a list of five common misconceptions that certain haters like to trot out about the Colts. We've tried to list pretty definitive answers against such nonsense like: Tony Dungy is a defensive coach who rode the shirttails of Manning, Dwight Freeney is a liability against the run, and Peyton Manning choked every year before 2006. Check it out and wow your friends!
http://www.18to88.com/Articles/5%20myths.html

I'm really pumped about the second article. The next in our on going "18 Q's series" is with Star beat writer and blogger Phil B. Wilson. He did it up right and gave tremendous answers to our questions. Personally, I've raved about his work many times here, and found his stuff to be really interesting.
http://www.18to88.com/Articles/18q%20with%20Phil%20B.html

Stop reading, click the link, and then come back. I want to interact with several things Phil mentioned, but it helps if you read the interview first...

Ok, back? Great...
Questions 3 and 17-Phil is dead on. The print model of 'wait until tomorrow morning to read what happened' isn't going to fly. Oddly enough, most papers already have the best asset they could hope for to win the digital war. They have dedicated, experienced, reporters who know the teams they cover. 50 years ago, what happened during the game was an issue, now, everyone knows what happened. 'What does it mean?' is the question that has to be answered. By letting reporters blog and opinionate on things, papers can draw readers to their websites. These are the guys that know the team best, so their opinions are interesting and insightful. I read ESPN and SI just like everyone else...I just makes sure I read the Indystar.com/colts first. The Star and it's reporters are better plugged in to THIS team than even greats like John Clayton.

Question 10-Buy groceries and get Jags tickets...siiiiigh. It's almost too easy to mock them...

Covering an NFL team is a hard core full time job. I hope you all enjoy his thoughts as much as we did.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

We told you so months ago...

Back in April we had this post:

http://18to88.blogspot.com/2007/04/why-titans-didnt-draft-wr.html

In it, we explained that Vince Young is a terrible passer and the Titans know it. Last night, after an fugly 5 for 17 performance, SI's Don Banks wrote about VY:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/don_banks/08/18/snap.judgments/

"Young's passing accuracy was another Achilles that we might be talking plenty about this year. It's hard to be precise when you're under so much pressure, but 5 of 17 won't cut it no matter what league you're playing in. And you can't claim that it was an aberration. He completed only 51.5 percent as a rookie, and a source within the league told me recently that one reason the Titans don't really need great receivers on their roster is because Young can't be counted on to put the ball in their hands anyway.
"He won't throw it where it's supposed to be,'' said the league observer. "He'll throw it late. Eric Moulds is their best receiver because he catches the ball. But with Vince Young, you need guys who can come back to the ball and be improvisational, because that's how he plays.''


Again, this is what we've been saying all offseasons. Jeff Fischer is a GREAT coach. He's smart enough to know that to be the king in your division, you have to beat the best. If you want to beat the Colts with a QB who can't throw, build your whole team around the run. DON'T waste money on pricey WRs or worse draft picks on young WR who won't contribute for at least 2-3 seasons. Let VY throw all preseason to fool people, and then RUN IT. RUN IT ALL SEASON LONG. VY is a fraud throwing the ball and a revelation running it. Any idiot could tell what the Titans should do. The national media is just now waking up to what we've been saying for months.

I also wanted to call your attention to the the BS Report for this week. Bill Simmons' highly entertaining podcast took on Aaron Schatz of the footballoutsiders.com. In it, Simmons tries to take Schatz to task for defending Peyton Manning for so long. Schatz kicks his ass.
http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/podcast/index

It's a great listen. It's also motivated me to write a new article for the main site about the 5 great myths surrounding the Indy Colts. I'll respond directly to some of Simmon's claims in it. Many of these we've dealt with in one way or another in this blog, but I think it'll be nice to have a reference point with all of them debunked in one place. Look for this to up early next week along with our newest 18 Questions interview (it's really strong). We'll also be debuting our 18 Key Plays podcast after the MNF game with the Bears. After every game, we'll break down the 18 plays that most affected the outcome. At the end of the year, we'll pick the 88 key plays of 2007.

18to88.com. Hard at work for you. We're not sure why exactly since we don't make any money. Let's just say, it's because we love you, loyal Colts fan. But calm down, we're totally not going to make out or anything. It's more of a friend kind of love. Or the way one loves a puppy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

10 teams you won't meet in the playoffs

http://www.sportsline.com/spin/story/10295079

Someone named Eric Kay from sportsline.com says the Colts won't make the playoffs. I've never heard of this guy, but he also thinks Mario Williams will have four sacks in a game. Na-ga-da.

I have to say that I am kind of close to predicting that the Colts will win a mere 10 regular season games, so I guess I'm not that far off from this guy, but 7 losses or more is a ton for a team led by Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy. The performance of the defense is almost irrelevant at this point. They have proven that they can do almost anything and the Colts will still rack up 12 wins. "Hey guys, listen up! We're going to run away from the ball carrier on this next play. Okay? Break."

The Colts have absolutely no fear of anyone. Would it really surprise you if they rolled into Jacksonville in October and hung 40 on them? No? And that's why Eric Kay is an idiot.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

All I can muster to say about the NBA

I hope Reggie doesn't come back. I heard him on Dan Patrick today, and it sounds like he wants to, but is testing his body to see if he can. I dunno, I really just hope it doesn't happen. That's totally selfish of me, I realize. Reggie is free to do whatever he wants, but somehow, the thought of him playing in Conseco in another uniform makes me sick. I won't hold it against him obviously, if he does come back and play, but I'm not sure I'll be rooting for the Celts just because he's there. Stay in my memory, Reg. You're safe there.

There have been lots of little stories around the web and radio about the Colts in recent days. I'm finding it hard to muster the will to care. Colin Cowherd acted like a fool this morning and started claiming that only yellers can win in the NFL. He then sited Tom Coughlin as an example of a good coach who yells. He also said Tony Dungy doesn't count, because he got fired from Tampa. Whatever. He's such a moron and a poser that it barely merits comment. Most everything he said about Tony can be refuted by the article on Dungy's HoF credentials on the main page. Everyone who listens to Cowherd knows his show has jumped the shark. He's run out of stuff to talk about, so he gets off on being crass and argumentative. Blech.

Peter King's NFL Dream Team (All Time, Current, Future)

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/dreamteams/08/13/alltime/index.html

At first I wasn't too angry when I read Peter King's list. I'm not going to argue against Otto Graham, Johnny U, or Joe Montana. That said, in five years time Peyton will be the starter on this team.

Peter King flat blew it on his All-Time receivers. Once again, it is tough to argue against Don Hutson and Jerry Rice. Hutson played 62 years ago in a very, very different NFL against a completely different level of competition. I'd put Marvin as a starter. King doesn't even have him on his bench. Instead he has Lance Alworth, Elroy Hirsch, and Raymond Berry. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Let me put it to you this way: Marvin Harrison has an outside chance of finishing his NFL career with more receptions than those three Hall of Fame players combined. Live ball or dead ball - I don't care. I know I sound like a crazed fan. And I understand that eras are difficult to compare. But folks, we all know Marvin is the real deal. But just to be sure let's ask Raymond Berry:

"Well, I've been following Marvin's career and I think any ex-player takes pride in their achievements, which of course I did too. The game changes and players come on the scene who always seem to take it to another level in the next generation. And, if there's anyone in pro football that you'd be proud of to break your record, it would be Marvin Harrison. He is such a credit to the game."

But that's not even the whole reason I'm upset. King goes on to tell us that Terrell Owens nearly missed being a reserve. You are dead to me, Peter King.

If you, like me, are furious right now then don't read King's All-Current or All-Future Teams. Wow. Torry Holt is a poor man's Marvin Harrison. Compare their numbers the last two seasons and get back to me. Marvin has 5 more touchdowns, a better ypc, and a ring. Holt and Steve Smith are great players, but if I were Marvin I would take this as a diss.

Kravitz recants

Well, I'll give him this, he knows when he's wrong. Bob Kravitz wrote a funny piece this morning about his odd review of Dungy's book. I just went back to reread the original yesterday, and noted with a grin that he said it wasn't best seller list material. I'll give him credit for having the guts to revisit the subject. I figure that anything that pokes fun at Bob, even if Bob wrote, is ok by me.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070815/COLUMNISTS01/708150494/1004/SPORTS

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Introducing 18 Questions

Today we unveil our newest (hopefully) recurring article, 18 Questions. Each week or so, we hope to do an interview with a member of the local sports scene. Our first volunteer (re: victim) is local radio host Greg Rakestraw of ESPN 950. He hosts the Sports Desk show with great aplomb, and was kind enough to donate a few minutes of his time. Check out his thoughts on our gauntlet of questions:

http://18to88.com/Articles/rakestrawqanda.htm

We are currently 'efforting' future guests for 18 Questions as well as trying to come up with more great regular features for the main page.

Demond Sanders' Comments: You might be thinking "why should I bother to read this interview?" and if so, then you're a jerk, but let me tell you the answer anyway: Rakestraw is the co-host of the REGGIE WAYNE SHOW. That's right. He gets to spend an hour a week with the affable #87, Reggie Wayne.

TMQ's AFC preview

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=easterbrookpreview/070814&sportCat=nfl&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos1

Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ, which now resides on ESPN.com's Page 2 is a favorite of ours. Not so much for his analysis, which is hit and miss, but more for his off-beat take on the NFL circus.

His four paragraph preview of the Indianapolis Colts shows both his insight as well as the limitations of trying to cover all 32 NFL teams from a national level. Easterbrook is very much correct in his praise of Bill Polian, as we all can attest. On the other hand he suggests, in the manner of Ask Vic, that the Colts are headed straight for Cap Hell. Easterbrook provides little evidence of the impending doom, save the fact that the Colts led the league in payroll last year. He wonders aloud if the Colts gave away next year's first rounder (which of course was used on Tony Ugoh) because Polian knows time is running short. Any fan or analyst who was actually paying attention knows that the Colts made this prescient move to prepare for the eventual loss of Tarik Glenn (which came much sooner than anyone could have known).

Of course we have been hearing this fire and brimstone talk for several years now and for several years now the Colts have let a surprising number of 'important' players walk. In case it isn't completely obvious, the Colts spend big on a hand-full of guys, and get their other 48 players on the cheap. This has meant that the Colts can't afford to involve themselves in the free agent market because they simply don't have the cash to attract quality players. Polian's strategy should continue to be sound so long as the salary cap continues to go up and their core group of superstars stay healthy, productive and active (not retired).

The Colts have tried to employ a difficult balancing act by making a prolonged championship run (nearly a decade) and in a sense facing the ills of cap hell at the same time (i.e. letting many good players walk). This is life in the cap era and the Colts thrive at it. Sorry to reiterate what we all already know, but I'm sick of people throwing out the possibility of cap hell without any supporting evidence. The annoying thing is Easterbrook bothers to take a much more fact-based look at the implications of the New England's off-season wizardry.

Speaking Loudly

I just finished Quiet Strength. I realize that I'm a tad slow, but since I just got back to the States less than a week ago, I think I downed it pretty quick given everything else happening in my life. I must say that I am shocked by how much I enjoyed and how much it touched me. I'm something of a cynic when it comes to 'spiritual books'. I was prepared for Coach Dungy's book to be primarily about the weightier issues of life, and I must say that from the first chapter I felt strengthened and encouraged. As Tony shared about his dejection leaving Tampa, I empathized due to painful work related times in my own life. I was encouraged to think that there might be glory waiting behind the shroud of tragedy.

I knew Dungy's story well, and had been following the winding road he took to become a head coach. I was sickened by the terrible way the Glazer's treated him, and wondered if Michael Silver really had lost his mind when he ranked them as among the best NFL owners. I was surprised and impressed with Jim Irsay's vision of a Colts team that would resonate with the values and hopes of Hoosiers. It was beautiful to realize that the post SB tour and the belief in doing things 'the right way' wasn't just a slogan, but had been the plan of Jimmy from the start.

I cried through Tony's description of the days surrounding James's death. For the record, we criticized Bob Kravitz for saying that Tony had "glossed" over his son's death. Now that I've read the book, I'm aghast at what he said. Tony dealt with the issue with great detail, and frankly, I think Bob is a little sick for wanting more details than he got. I've had to deal with suicide up close, and know enough to know that we don't always get the reasons and explanations we would want.

There were countless things that impacted me in this book, but the one that hit me the hardest, was Tony's questioning of his own credibility as a father of a son who killed himself. I also work in a field where family problems could annihilate my credibility, and identified with his fears. Seeing the way his pain and 'failure' (as if that was even close to the right word to describe what happened) was used to bring hope and healing to many was so healing to me personally. It must have been how Joseph's brothers felt after throwing themselves at his feet in Egypt. We can't know when our tragedy, our failures, are being woven into the the minor chords that add resonance, weight and majesty to the symphony of our lives.

In all, this is a wonderful book. If you haven't bothered to read it yet, do so. I think it will encourage and inspire you.

Demond Sanders' Comments: Can't wait to read this book. On a similar note it was just announced that Tony is being appointed to President Bush's Council of Service and Civic Participation.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wait 'til Next Year

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/10286653

Two things to take away from this otherwise pedestrian effort from Vic Carucci:

1) LT has never won a playoff game in his spectacular six season career? Geez, he must be a huge choker. He's just not clutch. . . Or maybe it is just really, really hard to win in the NFL playoffs. See Mr. Manning's first five seasons.

2) Carucci has the Jags lumped with the nobodies such as Oakland, Cleveland and Atlanta. Actually, he has the rest of the AFC South down there too. Ha.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

As he walked up the 18th fairway,

I thought, "Damn! Tiger Woods is so NOW!"

Demond Sanders' Comments: ZZZZZZZZ. Oh, sorry. I saw the words Tiger Woods and I fell asleep. Rooting for Tiger is like rooting for the Yankees. What's next Deshawn? Are you going to start rooting for the Patriots too?

Polian to the Hall?

Check out our new article on the main site at http://www.18to88.com/Articles/polianHOF.htm for an in depth look at Bill Polian's chances for enshrinement in Canton. I think you can safely add Polian to the list of Colts whose chances would be helped greatly by a second Super Bowl title (Tony Dungy, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney, and Jeff Saturday to name a few).

Also don't forget to sign up for our Free Fantasy Football Contest for a chance to win huge prizes including tickets to the final game in the RCA Dome on December 30th, 2007. E-mail 18to88@gmail.com and we will send you the sign-up information.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Top Jaguars fan sites

Last night at a welcome home party, the question was posed as to what Demond and I would call our blog if we were Jaguars fans. The top options as posed by our friends:

10. iwanttodie.com
9. floridaiseffinghot.com
8. jaguarsareamongthefierceranimals.com
7. kittypower.com
6. roarletsgojagwars.com
5. ourcoachsucksbutwearsasuit.com
4. indyenvy.com
3. jvillejholes.com
2. poop.com


Nice job guys, those are lovely. Personally, I prefer 9to18.com, which would capture the true Jacksonville spirit of David Garrard to Matt Jones. Man, I can't wait for October 22nd.

Demond Sanders' Comments: I would add keepchoppingwood.com as well as losangelesjaguars.com (seriously whoever registers that domain name now is going to turn a tidy profit).

We wish him well but...

The Colts couldn't keep him with these injuries. A recent article has Montae Reagor feeling upbeat about his chances to play this year, but when you read the article, it doesn't sound promising. Montae was undersized to begin with and still is about 12 lbs short of his playing weight.

http://www.mcall.com/sports/football/eagles/all-eagles.5890937jun09,0,1652327.story

I still say that cutting a guy hurt this bad IS NOT a gamble.

What made the post by the ESPN idiot so stupid is that Montae was cut back in March. Even if he makes an amazing recovery, it's not like they cut him last week. They had to cut him months ago, when it looked like he would miss at least half the season. It was an obvious move, not a 'gamble'.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The top 100

A fellow blogger has devised a fascinating QB measuring system and has produced a list of the 100 best signal callers of all time. #1? Johnny U. Our boy #18 comes in at 15, which considering his scoring method is crazy high for the few number of years old boy has played. Never fear though, Colts fans, Tommy boy rides along at #54 (just ahead of Papa Manning). Captain Comeback slides in at 62, one spot below The Warren Central Wonder, Jeff George.

http://www.armchairgm.com/index.php?title=The_100_Greatest_Quarterbacks_of_the_Modern_Era

His list is based on the statistical data he piled up and some clever calculator work, so obviously, its value is debatable. Still though, fun stuff.

I woke up Joseph Addai

Crazy moment today at work. I rang the door at a customer's house to leave a quote and Joseph Addai opened the door. At least I think it was Joseph Addai. He didn't have a shirt on and he had just woken up. He was about 5' 11" and ripped. Most importantly he looked exactly like Joseph Addai.

It was a fairly expensive house in a nice neighborhood near the Colts complex. The same neighborhood Edge used to live during his first few years in Indy. I didn't stop to ask him if he was Joseph Addai because he clearly had no clue who I was or why I was there. I'm guessing the work was for his mom or girlfriend, but the last name on the sheet was not Addai. If we end up doing the work for them I'll let you know for sure whether or not it was in fact Super Bowl hero, Joe Addai.

ESPN Blogger may be dumbest man alive

Not that this is a news flash or anything. ESPN scout/blogger Doug Kretz claimed today that the Colts had really gambled when cutting two D-linemen earlier this year.

http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=2966360&name=kretz_doug

WHAT? They gambled on cutting Montae Reagor and Corey Simon? NEITHER ONE WAS HEALTHY! If you want to claim that the news that Booger is out for the year is bad, ok. But don't act like the Colts rolled the dice on the the guys they cut. Those guys wouldn't be able to help this team a lick if they were on the roster.

He further shows his ignorance when he says the Colts could consider RESIGNING SIMON if he can get healthy. I don't know about you all, but I would bet my meager life savings that the Colts wouldn't resign Corey Simon if he were the last man on earth. This is incredibly lazy work by a man who has no idea what he is talking about.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pre-season Game #1 at Dallas

Rambling, off-the-top-of-my-head thoughts during the game:

1) The D looked bad on the first drive, that is to say they looked exactly like last year's team. In fairness though they were playing without several important cogs. About halfway through the first drive, Deshawn Zombie said, like it just occurred to him, "Bob Sanders isn't playing. Of course they look bad."

2) The offense looked as good as ever. I didn't notice Anthony Gonzalez do anything, but I may have missed something because we were kind of in the middle of a huge family reunion (I was meeting my 11 month old nephew for the first time).

3) The D looked much better on the second drive, but they just couldn't get off the field on third downs. Mostly second and third stringers, but they very much held their own. They are hitting, too.

4) Special teams look much improved, especially in coverage. TJ Rushing had a great kickoff return as well. We won't miss Terrence Wilkins (although I think he had an amazing Super Bowl which almost went unnoticed).

5) Dallas is using Marion Barber like there is no tomorrow. Or like he's Larry Johnson.

6) I'm not sure we have seen enough to say anything about DeDe Dorsey.

7) To tell you the truth I forgot to observe how Tony Ugoh was doing. No one died or was maimed as a result of his play so I give him an A+ at this point.

8) Gonzo starts the second half with a nice catch and run. Damn he's quick.

9) Very lame touchdown by the Dallas defense on a Sorgi ball tipped at the line of scrimmage. Wade Phillips and Jerry Jones look absurdly thrilled given it's the second half of a pre-season game. Weird moment.

10) GUUUUZMAN. I don't know who you are, but you just jacked somebody up. The solid kick coverage continues.

11) 10 minutes to play in the third quarter and it is officially Scrub Time. I'm thinking we have learned as much as we are going to about any Colts players we were analyzing tonight.

12) Sorgi has not been in sync with his recievers in the second half. Overthrows abound. The Dallas offensive scrubs, on the other hand, seem to be having no trouble completing pass after pass. In other words, the Dallas guys who are going to get cut next week are better than the Colts guys who are going to get cut next week.

13) I got a laugh out of the shot of a Cowboys fan with the sign reading Tony is my Homie. That sign is great and all, but doesn't it invite some crude individual to create a rival sign reading Romo is a Homo?

14) Indy gets on the board again very late with a nice touchdown drive led by the very mobile Josh Betts.

15) I would say the back-up running back spot is still up for grabs at this point. I would expect Joe Addai to be shelved for most of the remainder of the pre-season in favor of figuring out which of the other backs can perform against a first-string defense.

16) Interesting comment by Tony Dungy. He said that Edgerrin James had the highest football IQ of any player he's ever been around. . . and somewhere tonight Peyton Manning is weeping softly.

17) The Cowboys earned this victory. Really special stuff. I think tonight totally made up for that botched snap last January.

Deshawn Zombie's Comments: Thanks for the welcome back. I'll admit that my ability to focus on the game was compromised by all the joy of seeing friends and family and dealing with kids who just traveled for about 20 hours. That being said, from what I saw, Demond has it right. I thought Josh Betts looked great, although the INT he threw was awful. I can see why they cut Navarre. I think this kid might be worth keeping around as the third stringer. I think he's a better long term backup than Sorgi, although I wouldn't want to make that switch this year.

Welcome Back Deshawn Zombie!!!!!!!

Just in time to watch your Colts play their first game as defending WORLD CHAMPIONS. Nice timing. Yes, you heard right: Zombie and family flew in from Argentina today at 1 pm after spending several years working abroad.



And as a refresher, here's a brief history of Indianapolis, your hometown:

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

You know you're desperate when. . .

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070807/SPORTS03/708070390/1247/SPORTS

Warren Sapp and Tank Johnson (who will miss the first 8 games of the season with a suspension) are being thrown around as possible stop-gap solutions to the DT position. What will the Colts actually do? Probably nothing exciting. Probably fill in Quinn Pitcock and let him sink or swim. But then again. . .

The Colts have shown a willingness to take desperate measures each of the last two seasons to bolster the DT position. Corey Simon was a legendary bust. Booger McFarland played a huge role in winning a championship before going down recently with a potentially season-ending knee injury. Mixed Results at best, but without Booger I have serious doubts about whether that playoff run ever happens. If Pitcock doesn't wow the staff this pre-season look for the Colts to take a stab at a miracle signing for the third year in a row.

FO takes on coaching staffs

We can all be pleased with the Colts #3 ranking, and pretty much everyone agrees that Indy has a tremendous group of coaches.
http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7071478

What's really great in this piece is the list of worst coaching staffs in the NFL.
http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/7072378

A couple of notes on the bottom three teams:
30. San Diego Chargers-and there you have it. This is why I'm not worried about them this year. Schottenheimer was a proven winner (at least in the regular season). Norv Turner is a proven loser in all seasons. I'm not buying the hype on this team. Talented teams with bad coaches tend to implode.

31. Jville Jholes-I LOVE IT! Mad Jack and his motley crew come in 31st in the NFL! Jack Del Rio is a horrible coach. He really is. If you watch much Jags football, and God help me, I do, you know that he just has no idea what is going on out there. The Jags had a much higher Pythagorean win total (expected wins derived from PF and PA) than real wins. That means they underperformed (0-2 agains Houston for example). Last year the Jags were 2-7 in games decided by a TD or less. They were 6-1 in blowouts. That means that when the Jags showed up, their talent was overpowering. If you got them in a dog fight, however, Del Rio's team would fold. Coaching matters most in tight games. Del Rio's teams can't win them.

32. NY Giants-Everyone loves to kill Eli (two playoff appearances in 3 years is pretty freaking good from a young QB), but has anyone noticed that the coaching in New York is horrible?

Also checkout this article from a fellow blogger that did a comparison of expected wins before the season vs. actual wins.
http://www.bbnflstats.com/2007/06/next-years-wins.html

Good news: The Colts are among the most consistent teams in the league

Bad news: We mentioned a few weeks ago that the Colts expected wins this year is around 10.

Good news: This same guy came up with a ranking of coaches to see who generates the most 'extra wins' above expectations. #1 on the list...Tony Dungy, who generates about 1.73 extra wins. This means that with any luck, the Colts should be back around 11 or 12 wins again. I think we would all take that right now, given the injuries and the schedule.
http://www.bbnflstats.com/2007/06/rating-gameday-head-coaches.html

Monday, August 6, 2007

Peter Kings the Colts

MMQB was a fun read today for Colts fans. King threw out several Colts related anecdotes. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/peter_king/08/05/camp.impressions/index.html

Some of the best stuff is when he fawns all over #18. The Cam "The coach so nice they named him twice" Cameron story was interesting. I'm glad Cammy is a cool cat, but frankly I doubt he'll do much better in Miami than he did at IU.

Hand me a Danish

Nothing like waking up to the best of the Bard. I must admit, I got a chuckle out of Demond's despondency. I'm not going to cry any tears over a guy who had 29 tackles and 2.5 sacks last year. I hope he's ok, but let's save the poisoned foil for another day.

In other news, Kravitz wrote a short fluff column on Colts going to the Hall of Fame.
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070806/COLUMNISTS01/708060373/1247/SPORTS

He thinks Polian deserves to go, and I agree, but confess I've never looked up what it takes to get as a front office guy...sounds like an article.

In other news, I'm heading back to Nap Town with my family this week after 3 years in Argentina. I'm looking forward to watching the Dallas game with Demond, although I'm not sure what I'll do since we can't sit and IM during the game.