Monday, September 25, 2006

Hard Hearts

I was about to make a really insightful argument about how the Colts improved so much on their defense last year with the addition of Corey Simon, and that the fact that he hasn't played a down this year is a large part of why the rush defense this year has been as porous as Bush's justification for going to war. It was to be a response to Shane, who wanted to know why the Colts' rush defense can't stop anyone.

Then I started looking at stats on ESPN's website and discovered that the Colts were ranked 11th, 29th, 11th, and 8th the last four years in total defense. And that destroys my argument.

And that's the thing with the Colts. You can't explain anything with numbers. If you go to the numbers, there is no reason in the world that this team should still be without a Super Bowl victory.

I really hate to say this next part. Really. Because I admire Tony Dungy, and I think he is one of the best coaches in the league.

But Tony Dungy is never going to win a Super Bowl. Ever. What he will always, always do is leave a team ready for Jon Gruden to get them there the year after he gets fired.

What's worse, maybe, is that this Colts team (and the one last year, and the one the year before that) just might be good enough to get the job done in spite of their coach. Except that Manning has too much respect and love for Dungy, and will always defer to what the coach wants, and what the coach thinks they should do. The rest of the team, in turn, has too much respect and love for Manning, and will always defer team leadership to him.

Both of these situations are as they should be. The coach should lead the team, and the quarterback should lead the players, in that order. The problem is that we have Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning for those jobs, and as good as those guys are, they are not Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. (It was really, really hard to write that last sentence - Jason Maier can now officially give me crap for the rest of my life.) They are not Mike Holmgren and Brett Favre. They are not Jon Gruden and...uh, yeah.

I don't want to say that Dungy and Manning are soft; and I don't want to say that they don't have heart. I don't believe that.

I believe that they are hard, and that they have hearts. Which makes them sort of hard-hearted. Kind of like Pharaoh in Exodus, according to a book that purports to be a set of instructions on how to avoid an afterlife that would annoy even Joan of Arc. Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to allow Moses to round up his homies and get the hell out of Dodge, so to speak. If you believe that kind of thing. He is alleged to have done it more than once, too, if you can dig it.

If only Dungy and Manning would harden their hearts and call the damn naked bootleg a little more often. Not every game. I don't want to see Peyton Manning running freely AND holding a football at the same time too often, you understand. But once in awhile. Throw a little cayenne pepper into the jambalaya. Bring some snakes on the plane. Shake it like you just don't care. Whatever.

Everybody watching that game was fooled by that naked bootleg, and that's what the Colts need to do a little more often. They need to make a bit of room in the playbook for the kind of play that will fake out even the cameraman. Or cameraperson. Teleplay machine operator?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I'm very happy that your first blog is about THE COLTS!!! (Not as effective as 'DA BEARS', but said with the same tone...)

You REALLY can't look at the numbers from today's game. BY ALL MEANS we should have lost. We were behind in EVERY major category. But, the scoreboard at the end of the game is what counts - and we held on with more points!

You make some good points - as much as I don't want to agree with them.

So, here's the one thing I'm going to hope: That on Feb. 4, 2007 - you're telling me "Shane, I was wrong. And you were right. The Colts finally finished it."

Here's to hope...