Colts Looking to Regain Mojo

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The Colts thrashing by the Patriots last Sunday Night proved that the team still has a way to go before they live up to all the hype that has been thrown at them prior to the season’s start. The team is still in first place in the AFC South and will most likely win the division again, yet something doesn’t seem quite right with this team.  The Texans have been tougher than expected which makes this a critical game for the Colts trajectory for the rest of the season.  Luckily, the opponent on Sunday are none other than the “Glitter Kitties,” or more commonly known by their real moniker, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

However, the Colts should not take this team lightly.  Although the Jaguars have been dominated by the Colts in the last few games and most of their existence, their team is looking to shock the world just as Oakland did to Kansas City this last Thursday.  Jacksonville comes in to the game as a double digit underdog by Vegas (+14), but the Colts have many questions to answer for themselves after letting Jonas Gray run over them and the loss of Ahmad Bradshaw after sustaining a season ending injury.  Dwayne Allen is also banged up and will miss the game along with starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus. The defense reeling after the complete domination by the Patriots will be without another starter, Greg Toler, which means next man up Josh Gordy most likely fills in. It easy to see why the Colts can not afford to look past the Jaguars.

So what can this team do to get back on course? For starters, not change a thing on offense except for moving on from the loss of Bradshaw.  As much as a devastating blow that it was, I feel that Daniel “Boom” Herron may be just what this team needs to give the suddenly struggling run game a jump start. Don’t mistake me when I talk up Herron – he won’t shatter any records and probably won’t unseat Trent Richardson, but he provides a change of pace compared to the bruising style that both Bradshaw and Richardson display.  Herron has a similar running style to former Colt, Donald Brown.  He had his most successful season last year after learning how to hit the holes with his speed and Herron has the same opportunity to show coaching staff he can do similar things.

Look for Luck to rely heavily on tight end Coby Fleener, who was one of the few bright spots in the loss last week.  Fleener should have no problem getting open against the Jaguars secondary as the only issue with Coby seems to be himself.  The team also has Jack Doyle who has been slowly improving and the recently signed Weslye Saunders who is familiar to the team. Look for all of them to help out both the run game and the passing offense.  No worries on the receiving corps as the Colts still are loaded with talent for Luck.  One intriguing move after the Colts loss was the signing of return specialist Josh Cribbs,  which led to today’s release of Griff Whalen, who just wasn’t athletic enough to be the game changer in the return game the team needed. Enter Josh Cribbs.  The only question with him is how much is left in his tank.

The biggest question mark remaining involves the Colts defense, which looked horrible to put it mildly last week.  I’ve been on the record saying that I don’t think much can be done to improve the defense at this point in the season, but they should be able to manhandle Jaguar’s rookie quarterback Blake Bortles.  Arthur Jones makes his return to the lineup, but will it be enough to make the difference that many thought that he could provide?  The defense got run over by the Patriots but expect the team to come out strong and show Coach Pagano that they are still buying into his style of coaching.  So what does all of the mean?  Look for the Colts to run away with this one, 35-14.  Just the type of game this team needs to get their confidence back!

Dungy, Harrison and Edge: Are They HOF Worthy?

The list of the 26 semi-finalists to be part of the 2015 NFL Hall of Fame class have been announced.  There are many great that we all grew up watching and even emulated when we were throwing the pigskin around with friends and family.  Guys like Ty Law, Terrell Davis, Kevin Greene, Tim Brown and Kurt Warner were on our TV screens or on our radios throughout childhood.

Those are just a few of the great men who were fortunate enough to make the cut.  However, there were three that will grab the attention of each person in the Colts Nation.  Former head coach Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James made the list and we are all excited for them.  All three have resumes that show why they made the cut and why they deserve to have a gold jacket and bronze bust in Canton.  Sadly however they may not make it as only a select few out of the list of 26 will be enshrined forever.  Let’s breakdown these three players and see what makes them Canton-worthy.

EdgerrinJames2Edgerrin James, or “Edge,” as we all call him, was a savior of sorts when he arrived in Indy in 1999.  The Colts already had Marvin Harrison and Peyton Manning in place but needed another member of the offense to help spread it out.  Edge was able to do just that.  A dual threat runner as he could beat you with his feet or his hands.  Not to mention he would knock your head off while blocking in the backfield.  Edge was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1999 while also winning the NFL rushing title; a feat no one has accomplished since.  Edge also won the rushing title in his second year but suffered a torn ACL in 2001 and missed most of the season.  He was able to bounce back in 2003, 2004 and 2005 with 1500 yards of rushing each season.  He is the Colts all-time leading rusher and the fastest player to 12,000 yards from scrimmage in NFL history – tied with LaDamian Tomlinson.  He is the youngest player in NFL history to reach 12,000 yards however.  He is also #11 on the NFL All-Time rushing list.  All the players ahead and a few below him on the list are enshrined in Ohio, except for Jerome Bettis, who sits in the #6 spot.  Edge is also 25th on the all-time all-purpose yardage list.

I would say that Edge has done enough to make the final cut but there are men ahead of him who deserve it a little more.  I’m sure Edge will be put in the Hall of Fame before it’s all said and done, but I just don’t think 2015 will be his year.

Tony Dungy is someone that I do feel could be put in the HOF this year.  Dungy came to Indy and turned this team around.  He did the same for Tampa Bay before they cut him loose for no apparent reason.  Dungy carries a .668 winning percentage in the regular season and a .474 winning percentage in the playoffs.  Dungy also helped put the team together that brought the first Lombardi trophy to Indianapolis.  He, along with Lovie Smith from Chicago, were the first African American men to be the head coach of a team playing for the Super Bowl.  That’s not a huge stat but that is huge nonetheless.  Dungy may not carry the same big winning percentage that fellow HOF-hopeful Jimmy Johnson does but he did much more for the game of football than just win games.  He brought civility to the league and a face of a franchise that millions fell in love with and still love him as he broadcasts for Sunday Night Football on the NBC.

I believe that Dungy does deserve this honor.  However, having to go up against a coach like Jimmy Johnson in the same HOF class is something I don’t think he will be able to beat.  Johnson was a staple of the NFL in the early and mid-90′s and still holds a special place in the hearts of football fans all over.  Dungy will have a bust in Canton before it’s too late but this year I don’t think he will be getting the gold threads.

Colts wide receiver Harrison is seen during their AFC Divisional NFL playoff football game against the Chargers in IndianapolisFinally we come to the man that I thought should have been in last year, Marvin Harrison.  I’m not going to spend the time throwing out all of his stats and accolades to anyone.  We all know what he did and where he stands.  He is considered one of the greatest all-time wide receivers in NFL history.  He ranks in the top-5 of every receiving stat in NFL history and has one thing that may hold him back from being put where he belongs.  After he retired there was a murder investigation that involved Harrison.  Now, nothing was ever brought forward that he had anything to do with it but that still left a blemish on his nearly squeaky clean NFL resume.  I know that it shouldn’t matter what happened off the field and only on the field production matters when it come to the Hall of Fame.  Try telling that to the voters.  Harrison deserves to be put in Canton for good.  I’m not saying there aren’t more deserving guys from that position that don’t but Harrison did it all and has a Super Bowl ring.  Tim Brown doesn’t.  I love Tim Brown also.  As a man who bleed gold and blue through and through I would love to see Brown finally standing next to his bronze head in August next year.  However, if it came down to Harrison or Brown, I would choose Harrison.

Marvin deserves his glory now and I feel that he will be finally enshrined for good this upcoming year.

Bradshaw Done For Season – What’s Next?

Our worst fears became a reality today.

Ahmad Bradshaw, the Colts leading rusher this season, suffered a broken ankle in Sunday night’s beat down and is done for the season.

The Colts immediately signed veteran running back and kick returner Josh Cribbs, but that may be as a replacement for Griff Whalen, who lately has looked like he forgot the basics of football.

So, what should the Colts do? They could just roll with T-Rich and Boom for the remainder of the season and maybe elevate somebody from the practice squad. Or, they could make a splash and sign one of the recently released big-name running backs who became unemployed today – Ben Tate or LeGarrette Blount.

As soon as it was announced that these two running backs were available the Twitter world exploded saying the Colts should go after one of them.

Should they?

Let’s break it down.

Tate, a name we should know as he has spent the last few years terrorizing the Colts D when he was with the Houston Texans, was brought in by Cleveland to be their starting running back, and subsequently was released after 10 games – Red Flag.

Tate amassed 333 yards and four TDs during his time in Cleveland this year but has gained over 2,300 yards in just 3+ seasons, which isn’t too shabby considering he was used primarily as a backup in Houston. I’m not a fan of Cleveland and barely know who their coach is so I do not follow the team closely so I’m unsure if there were any locker room issues which led to Tate’s release – perhaps he was just outplayed by guys who were less expensive.

And then there is Blount. I’ll be frank – if the Colts make an effort to sign Blount I may have to cheer against them for the time being. Blount is a cancer – he has been since his final year at Oregon when he was suspended for 10 games for punching an opposing player after a game.

Obviously we all remember what Blount did against the Colts in the playoffs last season (166 yards & 4 TDs), but that was against our less-than-stellar defensive. He followed up that performance with a 5-carry, 6-yard effort the following week against Denver in the AFC Championship.

Does Blount have talent? Sure he does. He wouldn’t be in the NFL if he sucked, but there’s obviously a reason why he just got bounced from his third team in five years. Throw in the fact that before he played a single game for the Steelers he was arrested for marijuana possession. Blount has bad news written all over him. If the Colts make a run at him they need to offer him the absolute league minimum and include a zero tolerance clause in his contract that if he embarrasses this team or city in anyway way he is cut immediately.

If the Colts are going to make a move I would have to put my money on Tate. He’s younger than Blount by a year and carries less off-the-field baggage and in my opinion, is just as talented.

It’s your move, Mr. Grigson.

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