With the Colts Injuries Piling up, It's Time for a new Strength and Conditioning Team

Our medical staff needs to be replaced. Why? Because of lists like these:

Peyton Manning - done for the season (neck injury)

Melvin Bullitt - done for the season (shoulder injury)

Gary Brackett - done for the season (shoulder injury) 

Anthony Gonzalez - probably will never play again (too brittle) 

Eric Foster - done for the season (dislocated ankle)

Fili Moala - out indefinitely (ankle injury)

Ernie Sims - out indefinitely (knee injury)

Kerry Collins - out indefinitely (some sort of concussion like head injury)

Ryan Diem - out indefinitely (ankle injury) 

Drake Nevis - injury to be determined (back tightness)

Anthony Castonzo injury to be determined (ankle injury)

Benjamin Ijalana injury to be determined (knee injury)

Anyone else?

Already there have been moments of "wait, who was that? What number is he? Where did he come from? William&Mary?!?! They have a football team? 

Can you imagine next week if Castonzo, Ijlana and Nevis all miss time. It's going to be like watching the Republican primaries... Who are you, what are your credentials and how exactly did you get here? 

So to recap:

2 'starting' qb's are out (combined 5 games missed)

1 receiver is out (4 games missed).

3 offensive lineman are potentially out, tbd (combined 2 games missed)

3 defensive lineman are out, tbd (combined 2 games missed)

2 linebackers are out (combined 3 games missed)

1 safety is out (2 games missed)

Bringing a total of 12 people who either missed this past game or were injured during it and four starters who are now on IR (including Peyton - let's be real) and 18 total games missed by players expected to make significant contributions to our team.

This comes after last year's debacle in which everybody but Peyton seemed to miss time.

I am no doctor, but something doesn't seem right. I know it's a violent sport* but it seems that the Colts are always one of the most injured teams in the league.

(*Injuries are one more reason the NFL is right to make the sport safer. The argument it's turning into flag football is stupid and injuries take our favorite players off the field weakening the product on it).

After doing some quick research I found this. ESPN has kept track of the injuries on the defensive side of the ball and has found that the Colts are indeed one of the most injured teams. 

In fact since 2006, the Colts have ranked 28th, 32nd, 25th, 30, and 31rst in defensive injuries. That is shockingly bad. Horrifying actually. Those are pre-2011 Lions numbers.

And while I couldn't find similar stats for the offensive side of the ball, I imagine it's not much improved (we do have Anthony Gonzalez after all). 

So what do teams do (or at least should do) when they are failing so miserably in a specific area. Fix it, duh. 

And their are only two ways to do so.

1. Make wholesale changes to how you approach the subject

2. Fire the miserable bums who can't do their job

Now before I get to why I feel like the second option is our only choice at this point, I will defend the guys at Methodist and our training staff to a point.

First I am sure they are fine, smart and caring individuals who are been working their butts off (they've sure had enough to do). Secondly, they are at a disadvantage with the Colts. 

Unlike most other teams, playing in the Colts defense exacts a grueling physical toll. To start, Tampa 2 as a defensive system is not conducive to keeping players healthy because the philosophy of keeping players in front of you leads to lots of collisions. 

When the Colts play the soft - give them 5 yards every play - zone crap they played last night, they are going to get crushed. Teams like the Ravens don't get hurt as often because they are the ones blitzing and they are the aggressors. Guys like Ray Lewis are the ones usually hitting defenseless offensive players thus minimizing the force of the opposing player's impact. The Colts sit back and allow their opponents to gain a full head of steam before they try and tackle them. The blows they take accumulate over time and lead to more injuries. 

That fact is only aggravated by the fact the Colts are smaller and undersized and get manhandled by bigger opposing teams.

That's why guys like Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney rarely - if ever - miss games. It's also why Bob Sanders is now pondering retirement and Melvin Bullitt isn't too far behind. If  I were a defensive player (especially an undersized defensive back), no way would I want to play for the Colts.

So the medical staff can avoid the blame on that one. They inherently have a tougher job. Here though, is where they can't hide:

The Colts medical staff has bungled several key decisions. Last year, they put Gonzo on IR even though he healed quickly and could have played much earlier than they thought (how badly could we have used another offensive threat last season). They didn't IR Bob Sanders even though it was obvious his injury was far more severe and he was clearly done for the year. Then they made the most egregious error possible with Collie, one that could have threatened his career and life. Allowing Collie to play alone should have cost the whole staff it's job (You cannot tell me that if the Colts aren't playing New England in prime time that the Collie is on the field... You just can't).

If there was even one iota of doubt that he wasn't fully ready to play, they should have demanded he stay on the sidelines. The fact that he came back not once but twice from devastating concussions, is totally inexcusable and borderline reckless (BBS and I both wrote numerous times that he shouldn't have been allowed to play against New England and that after he should have been immediately IR'd. 

Then there is Peyton's injury this past offseason. All along he has complimented the work of the team doctors, but doesn't something seem fishy? If he was playing through pain as seems to be the case, why did he not have surgery the day after the Jet's game? We can only speculate as we don't really know, but how come Peyton's injury wasn't originally fixed after the first surgery? Why were doctors so originally optimistic that he would return? Peyton decided to have the second operation after experiencing pain during training camp but wasn't he throwing all summer? Was he not feeling any pain then? It doesn't add up and the excuse that the lockout wrecked havoc on his whole recovery process doesn't cut it...

If the injury was so severe it's only logical that the medical staff evaluate him and then preform the surgery as soon as possible, especially given the pending lockout. Then Manning has a few months to recover and throw. At that point, its still sometime in April before the lockout, at which point if he needs the surgery he can still work with team doctors. 

Even with those mistakes however (and mind you those are not small mistakes) the Colts seem to consistently be hit by injuries. Particularly their extremities and especially the ankle. 

Now, no amount of physical therapy or training will prevent what happened to Eric Foster, but the extremities are always the most susceptible parts of the body and always require the most care. They also can be strengthened and chance for sprains, tears and the works can be decreased significantly. 

Remember Dwight Freeney during the Super Bowl? And look at this year with three guys out with ankle sprains/damage. Can the training staff prevent them all? Of course not. But if guys are going down with shoulder injuries (Addai last season, Brackett, Bulitt) and ankle injuries (Freeney a few years back, several last year, Moala, Castonzo, Diem) then the staff should try something new. Either new methods, new stretching, new workouts. Something! 

From time to time we hear about players and teams doing yoga and pilates both exercises which help with balance, agility and footwork (there are a million other workouts out there which I'm sure are great as well).

The Lions, Packers and Bucs all do pilates. Several former Giants swear by it and attribute it to longevity of their careers and their 2008 season success.  

Google "Colts football pilates" and the Colts cheerleaders are the only relevant hit. Guess what? They do pilates and they were voted the league's top cheering squad. 

Look, I have no idea what methods the Colts staff uses (if you haven't heard it's not easy getting information from the organization). Maybe they do pilates, yoga, daily four hour stretching sessions and ancient techniques used by Mongols in preparation for battle. I don't know but the only news related to fitness/wellness that ever comes out about the Colts is one of three things. How Reggie Wayne is in freakishly good shape for the 27 year in a row, how Anthony Gonzalez went on IR after falling over and how many damned injuries the Colts rack up each week. 

Something tells me if you rank at the bottom of injury list every year and are quickly heading there again, something needs to change. Sometimes a new voice and new methods are needed. We've already lost our season because of injuries, let's just hope the Colts start to think about that before we lose too many more players. 

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