Tag:Jim Irsay
Posted on: March 29, 2011 11:56 am

Offseason Checkup: Indianapolis Colts

Posted by Will Brinson


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While the Colts were (*YAWN*) winning their ninth straight division title last year, holding off challenges from, I don’t know, the Jaguars I guess, Indianapolis showed cracks in its foundation that will have to be rectified if the Colts plan to continue dominating the AFC South.

Remember when the Texans upset Indianapolis in the season opener, and we (or at least, I) thought it was a brand new day in that division? Remember when, with the 38-35 loss to the Cowboys in Week 13, we wondered if Indianapolis, 6-6 at the time, would even make the postseason? Well, the Colts corrected themselves to win the final four games of the regular season, winning three of three division contests in the process, to earn the chance to lose to the Jets in the first round of the playoffs.

The Colts, though, no longer seem infallible. They’re, in fact, awfully beatable, and they’ll have to make some corrections this offseason to make it 10-straight championships.

Running game, head coaching questions

The Colts haven’t compiled a top-10 rushing attack since 2001, but that hasn’t stopped them from taking home nine-straight 10-win (or better) seasons since then (for the record, Indianapolis had the No. 7 rushing offense in the league in 2001, but the team finished 6-10). Last year, though, you could see the lack of a top-notch back to bail out QB Peyton Manning when he wasn’t playing well was a real detriment to the team.

The Colts ranked 29th in the run game last season with 92.7 yards per game. Hey, it’s an improvement on 2009 (32nd in the run game with 80.9 yards per game), but still, it’s not good enough.

Regarding Jim Caldwell, is anybody convinced he’s the next coaching legend? His record is outstanding, but the critics would say you could throw any old guy wearing a headset out there and pay him to watch Manning win games for you. I’m not saying those critics are right; I’m just saying it’s something to think about (though it’s not a great thing that owner Jim Irsay had to give him a vote of confidence after the 2010 season).

1. Better quality offensive linemen
This partly ties into the running game, but the Colts are in need of a solid group of guys to protect Manning. C Jeff Saturday is fine anchoring the middle of the line, though he’s in his mid-30s now, and while the line improved late in the season (not that it had anywhere to go but up), a left tackle would be nice so Charlie Johnson could move to the right side of the line. Manning does a nice job of getting the ball off quickly (which is why he doesn’t take many sacks), but you don’t want him taking more hits than he must. Although the Colts hardly ever draft offensive linemen in the early rounds of the draft – Bill Polian just doesn’t do it – this year might not be a bad idea to start.

2. Run-stopping DT
While Fili Moala, in 2010, had a big improvement over his rookie season, the Colts still ranked 25th in run defense. That’s why many mock drafts have Indianapolis selecting Oregon State’s Stephen Paea with the No. 22 pick (Polian also isn’t a fan of taking DTs very high in the draft). There’s little question that DEs Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney don’t have a problem finding the quarterback. But in order for the Colts to make deeper playoff runs – and four times in the past six postseasons, they’ve failed to win a game (the other two times, they made the Super Bowl) – they need somebody who can stop the run.

3. Backup QB
It’s time to stop thinking of Manning as an immortal Superman who rarely makes mistakes and never gets hurt. Instead, Manning was more mistake-prone than usual last year (his 17 interceptions were the most since 2002), and his backup, Curtis Painter, is simply not starting NFL quarterback quality. The problem here is that Manning – who is still a top-five quarterback, for sure – is going to make sooo much money the remainder of his career, Indianapolis probably can’t afford to bring in a quality, start-on-a-dime signal-caller. So, for now, the Colts will continue to pray the 35-year-old Manning doesn’t fall off a cliff (figuratively and literally).

Caldwell took a ton of heat after the Colts playoff loss to the Jets for calling an ill-advised timeout that allowed the Jets to regroup and win the game at the last minute. Sure, he’s 24-8 (2-2 in the postseason) in his two years in Indianapolis, but Caldwell isn’t shown the same respect as his predecessor Tony Dungy (one was the leader of the team, some say, and one is basically a figurehead coach).

On offense, though, Manning is the one running the offense, and how he plays usually is how the Colts go. For now, Indianapolis will be fine, because Manning is still really, really good. But what if he’s not next year? Is Caldwell the guy who can right the ship if everything is going bonkers? Frankly, we don’t know for sure. It shouldn’t matter this year or next (unless Manning gets hurt). But soon enough, that question will be the most relevant one to ask.

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Posted on: March 21, 2011 10:07 pm

Irsay irritated with Manning contract delay

Irsay, Manning Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Colts owner Jim Irsay will pay QB Peyton Manning the franchise tag fee of $23 million for next season, and the two were working toward a long-term deal that, by all indications, was going to make him the highest-paid NFL player in history.

Yet, the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement before the NFL owners locked out the players, so for now, the contract is up in the air (and, depending on what happens with a new CBA, which might or might not allow franchise tags (though it probably will), where Manning plays next season also is up in the air. Theoretically, at least).

Irsay talked with reporters today in New Orleans during the first day of owners meetings, and when asked why the Colts couldn’t get done a deal with Manning, Irsay responded by saying they needed to ask Manning’s agent the same question.

“It should get done," Irsay said, via Comcast Sports New England. "If you ask me, it should have gotten done. You'll have to ask Tom Condon why it's not done."

Irsay has said in the past that he’ll make Manning the highest-paid QB in the world (for now, that honor belongs to New England’s Tom Brady, who got a four-year, $72 million extension), so assuming he’s already offered a larger contract than what Brady got at the beginning of last season, you have to wonder how high the ceiling is for Condon and Manning.

Maybe Irsay is wondering the same thing.

"It should get done," he said. "I would have thought it would have been done already. But these things get done when they do."

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Posted on: March 2, 2011 7:14 pm

Nothing resolved; no votes taken at meeting

Goodell and D. Smith Posted by Clark Judge

CHANTILLY, Va. – NFL owners left their one-day meeting Wednesday afternoon with nothing resolved and no votes taken, which is not what I'd call good news. Though spokesman Greg Aiello acknowledged that no decision regarding a possible lockout was taken by league owners, he also acknowledged that a vote of owners is not required.

That authority, he said, belongs to the Management Council's executive committee, and it hasn't made a decision what it does if the current agreement expires.

"We didn't vote on anything," Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay said after the three-hour meeting. "It was more a thorough update and a chance to ask questions and that sort of thing. We didn't break the room with a lockout vote or anything like that that was initiated. It was really a complete update for us to ask questions.

"Going through these things in the 70s and 80s I never have expectations because it changes. It's a chessboard that moves around and things change, and things happen at unusual hours. So I don't want to put any certainty on what the evening will bring and tomorrow. You just never know."

Commissioner Roger Goodell and general counsel Jeff Pash stayed behind to meet with the 10 members of the league's labor committee, but there was no indication if they would stay through the evening or into Thursday. There is a mediation session scheduled Thursday morning between the league and the NFL Players Association. But there doesn't appear to be enough progress to make anyone optimistic.

"I'm sure you guys will hear the 'Vegas rule,' " said Irsay. "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So i guess it's been the 'Vegas rule' on that. It's important to have some sanctity in the rooms where negotiations are happening. From my personal perspective, there's always progress when you're talking and working forward."

Nevertheless, when Aiello was asked if he was optimistic a labor stoppage could be avoided before Thursday at midnight ... or that a settlement could be reached ... he reacted with mock surprise.

"Optimism?" he said. "It's difficult to make those kinds of predictions. We'll leave that to you."

Aiello said no action was taken toward launching an appeal -- or at least considering the action -- following Judge David Doty's ruling Tuesday that the NFL cannot withhold $4 billion in TV money for the 2011 season. He also said the league has not decided what -- if anything -- it would do if the players' union decertified prior to Thursday at midnight, as it said it would, a move that could prevent a lockout.

"That's a speculative question," said Aiello. "We'll have to wait and see what the developments are, and we'll respond accordingly."

This entry was cross-posted from the Punt, pass and Judge blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Posted on: March 2, 2011 6:36 pm

Owners meet, disband, don't say much

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Though the NFL owners meeting that took place in Chantilly, Va., today has broken up, the 10 owners that make up the labor committee have begun another meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell.

We’re closing in on 24 hours before the CBA expires, and it doesn’t appear that anything will stop the lockout train that’s a comin’ down the tracks.

As the 22 remaining owners rushed to their vehicles to get out of town, a few briefly spoke with reporters, including those from the New York Post and NFL.com.

Said Colts owner (and Twitter enthusiast) Jim Irsay: “We're not announcing a lockout or anything like that as of tonight."

He also was asked if he expected a lockout to begin Thursday night: "I don't know. These things change. Don't want to make a prediction."

And this from Jets owner Woody Johnson: "I'm still optimistic and we've still got a few hours to go."

It sounds like the two sides will meet again Thursday, and the federal mediator could call the NFL owners and the NFLPA together tonight for another bargaining session.

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: February 18, 2011 12:19 pm

Colts release Bob Sanders

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Colts S Bob Sanders’ seven-year ride in Indianapolis is over, according to team owner Jim Irsay.

On his Twitter page, Irsay this morning wrote the following: “We have released Bob Sanders today. We thank Bob 4 all his incredible contributions from his Sup Bowl pic 2 def player of year honors.”

The move really isn’t that shocking. While Sanders is one hell of a player and perhaps the most talented safety in the game (and one of its hardest hitters), he’s dealt with injuries for most of his career that have severely limited his playing time.

In the past three seasons, he’s only played in nine of 48 regular-season games. Sure, he was the defensive player of the year in 2007 when he recorded 96 tackles, 3 ½ sacks and two interceptions, but since then, the most he’s played in a season is six games. In the past two years, he’s only played in three games.

The fact he’ll be 30 next season – and really, has given the Colts only two especially good seasons – and the fact he can’t stay healthy almost makes this move almost a no-brainer. Especially when the team would have to pay him a combined $12.5 million the next two seasons to (probably) spend most of his time in the trainer’s room.

Expect Sanders to draw big interest in the free agent market, though. He’s still talented enough to draw big money from a team in need.

UPDATED (12:17 p.m.): Sanders has released a statement of his own:

“I want to thank Mr. Irsay for the opportunity to play with the Colts. I appreciate all he and the organization did for me throughout my career, and I always will consider myself a Colt."

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Posted on: February 17, 2011 7:59 pm

Colts have offered Manning more money than Brady

Jim Irsay and P. Manning Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Colts owner Jim Irsay hastily assembled a news conference today, and he had something very interesting to say, revealing that he already had made QB Peyton Manning a better offer than the four-year, $72 million deal that Patriots QB Tom Brady signed last September. 

He wouldn’t give the exact numbers, but Irsay said he remains confident the club and Manning will come to an agreement on a long-term deal for Manning. He also claimed he’d be willing to give the soon-to-be 35-year-old Manning a five or six-year deal.

For now, the Colts plan to place the franchise tag on Manning – which would pay him a cool $23.12 million for the 2011 season. But it sounds like Manning, if he wants, will be the highest-paid player in the game.

Related: Franchise tag tracker

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Posted on: February 11, 2011 11:11 am

Irsay doesn't 'pull a Jerry' on Indy Super Bowl

Posted by Will Brinson

No NFL team has ever played the Super Bowl in its home stadium. 2010 seemed like the year that might change, with the Cowboys ripe for a run and Dallas hosting the event.

We all know what happened there and, um, "whoops"?

But what about Indianapolis? The Colts have Peyton Manning, they're always dangerous and in 2011, Indy's oil fields -- they have oil in Indy, I hope, because otherwise having their field named after oil would be just ridiculous -- will be ravaged by the same scene that overtook Dallas.

Still, Colts owner Jim Irsay is wisely staying away from building up any expectations about the possibility of his team playing in the "big game."

"Honestly, I don't even think about that," Irsay said. "I'm focused on doing whatever it takes that gives us the best shot to win this year. It's not like all of a sudden we're going to try harder this year because we have the Super Bowl. The intensity to win every year is the same and it doesn't change simply because we have the Super Bowl."

This is the smart thing to do, even though Irsay's organization is structured substantially different than the Cowboys. With Dallas, it was all about Jerry Jones' awkward desperation to get his team to the Super Bowl in their home town, and it almost felt like that pressure -- with him as owner and GM and with no true leader on the team -- helped sink their ship early on.

Irsay, meanwhile, has a team with Manning and a slew of veteran leaders, and while he might realize that the Colts' window to win with one of the all-time greats is in fact closing, he also understands that applying unnecessary pressure to his team won't do any good in the long run.

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Posted on: December 22, 2010 9:48 pm

Even Colts owner getting in on foot fetish fun?

Posted by Will Brinson

Quickly: how many jokes have been made in the past 24 hours re: Rex Ryan's [alleged] foot fetish and/or [alleged] video of his wife doing "sole action"?

Whatever you just guessed, it wasn't enough. For the first time in history of Twitter, searching for the word "fetish" won't get you fired immediately, and while we're not yet in the "viral video stage" (that should hit right in between Christmas and New Year's), everyone's in on the action. Including, I think, Colts owner Jim Irsay.

Although, can we really confirm that he's mocking Rex Ryan with that tweet? Probably not. If only there was some more sufficient evidence that he was trying to take a jab at the Jets coach ... oh, what's that? There IS? Excellent.

Well, then. I guess we can assume Irsay's making fun of Ryan with the tweets. Or he also has a foot fetish. Or he has a really weird sense of humor and is trying to point out that Ryan's [alleged] "thing" isn't that big a deal.

Look, people are going to be talking about this and making fun of it on the Interwebs for the next few weeks, if not longer. "No comment" isn't going to make it go away.

But I'm not entirely sure that means the owner of another NFL team should be diving headlong into the "Rex Ryan Foot Fetish Meme" waters. Although this could be exactly why he's supposedly leaving the Twitter world soon.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com