Injury. It's on of those little facts of football people don't seem to understand; the effect injuries can have had on a team. Look at the Seattle Seahawks. They've lost both the MVP of last season (Shaun Alexander) and their starting QB, Matt Hasselbeck, for significant time. It's amazing they have managed to stay afloat. Yet, some people are willing to write them off without first looking at their injury situation, just like people are ready to write off the Colts. Take the Indy Star's resident idiot Bob Kravitz, who once again showcases his inability to objectively look at a situation and offer an INFORMED opinion about it.
Last season, the Colts defense showed remarkable improvement, allowing only 15 ppg. They were tough against the run, steady against the pass, and man did they get after the QB. This season, the Colts have the worst rushing defense in football, allowing 5.4 yards a rush and 167 yards a game. They have only 11 QB sacks; only 5 INTs. They are allowing 21 ppg. Why the regression? Kravitiz blames Dungy, but Kravitz has never been known as an intelligent individual.
The blame is injury.
Yes, yes I know. The injury card. Sad as it is, and as unpopular as it is, it's true. Think on this: last season, when the Colts walked into Foxboro and waxed the Patriots, the starting DTs in that game were Montae Reagor and Corey Simon. This Sunday, when the Colts and Pats fight again, Raheem Brock and Booger McFarland will man the DT spots. Simon is gone for the year, and Reagor might not be back at all as well, even though reports suggest he might. If Polian hadn't have traded for McFarland, the starting DTs for Sundays game would be Raheem Brock and Darrell Reid; both are converted DEs.
Adding to the injury woes, Bob Sanders, THE difference maker in the secondary, hasn't played since Week 2.
I know the fan whipping boy is Gilbert Gardner, and I agree he has not played great. But, it's not all his fault. When new guys are inserted every week, and you are relying on players like Bo Schobel, Dan Klecko, and Josh Thomas to play lots of snaps, your defense is going to suffer. The d-line for Indy has been hit hard this season with freakish injuries not related to football. When your d-line suffers, so does your rush defense.
This is why I am not panicking, and why I dismiss idiots like Kravtiz who seem to blame Dungy. Bill Belichick had injuries to his defense up the wha-zoo last season, and the Patriots were blown out numerous times. I didn't see any articles blaming Bill.
I'm not panicking because I know the Colts will, eventually, get healthy. Sanders will come back. Reagor is expected back, or they would have IRed him by now. McFarland will get more comfortable playing in Indy. Eventually, and hopefully close or near playoff time, the Colts d-line will get healthy and find itself. I think it will.
There's a lot of talent sitting in the training room.