Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Thin Blue Line

The Bill Polian show yielded some interesting tidbits last night. I've become deeply worried about the status of Tony Ugoh. He was healthy on Sunday, but the coaches decided to go with Charlie Johnson. Now, I admit that I have yet to see the tape, and have no idea how CJ played on Sunday. I also admit that he has shown the ability to run block from the left tackle position. There were rumors last year that the coaches weren't happy with Ugoh's inability to stay on the field, though he seemed to play well when he was out there. The fact that they went with CJ, who has been a massive liability in pass protection over Ugoh, is disturbing. I hope the reason is because Ugoh didn't get the practice time last week that CJ did (which is what Polian said). If the Colts plan on going with CJ at left tackle for the rest of the year, I don't think the line will ever improve. He's not an NFL caliber left tackle. He's proven that over the past 12 months. If Ugoh is wimping out, and the coaches are tired of it, that could be a major blow to this team.

Polian also suggested that part of the problem with the offensive rhythm is that Manning is having to slow everything up to make sure the protection is correct. There are so many new players and rookies playing, that the team can't go with a pure no huddle hurry up. This will hopefully improve with time.

Links:

Easterbrook makes the same mistake others made when comparing Manning to Brady. Only this time it's Manning to Manning. Comparing Peyton's first five years to Eli or Brady's or ANY OTHER QB WHO DIDN'T START WEEK ONE is simply not fair. Sure, if you take Peyton's 13 losses and 27 picks on an awful team and average those in with his first five years, his numbers are comparable to some guys who didn't start right away. If someday you want to compare Peyton to Joe Flacco, Matty Ice, or even very appropriately Ben Rothlesberger in the first five seasons, then fine. Otherwise, use years 2-6. It's a better comparison set. Look, I love Eli because Peyton loves Eli, but if you are going to do comparisons then make them apples to apples.

PK tries his hand at analysis. He could have just said, "yeah, the O-line is a mess". That would have done it.

The Colts/Texans game will be replayed on NFL network tonight at 8.

15 comments:

Shake'n'bake said...

I'm hoping they are just trying to get Ugoh all the way healthy. Able to play and healthy are far from the same thing.

I haven't followed Ugoh closely this year, but the only mistake I've seen from him was a play in the Minnesota game where he pass blocked to the inside where there was no one to block, leaving Tom Santi one on one with Jared Allen.

It was clear last season that a healthy Ugoh is miles better than Charlie Johnson, so I'm assuming that they played Charlie Johnson at LT because they didn't have a healthy Ugoh.

Shake'n'bake said...

Also if you watch the highlights from Sunday you'll see Charlie Johnson doing nearly the same thing (but worse) blocking no one to the inside while Mario Williams gets a full head of steam then takes on Addai and drives him into Peyton.

Westside Rob said...

I'm with you on being "concerned" about Ugoh. I agree with Shake that I haven't seen any glaring problems in his play but his desire has been called into question by many outside the team, and you have to wonder if the team playing CJ this week is some indication of the Colts seeing that too. I'm with Shake in hoping that it's just a get him 100% healthy and ready for Baltimore type of strategy but I'm definitely concerned.

I have to admit that the Pitock retirement plays into my fears as well, since the scouting report on him was HUGE heart but not top level talent...then he retires after a year? If the guy with the Huge heart and the smaller pay check walks away it seems reasonable to fear someone people are openly questioning about heart and who got a bigger paycheck might also walk away. If he does this team is definitely in for a tough year or two. You can't be an elite team in the NFL without a solid line and in particular a strong LT.

Bob M. said...

Well, if Ugoh IS the problem, and I am not sure that is the case (but then again, who knows what goes on inside someone else's head), it sounds to me like we trade our 1 and 2 round picks in April for a top-10 slot to get the first or second best LT around. Not a very Colts-way to handle things, but desperate times.... The way things are going right now, we'd be in the middle of the draft round (which might cost us a 1st and a 3rd to get 6 slots higher), but none of us really expects that. WE NEED OL SOLIDITY AND STABILITY. We don't need the greatest guys in the world, but we need steady, talented, very smart ones.
ugh.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Actually, the play you mentioned with Santi wasn't Ugoh's fault. The scheme was designed for Santi to be so wide as to force Allen into Ugoh. Santi's job was to not let Allen outside. If he had done his job, Ugoh would have been in position. Santi blew that play by just not being wide enough. Ugoh did give up a sack against the Bears.

I'm not saying Ugoh is a problem on the field, just that he might not want to play hurt as much as say...

Jeff "Ring of Honor" Saturday

Westside Rob said...

IF (and I think even those of us who are "concerned" aren't really suggesting this is true) Ugoh is not fully committed to football, are there any mediocore to rebuilding teams with decent to good LT's that might want to trade before the trade deadline? I doubt it and I even more HIGHLY doubt the Colts would do anything but just as a BIG "What If". Charlie Johnson is likely to eventually get Peyton hurt and I think we'd all like to avoid that so if TU isn't the answer we better find one sooner rather then later.

Shake'n'bake said...

Charlie hasn't been awful so far. I don't trust him at LT still, but if Diem keeps struggling and Federkiel isn't ready or able play tackle I might be pro Johnson at RT.

Anyone know who gave up the first(?) Mario Williams sack, the one that wasn't him bulling through Addai? He was moving sides through the game and I don't know if Ugoh played at all at LT. That leaves it pretty up in the air. Diem, CJ, Ugoh, maybe he stunted through the middle. Anybody know?

Deshawn Zombie said...

Forget about trades. Trades in the NFL just don't happen in season. The Booger deal was a once a decade thing.

CJ was awful at right tackle too last year. I can't imagine being in favor him playing anywhere outside. I'm downloading the game via bit torrent right now, but it'll take awhile.

Hopefully I'll have some answers by the time we record 18 Plays tomorrow night.

Shake'n'bake said...

that's why there were two ifs and a might in front of CJ at RT

Shake'n'bake said...

Another request on something to look for on the tape, what happened on Manning's pick? I had forgotten about it until it was mentioned in King's column. I don't remember any of the circumstances around it. Play by play says deep middle to Clark, 23 yards downfield.

It looks like CBS is giving me the Colts game this week, I'm definately DVRing every game they give me from now on.

Deshawn Zombie said...

It was an meaningless deep ball at the end of the first half. The Colts had about 20 seconds to get in FG range, and Manning sort of threw one up for grabs to Clark. No big deal. A lot of teams would have just knealt on it.

Shake'n'bake said...

Thanks, I knew there was a reason I forgot it. I guess I should have checked the time on the play by play too.

Shake'n'bake said...

Colts up one spot in the DVOA ratings. Also DVOA doesn't think the Colts special teams are all that improved. They went from awful to just bad. However through the first 3 games (not updated for this week yet) both the kickoff and punt teams have been above the league average kick returns has been the biggest weakness, but punt returns and FG/XP are also below average.

Demond Sanders said...

Yeah, it is kind of silly to lump punting, field goal kicking, returning, and coverage into one category. Those are much different skill sets.

But given how huge a weakness coverage has been, being average is a big deal.

Shake'n'bake said...

you can see what a big deal just average is by how bad losing TJ Rushing dropped the Colts ST ratings. With Rushing's numbers from last year they'd be above average for ST as a whole.