One of the things we like to do is watch all the press coverage of the Colts draft picks, including anytime the Colts front office comes out of their bunker to chat about the players. We think this is important because, as often happens, what the Colts say now can change come September.
The Jerry Hughes pick last year was a perfect example of that.
For 2011, a change was made in how the top brass would address the media. In years past, the Colts would have President Bill Polian and Head Coach Jim Caldwell addressing the media. This year, General Manager Chris Polian was added to the mix, and it was Chris who fielded a majority of the questions about first round pick Anthony Castonzo.
Just like with their pre-draft news coverage, this is another sign that Ole Bill is quietly slipping out the back, pushing more and more authority and visibility to Chris. It's also evident that, based on what the brass said in the press conferences, that the focus of this draft was laid out by Chris Polian, not Bill.
Thus, this is Chris Polian's draft, sink or swim.
Here are some notes, quotes, and observations from watching various press conferences and interviews the Polians and Caldwell conducted during the draft. I do believe this is the first time since mid-January that Caldwell fielded real questions from the media. I also think Caldwell looked much more reserved and on guard than in previous media gatherings. This is just my opinion, but something is up. Caldwell has either gotten really annoyed that some in the media were critical of his coaching in the playoffs, or the Colts brass has him on a very short leash (and he doesn't like it). Barring a win or two in the playoffs, don't be surprised if Jim Caldwell is gone after the 2011 season.
Quotes and notes after the jump.
Discussing Anthony Castonzo, Pick No. 22 Overall
- Bill Polian: 'He was the highest rated OT on our board.' He also said Castonzo was, 'Pretty much everything we look for in a football player.'
- Chris Polian stated that Castonzo was consistently not on Colts
mocks drafts'projections' going into the first round. He also stated, 'Probably the number of quarterbacks going in the round helped push some of the offensive and defensive linemen down.' Knowing that, I'll just say thank you Jacksonville and Tennessee for being so dumb in round one. You just helped make Indy better.
- Chris Polian: 'We had two [offensive linemen] on the same line [in the first round]. Didn't think either was going to be there. [Castonzo] was certainly the highest rated player on the board. Our initial board had two tackle on the same line.'
- The Colts drafted Castonzo specifically to play left tackle, and to play it right now. Chris said, 'Yeah, he's in at left tackle at this point.' So, come September, if we start hearing that Castonzo 'isn't ready' to start at LT, that means something happened between now and then. Because, on Thursday night after they drafted him, Colts brass like Chris Polian were saying,'We feel confident about him being able to come in and help us at [left tackle].'
- More from Chris Polian on Castonzo at left tackle [emphasis mine]: 'It gives us a player we can plug in at one position and then it stops some of the musical chairs that we'd had to deal with the last couple of years. I think it gives us a good anchor to move forward from and hopefully, as I said, just kind of stop some of the juggling we've been forced to do.' Again, for me, the language is clear; Castonzo is the starting left tackle. He is now the 'anchor' of the o-line.
- Chris: 'We knew going in the week the more QBs went the better it would be for how our board laid out.' Again, thanks Titans and Jaguars.
- Chris Polian, Tom Telesco, and Bill Polian all saw Castonzo play in person.
- Bill Polian spent four days working up scenarios, and in none of those first day scenarios did Castonzo's name ever pop up. Colts claim they did not expect him to fall at No. 22.
- General note, if anyone challenges you to a drinking game involving Jim Caldwell, say NO! The challenge will kill you. Literally every other word out of Caldwell's mouth was 'certainly' and 'obviously.' In fact, it's gotten to the point where I think that if I randomly inserted those words into any paragraph when quoted Caldwell, I would not be misquoting the guy. Caldwell: 'Certainly.' 'Obviously.' He also said the team 'won't have to juggle' the offensive line as much anymore with Castonzo in the mix.
Again, for me, it's evident that Indy feels Castonzo is the team's new starting left tackle. This means that if Charlie Johnson is re-signed (he's a free agent) after the lockout, Charlie will either get switched to guard again, or slotted over at right tackle. I'm personally fine with that move. One does not take a tackle like Castonzo and just have him sit on the bench for a year.