Well how about that. The Colts are in the playoffs! Wait a minute. Isn't this the same team all the so called "sports gurus" said would be worse than last year's team? Isn't this the same team those same critics said was the equivalent of an "expansion" team? Forgive me if I gloat and pat myself on the back here. I'm one of the few who said this team would not only be better than last year's bunch, but also would make the playoffs. I knew Luck would be as stellar as he's been in spite of being a wet behind the ears "rookie." I also knew Grigson was the real deal in evaluating talent and plucking gems from the free agent market. That being said, instead of enjoying this magical ride into the post season, some continue to look back and point fingers at the previous regime in order to nit pick about things that quite frankly, really don't matter in the grand scheme of things.
With the season well in hand, Coach Pagano and interim fill in Bruce Arians decided against sitting the starters the final two weeks of the season. A lot has been said about the previous regime making this a staple with the Manning led Colts and blame the teams post season failures for that decision. I admit I was never a fan of former GM Bill Polian's lack of use in the free agent market, I don't blame the Colts' post season collapses on his, Dungy's or Calwell's decision to sit the starters in meaningless regular season games. Here's why.
If you take a look at history, the Colts are not the only team to sit their starters at the end of the season with either of the top two seeds locked up. All teams to a degree, rest certain players when the leverage of the situation is minimized. In contrast, the Colts have done things both ways in relation to this and still lost in the post season regardless of whether they rested their starters or not. When I think of those snow filled, sub weather temperature games played in Foxburrough, Manning led Colts teams that were tops in the league offensively especially through the air. None of that mattered when they went into NE in the postseason. We lost against them in seasons using both scenarios. The truth is, if you can win 14 regular season games, you should be able to win 2 or 3 playoff games regardless of whether or not you sat your starters. I don't buy into the "sitting your starters makes them rusty for the playoffs" nonsense. That's why teams have practice. Practicing is to keep you sharp for game day. That's why it's called "practice."
as far as the Colts past postseason woes are concerned, the common link in why they lost games they were picked by many to win was not due to "sitting the starters." It was due to the fact that Manning struggled against teams that played a 3-4 defense. The Pats, Steelers, Jets, and Chargers all play a variation of the 3-4. Manning historically has struggled against this defense in the early to mid part of his career. Couple that with the fact the Colts never really gave Manning a top ten defense that could win games for him when he couldn't and a sub par running game after the exit of Edgerrin James & those are your reasons for post season failure. All these articles in which comparisons of the old regime vs the new are nothing more than pot shots at the former regime. Instead of dogging the previous staff for the short comings of the post season, enjoy the ride with the new one.