At 0-9, the playoffs are out the window. The hopes for Curtis Painter are out the window. Respectability is out the window.
That doesn't mean that there isn't anything to play for besides Andrew Luck. If the Colts hope this season is an aberration and expect to return to prominence next year, they would be wise to test their young players to see who is worth keeping and try new formations to see if some might better fit their personnel.
While such creativity and experimentation is unlikely under the current coaching staff, here is what I am hoping for (after the jump).
1. Pound the football:
The Colts have shown that if they stick to the run, good results will occur. Brown, Addai and Carter have 4.6, 4.4 and 4.0 YPC average. Instead Curtis Painter is throwing over 30 passes a game (that includes being pulled in the fourth quarter twice) for a measly 6.26 yards per completion average.
With three decent running backs in the backfield, the Colts should split the carries, show the Jags different running styles and POUND THE RUN 50 TIMES!
2. Blitz more:
The Colts secondary is terrible. The best way to take the pressure off an underperforming unit? Blitz a rookie quarterback. With Blaine Gabbert coming to town, the Colts should unleash on him forcing Gabbert to make quick reads under heavy pressure. The current 10 yard cushion strategy that the Colts have been employing, allows quarterbacks to settle down, make easy throws and reads and gain confidence.
It doesn't work. BLITZ!
3. Play Jerry Hughes at outside linebacker:
Why not? In just over a year-and-a-half, Hughes has resoundingly earned the label of being a complete and utter bust.
Is such a ignominious label entirely his fault? Perhaps. Stll it's hard to believe that a two time First Team AP All American who recorded 28.5 sacks, 139 total tackles, 39 tackles-for-loss and 7 forced fumbles at TCU can't play. He was on the regional cover of EA Sports' NCAA Football 2010 for pete sake!
Thus before the Colts throw him out on the street at the end of the season, they should move him around. In high school, Hughes was a running back and kick returner. At 6'2 and 255 he is built much more in the mold of a linebacker than a defensive end. So.... PLAY HIM AT LINEBACKER!
4. Play younger and reserve players:
Let's see what Anthony Gonzalez has. Throw the ball more to Jacob Tamme now that Clark and Eldridge are out. Is Mike Pollack the future answer at center that Bill Polian thinks he is? What about Chris Rucker and Joe Lefeged? Are they worth keeping and building around?
It's time to play the younger players more (no caps, couldn't get too excited about that)
5. Beat the Jags:
0-9 is bad but losing to lowly Jacksonville led by a rookie quarterback and the biggest bone headed coach in the league would be total humiliation.
The Andrew Luck sweepstakes can wait. The Colts need to do whatever it takes to get a win. Run the football, mix up the defense and BEAT THE NFL's MOST EMBARRASSING FRANCHISE.