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Tag:Indianapolis Colts
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:36 am
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Second-half predictions

Green Bay is being predicted to win the Super Bowl (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We’re halfway through the season, and since so few of my preseason predictions will come true (seriously?!? The Rams to win the NFC West? Chris Johnson as the comeback player?), I’ve decided to give it another go in hopes that I don’t have to bring my prediction machine into the shop for a tune-up.

Aside from our new, guaranteed to be true picks (you can also check out our CBS expert chat from Wednesday in that link), I’m going out on a limb with this Top Ten with a Twist and giving you 10 predictions that I know in my heart of hearts WILL happen the rest of the season.

Because the great thing about working for a national website, as opposed to a newspaper that gets filed into the recycling bin as soon as you’re done reading it, is that there’s no way anybody will ever know if your predictions turn out to be crap. Oh, wait …

10. The Bills will fall apart: One of the league’s most surprising teams -- though Fred Jackson says you shouldn’t have been THAT surprised by it -- played perhaps its worst game of the season against the wrong opponent last week, losing to the Jets at home and falling into a tie for first place in the AFC East with the Jets and Patriots. Buffalo has to play both teams once more, and though Buffalo should finish with a winning record, that won’t be enough to finish ahead of New England and New York and make the playoffs.

9. The Lions won’t: Detroit’s success hasn’t been nearly as surprising as Buffalo’s, but the fact Detroit is 6-2 through the first half of the season isn’t something we’re used to seeing. But the Lions are legitimately a playoff team. They’re third in the league in points scored -- that can happen when your former No. 1 pick stays healthy (so far) and your top-notch wide receiver scores touchdowns by the bushel. The Lions, even though Ndamukong Suh hasn’t been at his best, still maintain a top-10 defense. Though the second-half schedule is tough, Detroit has a good chance of knocking off Green Bay (the two teams play twice), and if the Lions can stay ahead of the Bears, one wild card spot will be waiting for them.

8. New England will right the ship: The Patriots, despite losing their past two games and looking bad in the process, should still make the playoffs. So, from that aspect, they’ll be good enough. Just not as good as they usually are. That’s because their defense is a major problem (Albert Haynesworth, you’ll recall, was on the roster for eight weeks), and it’s unclear how New England will fix it. But the offense is good enough to survive the second half of their schedule. They won’t get a first-round bye, and they probably won’t survive wild card weekend. So, the season basically will be an abject failure in New England’s eyes.

7. The Colts will win a game (or two): Indianapolis will not be the second team in NFL history to go 0-for-16 on the year. Already, they’ve lost four games by eight points or less, and yes, even though that 62-7 loss to the Saints was ridiculous, Indianapolis (and quarterback Curtis Painter) is good enough to win at least one. It could happen this week vs. the Jaguars at home or at Jacksonville in Week 17, and a win against the Panthers is not completely out of the question. The point is: a team that plays the Steelers to within three points isn’t the worst team in the history of the league. Even if the Colts are the last winless team in the NFL this season.

Sparano6. Jim Irsay will break Caldwell’s firing on Twitter: Irsay has to be my favorite NFL owner of all time, simply because he gets the power of social media. Sure, most of the time he’s tweeting obscure lyrics from Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut album or pretending to look for Brett Favre in Hattiesburg, Miss., but Caldwell also will be the first owner in history to break the news on his own Twitter account that he’s firing his coach. John Elway has been great on Twitter as well, but Elway also has a boss. That’s not a problem for Irsay.

5. Tony Sparano will last the season: I don’t know if Jim Caldwell will make it to the season’s end with the Colts, but I’m thinking Sparano will do exactly that. The team is still playing hard -- and how about the Dolphins beating the crap out of the Chiefs in Kansas City last week? -- and though the talent is lacking in that organization (how much can be blamed on the departed Bill Parcells?), they still believe in Sparano. If the Dolphins can pull of another couple wins, hopefully owner Stephen Ross will let him last through the season. After the emasculation Ross put him through in the offseason, Sparano deserves that much at least.

4. HGH testing won’t be around in 2011: We told you about a month ago that the NFL’s HGH testing was a go and that it very well could start within that week. That was quickly disputed by the NFLPA -- which claims that nobody has explained to the union exactly how the tests will be conducted -- and here we are, nearly a month later, and nothing has happened. As NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman, “We have an agreement to test for HGH. What we don't have an agreement on is the process and the protocol to implement the test.” Considering the glacial pace at which the two sides moved when the 2011 season was at stake, I don’t expect the league to start testing until next season. If then.

3. Carson Palmer will be better than average: That’s not exactly a high bar to jump over, but considering he wasn’t even that in his final seasons for the Bengals, this would be an improvement. Palmer had a rough outing in his first action, replacing Kyle Boller in the second half of the Chiefs game, but he showed some of the Palmer of old, throwing three touchdowns (and three more interceptions) in the loss to the Broncos. Will Palmer be worth the two high-round draft picks the Raiders gave to the Bengals for him? Probably not, but Palmer will keep the Raiders in the playoff hunt.

2. Wade Phillips will save Gary Kubiak’s job: The Texans defensive coordinator is well on his way to doing exactly that for Houston’s head coach. Because, at this very moment, the Texans defense is ranked No. 1 in the NFL. You remember what they were last year, right? No. 30. Hiring Phillips might be the best move Kubiak ever made, and Phillips is repaying him by recreating a defense that will lead Houston to the playoffs and keep Kubiak safely employed.

1. Packers will win Super Bowl: I mean, who else is there?

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:36 pm
 

Caldwell applauds effort, Irsay less tolerant

Trying hard isn't enough. At some point the Colts have to win. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Either Jim Caldwell is delusional or out of ideas. Whatever the case, the head coach of the NFL's only winless team this season praised the Colts after their most recent loss for giving their all, fighting hard, keeping their head up and any other variation on the overcoming adversity sports-themed cliches.

“You can see that they are going to fight you until the end,” Caldwell said following Sunday’s game against the Falcons, via to PFT.com. “They’re just going to keep playing and playing extremely hard, but the thing that we have to do is we have to look at our situation and be honest with it, with everybody. The fact that there are some things that we didn’t do well, that’s why we didn’t win. We kind of look at those situations where we turn it over, and where we aren’t effective in terms of our execution.”

We think Caldwell's underselling the bit about "some things we didn't do well." As PFT.com's Michael David Smith points out, Indianapolis lost their last three games by a combined 96 points, and have been outscored by 155 points this season. It's one thing to applaud effort in the face of insurmountable odds when you're talking about the Bad News Bears or Rudy Ruettiger. It's something else entirely when we're talking about professional athletes, many from big-time college programs who are accustomed to winning. There are no underdog stories here.

Apparently, Colts owner Jim Irsay feels similarly. Via Twitter, which seems to be Irsay's primary means of communication these days:

“We will never accept this kind of chronic losing. It’s an unwelcome visitor, that we will not tolerate.”

Last week Irsay was asked about Caldwell's job status and he offered this cryptic explanation: “When it comes to changes and Jim’s status and that sort of thing, it’s something that eight games going forward, more will be revealed. "This situation is always changing. But it’s really going to be always what’s best to give us a chance to win. I don’t have any predictions or any votes of confidence or anything like that. I don’t have any non-votes of confidence. At this point, continuity is a good thing if it makes sense in terms of winning.”

Well, the Colts are 0-9 and you could make a convincing case that continuity is a very bad thing. That said, it sounds like team president Bill Polian, the guy responsible for putting this roster together, doesn't have to worry about losing his job.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 11:47 pm
 

Would the Colts considering giving up on Manning?

ManningPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Peyton Manning visited his buddies in the press on Thursday, and he revealed that his rehab progress on his neck has slowed and that it still hasn’t fused. He didn’t say this, but you have to wonder if his career (and not just his season) is in doubt because of his neck problems.

Which leads us to an interesting point made by Manning when talking about his new contract (you’ll recall he signed a five-year $90 million extension in the offseason). Considering Manning is due a $28 million bonus in February, the Colts might have to make an awfully interesting decision about whether they should keep Manning around.

"It's a one-year deal with a four-year extension, if you will," Manning said, via the Indianapolis Star. "I wasn't healthy when I signed the contract and if I'm not healthy in February, I think it's fair for the Colts to be able to make their decision there.”

Manning said there wasn’t a timeline for his rehab and recovery, but he’ll have another “checkpoint” in December to see how his neck is healing. Manning said he’d like to practice this year -- he also said he’d like to play in a game, but there’s almost no chance of that happening -- and part of the reason for that is so the Colts can evaluate him.

"(The Colts have) a right to know where you are physically and what your health is,” Manning said. “Everybody has decisions to be made.”

Can you imagine the Colts releasing Manning if his progress isn’t going as rapidly as everybody would like? Well, think about this. What if the Colts have the first pick of next year’s draft where they could take Andrew Luck. You could say, “Well, that’d be perfect for Luck. Assuming Manning is healthy, Luck can sit at his feet for a couple years and learn how to be an NFL quarterback.” But what if the Colts don’t want to be on the hook for paying tens of millions of dollars to TWO quarterbacks?

Would they be willing to cut Manning loose in favor of Luck? It certainly is not out of the realm of possibility. Which is why Manning’s next checkpoint in early December will be so crucial -- for his own future and for that of his team.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: November 4, 2011 11:41 am
 

Colts owner sticks by Jim Caldwell, Bill Polian

Caldwell and Polian are safe for now. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL is a bottom-line business. Acts of kindness away from the field may make the world a better place but losing football will always get you fired. The Indianapolis Colts are currently 0-8, their personnel philosophy turned into a house of cards the moment Peyton Manning was sidelined with a neck injury. Manning has yet to take a snap in 2011 and there's a chance he won't. Two things have come out of this.

First, the Suck for Luck campaign is picking up steam, perhaps aided by the fact that Manning won't play forever, there's nothing wrong with having Luck sit behind Manning for a season or two before taking over, and if the Colts are going down in flames this season they might as well get something for it. Namely: their next franchise quarterback.

Second, questions about whether head coach Jim Caldwell or team president Bill Polian should lose their jobs. A few years ago, dumping Polian would've been unthinkable. But a series of questionable draft picks in recent years (Marlin Jackson, Anothony Gonzalez, Tony Ugoh, Donald Brown and Jerry Hughes are often mentioned), coupled with the team imploding without Manning because there was no capable backup quarterback on the roster doesn't reflect well on Polian.

Owner Jim Irsay spoke to Caldwell's and Polian's future Thursday.

“When it comes to changes and Jim’s status and that sort of thing, it’s something that eight games going forward, more will be revealed," the Colts owner said, according to the Indianapolis Star. "This situation is always changing. But it’s really going to be always what’s best to give us a chance to win. I don’t have any predictions or any votes of confidence or anything like that. I don’t have any non-votes of confidence. At this point, continuity is a good thing if it makes sense in terms of winning.”

We're not sure Irsay could be more vague. It sounds like Caldwell will keep his job … unless he doesn't. The owner added: “I’ll say this: Jim Caldwell did one of the greatest coaching jobs in the last four games last year to get us to 10-6, to get us in a position to have a chance, a game we really thought we had a chance to win at home against the Jets."

Irsay was less cryptic about Polian.


Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to square off against the struggling Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Who will come out on top? Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan take a look at this upcoming matchup.

“I’m committed,” he said. “In [the Polian's] defense, it’s pretty radical after the successes we’ve had to start even talking about the question, in my opinion. If this is five or six years or losing; you’re talking about eight weeks. The great things we’ve done, there has been a tilted sort of perception when you win so much that it’s disappointing."

During last week's Pick-6 Podcast, we spoke to ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith about the Colts and he said this: "If I'm Irsay, I'm calling Caldwell and [the Polians] into my office and asking them 'Why shouldn't I fire you?'"

Seems like a fair question, although the real Irsay apparently has no plans to have that conversation.

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 11:06 pm
 

Luck's dad also thinks 'Suck for Luck' is stupid

Posted by Will Brinson

Not everyone believes that Andrew Luck is a stone-cold lock as an NFL stud, the general consensus is that the Stanford quarterback will be pretty, pretty good in the NFL. (Though I'd still rather have a certain Carolina quarterback myself.)

The possibility of him being a franchise-changing quarterback's inspire several fanbases to fire up a "Suck for Luck" campaign. Luck himself recently called the idea "stupid." His father, West Virginia Athletic Director Oliver Luck (seen right, as a member of the Houston Oilers), agrees with him.

"I played for five years in the NFL, and I never have seen an NFL player take a play off," Luck's father said on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Radio Thursday. "Because these guys are playing for their livelihoods and the coaches are coaching for their livelihoods, I absolutely think it is stupid that fans would believe that a team intentionally loses a game."

The Luck family isn't the only group of people who can't stand the social media campaign, but they're certainly the group most directly effected by it.

Luck came back to school in order to make a run at a BCS Championship and enjoy what is likely his final season as a star quarterback on a college campus.

He's obviously having a great run at Stanford, but there's an exceedingly ridiculous amount of discussion (yeah, I'm guilty too, but whatever) about where Luck will go, who will get him, and how he'll play once he gets to the NFL ... if it even happens next year.

All of that is combining to put a ridiculous set of expectations on young Andrew, and his father -- wisely -- understands that trying to mitigate those expectations will only make things easier for his son as he progresses to the NFL.

Also, he correctly knows that NFL players -- professional football players -- don't tank for some rookie, regardless of who he's compared to. So there's that.

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 2:37 pm
 

Manning's progress slow, manages to zing Simms

ManningPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Peyton Manning gave a surprise interview to the local press Thursday, and the conclusion to draw from the briefing is that the progress with his neck seems a little stagnated. Which obviously isn’t highly positive. And considering his neck still hasn’t fused, progress is going slowly for the Colts MVP (this year and every year, apparently).

"Not a whole lot to report,” he told reporters, including the Indianapolis Star. “Still waiting for the fusion to take place. That takes place, they thought, between two and three months. Still going slow with that.

“I still have some of the same issues I had before the fusion as far as the nerves and the regeneration. Still dealing with that, the idea being that this surgery gave me the most stability for the nerves to regenerate. That’s still a process there.”

Manning said there really isn’t a timeline to his recovery. Instead, it’s more like a series of checkpoints, the next of which occurs Dec. 1. That’s when he’ll be three months out of surgery, and doctors can determine his strength and conditioning. But for now, he can’t predict where he’ll be and when he’ll be there.

He does know this: he’d like to practice sometime this season.

“Well, the thing about it is the fact that I am on the active roster, if I were in a position, if I were cleared to practice and if I were at a strength level, conditioning level checkpoint that I were cleared, it’s the greatest venue to go out and see where you are on the practice field as opposed to having to grab a receiver off to the side and go out before walk-through or before practice,” he said. “If I was cleared and able to do that, it would be nice to be able to do that, to go out and participate in a team practice where everything is right there with you, even though you probably couldn’t do everything. So, that’s a hope and a wish.”

But as far as playing this year? You’ve got to think there’s absolutely no chance of it happening.

Manning’s sense of humor, though, is still there. You might recall that CBS/Showtime analyst Phil Simms said recently that Andrew Luck didn’t have an NFL arm. Naturally, reporters asked Manning about that, since the Colts, assuming they have the No. 1 draft pick next year, could take him as Manning’s eventual replacement.

“Yeah, I don’t talk to Phil. Phil doesn’t talk to me,” Manning said. “He did text me after that, saying ‘Hey, sorry to drag your name into this.’ I wrote back, ‘Phil I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He said, ‘Well on my show, Inside the NFL, I made this statement.’ I said, ‘Phil, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t watch your show, along with a lot of other people that I don’t think watch that show.’ Giving himself a little more credit than probably was merited.”

Ouch.

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Posted on: October 30, 2011 3:02 pm
 

Luck 'unlikely' to stay in school, Colts love him

Posted by Will Brinson

Not breaking news for anyone that watched college football last night: Andrew Luck is really, really good. Teams want him, and men want to be him.

Halfway through the early games during Week 8, the Indianapolis Colts are looking like the clear-cut favorite to win the Luck sweepstakes.

And as CBS Sports Charley Casserly reported on Sunday, they're totally OK with that.

"Barring any medical issue with Andrew Luck, if the Colts have a chance to take him next year, they're going to take him," Casserly said on The NFL Today.

Casserly also pointed out Luck, who does have one year of eligibility left at Stanford, is "unlikely" to return to school in 2012. Oh, yes, and he compares somewhat favorably in terms of how teams view him.

"First of all, talking to the Luck camp, it's highly unlikely that he would go back to Stanford," Casserly said. "Talking to general managers around the league, they say Andrew Luck will be the highest-rated quarterback coming out since the 1983 draft, which had John Elway as the first player taken."

That's ridiculously high praise, and probably a bit ironic too, considering the likelihood of Luck replacing the only guy -- Peyton Manning -- who might have left college as more of a sure thing.

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Posted on: October 27, 2011 6:25 pm
 

Jeff Saturday says he was misquoted by blogger

SaturdayPosted by Josh Katzowitz

After the Colts took a 62-7 pounding at the hands of the Saints last weekend, everything that could have been said about how disappointing the Indianapolis franchise has been would have been fair game.

If you had said the team was an abomination without Peyton Manning, fair game. If you had said the front office was to blame for not coming up with a Plan B in case something like this happened, fair game. If you had said coach Jim Caldwell was in over his head when he didn’t have Manning on the field, fair game.

Even if the words are coming from a Colts player’s mouth. Even if that Colts players takes it back soon after. All of it should be fair game.

That player is Indianapolis center Jeff Saturday, who said on a radio show after the Saints debacle that the Colts had been out-coached. And then, Saturday said, um, never mind about that whole out-coached thing. And he said it in a not very nice way and directed it at BigBlueShoe on StampedeBlue.com.

"That was ridiculous,” said Saturday, via the National Football Post. "You've got a 45-year-old man who lives with his mom, down in his basement, freaking blogging about something that was a direct misquote. It had nothing to do with what I said. At 62-7, there was no redeeming qualities in the way any of us participated. And this is a team thing, 100 percent. I made it perfectly clear.

"Coach Caldwell didn't have on any pads Sunday. We did, and all of us as a team failed to get the job done. I can assure you I don't need the media to clarify what I'm saying. I speak pretty clearly and I was insulted that somebody would do that and try to divide our team and putting things in people's minds that really don't need to be there."

So, what did Saturday say he said?

"I didn’t say that," Saturday said. "I said that as a team we were outplayed, we were outcoached and there was nothing that we did better than they did yesterday."

So, the team was out-coached, then? What, then, is the problem?

Look, we know Saturday must be frustrated playing for a winless team after having been a key cog for so many division-winning Colts squads. But to take the comment that he admitted he said out on a blogger while insulting that blogger (who, don’t forget, is a Colts fan) is, well, slightly ridiculous. And the quote, no matter what Saturday thinks, is fair game.

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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