In lue of the ST horror show last night, I have to say I'm done with Russ Purnell. I'm just done with the guy. He's had six years to develop the Colts special teams into something resembling a professional football unit. And yet year, after year, after year this unit stinks. No, it's not because he only has young guys to work with. All teams use young guys on special teams. Chicago has young guys on special teams, and last night special teams was the only thing Chicago did right. The Colts held numerous practices during Training Camp specially working on special teams. They stress it year, after year, after year.
And yet, the results are the same.
Because of this, I gotta point my finger at the coach, Russ Purnell, and say I'm done with him. Dungy should fire him right now, promote someone from within, and get this damn thing fixed. I understand that change at this point might cause a ripple effect, but any change is better than seeing the Colts special teams allow scrubs like Daniel Manning torch the team with a BS return.
Ok, that's the negative. Now, the positives!
- Ed Johnson is developing into a fine player. He is the unquestioned starter at DT and continues to improve. Again, maybe Booger's injury was a blessing in disguise.
- The defense was electric. People flew to the ball, made hits, and tackling like demons. Marlin Jackson is now better than Nick Harper, and would have started this year over Harper even if Nick was re-signed. Marlin "rodeo" tackle of Devan Hester for a 2 yard loss provoked a "F*&k yeah!" out of me when it happened. His pick on Grossman was also quite good. Marlin is a stud.
- Freddie Keiaho still continues to show he's a better linebacker than Cato June. First play from scrimmage, Grossman hands off to Benson. Benson is greeted at the LOS by Keiaho. Benson drops like a sack of bricks. I spied Freddie all evening while he was in there, and he was always around the football, making tackles and disrupting plays.
- Anthony Gonzalez is FAST. They need to feed him the ball more with the first unit in a 3 WR set, because when he gets the ball he's the Flash.
- Tony Ugoh played solid, and continues to improve. He's much more comfortable run blocking. In the second quarter he laid a vicious block to spring Joseph Addai for extra yardage. On passing downs, he was improved but only decent. Ryan Diem was the one who was bad last night.
- I'm now a big Matt Giordano fan. He can't cover, but the man can tackle, hit, and runs, runs, runs. He was the only one tackling on special teams, and he made a great play on a screen pass preventing a first down.
- Kenton Keith and Clifton Dawson played better than DeDe Dorsey. I expect to see them more in the third game.
- Cut Jim Sorgi. He's terrible. Yes, he was good late in the second half on one drive. After that, he was bad to overthrowing wide open receivers, getting picked off, and generally scaring the crap out of us Colts fans. On the other side, Brian Greise looked sharp, accurate, and he didn't have near the talent around him that Sorgi did. Like Purnell, I'm done with Sorgi.
- TJ Rushing might just have lost his starting returning job. Fumbles in situations like last night get you the Ricky Williams treatment. No, not THAT Ricky. The other Ricky Williams, a running back the Colts traded for back in 2003. He started one game against the Panthers four years ago. He had two costly fumbles in that game. He never started again, and was eventually cut.
Despite the special teams play, everything else was very good. I have to say, MNF, while improved with Jaws in the booth, is still pretty painful to watch and listen to. Tony Kornheiser is terrible, and is approaching Dennis miller critical mass. He isn't funny. He's annoying. And he doesn't know jack squat about football. So what's he doing in the damn booth? And no Bob Kravitz, it's not Michelle Tafoya's job to ask Peyton Manning about Michael Vick. Yes, Manning was annoyed she asked him, and for good reason.
No one cares what Manning thinks of Vick.
Vick's guilty. We all know it. We all move on. Goading Manning on Vick's plea is the same "gotcha journalism" that makes people turn the channel. No one cares what other players think of Vick, and no one cares for Michelle Tafoya. Female sideline reporters are there to look hot, smile, and offer viewers something else to look at than a fat offensive lineman or Kornheiser's bald head. They aren't journalists or reporters. They are eye candy, pure and simple. I personally would have no problem if TV did away with all sideline reporting. The only news worth anything from Tafoya's question is if Manning went off on a tirade bashing Vick, which you know he isn't going to do. We only care what the law and the NFL will do to him.
As always, thanks to the great Bears fans over at WCG. Though the Bears have a strong defense and special teams, Rex Grossman is awful (3 fumbles, 1 lost, 1 INT) and Cedric Benson is a major bust. I don't say this to piss of Bears fans, but after watching those two that night I see they haven't changed since last year.