Inside Enemy Territory is a feature where I ask a blogger for the Patriots’ upcoming opponent questions about their team and the upcoming game. Today’s Q&A comes from Adam Hughes of the Indianapolis Colts blog, Naptown’s Finest. Hughes discusses what has gone wrong in Indy this season (besides the injury to Peyton Manning), why the Colts switched quarterbacks before the game, the future at quarterback for the Colts, and matchups in tomorrow’s Patriots-Colts game. He also predicts the outcome of tomorrow’s game.
Here’s our Q&A…
Coach Jim Caldwell is doing his personal little “Safety Dance.” He inherited a Tony Dungy team that was built to succeed right away, and, most importantly, he inherited Peyton Manning. As the pieces of that squad were stripped away over the years through injuries and player movement, it became pretty clear that Caldwell is a middling coach, at best. He had a built-in excuse when Manning went down this year, but the continued mess on the field is cutting closer and closer to the coaching bone. The first sacrifices for Caldwell in trying to save his job were defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and Painter. With Orlovsky in the saddle, at least Caldwell should be able to breathe for a couple of more weeks as he blames Indy’s shortcomings on Orlovsky’s becoming comfortable with the system and the speed of the game.
Early on, it was the players who shouldered the brunt, and lately there has been a lot of blame placed on Caldwell and his coordinators (see above). I certainly think all of these guys are responsible for the losing, but there have been opportunities for the Colts to get better (Kyle Orton) and probably win some games, but there seems to be a concerted effort by the front office and Caldwell to tank the rest of the season. Maybe that was the plan from the moment it became clear that Manning would not be available, but I’m not feeling quite that cynical yet.
On the whole, I don’t think we’ll ever embrace losing, especially to this magnitude. To make matters worse, it is not clear at all what the Colts would do with the number one pick even if they do end up with that “honor.” Trade Manning? Trade the pick? Keep them both? Bill Polian is nothing if not stubborn, and he might not draft Luck just on principle, because the Colts’ vice president has been saying for years that the team doesn’t really need to address the quarterback situation, even at the backup level.
Maybe, but we really don’t know what Orlovsky can do. Reggie Wayne turned in a very good game against the Panthers last week, but that was with Painter in the pocket. The Colts still have a talented receiving corps, but the team may be tempted to get one-dimensional against the Pats, especially since Indy’s O-line and running game are nothing to brag about.
Welker and Brady. The Colts’ secondary is in shambles and has been for more than a season, the defensive coordinator was just replaced by the linebackers coach, and DEs Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis constantly miss practice to rest and heal up an injury to this bodypart or that. How fitting would it be for Brady to set some single-game passing records with Manning watching from the sidelines? Well, it’s probably just as likely as it is fitting.
Patriots 45, Colts 15