ESPN's Paul Kuharsky has been a frequent guest on a few radio shows this week on local Indianapolis radio station WFNI 1070 The Fan, the flagship station for the Colts. I gotta say, the stuff he's chirping pertaining to the Colts on these shows has been pretty damn good, and it's been largely ignored.
Much of what he said won't come off as news to anyone who frequently reads this blog, but the information and opinions Kuharsky shared do reinforce some strongly held views writers, like yours truly, have had for some time.
Kuharsky was on 'The Grady and Big Joe Show' yesterday, and took some not-to-thinly-veiled jabs at the credibility of the men in charge of the Indianapolis Colts, Chris and Bill Polian:
This secondary is just a disaster. I don't know what they were thinking. I still want to know the [Justin Tryon] story. If they think that Jacob Lacey is a No. 2 cornerback in the league, there's some deficiency there at talent evaluation.
But it wasn't the stuff Kuharsky said on the late-morning show Tuesday that was incendiary. It was the conversation he had with Jon 'JMV' Michael Vincent on Monday that was truly informative and 'sit-up-straight-wow.' I missed this interview until today because I spent much of Monday setting fire to live kittens after the Colts fumbled and bumbled away yet another game this past Sunday, falling to 0-6 and the worst record in the league.
During the Monday afternoon interview, JMV asked Kuharsky how much of the blame for the 0-6 start and the poor draft results in recent years should go on those 'at the top of the organization?' Kuharsky answered [emphasis mine]:
I think, fundamentally, Bill Polian and the front office are probably the biggest culprits here, of anything, just because of what you said. If they 'hit' on certain guys, if they hit on Tony Ugoh, then they don't need to draft Anthony Castonzo, probably. Right? If they hit on certain guys, then they don't need to pick the next guy and they could have, you know, done better. And so, the draft failures of the last five years... if Donald Brown was what he was supposed to be, they wouldn't have needed to re-sign Joseph Addai. They would have saved themselves some money there. Maybe they don't need to draft Delone Carter and they could draft something else there that could be helping them right now. There's a domino effect on all of these misses. That, to me, if I was a Colts fan, would be the absolute most frustrating thing.
Yep. There's even more after the jump, including Paul Kuharsky seemingly suggesting that Bill Polian is 'gifting' Andrew Luck to his son, Chris, next year...
It's interesting that Kuharsky is saying these critical comments openly on a radio station that is the flagship for the Colts. Knowing what I know of how the Colts and the Polians react to criticism, no matter how fair or justified that criticism is, I really wonder if Kuharsky's standing at West 56th Street has been effected adversely. Paul said he has no plans to visit Indianapolis this year until the Super Bowl, and Super Bowl press access in Indy is not controlled by the Colts. It's league controlled.
Back to the Monday interview, JMV then went on to ask Paul if Jim Caldwell is on or off the hook for this year because of Peyton Manning's injury. Kuharsky said he's on the hook, but did give Caldwell credit for keeping the team together through this mess. However, that doesn't mean Caldwell's job at the end of 2011 is safe. In fact, it's anything but.
PK: I think the transition from Bill Polian to Chris Polian has produced a lot of changes on different levels. Maybe in draft strategy. We saw the P.R. department turnover. We've seen other people, [Tom] Moore and [Howard] Mudd, go as this thing has kind of turned itself over. And, I think he, you know, Jim Caldwell is Bill Polian's guy. No, Tony Dungy was Bill Polian's guy and Jim Caldwell is Tony Dungy's guy. And how far removed from that is Chris Polian? And how much might he want his own guy, or feel he's got to have his own guy in order to move the chess pieces, so to speak.
JMV then added this pretty significant little bit of rumor tongue:
JMV: The more and more I hear, the more and more there's a growing 'splinter cell,' if you will, type of group [at West 56th Street] that are basically sick and tired of hearing what the Polians have to say over there.
Folks, JMV is very wired into the Colts and the staff who work at West 56th Street. He was the one who first (and correctly) reported that Peyton Manning would have a third surgery in August, effectively ending his 2011 season. So, when JMV says he's hearing that people within the organization are growing sick of the Polians and want them gone, it's a safe bet that info is true.
Kuharsky knows this, and responded [emphasis mine]:
PK: I'd stop short of calling it a 'rift,' but I do think some, how shall we say... I think the coaching staff and the front office are not as united as they typically have been there. And that's another reason you can see, and that's not so much maybe Caldwell, who I think is 'company man' and a good soldier, but maybe some of the stronger personalities on his staff who've been part of things there for a long time and had their way of doing things and had success with it. I think there have been, I wouldn't say 'battles,' but I don't think the coaching staff gets that big a say in who stays and who goes. I think some of the decisions made on cutdown day didn't go as well over in the coaches' offices because they were kind of edict decisions, and went against, maybe, I don't want to say 'the vote' because it's not a democracy, but against what the wishes of some of the offensive or defensive staff might have wanted.
This might explain why strong-minded, legendary assistants like Howard Mudd, Tom Moore, and Gene Huey are now gone, replaced with less accomplished people who can't coach the Colts to wins over the Browns, Chiefs, and Bengals.
Still, despite the apparent in-fighting between coaches and the Polians, Paul Kuharsky makes one thing clear:
PK: I don't think the Polians are going anywhere.
JMV then stated that there is a believe that a lot of the negative stuff coming out of West 56th Street is by virtue of people who actually hope that the Polians fail.
JMV: There are some people who would, if nothing, like to see a couple of Polians no longer a part of [the Colts] anymore.
PK: Oh yeah! I think that's true.
Kuharsky went on to talk about how people in the building are starting to tune out the Polians, and that their accomplishment of winning a championship in 2006 is dwindling to a distant memory. However, Kuharsky reiterated:
PK: I think Irsay is completely married to the Polians. Anybody in the building, in headquarters, hoping for something to change with the Polians isn't going to get what they want until Chris Polian has a big failure on his own.
But it was for the final moments of their conversation that Kuhasrky held off the duzzy, the 'wow' suggestion that would have more than a few league people perk up with interest should this scenario prove true:
PK: And, quite frankly, I could see a scenario where Bill is kind of 'gifting' Andrew Luck to Chris, and saying, I had Jim Kelly and I had Peyton Manning, and you're getting Andrew Luck. Here's my gift to you for your G.M. legacy. Go make it work and make your stamp.
At first listening, it sounds an awful lot like Paul suggesting that Bill Polian is sabotaging the Colts this season so they can intentionally lose and draft Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in 2012. I did contact Paul for clarification on the comment, and he told me it was NOT meant to suggest Bill or Chris are intentionally tanking. Rather, Paul meant to say that if the Colts end up with the worst record and the No. 1 pick, they will indeed take Luck. Thus, Luck 'gifted' to Chris.
I don't know. Makes sense when you add that little clarification, but without it, sure looks like Paul suggested the Colts were intentionally tanking for Andrew Luck. I don't believe it was Paul's initial intention to suggest that, but listeners who heard him Monday probably came away with that impression.
So, yeah. Lots to digest there.
Apologies if this all depresses the hell out of you, but it seems our beloved Colts are in complete and total disarray. It sounds like the Polians are about as popular within the walls of West 56th Street as they are outside those walls. Makes you wonder if Andrew Luck would want anything to do with this organization should the Colts get the top pick. Remember the last time Indy tried to draft a Stanford QB No. 1 overall?