I took some time out this weekend for a brief chat with my Chat Sports counterpart who covers the Indianapolis Colts about the upcoming game this weekend. Here are his thoughts on the state of the Colts, and other musings:
Q. Peyton Manning is out, how are Colts fans reacting? Have they lost all hope for the season?
It’s pretty rough in Indianapolis. I don’t think there is one player in the NFL that affects his team more than Manning. Some people have lost hope but more people are just uncertain. It all depends on when #18 gets back on the field and that is pretty up in the air.
Q. Would it be weird to wear a Manning jersey to the game this week?
· No, I don’t think so. Manning is still the face of the franchise. Whether he is playing or not, if someone mentions the Colts, the first person that comes to mind is Peyton. I’ve read too many articles saying Manning could be done for good or the Colts could trade him, etc etc. I think that’s ridiculous. This guy has at least three more solid years in him and doesn’t want to play for anyone else. And more importantly, the Colts don’t want him playing anywhere else.
Q. Is this a must win game for the Colts this week if they have any hope of salvaging the season?
I actually just wrote about this. Best-case scenario for the Colts is that Manning returns by Week 9. And really, what else are you going to do as a Colts fan besides hope for that scenario? Should this happen, Indy has to play seven more games without Peyton. If the Colts can win three games in that stretch, Manning at least has a shot at getting this team to the playoffs. So is this a must-win? I don’t believe so but it is one of their weaker opponents and it is a home game so they should view it as a must-win. They need to start somewhere.
Q. Jim Caldwell has coached in a Super Bowl, is it possible that he is still more anonymous than Browns' coach Pat Shurmur? Would people recognize him on the streets of Indy?
People would recognize him. Indianapolis is an underrated football city. They have a great fan base. But…would everyone? No doubt he is not as well known as those coaches such as Rex Ryan, Bill Belichick, Mike Tomlin, and so on. He doesn’t have that long of a résumé and is a pretty quiet guy. I’d have to say Caldwell is more known just because he has that Super Bowl and has been head coach for a couple years now.
Q. If Kerry Collins should falter, retire, or die of old age before the end of the season, which young backup has looked more promising--Curits Painter or Dan Orlovsky?
Yeah, how old is that guy? All I know is he is sporting all grey hair. Curtis Painter has been there longer and knows the offense better. He has the blessing of Reggie Wayne and that has to count for something. The reports out of camp said that Painter looked solid. To be frank, I never was fully on board with playing Collins, no questions asked. Curtis Painter deserved a shot. Orlovsky is okay but doesn’t have the feel for the offense like Painter. And something about him being a part of the 0 and 16 Lions team just bothers me.
Q. The Browns started more QB's last season than the Colts have in 13 years. Is it possible the Universe is just trying to even things out?
Hahaha that would be one way to look at it. I mean every team has to go through those stretches without a franchise quarterback. Certainly, the Colts have enjoyed more consistency than almost any other team in the league during that stretch. It had to come to an end at some point.
Q. On a serious note, the Browns will probably attempt to pound Peyton Hillis all day, other than stopping him what are the keys to winning for the Colts.
- Yeah, Hillis may very well give Indy fits. Defensively, you need to get after Colt McCoy. He is still young and prone to make mistakes and the Colts have a fierce pass rush with Freeney and Mathis. If they can get the Browns into some clear passing situations, let them loose. Offensively, simplify things for Collins. Get him comfortable with some short passes. Try to get the running game going. If that succeeds, you may have receivers one on one and that matchup bodes well for Indy.