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Jim Caldwell And Jacob Lacey Make Watching The Colts More Painful Than Seppuku

Seppuku - a Japanese honor ritual of suicide by disembowelment. (Have yet to try it...still 12 games left though)

On several occasions on this blog, I claimed Curtis Painter could be the worst player in the NFL. Sorry Curtis, I was wrong. Jacob Lacey is far more deserving of that award and easily the worst defensive player - and probably worst overall - in the league.

Watching the Colts hustle and bust their butts is inspiring. Watching Jacob Lacey get beat time-and-again on 10+ yard pass plays is painful (Watching his stupid celebrations when he makes a standard tackle or when the receiver drops the ball drives me crazy).

Seeing Jim Caldwell just stand there expressionlessly and not make any adjustments is nauseating.  Time and again Lacey was beaten mercilessly by Dwayne Bowe and failed to make an corrections. Caldwell didn't make one either.

7 catches, 128 yards and 2 touchdowns and no adjustments. None. If Lacey can't fix his mistakes, the coaching staff should make sure that he doesn't hurt the team and bench him (preferably get rid of him). Why on earth they thought it was smart to leave the worst corner (yes, the worst on our roster) on Kansas City's - and one of the league's - best receivers is truly mind blowing. 

Then again, if Hayden and Tyron (even Thomas) are out there, it probably doesn't happen and the Colts are 2-3 and in the thick of the divisional race. Instead the Colts are 0-5.

Why? Some people point to a lack of talent. I disagree. Teams with far less talent than Freeney, Mathis, Wayne, Clark (what happened to him today?), Garcon, Addai, Bethea, have done more and won more. 

Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be - John Wooden

There are two fundamental flaws with Caldwell's model and mantra. 

First is that Caldwell preaches 'consistency' and keeps telling everyone that if the Colts fix the little things they will be fine. 

If Peyton was playing, we'd all buy that and be satisfied. Largely because he'd be right but also because we'd probably be 4-1. With Peyton at the helm and the veterans surrounding him, that's a great coaching philosophy.

The problem is, Peyton is not there.

Employing the same strategy sans Peyton is like Byron Scott preaching that the Cavs keep employing their same game plan without Lebron. Can you imagine the Cavs running isolation for Anthony Parker? Or giving Alonzo Gee (wow, the Cavs are awful) the ball at the top of the key and clearing out? Of course not! As good as they might be (although they actually might suck), they aren't Lebron. 

When bad luck strikes - and to be fair it can't get much worse for Caldwell injury wise - you have to adapt and play to your strengths and try new things.

George Washington was the general of a rag-tag group of untrained farmers and merchants. He knew they would be crushed if they marched into battle with the British. So he switched tactics. He ditched the customary conventional warfare strategies and modified the game plan to fit the strengths of his units (knowledge of the land and the element of surprise).

Caldwell should to. Again, in fairness to Caldwell, the offense was much improved. The play calling was solid. As a coach he is not responsible for Painter's missed throws, or Clark's lack of focus. But it's defensively where Caldwell and Coyer's coaching is absolutely infuriating. 

If the defensive line is getting gashed (and completely gassed), the linebackers punished and the corners Jacob Lacey is getting torched, adapt!

Don't lineup in the same vanilla formation. Blitz 10, drop everyone. Play a 8 in the box. Something!

Just like last week in Tampa and the games against the Browns and  Texans the Colts defensive play calling and secondary were an abomination, which brings me to my second point: 

Caldwell needs to show he has control of his team. I don't mean with the players (although they might start deserting in droves if things don't change) I mean with the front office.

If Caldwell wants to stick with the same vanilla cover-2 defense that has produced horrible results to date, fine. But he is going to need better players if he wants better results. (I seriously think if they Lacey didn't play and they left the receiver untouched, they'd probably have better results. At least Lacey wouldn't draw a flag). 

As has been stated on this blog, Larry Coyer and Jim Caldwell wanted to keep and play Justin Tryon. If that was the case, he should be playing. Simple as that because he is the coach and it's his team. Caldwell cannot let his staff be pushed around by the Polians (especially for a relatively non-high profile guy who was not commanding a huge salary). 

As it is, Lacey probably would have been in nickel (where he is much better suited anyway) and maybe the Tryon doesn't get burned so often, which makes Caldwell look better. Instead, Caldwell caves to the front office forcing Caldwell to play Lacey and causing the Colts to lose.

Ultimately, Caldwell's job is probably safe barring the Colts going 2-14 or worse. Only a handful of coaches would be expected to save the season after losing Manning and with all the injuries that have already piled up.

That being said, 'we are close,' 'we need to focus on the little things' and 'we have a good group of guys in place' doesn't cut it anymore.

The guys have proven we have the talent to stay competitive. Right now we are being handicapped by an awful secondary  Jacob Lacey and a stubborn and weak coach who can't or won't make changes. 

We have failed and we haven't changed. If we had, we probably would have been in the divisional race.