NFL Network studio analysis still sucks; BigBlueShoe on Indianapolis radio

Jamie Dukes hearts Ron Meeks, banana-colored suit jackets. Image: www.arsenalpm.com

Just a reminder: At 4:05pm I will be on "The Zone" on XL 950 Sports Talk


I enjoy NFL Network. I like Rich Eisen. I enjoy their NFL Combine coverage. I enjoy their NFL Draft coverage. All in all, it's a good network.

But for the love of God, their in studio "analysts" are as dumb and clueless as a sack of hammers.

NFL Network series 32 in 32, which profiles 32 teams in 32 days, lists the Colts as the #4 franchise in the NFL (behind the Patriots, Giants, and Steelers). Why the Colts are listed behind the Patriots (who they beat last year and have defeated 4 of the last 5 times) I don't know. Maybe they are ranking the teams via a "fan poll," which is a stupid idea because fan polls get freeped all the time.

Anyway, when you watch the segment, you can't help but wonder if in-studio analysts Solomon Wilcotts and Jamie Dukes actually watch the games of the teams they are profiling. In the segment, Wilcotts says the Chargers have beaten the Colts three straight times (not true) while Dukes says the Colts will miss Ron Meeks next year because he was a big reason Indy's defense did not totally suck.

Um.... what?

Look, I think Ron Meeks is a decent coordinator, but when he left I didn't see any players scream and cry about it as if they were disappointed in the decision. When Howard Mudd and Tom Moore retired (before coming back as consultants) you saw players like Peyton Manning express sadness and a bit of anger. Not so with Meeks, or with special teams coach Russ Purnell when he was allowed to pursue other ventures. Both Dukes and Wilcotts make no mention of Larry Coyer, the man with the impressive resume who is replacing Ron Meeks.

Dukes, who always seems to have a smug, "eat my sh*t" expression plastered on his face, also suggested that the Colts do not invest enough quality players on defense. He cites first round picks like Donald Brown, Anthony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, and Reggie Wayne as weapons for Manning and the offense, but on defense the only reason they played semi-well was because of Meeks and Tony Dungy. He mentions Dwight Freeney (1st round, 2002) and Bob Sanders (first pick of Colts in 2004) as the only quality defensive players (or, "bodies" as Dukes calls them) for the Colts. Of course, if Dukes actually knew what he was talking about, he'd know that the Colts have CB Marlin Jackson (1st round, 2005), CB Kelvin Hayden (2nd round, 2005), DE Robert Mathis (Pro Bowl, 2008), and S Antoine Bethea (Pro Bowl, 2007). I think it is safe to say the Colts have the "bodies" to play great defense. I also think it's safe to say Jamie Dukes just kind of mails in these TV spots with little or no actual research done on the teams.

Wilcotts redeems the piece in the end, somewhat. He talks about Jim Caldwell wanting to put a stamp on the special teams and getting that area better.

All in all, this is a useless, throw away segment that (quite honestly) I expected more from. I mean, this is the NFL Network. If I wanted mindless blather from idiot studio pundits, I'd tune to ESPN. On NFL Network, it would be nice if they had people who, you know, actually knew what they are talking about.

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