It didn’t take long after Sunday’s drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams for the fans to light up the post-game show phone lines, and for once I actually felt badly for the hosts as they fielded one complaint call after another from the disgruntled fan base who generally felt the performance from their beloved Indianapolis Colts was totally unacceptable. I guess that whole 46-9 final score rubbed them the wrong way and prompted a thought process that goes much further than the health of one Andrew Luck.
What this old scribe can’t comprehend is what was really so surprising about the debacle they witnessed at the Los Angeles Coliseum, and why the sudden rage? Perhaps you didn’t factor in the roster the Colts closed out with last season as being rather anemic by NFL standards, and despite the numerous new faces this year under first-year General Manager Chris Ballard, that same roster is still lacking in terms of first-rate professional talent. Factor in a large number of injuries, and you get what happened on the West Coast, and while many of you out there expected a closer game, I did tell you last week on local sports talk radio they’d get blown out.
Before you dismiss me as a Mr. Know It All, remember that I also said the quagmire the team is currently in goes a lot further than the absence of Andrew Luck. Sure, things would improve with a totally healthy Luck under center, but there are still more holes in this roster than a block of gourmet cheese. I, for one, (obviously in the minority here) believe things can and will get better, but it won’t happen nearly quickly enough for all of you who pay for tickets, $9 beers and $30 parking spots to tailgate in. I get it, as I don’t pay a cent to sit in the press box and offer my perspective to you good people, but that doesn’t make me incorrect or, better yet, oblivious to the pain that a blowout loss brings to your doorstep.
Let’s start with Luck, as the Colts organization has not been transparent with you regarding his shoulder. It was a really bad injury, and there’s no guarantee that every patient will respond to the procedure and be good as new again. Personally I think No. 12 will not be effective this year for the Colts, but it doesn’t mean he will not play again this season and possibly make things a little more tolerable. Note the word tolerable, as I think that’s what you diehards should strive for in terms of expectations. Everyone said Chris Ballard would rebuild the roster, and that means a rebuilding year, so take a deep breath and relax. The sky isn’t falling, and you still have to go to work and pay your mortgage, so sit back and let the current reality sink in as you revamp your fantasy football team to be more like the one you thought the Colts would be. Remember, baby steps here, please.
Many of you think coach Charles Edward Pagano should be jettisoned out of his office and into the unemployment line, but that, too, is beyond hasty just one game into the season. There are plenty of people who know more than I do about football, and they seem to be split on my analysis when I pick their brains about it. Pagano can’t instill talent into a player, and he certainly can’t wave a magic wand in terms of an abundance of injuries. If things go really south, Irsay will have to eat his contract, but we are a long way from that being the case. Again, patience, as this is a multiple-step process to achieve the greatness you are clamoring for, Colts fans. It won’t happen in its entirety this year, and it certainly may take longer than you’d like in terms of the overall time frame. This isn’t New England or Green Bay or Pittsburgh. They reload; you must rebuild.
In the interim, the Colts must let young, inexperienced players get the snaps and try to mine a diamond or two in the rough. That’s not nearly enough for those of you out there who want backup quarterback Scott Tolzien burned at the stake, but it’s going to have to do for now. The ship hasn’t sunk, even though there is intrepid water in the galley, but there are winnable games on the schedule, and something tells me future losses won’t be attributed to a lack of effort as much as a lack of talent. So go ahead and paint your face, slip on those expensive authentic jerseys and file through the turnstiles this Sunday. A great team? Not hardly, but they are your team, and things will get better.
In the interim, curse the referees the same way you always do on game day, and have another go at getting on the Kiss Cam during a timeout. Yeah, your Colts are wobbly, but they’ll develop their collective legs eventually. The question is, will you be realistic and allow such? Probably not, but in the end, you’ll wish you had.
Danny Bridges, who will sleep like a baby if the Colts go 0-16, but wants you to rest comfortably after a win this weekend, can be reached at (317) 370-8447 or Bridgeshd@aol.com.