We learned one thing on Sunday morning, this Colts team is simply not very good.
The Colts traveled across the pond to London to play a divisional foe in the Jacksonville Jaguars. Many were excited, and many probably thought this would be a trip that they would never want to forget.
After their 30-27 loss to the previously winless Jaguars, now all they want to do is forget.
The Jaguars aren’t any good. They have playmakers like Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, and others, but they merely aren’t a team that will give most NFL head coaches worry. Many even thought that their head coach Gus Bradley was going to be without a job after this weekend.
Instead the Colts gave the Jaguars their second win in their last ten games.
Who else did they beat in that span?
Oh yeah that’s right, the Indianapolis Colts.
What’s the problem with the Colts? They don’t learn. They never make adjustments. Not their head coach, general manager, or their players. It seems as if the same thing occurs week in and week out. Go down by double digits in the first half and see if Andrew Luck can lead them to a miraculous fourth quarter comeback.
Of course that isn’t head coach Chuck Pagano’s game plan every Sunday. No one in his or her right mind would actually do this and think that it would succeed in this league, but it sure does seem like that’s what the Colts are trying to do.
What did the Colts struggle with in their first game of the season against Detroit? Offensive line play.
What did they struggle with against Denver? Missed tackles and turnovers.
What did they struggle with yesterday? Every damn thing besides running the ball and kicking. It was a team effort of sheer lousiness.
Do you notice a trend?
Nothing changes. No one makes adjustments. It’s the same problems week after week. The best teams in this league make adjustments every week to better their team, but not the Colts. Sure they probably try, but is trying simply enough?
Money is made in this league off of outcomes, not effort.
Luck was sacked on Sunday for a career high six times. Yes, they started three rookies in Ryan Kelly, Joe Haeg, and Austin Blythe on the offensive line, but the biggest problem wasn’t the rookies. They struggled, but no one expects rookies to come in right away and not struggle. It was their $43 million investment Anthony Castonzo.
Ever since Castonzo got his money in 2015 he has regressed. He continues to get beat, as he did twice yesterday, leading to Luck lying helplessly on his backside.
Does everyone remember what happened to Roy Hibbert after the Pacers gave him a $58 million contract?
The similarities of the Hibbert/Castonzo comparison is producing a lot of worry in Indianapolis.
Now in no way do I think it’s all his fault, as GM Ryan Grigson fails miserably to put quality players on the field and the players failed to show any effort yesterday, but I’m going to rip on Pagano a bit for a moment.
Pagano always mentions that he doesn’t want his offense to go fast because he is worried the defense will tire too quickly and get stuck on the field for too long. A valid argument, but what about teams like Atlanta and Pittsburgh? They go fast and it seems to work.
Why do the Colts have so much success in the fourth quarter? It’s because they are losing by double digits and are forced to play a hurry up, no huddle offense that works with ease.
When the Colts play fast it equals points. It’s that simple. Fast equals points. It basically has Luck’s entire career, and it did for some of Peyton Manning’s career as well, but instead of making adjustments, Pagano and the Colts coaching staff keep trying to establish the run and play slow in the first half.
Stop being so damn stubborn and try something new. Get creative. If you try the no huddle offense and it proves to be disastrous then okay that’s understandable, at least you tried, but how does one find out anything in life unless they give it a go?
Here’s another argument.
Pagano doesn’t call plays, as some head coaches in the NFL do not. That’s not an issue at all, as it is just a personal preference for many. Pagano gets paid to get the little things right.
He gets paid to get his team prepared for games. He gets paid to manage the clock correctly. He gets paid to provide discipline within his players, and he continues to fail.
The Colts were looking at a fourth and one to continue the game in the closing minute and their running back Frank Gore, who just cracked the top ten of NFL career rushing yards, is no where to be found? Even if you’re not going to give him the ball, his presence in the backfield drastically affects the defense, especially during a game where Gore had 68 yards on 16 carries (4.3 average).
One more thing.
The Jaguars were setting up for a punt with roughly 30 seconds left and the Colts lined up in a punt block formation, with no one back to catch the ball. Why does this matter?
Think about this: if you’re in that situation all the punter is trying to do is get the ball off as quick as possible. He doesn’t care how far it goes or how good of a punt it is, his job is to not get it blocked in that situation. And how often do punts actually get blocked in the NFL?
So instead of putting someone back to call fair catch, the Colts came with an all out punt block, didn’t even get remotely close to blocking it, and wasted six valuable seconds as the ball was bouncing around in their own territory.
Now some will think this is just over-analyzing the situation, but that’s what head coaches get paid to do. They’re paid an awful lot to not make those small, critical mistakes.
I put much of the blame on owner Jim Irsay. It is no secret that both Grigson and Pagano didn’t get along last season, but Irsay decided to bring them both back and extended their contract to four years anyway.
How in the hell does that make sense? I still have yet to understand the decision nearly nine months later.
I’m not saying fire Pagano and Grigson right now, but at this rate both are going to be without a job at the end of the year (or sooner).
After their loss on Sunday the Colts are now 3-8 in their last 11 games that Luck has started. They have also given up 34.5 points per game in the 26 losses of Luck’s career. I don’t care how good he is, if you’re giving up almost 35 points per game no quarterback will be able to be successful.
Thanks to the worse than mediocre talent in the AFC South, the playoffs are not completely out of the question, but it’s time to re-think some things in Indy.