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Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014

Yes, another column about the Colts

Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2011, at 6:14 PM

It seems like all football fans in Indiana can talk about these days are the Indianapolis Colts and when and or if Peyton Manning will return from his neck surgery.

I refrained from saying hapless 0-2 Indianapolis Colts.

My sidekick Rick Curl gave a wonderful dissertation about some of the wonderful signal callers that have called Indy and the Colts home over the years before Manning came from the promised land of Tennessee some 13 years ago. I chuckled at some of those great quarterback memories.

A couple of weeks ago, the biggest Colts fan I know (he probably has watched every snap since they came to Indy (several years as a season ticket holder) had a wonderful suggestion for the Polian's and the brass in Indy.

They could have saved the money they are going to pay Kerry Collins ($4 million total, including a $2.5 million signing bonus) this year and just left Curtis Painter in as the starting quarterback.

Other than the financial savings, we could have found out what kind of quarterback Painter really can be. Even if the former Purdue QB couldn't make it as a first stringer, the Colts would have been that much closer to winning the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

Luck, a quarterback from Houston, Texas, will likely be the top pick in the 2012 NFL draft out of Stanford.

One way to look at the winless start, the Colts are 1/8th of the way toward winning the top pick. After having picks in the late 20s and 30s throughout the wonderful years during the Manning area that so fans are so quick to dismiss, wouldn't it be nice to have the No. 1 pick.

If memory serves, Manning was the top pick in the 1998 draft.

I was like other fans who thought that Collins might be the answer to fill in for Manning. Although Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was a competitive football team, Collins probably wasn't given a fair shake with just 17 days to prepare for the start of the NFL season. Another great move by management.

Like all good things, we took it for granted when Peyton fired the ball to Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark and seemed to complete most of them between a host of defenders.

Other than No. 18, the Colts don't have playmakers or a great deal of athleticism. Now it shows when our receivers can't get open and Collins tries to force the ball into double coverage.

The Colts are near the bottom of the league after two games in converting on third down (less than 40 percent).

But you can't put all the blame on Collins, the Colts defense is still atrocious. They were really bad in Houston and couldn't get the Browns off the field in a 26-19 loss (closer than it sounds) Sunday in Indy.. Browns QB Colt McCoy looked like an All-Pro, partly because of Indy's lack of ability to rush the passer.

As great as Bill Polian once was, he continues to miss on high draft choices like offensive lineman Tony Ugoh, running back Donald Brown and pass rusher Jerry Hughes, to mention a few. Ugoh is long gone and Brown and Hughes rarely see the field these days.

They have tried to upgrade the offensive line, but failed miserably. Peyton could almost make it work, but not Collins, Painter or even Brett Favre.

The NFL is a crazy game. You can't count out anyone. I would not be surprised if the Colts somehow beat the Steelers Sunday night, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was Pittsburgh 45, Colts 13.

Miami, Kansas City, Minnesota, Carolina, St. Louis and Seattle are the only teams that stand in the Colts way of the promise land. The Rams and Panthers have first-rate quarterbacks, but Seattle, Minnesota and Kansas City might be even worse than the Colts. I am not sure about the Dolphins.

So as most of the fans jump ship and exit the bandwagon quicker than you can say overseas stem cell therapy, just remember at least Indy has an NFL franchise to get upset about. Never take it for granted.

Don't forget that the next time you see Jeff Linkenbach getting beat at right tackle or Ryan Diem (Mr. False Start as a friend of mine calls him) drawing a flag at right guard.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at hargisbj@gmail.com.


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