As shake n bake does his player by player reviews for the 2008 roster, I'm going to focus more on the general team, coaches, and management areas as we review 2008 and look ahead. To be honest, it was impossible for me to start writing this one or two days after the playoff loss. So much of this season has been like having my brains sizzled on a skillet and served up with hash browns and toast. Emotionally, there was nothing left, and I needed a few days to reflect, collect myself, and move on. Bob Kravitz should have taken that advice before he made an ass of himself. Now, most local Indiana media is making fun of him openly. Once again, 18 to 88 is at the forefront of beating Bob Kravitz to death with his own words.
One thing I want to place emphasis on as we review the season and look ahead is that Colts fans should not expect drastic changes to this team, coaching staff, or management philosophy. Recall way back to Dungy's first season. After a 41-0 destruction at the hands of the NY Jets, everyone and their mother called Peyton a choker, Dungy a fraud, and the Colts a joke. The Colts ignored all of it, and have gone on to win 12 or more games for six straight years. So, after a thrilling game in SD, don't expect much change.
Even if Tony Dungy retires, don't expect much change.
Bill Polian will continue to mold and shape his roster as he sees fit. He is the best personnel man in football for a reason: He delivers. With the injuries and bad luck this team had in 2008, no other GM could have guided his team to 12 wins. Not even the great Scott Pioli could overcome New England's injuries and guide them to post-season play.
For the coaches, maybe the Colts will bring in someone like Rod Marinelli as a consultant or specail assistant, like they did Leslie Frazier in 2006. If Dungy retires and Ron Meeks goes elsewhere, someone like Marinelli will likely be a top candidate for defensive coordinator. But even changes like that are not the kinds of wholesale changes that every fan screams for after a playoff loss. What we all have to accept is the philosophy of this team, the culture, will not change anytime soon. Even if Dungy leaves, the way this team does business will not change.
This is, of course, a good thing.
Terms like "winning culture" are defined by franchises like the Colts. Loser fans whose teams have never won anything will disagree, but who cares what they think? Since 1999, no team has won more than the Colts. Only one team has won more Super Bowls, but those accomplishments are clouded by the spectre of cheating. Other sports organizations model themselves after Indy. They want to be the Colts.
So, to expect change when your team is the gold standard is silly.
As with all Colts loses, I've learned to let my anger subside for a day before I regain my perspective. Our team, currently, has the best personnel man of his time, the best head coach of his time, and the best QB of his time. While teams with "fiery" or "genius" head coaches (like in Tampa Bay and Denver) truly do "choke" down the stretch, the tried and true method the Colts use is proven and effective. While tweaks and adjustments are always part of the plan, wholesale change is simply not going to happen.