Rather than re-sign Edgerrin James, David Thorton, and Larry Tripplett, Polian decided to re-sign WR Reggie Wayne, DT/DE Raheem Brock, MLB Gary Brackett, and DE Robert Mathis. Polian took a lot of heat for these decisions, many of them personally painful. Despite what people say, Polian always liked Edgerrin James. He has stated numerous times how he thinks James is a HoFer, and now, with everybody bashing Edge, Polian has been one of the few to defend him.
But what separates Polian from many other GMs is his ability to separate the personal from the busniess side of football. His job is to field the best team possible within the restrictions of the salary cap. He must be mindful of what his owner is willing to spend, how the moves will affect the cap long term, and how the individuals will alter the football team. While moron owners like Jerry Jones grab the Terrell Owens of this league, Polian looks for players that fit the team and organization from both a skill and a character standpoint. And the results are striking.
Last night, Polian's third round pick, LB Freddie Keiaho, had to fill in for MLB and defensive captain Gary Brackett. This against a NE Patriots team featuring, arguably, the best QB in football (Tom Brady) and a tremendous running game. Keiaho finished with 6 tackles, several fine hits, and a solid effort on defense. The man drafted to replace Edgerrin James, Joseph Addai, leads all rookies in yards per rush and his having a better season than all the running backs drafted ahead of him save his New England counterpart from last night, Laurence Maroney.
In just two seasons, Polian has completely changed this team. Yet, it still feels remarkably the same. Despite a new roster, with several new players at new positions, the Colts have started this season just like last one: 8-0. However, unlike last year this time, the Colts have yet to play a complete game, especially on defense.
My point here is no matter what happens this season, Bill Polian has done his job... and then some. When the Colts needed a new back after Edge left, Polian drafted Addai. When the Colts needed an upgrade at safety, Polian drafted Antoine Bethea (who had a pick last night). When Simon gores down with an injury, Polian traded for Booger McFarland. When the Colts need a boost to special teams, Polian grabs the best kicker in NFL history: Adam Vinatieri.
Polian has been amazing this off-season. When everyone slated the Colts to have a down year, Polian went out and made sure this team can still contend.
Damn, Bill is good.