By now you've probably either listened to the Bill Polian Show yourself or you've read Matt Grecco's excellent write-up. Last night's show was highlighted by Colts president Bill Polian doing something that he rarely, if ever, admits publicly:
He admitted that he made a mistake.
Since the Bill Polian Show is not made available to the public online, nor is it recorded as a 'podcast' when completed (as Indianapolis radio station 1070 The Fan does with every other interview they do), it is difficult to quote exactly what Polian says on his shows. I don't often trust the 'Polian Corner' write-ups after the broadcasts because, in some cases, the juicy stuff gets edited out. But, last night Matt did a good job listening to Polian's words and paraphrasing them into an excellent write-up.
In short, ole Bill admitted that the Colts should have selected Indiana University tackle Rodger Saffold with the 31st overall pick in the 2010 Draft over TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes.
This admission has sent shock-waves through the fanbase because none of us can remember any other time when Polian has ever admitted to making a draft 'error' while the person in question (in this case, Jerry Hughes) is still on the team. Make no mistake about it, Polian's comments were absolutely a shot at Hughes, who is clearly under-performing.
While it is never fun to see one's own team president essentially say that he screwed up the club's first round pick, Stampede Blue loudly applauds Bill Polian for this moment of sincerity. We encourage more like it.
Regarding the selection of Jerry Hughes, as everyone knows here our blog was very happy Hughes was selected 31st overall, as were the Colts. They made it clear the day they drafted him that big things were expected of Jerry early. This wasn't a player they wanted to 'develop' all the time. They were planning to use him as a 'third rusher,' strongly implying that Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis would be rushers one and two.
But, when training camp opened, Polian changed his tune.
Gone was the talk of 'third rusher,' 'joker packages,' and anything else that suggested Jerry Hughes would play a vital role with the Colts in 2010. The April optimism was replaced with words of caution. Jerry now needed 'time to develop'; clue words for 'he's not as good as we thought he was when we drafted him.'
It is now December, and Hughes has a grand total of three tackles. No sacks. No forced fumbles. Nothing. He's played in nine games and been inactive for four. Hughes name has not appeared on the injury report, meaning those inactive games were because he simply wasn't good enough to get on the field even to play special teams (which he struggles with, by the way).
Compare Hughes' rookie year to Robert Mathis, who was selected in the 5th round in 2003. Mathis was a special teams demon his rookie year, and he also had 20 tackles and 3.5 sacks playing in relief of Raheem Brock.
Is Hughes a 'bust?' Not yet, but when the guy who drafted him goes on the radio and says he made a mistake taking Hughes, that is certainly not good.
It's possible that today the folks at West 56th Street will, once again, go back in spin mode and try to 'clarify' Polian's statements. As we all know, Bill has a tendency to shoot his mouth off, only to get angry at 'the media' the next day for doing the unthinkable and quoting him on what he said.
It's our sincere hope at Stampede Blue that the Colts brass doesn't do this. Own up to the quote, and use it to challenge Hughes.
I mean, come on! If the president of the team calling Jerry Hughes out in public doesn't motivate him, nothing will.
While we again applaud Bill Polian for being candid and honest with Colts fans regarding the Hughes pick, the reality is that the personnel decisions made by the Polian Family front office the last four years have seriously damaged the long-term future of this franchise. Tony Ugoh and Mike Pollak are both draft busts. Anthony Gonzalez and Donald Brown are disappointments. Fili Moala is not playing particularly well, and now Polian regrets taking Jerry Hughes.
That's a ton of draft garbage there, folks, and teams that fail this consistently on the first two picks in the draft over this long a period suffer. This, more so than injuries or poor decisions made by Peyton Manning throwing the football, is why the Colts are 6-6 in December.