If I'm Melvin Bullitt this morning, I'm a little peeved.
Basically, for the past two seasons, Melvin Bullitt has been the starting strong safety for the Colts. Since the Vikings game last season (Week Two), Bullitt has assumed the responsibilities as the starting safety, amassing 92 tackles, 4 INTs, and 1 forced fumble. That kind of production is Pro Bowl worthy (especially when you consider former-Cowboys safety Roy Williams' gazillion Pro Bowl nods, even though the guy was a crap safety). Yet, despite playing his guts out, and (by all measurements we know) having seemingly earned the right to start, Melvin Bullitt has woken up this morning to find out that Bob Sanders, a man who has not played a full season of football in his entire career, just took his job from him.
According to Jim Caldwell, Bob Sanders will likely play this Sunday, and if he does he will start (Tip to LovinBlue).
Hand, meet the side of Melvin Bullitt's face.
Seriously, what is this? What the hell has Bob Sanders done to earn a starting spot of late? Yes, yes, yes, I know Bob is good. Very good. Sometimes, he's great. However, Bob Sanders has not been "great" since 2007. That's two years ago. Two years ago, Adalius Thomas was the biggest free agent acquisition on defense a team could get. Today, he's benched. Two years ago, Marvin Harrison was a top 5 receiver. Today, he's done. Two years ago, Vince Young had "upside." Today, he can't get on the field for an 0-6 team.
Two years is an eternity in the NFL, and Bob Sanders has not been consistently "good" since 2007.
Meanwhile, while Bob is getting his knee scoped, his ankle taped, his hip checked, his shoulder worked on, and whatever the hell else is bothering him to the point where he can't practice or play, Melvin Bullitt is out there doing what Bob Sanders could never do: START EVERY GAME!
I know Bob is a dedicated player who works to perfect his game, but part of being a good player is showing an ability to stay. on. the. field. Ed Reed is great because he rarely, if ever, misses a game. Peyton Manning is great because he always starts, no matter what. Brett Favre's greatest accomplishment is not the TD record, the yardage record, or his Super Bowl ring in 1996. It's the fact that the man has started 275 straight games. The guy tore a muscle in his arm last year and still played.
Hell, Adam Vinatieri (a friggin kicker) had loose cartilage in his knee and actually wanted to play through it this year. A KICKER!
I think the most consecutive games Bob Sanders has started is 8. Pathetic.
The excuse we can from Colts management is Bob has a "reckless style" that invites injury. Um, OK. Thanks for telling us what we already know, but that is not an excuse. Dear Bob, CHANGE YOUR STYLE! Stop throwing your weak knees, bum shoulder, and fragile ankles into players. Play smart, not reckless. I am one fan who is tired of seeing you out on the field only 12 games a year. I'm tired of seeing your name on the injury report. I'm tired of the excuse making. Get on the field and stay there or get on the bench and let someone else do it.
Your salary is not in line with that level of on-field time and production. You are paid as one of the top safeties in the game, but the problem is a player considered a "top tier" talent has to, you know, play more than you do. I do not consider Bob in the same universe as Reed, Troy Polamalu, or even Brian Dawkins. Those guys play every friggin game, and rarely miss time due to injury.
And if I'm Melvin Bullitt this morning, I'm pissed. It should be Melvin starting (he's earned it) and Bob backing him up. I apologize if I sound a little bitter on this subject, but I'm just sick of Bob Sanders and all his stupid injuries. Great players play through injuries. Bob Sanders can't. Therefore, Bob Sanders is not a great player.