As we highlighted earlier today, Anthony Gonzalez sounds pretty peeved at the Colts for seemingly not being truthful with him about competing for his old job, which he lost to Pierre Garcon. Interestingly,
Mike Chappell Bob Kravitz of the Indy Star (Mike Chappell provided the info on Gonzo's beef with the team) wrote a similar article about Colts safety Melvin Bullitt. Like Gonzo, Bullitt is getting moved to the bench.
Unlike Gonzo, it's not because he got injured and a younger, seemingly better player took his job from him.
For the first time in three years, Bullitt, a safety, will not be playing a significant number of snaps in the season opener at Houston on Sunday. After two years of playing well in Bob Sanders' stead, he's likely to spend most of the game -- and, if Sanders stays healthy, most of the season -- on the sideline, reduced to playing special teams and getting 15 snaps or so as a nickel and dime defensive back.
For a lot of players, that would be a slap in the face, a reason to go to the front office and demand a trade to a team where a player of his caliber would get 55 to 70 plays as a starter. Bullitt, who will be an unrestricted free agent at year's end, would be a starter in almost any other city, and he knows that.
But he has said nothing.
And he won't.
"It's a thought (starting elsewhere), but, you know, I'd much rather be at a place where I have a chance to win the Super Bowl every year," Bullitt said. "I know I'm going to find a way onto the field somehow. I don't want to run somewhere where there's no challenge. It's interesting being on a team that everybody looks up to. This is an elite team and organization."I'd rather be playing less and competing for Super Bowls with the best players in the game than not making the playoffs."
Bullitt is saying all the right things, intentionally not rocking the boat. This is in stark contrast to Anthony Gonzalez, who all but called his coaches liars.
As I said in the earlier article, I can understand Gonzo's frustration, especially when you compare his situation to Bullitt's. If true and open competition were a reality in Colts land, players like Melvin Bullitt and Anthony Gonzalez would get an honest shot to wrestle starting jobs away from Pierre Garcon and Bob Sanders, respectively.
Of course, such a reality does not exist despite what the Colts often tell us.
Over the past two years, Melvin Bullitt has been more consistent and more reliable than Bob Sanders. Bob can't stay healthy, and an unhealthy player is a useless and inconsistent one. Yet, despite Bullitt providing a more reliable option at safety, he was seemingly not given an opportunity to win the starting job over Sanders. The reason?
Bob Sanders is signed to a $35 million dollar contract, which included him pocketing $20 million in Jim Irsay's money up front. If a player like Melvin Bullitt comes in and beats out Bob Sanders for the starting job, that makes Bill Polian look like a schmuck for giving over $20 mill of Irsay's money to a back-up.
Now, before the screamers come in here and start ranting about how 'obvious' it is that Sanders is better than Bullitt (and, thus, deserves to start over him), please recall Jim Caldwell's own words when discussing how the team determines roster spots:
"It's more of a body of work," Caldwell said Friday, one day after the Colts finished a winless preseason. "You take everything into consideration. You try to make an assessment of how they'll fit in and if they make your team stronger."
OK, 'body of work.'
Since 2008, Bob Sanders has played in nine games. Yes, only nine, including the playoff game against the Chargers two seasons ago. He's made 27 tackles, defended three passes, and made two INTs.
Since 2008, Melvin Bullitt has played in 33 games, starting 24 of them (including Super Bowl 44). He's made 112 tackles, caused two fumbles, defended 11 passes, and snatched 4 INTs.
So, based on the body of work in recent years, why the hell isn't Melvin Bullitt starting over Bob Sanders?
Oh, yeah. The money thing.
Again, for the screamers out there who 'don't get it,' I'm not writing this kind of stuff simply to bash the Colts. I'm merely pointing out the obvious hypocrisy within the team. They tell us one thing, but the reality is something different. There are varying standards for different players, and those standards are sometimes not based on what players do on a practice field or in a football stadium. When Anthony Gonzalez seemingly loses his old job due to injury while Bob Sanders has his waiting for him despite only playing nine games in tow seasons, there is a significant double-standard and it is my job to point a finger at that and question it.