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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Colts brass needs to give Caldwell his due

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It is not hard to figure out what Colts President Bill Polian has on his mind.

As the only executive in the NFL who feels the need for both a radio and television show, he generally offers up his wisdom to us on a regular basis with no buffer and without hesitation.

The same can be said for Colts owner Jim Irsay, who has been informing (and amusing) throngs of Colts fans for some time now with his Twitter postings. Both were quick to shoot down rumors about Peyton Manning’s health and to who his replacement would be, and they generally provide the hardcore Colts fan with all the information they could ever dream of albeit very generic in many cases.

That being said, why is it so difficult to come out and offer some words of support for head coach Jim Caldwell, who has been tap dancing with the media for over a week now on who has the final say regarding playing time each week for the Colts?

Caldwell, who can only be defined as the quintessential class act, was clearly uncomfortable when asked to comment about the remarks made by the recently waived Justin Tryon stating that Caldwell wanted to start him but was overruled. The situation began when a reporter asked defensive coordinator Larry Coyer why Tryon was not playing. Coyer responded in a manner that virtually threw Caldwell under the bus noting that he liked Tryon and those inquiring about the matter would have to seek the opinion of the head coach.

Caldwell made it clear in a subsequent press conference that if he had wanted Tyron here he would still be here, but the matter still lingers largely due to the lack of a statement of support from management.

It is no secret that Polian is a control freak and rules with an iron fist.

He closely guards the authority to make personnel decisions and while he never played the game of football, he in my opinion lives vicariously through those who do. While he appeared to have a wonderfully warm and close relationship with former head coach Tony Dungy, it is widely known that they too clashed on personnel matters. Dungy once said he had to sell Polian on drafting Dwight Freeney, but it is Polian who now receives the accolades for Freeney’s accomplishments.

While Irsay is indeed signing the checks it appears to me that he is still totally enamored with Polian, enough to where he now employs two of his sons. So why is it hard to fathom that Caldwell does not have the final say on when a player hits the field or hits the bricks after being released? It really is not in my opinion, but until Polian gives his coach (notice I said his) the authority he needs and the respect he has earned, this merry go round will continue to spin and produce yet more embarrassment for Caldwell. The solution is simple, just come out and say that Caldwell does or does not have final say on who gets playing time. Make it transparent and move forward.

If the Colts brass can spend endless hours pampering Manning through the various efforts of their public relations machine, then why can’t Caldwell get a similar reprieve? While he certainly has the authority on the sidelines during the game, the coach needs clout off the felid as well.

Yes, the Colts are winless this year, but Caldwell has in my opinion restored a sense of order in the post Manning era and the Colts have played spirited football against Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay these last two games.

While they are still haunted by mental mistakes and turnovers, he has taken a team that clearly has deficiencies on both sides on the ball and done a creditable job. By not giving him the vote of confidence he deserves, the Colts are setting him up to be a scapegoat for a season that appears to be lost.

That might be fair if Caldwell was able to call all of the shots and make personnel decisions, but considering the cards he has been given to play with, it really stinks. Maybe I am old school, but what happened to taking care of your own with class and just a modicum of respect? Polian has shown a propensity for making decisions alone, his way, and on his clock.

Be that as it may, It is now time to put Caldwell in charge or put him out of his misery, and while there maybe a debate on who should be in charge, we all know who is. We are all waiting Mr. Polian, including coach Caldwell. Talk to us.


Danny Bridges, who feels Jim Caldwell is a capable, competent coach, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or at Bridgeshd@aol.com.

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