We are T-Minus five days and counting until the start of the 2012 regular season for the Indianapolis Colts. Between now and Sunday, September 9th, we'll be doing in-depth previews of the team's 53-man roster and all other elements associated with the Colts. Football is nearly here. We're so excited, we practically peed our pants just now.
Don't let the title of this article fool you. I'm on record. I don't think the Colts will make the playoffs this season. However, unlike last year, when it was obvious that the front office had become clueless and the roster was a complete joke, this 2012 Colts team this season has potential. It has promise.
It is trending up.
Even though I think they will miss the post-season, I would not be shocked if they got there when all is said and done. That is a significant difference between last year (no chance in Hell) and this year (unlikely, but they might just surprise me).
I'm of the mind the fans should be realistic in their expectations. We should be critical thinkers, and we should hold the team accountable for their failures as much (if not more) than we cheer their successes. The team exists to serve our needs. It's a product we pay for. It should always be good, regardless of the circumstances. Related to this, while I think it's great that another Colts blog has sprung up, focusing too much on the happy news while ignoring the negative stuff solely because you want more "positive" experience isn't my cup of coffee. That's not being a good fan, in my opinion. It's being a mindless robot. A ditsy cheerleader. An unpaid public relations employee.
Fans should be pissed, irate, overjoyed, and elated all at once, all the time.
For us, the only time we should be completely happy is when our team holds up the Lombardi Trophy. Our club isn't the Jaguars or the Panthers. Playoffs are expected. Super Bowls are the goal. Anything less should be unacceptable. The moment playoffs are "celebrated" as some kind of meaningful achievement is the day our franchise is no longer one of the best.
That said, even though we've been justifiably critical and cynical of both owner Jim Irsay and G.M. Ryan Grigson for varying reasons, it's very reasonable to say they have done an excellent job turning around this Colts franchise and the roster. Change overs of this kind usually take years. Decades even. In the case of a franchise like the Dolphins, it's been 14 years and they still haven't rebuilt since Dan Marino retired. With the Colts, they've transitioned from Peyton Manning and his aging corps to Andrew Luck and a young, fresh group of players.
They've paid a price in doing so. Fans have abandoned the team. Networks too. The Colts are no longer a marquis draw. They aren't even the undercard. This is what happens when you do the right thing and gut your roster full of old, injury prone players who, sans Peyton Manning last year, started the 2011 regular season 0-13.
However, despite an offseason of change, turmoil, and Jim Irsay continuing to bumble and stumble all over himself with his Twitter account, he and Grigson have managed to build a competitive roster. Good enough to beat the Texans? No, probably not, but it's good enough to K.O. the Titans and the Jaguars. It's good enough to steal a win or two from the NFC North. It's good enough to hang around until December, and then maybe make a move.
You'll notice much of this rambling is is just opinion. No numbers, quotes, or other filler to back it up. I'm simply writing all this to let you meatheads know how I feel. I like this roster. I like it a lot. It isn't perfect. It isn't even complete, but it's good given what Grigson and Irsay had to work with.
They are to be given credit for the work they've done.
There. How's that for a Sally Sunshine post?
Oh, and even though I think their premise is a little silly, please check out GoColtsDammit.com if you haven't already. Just because it's not for me doesn't mean it isn't for you.