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Blog Entry

Bill Polian explains why Colts struggled in 2011

Posted on: February 23, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2012 4:31 pm
 
One man's opinion: injuries conspired to sink Indy's season in 2011. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Colts won two games in 2011. Two days into 2012, owner Jim Irsay began the house-cleaning by firing team president Bill Polian and his son, general manager Chris Polian. The front office had come under scrutiny after quarterback Peyton Manning began the season on the sidelines while he recovered from multiple neck surgeries and the team had no viable backup to replace him.

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Then there are the swings and misses with recent first-round picks that had taken some of the luster off the elder Polians' impressive roster-building resume. Excluding Anthony Castonzo, Indy's 2011 first-rounder, Polian is on the hook for Jerry Hughes ('10), Donald Brown ('09), Anthony Gonzalez ('07), and Marlin Jackson ('05), all players who have, for various reasons, failed to live up to expectations.

On Thursday, almost two months after Polian was fired, he spoke to the media about where it all went wrong. The Boston Herald's Ian Rapoport asked Polian what he learned about team-building after Manning's injury kept him in civvies on game day.

“No. 1, don’t have injuries,” he said. “And don’t have them in big bunches, either, specifically not the offensive line. And six starters on defense. You can’t overcome that. You don’t use injuries as an excuse or a crutch during the season, but when you lose, I think we lost nine starters, excluding Peyton for the bulk of the season, you can’t overcome that. That’s just the perfect storm.”

Hmm. Here's what we got from Polian: Don't use injuries as an excuse or a crutch during the season, but after the season it's fine.

Look, injuries make it that much more difficult to win in the NFL, but it's not impossible. The Packers suffered a ton of injuries in 2010, slipped into the playoffs as a No. 6 seed and won the Super Bowl. The Patriots, Giants and Steelers also lost a number of key players this season and all three teams made the playoffs, and two made it to the championship game.

Polian also admitted that the quarterback situation behind Manning was a fiasco.

“From the backup quarterback standpoint, I’ve said all along, I thought that we probably, I probably could’ve done a better job of building up that position,” he said via Rapoport. “But it wasn’t for lack of trying. We tried very hard once we knew that Peyton was going to be a long-term situation to try to make a deal for an established quarterback, but we couldn’t do it.”

Again with the qualifications -- "It wasn't from the lack of trying!" and "We tried very hard!" This isn't Pop Warner where everybody gets a trophy and trying hard is all that matters. In the NFL, players and coaches are judged on one thing: results. Ultimately, Irsay judged Polian, too, and it cost him his job. Polian did admit, however, that he has a newfound respect for what the Patriots pulled off in 2008, when Tom Brady went down in Week 1 and Matt Cassel stepped in and went 11-5 (although New England missed the playoffs).

“Well, they did a nice job,” he said. “They did a nice job. But they didn’t have… they had a great defense to go along with it, we did not. Much of it was lost to injury over the course of the season. That’s the difference between the two.”

Remind us: whose fault was it that the Colts' defense wasn't very good?

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Comments

Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:00 am
 

Bill Polian explains why Colts struggled in 2011

Bill Polian is trying save his job but placing blame on something or someone besides himself. As the GM it is his job to construct a team that has a chance of winning games. I never liked Trent Baalke but the job he did with the 49ers thus far is simply incredible. Bill Polian makes AJ Smith look like a competent GM and that's not an easy thing to do. 
WTF are you talking about? Polian was fired over a month ago, along with his son who was really acting on his behalf and was transitioning to take his dads position. What job is he trying to save? He was retiring anyway. Polian built a team that won that got to the superbowl twice, won one, and won more regular season games than any other team in the last decade. He let his son do more than should over the past 4-5 years and it has shown to be disastrous. How many games and super bowls has San Fran won in that time period?



Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:08 am
 

Bill Polian explains why Colts struggled in 2011

The Colts struggled because they are old, slow, cannot adapt and predictable.

I always though that Peyton Manning was so overrated. but after seeing how his injury affected the team...I can see why Manning IS the Colts. Simply put, the Colts are not a very good collection of talented players. Somehow, someway Manning was able to muster some goodness out of this sorry bunch of players.

Bill Polian is trying save his job but placing blame on something or someone besides himself. As the GM it is his job to construct a team that has a chance of winning games. I never liked Trent Baalke but the job he did with the 49ers thus far is simply incredible. Bill Polian makes AJ Smith look like a competent GM and that's not an easy thing to do. 



Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 23, 2012 9:24 pm
 

Bill Polian explains why Colts struggled in 2011

What Bill Polian cannot admit is that he has basically been retired for the last five years.  His unqualified son Chris Polian was named general manager and is responsible for the draft picks.  But the worst thing that Chris did is to alienate most of the Colts staff with his horrible personality.  They tried to make it look subtle but the exit of Tom Moore, Howard Mudd and many more top scouts and assistent coaches left because of Chris Polian.  These were the arcitechs of a team that won more games in a ten year period than any team ever has.  Irsay was finally cornered by the rest of his staff to get rid of Chris Polian or he was going to have his other front office people quit.  
     The leaving of the arcitechs that developed the systems that were in place made it hard for the new coaches to make adjustments without totally changing the system.  Thus, the Polian not talked about much was the one that did most of the damage.  Bill Polian was always arrogant about the backup quarterback position.  He saved that money to give other positions an upgrade when necessary. 



Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2012 8:29 pm
 

Bill Polian explains why Colts struggled in 2011

Typical arrogant Polian refusing to take any responsibilty. How about the last 5 years of his awful drafting? Maybe that might have something to do with it.



Since: Nov 30, 2007
Posted on: February 23, 2012 1:57 pm
 

Bill Polian explains why Colts struggled in 2011

That is where, to me, the Peyton vs. Brady debate is really settled.  Brady evolved into a fantastic QB, but for his first few superbowls he was an average to good QB on a team with an outstanding defense.  Once Brady became the elite QB he is today, the Patriots were no longer the dominant team they once were when it came to winning Super Bowls.  Peyton's Colts have never had a good defense.  Using Super Bowl wins to determine individual greatness is idiotic.  Football is the ultimate team sport, and a Super Bowl win is a team win.  Brady played on far better teams that Peyton did, so the fact that Peyton was able to keep the Colts in the same teir proves that he was the better individual QB.



Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: February 23, 2012 1:56 pm
 

Bill Polian explains why Colts struggled in 2011

I think it's hilarious that the owner can't just be honest and say they stunk beacause they lost Petyon Manning.  I know that's kind of disrespectful to the other players, but everybody knows it.  Would the Colts have gone 14-2 and made it to the Super Bowl? Probably not.  But would they have gone 10-6 or 11-5 and made the playoffs.  Absolutely.  We've seen in the past, it doesn't matter who gets hurt on offense as long as it's not Manning.  Throw any RBs and WRs in there, Manning will have a top 5 offense.  He made Dallas Clark look like the best TE in the league for so long.  He made guys who were 4th string WRs on other teams look like #1 or #2 guys.  He was the best QB in the NFL before getting hurt.


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