The offensive line needs re-tooling, again
Samson Satele and Mike McGlynn stink. We know this. We knew even before the 2013 regular season started, which was why we correctly criticized general manager Ryan Grigson for stupidly sending back-up center A.Q. Shipley off to Baltimore for a bag of Doritos and half a turkey sandwich. The interior of the Colts offensive line is the worst in the NFL. It’s shocking in that it was this unit that Grigson was specifically tasked with improving during the offseason. He’s failed, miserably.
Now, the team needs to move forward. At some point, Khaled Holmes needs to dress and see playing time. He’s been inactive the entire season for reasons other than injury. Holmes is healthy. If he isn’t, then his name should be on the injury report.
It’s also time to slot in Jeff Linkenbach or Joe Reitz. I’m not crazy about either player, but both are better along the interior than Satele or McGlynn. I’m even willing to concede shifting McGlynn over to center, where he seems more comfortable and effective. McGlynn did suffer a fractured thumb against the Rams, and, obviously, that would make it difficult to snap the ball.
One thing is glaringly obvious: Satele and McGlynn simply can’t get it done. One or both needs to sit down. If the Colts are unwilling to do this, then money is the motivating factor. Satele counts roughly $5.3 million against Indy’s cap this year while McGlynn counts $1.9 million.
End the Darrius Heyward-Bey experiment
DHB has been DOA in recent weeks. Really, all season long, he’s been a disappointment. According to Pro Football Focus, Heyward-Bey is one of the worst graded wide receivers in the entire NFL, ranked 100 out of 111 players.
With Reggie Wayne out of the picture, we’ve seen T.Y. Hilton, who got benched when the Colts signed Heyward-Bey, step-up and perform at a high level. Heyward-Bey has 22 receptions on 44 targets. He also only has 231 yards and one touchdown.
Heyward-Bey is playing on a one-year deal, but with Wayne out for the year, it’s time to see what LaVon Brazill and Griff Whalen can do with more playing time. The Colts have more committed to them, and Heyward-Bey has done nothing to warrant getting signed to an extension at season’s end.
Make changes along the defensive front
Jim Irsay said he wanted the Colts defense to become the "cornerstone" of the franchise back in July. He said this because he’d just invested $30 million in guaranteed money for players like Erik Walden, Ricky Jean Francois, LaRon Landry, Greg Toler, and Aubrayo Franklin.
The result: The Colts have one of the worst run defenses in football, and have been scorched two weeks in a row by no-name, back-up quarterbacks.
If defensive coordinator Greg Manusky wants to keep his job, and if head coach Chuck Pagano wants to salvage his reputation as a defensive guru, they need to fix the Colts’ defensive woes, and fast! It must start up front. Whether it’s Franklin, RJF, or Cory Redding, the fact is the Colts defensive line is getting dominated on a consistent basis.
Once again, I ask, "Where the hell is Josh Chapman?" In recent weeks, his knee has been an issue. The same knee that cost him the entire 2012 season.
At some point, the Colts need to make a decision on Chapman. That he’s missing time again this year because of his knee suggests that decision will come at season’s end unless he gets back on the field and does something.
Also, for all the money he makes ($8,000,000 in guaranteed green) Erik Walden hasn't done a whole helluva lot to "set the edge" in Chuck Pagano’s run defense. The Colts have surrendered over 1,100 rushing yards in 9 games, at 4.3 yards-per-carry. Walden sole job is to stop the run, and, since he and the rest of the defense are clearly failing in that task, why not start Bjoern Werner?
Pagano also called LaRon Landry a "difference maker" prior to the start of the regular season. Landry has 30 tackles and one pass defended so far. No picks. No forced fumbles. Landry signed a 4-year, $24 million deal with the Colts during the offseason, and in two of Indy’s best defensive performances (against San Francisco and Jacksonville), Landry didn’t dress because of an injury.