Saturday, August 30, 2008
On a brighter note, I hope this officially puts to rest the Peyton Manning injury drama. Don't believe everything you read on the internet.
Also of note: Ryan Lilja was placed on the PUP list and won't be available for six weeks. Mike Hart is on the team. I think many of us would love to see a renewed emphasis on the run this year.
DZ Comments: I'm glad they found room for Roby. I was always rooting for him, but I didn't see how he could make it if they kept a 3rd QB. This is great news for the team and officially craps all over Mike Lombardi's retarded report. Remember that the main idea of his report was that the Colts were hiding the severity of Manning's injury and that it was far more severe than they were letting on. He may or may not have been right about a second 'procedure', but that wasn't the real point of his report. The real point was that "there is MUCH more going on here than meets the eye".
No Mike. There wasn't. You were wrong.
In a related story, Mike Florio owes the Indy Star reporting team a serious apology. They didn't make a big deal out of the story because there wasn't anything to make a big deal out of. Manning came back exactly according to plan. Might he get hurt if he gets popped in the knee in the regular season? Sure, but that could happen anyway.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Here's a video interview with Manning from Colts.com. He plans to play on Sunday.
ESPN ranks the fan bases. Indy? A middling 16th. I'm not arguing.
Don Banks makes his predictions. Um, don't you need a QB to win it all? I'm not convinced the Chargers have one.
Finally, thanks to my buddy Chad for this oldie but goodie from SNL. It has no relevance. It's just funny.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
If there were ever any questions about why Roger Goodell smartly wants to shorten the preseason, all it would take to dispel them would be to watch a tape of the latest eye bleeder from a team that everyone concedes is one of the best in football. Here's my random thoughts for the night:
- We were going to do a sweet photo blog, but my buddy Nate forgot his camera. No problem, man. That'll be $75 for the ticket.
- The ushers were WAAAY overzealous. I almost got into a shouting match both with an elderly black lady and a guy with a voice box (both 'event staff'). It wasn't my finest night. The old lady insisted on checking my ticket (in the upper bowl!) every time I got up. It was ridiculous. Voice box guy was the third usher to move my group of friends out of an 'aisle'. The last time we were in a corner. I couldn't figure out where to go. On the way home, I heard the announcers lauding The Luke for wide concourses where people can congregate and talk. Yeah right. They treated every conversation like an Al Queda planning meeting. Get a grip, Lucas Oil staff. Start treating your CUSTOMERS like people and not annoyances. I know you are just doing your jobs, but don't let the power go to your head.
- The stands were shockingly empty.
- Dungy talked about keeping 4 QBs. There's no way that happens. Gray is cut. 3-12 with a fumble is inexcusable. He showed no pocket presence or accuracy.
- Courtney Roby did his best to make the team, but injuries may make that impossible. If the Colts keep Saturday off IR, and keep Sorgi even if he's hurt and not really available, I'm not sure that there will be room to keep a guy who ONLY returns kickoffs and would be a 6th WR. I hope he makes it, but keeping 3 QBs would be tough on him
- Jared Lorenzen is horrible, but he could well be a heartbeat away from the throne if Sorgi can't go. Chris Simms? Dante Culpepper? Dare I say....Jeff George? There has to be a better solution than this.
- So long KK. I wish you could have caught that ball last January. I at least wanted you to play ok to showcase your skills to someone else. Dress warm up in Canada, ok pal?
- The biggest cheers of the night were for a replay of MJax picking of Brady to send us to the Super Bowl and for #18 waiving to the crowd on his way out at half time. He was active and throwing on the sidelines (he dressed for the game), and looked fine in pregame workouts. I'd say the Floria/Lombardi train is very close to having officially jumped the tracks.
All in all, we can mercifully close this sordid chapter in Colts preseason history. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to clean my face. My eyes have been bleeding all night. Both from the football I was forced to watch and from my fingers desperately clawing at eyes so as to stop the pain of watching Quinn Gray "play football".
1.) Former North Central standout Courtney Roby gets things going with a nice return out to the 45 yard line. Huge for him, obviously. Two unsuccessful carries by Kenton Keith. Probably a last ditch effort for him to make the team. I'm doubting it, but what do I know? Punt.
2.) Ryan Fitzpatrick opens it up by overthrowing his man. Scrambles on third for exactly ten yards. DZ calls to inform me that the building is only 60% full. Can't honestly blame the ticketholders. He almost talked our dad into going to the game, but someone reminded Dad that no one of significance would be playing for either team. I've spent most of this drive eating a corndog. Crazy long drive. Going on ten minutes. Mostly crazy scrambles by the QB. Down to the five yard line. Charleston whiffs badly on the Fitzpatrick. Somebody hit this clown. Terrible Jeff Saturday commercial for the millionth time. Touchdown Chris Perry. Bengals 7 - Colts 0.
3.) The home fans seem to be headed for another preseason treat. Garcon's return only gets to the 17. Interesting. Gray misses badly on his first attempt of the drive. Keith gets stuffed. Sack. Fumble. Bengals ball.
1.) Touchdown Cincy. Bengals 14 - Colts 0
2.) This maybe an abridged live blog for two reasons. First, this is a terrible game. Second, my son keeps turning off the cable box. Roby out to the 21. Not much blocking to work with.
3.) Big gainer to Santi. 22 yards from Lorenzen. Gray has no business making this team. Neither does Lorenzen. Punt.
4.) The Terre Haute Colts don't looks so good tonight. Huuuge sack by Josh Thomas forces a punt.
5.) Courtney Roby takes the kickoff 104 yards for a score! Rosterize him. That's as clutch as it gets when you are fighting for your career. Bengals 17 - Colts 7
What really gets me down is that Saturday is one of the nicest, most articulate (hey, someone DID use that word to describe a white guy!) players in the NFL. He has been a leader on the team and in the league, and for his sake, I was hoping he'd have a great year so he could sign one more big time deal. As it stands, he's gone for probably a couple of months, maybe more. I have no idea what this does to his chances for getting resigned by the Colts (maybe it helps because now his market value is crap), but it probably won't be the big time offseason he and his family were probably hoping for. I'm sure he'll be in the Ring of Honor some day.
FO linked to a Scouts Inc. animation of every team's 'best play'. It's a cute thing, but like most stuff by Scouts Inc. it's flat wrong. It shows the Colts play as "Joe Addai's best run" and it's a run right. Any observant fan knows the Colts run dramatically better to the left behind Ugoh. And guess what? There are stats to prove it. The Colts are at their best when they run behind the left tackle (2nd in the league). The really cool stats at the bottom of that page show the percentage of plays run in each direction. The Colts ran around the left end 17% of the time, and the right end 18% of the time. They ran behind the tackles 12% of the time in both directions and up the middle 40% of the time. In other words, it's impossible to know where they are going. They keep an amazing left/right balance.
Bill Polian thinks you need a #1 WR. The Titans scoff. Who needs wideouts when your QB sucks?
Great news! The same idiots who don't know their left from their right, think Manning will struggle due to the knee injury. Chalk him up for 40+ TDs.
Scouts Inc. looks at the center situation.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The good news is even if he chooses to have surgery to repair the tear he should return at some point this season. While there are no guarantees, this is sounds better than the worst case scenario.
Also, when searching for an appropriate video to celebrate this not-so-horrible news I came back across this great video.
DZ Comments: Holy crap. That video is amazing. I have never seen it before. I watched the Super Bowl with the international feed, and that wasn't included. I won't lie. I teared up.
By the way, we still have openings for both of our contests. The first is the free 18to88.com fantasy football league (which does award prizes). We have 1 or 3 more slots open. The draft is Saturday, and remember that we don't allow Patriots or Jaguars players to be drafted or played. For details, email us.
The second is the "Most Important Wins in Colts History" contest. We are currently looking for readers to research and submit summaries of five games. If your summary is selected (assuming it's accurate and spelled vaguely correctly it will be), you'll win an official Super Bowl XLI program. Email us with your submission. The five games we need write-ups for are:
3. The Halloween Massacre- Colts 55 Broncos 23 October 31, 1988
The first MNF game in Indy
4. Colts 24 Bucs 6 December 27, 1987
The Colts clinch their first playoff birth in Indy
5. Colts 31 Broncos 10 AFC Playoffs January 4, 2003
First Colts home playoff win helped secure a new stadium
9. Colts 17 Steelers 16 October 21, 1984
One of the first home wins in Indianapolis. The Colts score 17 in the 4th quarter.
10. Colts 31 Vikings 10 December 24, 2000
A big win over a good team to secure a playoff spot
LINKS: FO looks at the over/unders on wins with their own particular wit. Someone wants to take the Colts for under 11 wins and the Jags for more than 10? Baaaad decision.
SI has their season preview out. They have the Pats beating the Colts in the AFC Championship game. The preview of the Colts focuses rightly on the defense. Three second-half TDs against the Chargers backups were inexcusable last year, and before all the injury craziness, I was convinced Freeney's return would be the most important story. Now, it's injuries to the O-line combined with Manning's knee. If both were sound, I'd say we were golden. If either one is ok, the team will do very well. If both are bad...yikes.
Prisco picks the Colts in the South.
FoxSports.com lists the health of the Colts' stars as the #2 issue that could derail a title. Yup. Hard to argue with that.
ESPN's predictions are out. Here's their breakdown of the Colts. Two 'experts' picked the Colts to win it all.
Mike and Mike take on the Colts.
ESPN the Mag breaks down the AFC South
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
At any rate, the disaster that has been Jim Sorgi this preseason has only been eclipsed by the ugliness that is Jared Lorenzen and Quinn Gray. I was sure there was no way Lorenzen could make the roster after the first half on Sunday. Then Gray went out and threw 4 picks. Awesome. The best thing that ever happened to Sorgi was getting hurt. Giving the fans a look at the alternatives has definitely quieted the calls for his head.
I know that Kyle Orton isn't the greatest arm out there, but I honestly doubt our ability to beat ANY team in the NFL without Manning behind center.
By the way, with Peyton practicing today (and looking good, thank God), don't get excited until tomorrow. Marvin practiced on a lot last year (or at least ran), but couldn't go the next day. If Manning participates fully on consecutive days, then we'll have our answer as to a week from Sunday.
LINKS: ESPN the Magazine profiles the Manning boys.
FO goes over the best TE seasons and careers. Two Colts make the lists frequently, but Dallas Clark isn't one of them. Kenny Dilger was better than most realized, as was Marcus Pollard, who will soon join Dilger as a Classic Colt as soon as he retires.
Adam Dunn? He's doing just fine in AZ. He's having a good influence on everyone around him. Reds fans who hated Dunn were morons. I may never get over that deal.
Monday, August 25, 2008
By the original timetable, Manning is right on schedule...provided he actually does play opening day.
Links: Reggie Wayne is really good.
As linked on Stampede Blue, John Clayton says Saturday could miss a few weeks. Lovely.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I didn't see the idea about a full on photo blog until I got home tonight, but it's a good one. We'll try to get one done after Thursday game.
For now, I'll just leave you with these pictures:
This is the view walking into the Luke. The building is impressively huge.
I love the view of the Old Girl with the window open (why does that sound like I'm a stalker?). Someday soon it'll be the skyline. Rest in peace, Hoosier Dome.
Manning was on the field in pregames. You could pick him out by his gigantic forehead. He walked freely with no limp. He didn't seem to be favoring his leg. He did some mock passes and positioning with Caldwell, and seemed to be clowning a bit. Caldwell bumped him and he sort of 'stumbled naturally'. It had no effect on how he walked, and it didn't seem to hurt him at all. Honestly, if you didn't know he was hurt, you wouldn't have figured it out from tonight. I watched him for an hour solid. Now I really do sound like a stalker.
The view of the banner as the roof opened. I'll never get tired of that shot.
The view from our seats. We'll talk more about them on the podcast. We came out pretty ok. Westside Rob...I saw where your seats were. You got jobbed, bro. I'm really sorry. Come by 616 row 8 anytime.
On a side note, did anyone watch any of the Pey-back Classic games on WNDY? Forrest Lucas (founder of Lucas Oil) was interviewed during the broadcast of the Noblesville - Fishers opening game. The announcer kept referring to the building as if Mr. Lucas owned it. It really annoyed me. He doesn't own LOS any more than RCA owned the Dome. I'm sure everyone wishes he had paid for it, but he didn't. He paid to have his name on the front of the building. Did he help make it possible by paying $120 million over 20 years? Sure, but it was the citizens of Indiana who bit the $700 million bullet.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Paul, yesterday, you showed a video of Peyton Manning at a Colts' walk through. Then you said the practice was closed door. Was the footage from yesterday or was it stock? If it was from yesterday, how did you attain it if the practice was closed? If it was stock footage, shouldn't that have been made clear in the report? Was that important footage of Manning moving around well, or was it old video? Could you shed some light and clear up the confusion?
This was his response:
I sent an email to higher ups on this and did not get a reply. I apologize. It's an excellent question. I suspect stock footage and would agree we should have made it clear. Sorry I can't give you more. I'm just a simple blogger in a very big world.
My understanding is Manning was at a practice, not in a practice.Thanks for reading and taking the time to write...
First off, thanks to Paul for his response. We all recognize that this wasn't his fault. Of most immediate concern to Colts fans is that this takes away some of the good feeling we had about Manning being available soon. Granted, he didn't say it for sure WASN'T from this week, but he also couldn't confirm it.
What this really calls into question is the editing process at ESPN. The fact that we can't get an answer to clear up their questionable editing is disturbing to say the least.
Demond Sanders: It has to be recent footage, right? Manning has a heavily wrapped left knee which tells me it is post-surgery film. And as you pointed out he is handing off to Dom Rhodes in a #38 jersey. I think he looks pretty good.
Still, I think you make a solid point about the sloppy reporting by ESPN. How did they get video of a closed practice? Weird.
DZ Comments: Slopping editing. The reporting was solid. The reporter isn't to blame for the editing of the story. He clearly shot his stand up piece, and they put it together. It's semantics, but I hate to kill the wrong guy. Kuharsky was stand up about it. The editor is to blame for the confusion.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Why would Michael Lombardi, who works for Sports Illustrated (he wrote for them as recently as a week ago), post this story on a nothing football blog?
Does that strike anyone else as more than a little bizarre? Maybe it happened and maybe it didn't, but don't you think he'd want to break that particular story on as big a stage as possible? The more you think about it, the less sense it makes. He has sources? Who? Who would know what really happened? It seems like the Colts are the only who know for sure, and why would they leak this information? It seems weird to me. Beyond that, nothing he says changes the fact the Manning is up and doing walk-throughs. If he plays week 1, and all signs still point to that, then what does this report even mean? The timing of it is really odd. It would have had more impact two weeks ago than it does now.
There are two big opinions that I think are unsupported. One is the Colts 'bad history' of injury reporting. Does that refer to the nagging nature of the Harrison injury last year? Does it refer to them cautious about Sanders in 06? Everyone seems to take it for granted that the Colts mislead us about those injuries, but I never remember them saying anything that wasn't accurate. Can someone remind me EXACTLY what was said that was untrue. Maybe I just forgot, but it seems the public read into what was said more than they should have.
Secondly, there is an accusation that: They are also just flat out BAD at rehabbing their players and getting them ready to play. They screwed it up for Bob Sanders in 2006, Marvin Harrison in 2007, and now maybe Peyton Manning in 2008.
I'm sorry, but that is an utterly ignorant thing to say. NONE of us have any idea at all how severe those injuries were. Unless you were a physician who treated those players and know the extent of the injury, there is simply no possible way to know if the staff did a bad or good job in rehabbing those players. They screwed it up with Bob Sanders? HOW? The Colts had a playoff spot locked up early. The Zombie showed up for NE, played like a beast, and was sitting most of the rest of the year. How was that the training staff's fault? How was it their fault that Harrison's knee didn't heal? The rumors last fall were that it was blown all to hell and that he would never play again. Sure seems like they did a good job now, didn't they? We have no idea if the staff is good or bad. To say otherwise is irresponsible.
As fans we can't take these rumors seriously. EVEN when they contain some truth, they are still filtered through at least two people before they get to us. We are all interpreting the interpretation of someone who was told something by a person who may or may not have any actual first hand information. Lombardi says he has the story "100% right". He can't say that. He has his SOURCES story 100% right but unless he's getting info from Manning, Dungy, Polian or doctor, he can't be so sure. That's what effed up John Tomasse on the Spygate mess. Unless a source is first hand, a reporter can only be sure of what the source said, not of the actual truth.
Lombardi isn't a journalist. He is an ex-NFL exec. He may have some nice sources, but that doesn't mean he has the truth.
Just ask yourself, why didn't SI publish this story?
UPDATE: A closer look at the National Football Post might reveal the answer to my question. It's a brand new site. The seem to have begun operations this month and clearly are hoping to break a 'big' story to get some national attention. This might explain why this story is conspicuously absent from Profootballtalk.com. They are trying to upend Floria's hack site. This whole story smacks of an internet pissing contest. If you think about it, this story is sort of perfect. If Manning misses any time at all, it seems like it's true. If he doesn't, all the story says is that there WAS trouble with swelling. It doesn't specify what procedure was done on Manning (perhaps they just drained fluid from his knee, the piece is vague). In fact, the only real assertion made in the piece was:
All I know is that there is MUCH more here than meets the eye.
It's a nice job of appearing to say a lot, but not really saying anything. The piece says that he might have a problem with swelling if he gets hit on the knee. Well, duh. It doesn't say he'll miss more time. It's a scare piece meant to draw traffic to their new site. Note they wrote two other articles about the SAME piece, one with 'fantasy football' implications, and the other a 'gotcha' type editorial.
What a sham.
Links: Prisco talks about the Zombie.
At least the scoreboard is great.
To update a story from yesterday: the video I posted last night. I wasn't sure at the time if it was Manning from yesterday or not, but on second look, you can see him handing off to #38. That means it has to have been taken yesterday, since #38 is Dom Rhodes, and that is his new number. If you didn't watch the video and are still worried about Manning missing game one, give it a look. He'll be fine.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Even if I'm generous and say that that Harang will rebound, Cueto will be filthy (his peripheral numbers are very strong so I actually believe this one), the bullpen will be good, and Bruce and Votto are seriously big time players (a claim for which there really isn't any evidence yet), this team is still lacking viable big league players at FIVE positions. They aren't going to sign any free agent who is even as close to being as productive as Adam Dunn. And at most positions they a collection of retread/borderline MLB talent junk. The Reds have been a sub-.500 team with talent and interesting players for 8 years. Now they are a last place team with far less talent and zero chance to contend.
Patience? Don't fire your GM 20 games into the season and lecture me about patience. Don't deal your best player who takes more pitches than anyone in baseball and lecture me about patience. Drive four hours to a game and lecture me about patience. Unless Volquez or Cueto are on the mound there is no reason to watch the Reds.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch Bronson Arroyo give up 5 dingers tonight.
Here's a good piece on Phil Wheeler. It came courtesy of the AFC South blog on ESPN.com.
It's a little unclear, but it sounds like Tony said that Manning is taking all the 'walk through reps' now. Click on the daily football wrap for 8/20 and listen to the -1:25 mark. Sorgi is taking the practice reps, but Manning is on the field for the walk through. I think all the angst is a little misplaced. It sounds like he's up and about and on the field, even though he isn't practicing yet. That sounds like progress to me.
The AFC South blog came up with this nice piece with Junior Seau Jr. as well as the following report. I don't understand if the video of Manning at practice is current or not. They said it was a 'close door' walk through, but there is video of Manning (with a black wrap on his knee) taking snaps and throwing. If the footage was taken today, then BOOYAH. It looks good. If it wasn't, then this is a crappy media trick and represents awful reporting.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
From the mailbag, Jesse chimes in with a fury aimed at Eddie White:
Nearly ran off I-65 today on my way into work.
I hear the longtime Indiana native, Eddie White on 1070AM- in his gay little promo for his horrible show. Here is what he said: "I'm worried about the colts offense. They've looked horrible in the first 3 games, and they don't look like the number 1 offense in the league that they are supposed to be. Gray and and the hefty lefty- along with our old buddy Sorgi - need to step it up. And we need Peyton back, because this offense looks bad." That's nearly word for word.
How many different ways can this guy tell me he's irrelevant? -From the east coast-I say things like "our colts" or "our QB - Peyton"-I'm worried about the colts offense in the pre-season-I'm worried that we've lost 2 games and probably should have lost 3 in the preseason-I care at all who is our backup QB and how they are doing in the pre-season I just don't understand how this guy is in the Indianapolis market.
Kravitz is enough to get me to not listen at all, but add in this freaking moron who thinks he's a lifelong Hoosier and knows about our team is insulting. As long as Manning is a colt - saying this sentence immediately makes you irrelevant to me: "I'm worried about our offense in the preseason" - ARE YOU SERIOUS? HAVE YOU LOOKED UP OUR RECORD IN THE PRESEASON FOR THE LAST 10 YEARS? The fact that he is worried about our backups again just further prove how the words coming out of his mouth are stupid.
Listen closely: "If Peyton doesn't play QB for the Colts, the Colts will lose football games." It's very simple, it's understood, and everyone is ok with that. There are no exceptions. The alternative to Peyton is not good enough.
If Mike and Mike could switch back to 950, at least I wouldn't have to listen to these retards. JMV on 1260 seems like he's the only one who understands - we want to hear about football right now. Not high school stuff, not racing, not tennis. NFL football from people who aren't out for shock value reactions. Thanks - had to get that off my chest
Ok, so Jessie's upset. Fortunately for Mr. White, Peyton's appearance should help him feel better about the offense. I understand that it's hard to come up with stuff to talk about some times, White needs to chill. Most Colts fans now know that until real footballs are flying, we just hang back and take the intergalactic hitchhiker creed seriously:
Prisco likes the Colts best of the teams he saw.
Peter King is suddenly down on the Browns (duh) and thinks Sorgi would make a good O-Coordinator. Great, because he makes a crappy QB.
Don Banks thinks Brady is more valuable than Manning because Cassel is so bad. Um, Donnie...you haven't been watching our preseason games, have you? Sorgi is a mess. He's only keeping his job because Gray and Lorenzen have been basically worse.
TMQ thinks the Colts are going to Tampa. Easterbrook also notes we are still carrying nearly 6 million on the cap for Corey Simon. It's pretty amazing that Polian managed to avoid having that signing hurt any worse than it did. The money was spent, and that's too bad, but at least we didn't have to write a piece about how the team cut corners because it didn't have an extra $6 million in cap space this year.
Marcus Pollard got cut from the Pats. That puts him one step closer to the Classic Colts.
FO looks at the best and worst WR seasons. 88 and 87 show up a lot. AG really was as good as we could have possibly hoped for.
As I sit here and watch Argentina/Brazil in the Olympic semi-finals, allow me to make just one small suggestion to the brass at NBC...DON'T CUT TO COMMERCIAL JUST BEFORE A CORNER KICK. I had to switch off to Telemundo to watch Riquelme send one into the box. That's just embarrassing. It's bad enough they didn't pay to have announcers actually be AT the game, but to cut away for commercials twice a half...it's really bush league broadcasting.
Monday, August 18, 2008
18to88 reader Paul sends us this thorough review of the new stadium:
On Sunday, August 17th, Lucas Oil Stadium opened its doors (and its walls and roof as well) to season ticket holders for a grand open house. Complete with Indianapolis’ best cover bands, unedited Tom Petty tracks on the loudspeaker (I thought he wanted to roll to another joint), and fans with jaws wide open as they wandered aimlessly around in circles. The rule of the day was if you saw a line, you got in it because it probably would lead you to some place amazing. Case in point the locker rooms were open (can you say shower stall photo op.?) as was the west side of the field. People were lounging on the home side of the field like they were at a Sunday picnic. Literally people were sitting, napping, playing with their kids, etc. The only thing missing were dogs and Frisbees.
In a word the stadium is “retractably-amazing”. Anything and everything that can retract does, which begs the question “why?” Short of getting better blimp aerial shots and hearing John Madden garble the phrase “feat of engineering”, what really was the impetus for all this? My answer was to ask what was the impetus for the pyramids or the hanging gardens of Babylon? None, but sometimes you just gotta show off, and Indiana has been long overdue for a little braggadocio.
Everything looked game ready, except for an unpainted wall on a lower level ramp and some brackets holding up plaques while the glue was still drying. (An observation, unless I missed something, I did not see a single sign, ad spot, plaque, etc. for Eli Lilly Co. Prozac and football don’t mix, I guess.) A sign at the entrance stated, “Forrest and Charlotte Lucas welcome you”. I mentally filled in the rest…”the citizens of Indianapolis to the stadium that your tax dollars paid for”.
The entry-level terrace paid homage to all things Lucas Oil. Drag cars, engines, giant gas pumps, etc. I am sincerely hoping that this is a temporary exhibit and will be gone by game day, but I am sorry to say that it looked pretty permanent. In the days when Big Oil has been vilified by our society, it was a little strange to have “Big Oil Fun Land” greet us at the entrance to the house that Peyton built. If the Colts keep winning however, no one is going to care what it is called. Remember the Bulls with MJ played in the United Center, and airlines have an approval rating somewhere between Congress and the Taliban. So, here’s to winning. We moved quickly through this area and by design this street level entry terrace opens directly to the field. Many stadiums seem to take a page from the Vegas playbook and send you through a labyrinth to find your seats, but 75 feet from entering the North side of the building you were looking over the field. Nice touch.
Navigating the building was easy once I figured out what a “Loge” was. Consider me clueless but seeing this unfamiliar word (evidently pronounced low-je, as in the actor, Robert) on every sign threw me off until I googled it on my phone to figure out what it meant. The standard ramps and elevators did their job helping move people to the upper levels, however the final enclosed steps seemed quite narrow, and with game day traffic will probably lead to a lot of beer spillage and subsequent frowning faces.
Yes, you will be happy to know, there are more seats than the RCA dome. The seats were your basic contoured thick plastic in Colts blue, but as a bonus there are tons of cup holders built in everywhere. The bonus cup holders evidently came in the same upgrade package as the sunroof. From just about every seat the view out of the retractable north wall currently is the old RCA dome. Everyone wiped a small tear observing that the exterior letters are off the dome now, and the old confines have been replaced.
Turning my attention a little west of the retracted wall, there along with its twin in the opposite corner, is the most ridiculously large video screen. They make jumbo-trons look just regular-tron. Many a fan will have to be nudged by their seatmate to notice the action on the field, as they will be convinced that the view is better watching the giant TV that is over an acre away. What is so striking visually from anywhere in the stadium is all the steel and brickwork. It borders on an old baseball stadium feel, but this is the manufacturing belt after all, and we Hoosiers love our steel and bricks (see Fieldhouse, Conseco; and Speedway, Indianapolis Motor). The look works and it gives off a minimalist but finished overall look.
Moving again through the stadium we stopped at a typical concession stand. Not surprisingly the stadium management have decided to continue their movie theater pricing strategy. Lucas Oil Stadium has got to be dangerously close to losing their granted access to the “high life”, but selection was typical with no surprises good or bad. One big oversight in my opinion has got to be the name “Oil Can Grill” that burns in neon over the main north end concession stand. Despite my best efforts, I could not shake images of various wildlife covered in 10W30, a la Exxon Valdez. I, like most people, prefer to have my food kept as far as possible from any and all petroleum products. The marketing guys must have gotten lazy.
Being granted access to the locker room was a surprise. Seeing how many people were clamoring to get a picture of the roped-off shower room was as well. There are fans and then there are super fans (also known by their legal name, “stalkers”). Moving down to the field, questions arose as to the turf surface’s ability to weather the weather if the roof is open allowing in humidity, sunshine, and the occasional rain shower. Despite the ability to open and close it, this is Indiana after all and many a Hoosier claims to have seen it rain on a sunny day. I am sure that someone knows. Also the new executive suites that line the south end zone are somewhat odd. I can picture Harrison catching a TD and then finishing his run with an attempted celebratory jump into the arms of an indifferent trophy wife. There are very good reasons we make the rich people sit in small boxes under the upper deck.
It was a great day at the LUC, despite there being no football, but for the fans and all Hoosiers, this is a stadium that puts us on the map as one of the premier NFL destinations, and we should enjoy that new stadium smell as long as it lasts. For those of you who love to comment, does anyone know what the NFL rules are on when a team can open and close their retractable roof? Can we make sure that Brady has the sun in his eyes, or would this be on par with pumping in crowd noise? Thanks 18to88.com for sending me on assignment.
By the way, Tom Brady has yet to play in the preseason either. Maybe his foot was amputated!
CHFF posts their AFC Fillability Index. How do I know this article is stupid? It gives the Jags an A- for adding Derrick Harvey. Um, don't you have to sign him before he's added? Seriously, if you can get an A on something by trading up a boatload of spots, and then letting your new pick sit out more than half the preseason, it must be the easiest test ever.
Want to have some fun? Read the Jags fans freaking out over a preseason loss to the Dolphins. I swear, they are the funniest franchise around.
We are currently waiting on our buddy Paul to post a recap of yesterday's Open House for season ticket holders. I couldn't make it down to Indy due to work commitments, and Demond's wife is ready to give birth any day, so Paul agreed to go and do a writeup. I expect it to be posted by this afternoon.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
- We'll be checking back in later tonight with a live blog on the Atlanta game. For the time being, I'm going to endure Wonder Pets while waiting for the Argentina/Holland Soccer game. How did my life come to this?
- Yikes, what a game. I'm pretty sure Aguero was on the take. That pains me because he's an alum of my club (C. A. Independiente) and couldn't have played worse. Taking him off the field was the best remedy. That should have been a 4 goal win, but I'll take a spot in the semis against Brazil on Tuesday. If there is anyone left who doesn't think that Lionel Messi is the best player in the world, I'd love to talk to you. In other news, Ming Ming helped rescue a baby camel!
- I just got home in time for the game. I took the kids to see Clone Wars. It's probably way to intense for their age, but my third word was Star Wars, and I'm intent on indoctrinating them early. For the record, I loved the 'film'. It's really just the first three episodes of the new TV show cobbled together. I know it got savaged, but critics don't know crap about animated movies. They loved Cars which bored both me and my kids to death. If you like Episodes 2 and 3 (no one likes Phantom Menace, even me), or the Cartoon Network Clone Wars Micro-series, then you'll like this. It's basically heaven for 10-12 year old boys, or 31 year olds whose development has been permanently arrested.
- Demond just calls to let me know that Joe Addai Fatheads are 50% off at target. Tempting.
- Favre goes 5/6 for 48 with a score. Next week's "How big are Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy's brains?" post could be fun. I really need to abbreviate that name. HBTTMMB?
- Great coverage on the opening kickoff. The truth is that the Colts have had poor coverage because they've had so many injuries. When your best players are out, you have to fill in with special teams guys, and then sign guys off the street to break the wedge. When that happens, the wedge typically breaks them instead.
- The King of Small Sample Sizes ripped off a nice run. It's not encouraging to see these LBs give up big runs. Last week was a group of no ones. This week is representative of what our team will actually look like.
- It's nice to see that running wide on the Colts is still a bad idea.
- Great pressure up the middle on 3rd and 1 kills a Falcons drive and forces a field goal. That's basically mid-season form for the blue and white. 3-0 ATL
- It's funny to watch Sorgi. Even as he completes a pass to Marvin, you are aware of how fast Peyton gets rid of the ball. Sorgi holds it an extra beat.
- Nice play by Sorgi, diving head first for the sticks. He looked like a guy playing for his job.
- The play goes no where and is made worse by a penalty, but you can tell Sorgi has done a great job working on ball fakes.
- The refs are still warming as well as they miss an obvious pass interference call that kills Sorgi's first drive. The run game isn't working, and neither are the screens. This is primarily due to teams not respecting the deep pass. The reason Edge and Addai never broke long runs is because the safties play so deep against the Colts. With a weak armed QB in, teams can be way more aggressive against the run, and can play Addai.
- Turner breaks another big run as Brackett jumps inside leaving a huge lane open. M Jax does a pretty job breaking up a pass on the next play.
- Nothing to do with this game, but why would the Pack only play Favre for a quarter? I'd think you'd want to give as much time as possible with his new offense.
- Clint Session blows up a play on 3rd and short to force another figgie. Yup, that's our Colts D.
- What I just said about Sorgi's fakes...forget it. He just botches one. Kid Joe gets popped on the next play. Gotta hate seeing that.
- AG is going to catch a lot of 3rd downs this year. Sorgi really does hang onto the ball forever, but he gets the first down, and the team is off the goal line.
- I love the Clark end-around. We ran it twice last year. Worked once, was ugly once. Works tonight.
- Ugh. Sorgi had 88 open and missed him by 5 yards. Almost no matter what, this is a good drive for him. The odds of scoring when you start inside the 10 are slim. He looks calm, and that's to his credit.
- Wow, no one blocks at all up front and Addai is stoned on 3rd and 1. Surely we'll go for it after the quarter break. Demond will take over for Q2
- Gutsy run by Addai on 4th and one at midfield. Loses his helmet, but is able to power forward for the conversion. Sorgi looks very comfortable on a deep lob to Reggie for a gain of 30. Sorgi has been better, but still not making decisions quickly enough. Field goal makes it Falcons 6, Colts 3.
- More solid kickoff coverage. Matt Ryan the rookie from Boston College is in at quarterback. Dawson just misses Ryan, but Marcus Howard finishes it with a Big Time Sack. Punt.
- Here comes Quinn Gray and Mike Hart. Hart right up the middle for six yards. A holding call on Hart negates a huge gain on the ground by Gray. Follows it with a HUGE third down conversion of 7 yards to Pierre Garcon. Good blitz pickup by Hart. Frenchie follows this with a crack back penalty. On first and 24 Rhodes gets half of it back with a well blocked run. Punt.
- THE GUZZZZZZZZ. Runs the muff back for a score. By rule he can't advance the muffed punt, but it is still a huge recovery at the fifteen yard line. Tough 4 yards for Hart. There seems to be a legitimate battle brewing between Rhodes and Hart for the backup running back spot. Strange formation with Hart split out wide on the left side. Very strange. Fourth down and one. Incomplete in the endzone. Run the ball!
- Quickly third down for the Falcons. They get just enough. Next play sees some great pressure by Dawson. Nice rollout by Ryan, finds Roddy White for 15 yards. Not bad at all. Oooh. Dante Hughes fell down. Sure pick if he's standing. Some good hitting tonight by the DBs. Hayden and Jennings especially. Time is running out. HAYDEN TO THE HOUSE. He nabbed that like it was Rex Grossman. Good looking effort. Just stepped out in front of the long pass to the sidelines. Colts 10 - Falcons 6.
It's pretty clear that we miss the Zombie on run D, and Sorgi certainly looked ready to fend of Quinn Gray for the #2 slot. Mike Hart blocked very well (despite a holding call downfield) and has to be considered a lock to make the team. Dungy continues to show disdain for winning these games, as the Colts evidently didn't want to show what they'd really do on 4th and short (Hart up the middle, anyone?). The secondary continues to seriously lay the wood. There was some QB pressure by the D line, but it dropped off as the half went along. All in all, not a bad first half considering there are still two more pre-season games left.
Polian just called Mike Hart "the star of training camp" with a cat who ate the canary grin. I'd say big Mike's chances of making this team are about 99%.
- Someone needs to tell Chad Simpson that you don't make NFL rosters by letting kickoffs bounce.
- Mike Hart starts off with two great runs (the second was called back). I think we all want to see him get 10 carries this half. The NFL game log gave him no gain on a carry, but it was really a bat down of a Gray pass.
- Tamme makes a sweet move to try and pick up the first, but the drive stalls under a flood of O-line penalties.
- The D-line keeps jumping offsides. Guys are playing for a job and are too quick off the line.
- Matty Ice gets his pass busted up on 3rd down. This Falcons team doesn't look very good, does it?
- Quinn Gray gets sacked to end a drive. He has the "I'm going to do something crazy" look about him. Everyone will rest a lot easier in the Sorgi household tonight.
- Foster does a great job sniffing out a screen on pass on 2nd and 9. Great pressure forces a quick throw and a punt on 3rd down.
- During the break, I flip over to the Olympics and ask my wife if there is anything more boring to watch than the Women's Marathon. She claims the men's marathon is just as boring. I disagree. It's shorter. There's less of it to bore me.
- Quinn Gray is averaging 2.2 YPA Yikes. He looks like he has no idea what he's doing. Bring on the Hefty Lefty. There is no way Gray makes this team.
- Dara Torres has man shoulders. I'm sorry, but I'm not buying it. Not even a little.
- Tamme will make this team and will make plays this year. Wow. He just ran a Clarkesque route for 47 yards on 3rd down.
- No sooner do I pronounce the death of Gray than he drives the team down inside the 20. Gray throws wildly on 3rd and 1. I smell another "Go for it! moment"
- Never mind, they let the rookie kick a real live NFL field go. Ok, so it's not that real, but it was live. It was a nice moment for the young man.
- Curtis Johnson makes a nice play in the backfield on a first down run.
- Redman throws a dangerous ball on the line for a nice first down pass. It had some zip on it, or it would have been 6 the other way.
- Johnson blows up another run, and the boys blow up a draw play.
- Another offsides on 3rd down is rendered irrelevant by a crazy juggling catch by Loren Robinson of the Falcons. Seriously guys, just watch the ball.
- Good Lord. They are STILL running over on NBC. Maybe if the ran in water it would be more interesting. Or they could just roll Michael Phelps by on a cart. Or anything really. If you can't be more interesting than the third quarter of a preseason NFL game, you are in serious trouble.
- Curtis Johnson is in the backfield on every play
- Yeah, I'm still here. I'm either incredibly dedicated, or just like the sound of my own typing.
- A tipped pick keeps the Falcons off the board. I can't believe it, but this team might actually win this game. I'll be you a million dollars Dungy doesn't attempt a FG unless there is no other choice. This is a 4 point game, and Tony doesn't want another OT.
- Meanwhile the marathon misery is almost over. Man Shoulders swims soon. I know she's wearing red, white and blue, but I feel creepy about rooting for her.
- The Pillsbury Throwboy, Jared Lorenzen is in and completes a deep ball to Frenchie. Sort of underthrown, but he got it there.
- Holy crap, he is flat chucking it. Another deep ball is completed, but the lack of a shove out rule costs the Colts a first and goal. Lorenzen is going DEEP. It's good to see. We haven't thrown those routes all day.
- I love watching Lorenzen run. It could be a reality show. Hey! Maybe that would fix the marathon! Women running from Jared Lorenzen. I'd watch that.
- The Colts jump offsides again, but this time I think the official missed a false start. It brings up a 3rd and short. An off target pass means a punt, but once again there is heavy hitting from the secondary.
- Another early penalty backs up the offense. It's hard to get a read on these QBs when they constantly face unnatural down and distances.
- Brandon Condren picks off another tipped ball and runs it back inside the 20. Two picks makes for a nice night.
- Lorenzen throws late on first down. Sorgi continues to dodge bullets as Lorenzen GUNS a pass into coverage that hits off the WR and gets picked at the goal line.
- Nice penetration by Ferrell almost nets a saftey. More good pressure in the endzone makes for an incomplete pass.
- We have our first Colt down. Eric Foster, who is becoming an underground favorite among fans, limps off the field under his own power. He's jogging off now.
- The Falcons throw short on third down and will punt. One good drive and this bad boy is O-V-R
- I thought Keith was hurt, but apparently he's just been shoved to the bottom of the depth chart.
- KENTON KEITH CAUGHT A PASS! Then he picks up a first down. Let's run out the clock and go home.
- No sooner does he do something good than he causes a stoppage of play, grabbing his hand. Maybe getting hurt and going on IR would the best thing for him. It beats being unemployed.
- Keith is running savagely. He desperately wants to keep his job, but something appears wrong with him.
- If the Colts don't get a first down, we'll test my theory on Dungy kicking a FG. I think he goes for it on fourth down. Why risk OT?
- Lorenzen throws it way OB. So here we go...and it's a FG attempt. I'm shocked. Crossett bangs it home for a 16-9 lead. The offense ends the day with no TDs. Not a great sign.
- ATL trots out down 7 with no timeouts and the ball at the 34. Let's hope for a quick pick.
- Instead it's the sack/strip by Darrell Reid. The Colts come up with it and will run the play that has the all-time highest correlation with winning.
Friday, August 15, 2008
To compete with and possibly derail the Colts, the Jaguars did three things in the offseason. They signed former Raiders receiver Jerry Porter to compensate for the loss of steady receiver Ernest Wilford, who signed with the Dolphins. They traded for Minnesota's first-round bust, receiver Troy Williamson, to add to their inconsistent receiving corps. Finally, already armed with a group of pass rushers, the Jaguars traded up 22 spots in the first round of the draft to select Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey in order to put even more pressure on Manning
Soooo, they got Porter who immediately has surgery and misses all of camp. Then they trade a king's ransom to get Derrick Harvey who STILL HASN'T SIGNED HIS CONTRACT. The Jags thought enough of him to trade way up for him, but not enough to pay him a slotted deal.
So the Jholes entire strategy for beating the Colts this year comes down to:
Sigh, you gotta love those comic cats.