Well, I've had the night to sleep on it. I woke up early this morning, did a quick read of the media's take, and digested it all further. If you head over to Colts message boards, you see very little panic, hysteria, or craziness. I think most Colts fans, like ourselves here, are just shocked. We all figured Simon would miss more time, but not the whole season. Even those pessimistic enough to think he was done this year couldn't have guessed his problems have nothing to do with his knee. It's all very odd and surprising.
First and foremost, we want to wish Corey a complete and speedy recovery, not because we want him back on the football field but because we want Corey, the person, healthy. I, like many of you, have lost relatives and friends to terrible illnesses. We do not want to see a good person like Corey Simon have to suffer through some horrible illness. Get well soon, Corey.
Now, all this week we will see speculation, conjecture, rumor, and inuendo come from everywhere on this. Mike Florio at PFT has already speculated the illness is a staff infection resulting from Simon's surgery. That is probably not the case seeing as Bill Polian, in his statement, made it clear the illness is not related to his knee.
Because of privacy laws, the Colts cannot disclose Simon's illness. All we know is that it is NOT life threatening. Corey needs time to recover. Whether or not the Colts pay him while this happens is another story. Simon WILL COUNT against the cap this season. So, I assume he's still getting paid. To be honest, I think he should. This sounds like something that was not his fault.
So, what does this all mean for the Colts? For starters, it means the Colts have relatively the same defensive unit they had in 2003 and 2004. It means they will have problems stopping the run, and teams that do not stop the run typically do not play in the Super Bowl. Cover 2 defenses require a playmaker or difference maker at the tackle position. Corey Simon was a difference maker. Tampa Bay had Warren Sapp for years, and now has Booger McFarland. Chicago has Tommie Harris.
Can the Colts acquire another DT? Yes, and they might, but that DT will probably not be a difference maker. Someone like Brenson Buckner is available, but I'm not sure how he'd fit into a Cover 2 line scheme. According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, the Colts have put S Mike Doss on the trading block. Could Doss bring a DT to Indy? Perhaps.
The likely solution is Vincent "Sweat Pea" Burns will get moved from practice squad to the regular lineup. Montae Reagor and Raheem Brock will start, and Darrell Reid, Burns, and Dan Klecko will see more action. Regardless of who plays, this means that every single player on defense must step up. The coaches must also step up. Simon was important. Yes, we realize this.
That is still no excuse.
This is a Super Bowl team. Guys like Cato June, Gary Brackett, Reagor, Robert Mathis, Brock, and Dwight Freeney must step it up. As fans, we will truly see how this team responds. People call them too small, soft, and finesse. Let's see how they respond to this. Real men, CHAMPIONS, rise up and overcome injuries like this. New England did it when they lost DT Richard Seymour for part of the playoffs in 2004.
This team has overcome tragedy and adversity before. Can they overcome it enough to get to the dance? I don't know. All I know is that I still expect them in the big dance. I expect to see Freeney step it up. I expect to see Gary Brackett, the defensive captain, to make things happen. I expect it all.
As a fan, my opinions about this team's chances have not changed. Does the road become harder? Yes. But, it supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, then everyone would win championships. It quote a good line from a funny movie: The "hard" is what makes it great.