Philip Wheeler signed with the Oakland Raiders this weekend as yet another Bill and Chris Polian draft pick bust was purged from the Colts roster.
Now, to be fair to Philip, it wasn't his fault that he was drafted by a front office that didn't realize his talents as a blitzing linebacker did not fit within a defensive scheme which NEVER blitzes. Still, the former Georgia Tech defensive star never endeared himself to the community, and his play on the field was anything but consistent. He was penciled in as the starter at SAM backer to start the 2009 preseason, but lost his job before Week One to Tyjuan Hagler. He got the job back after Hagler broke his arm mid-season, but was benched again the following year for Pat Angerer. Last year, after Gary Brackett was hurt and Angerer slid to MIKE backer, Wheeler started 11 games and had his most productive season.
With Jim Caldwell and the Polians sent packing earlier this year, and with the hiring of Chuck Pagano as head coach, the thought was that Wheeler could finally play on a defense that was tailor made for his talents.
Nope. Sorry. Wheeler left via free agency, choosing the Raiders, in part, because of their fanbase. In his first interview with the Oakland Tribune as a Raider, Wheeler told Jerry McDonald that one of the reasons he picked Oakland over the Miami Dolphins was because, when word leaked out that he might sign with Oakland, he received 2,000 new followers to his Twitter account.
That's right. Philip Wheeler, in his own words, chose his new team because of Twitter.
Also, Wheeler did not have flattering things to say about the less-than-tech-savvy Colts fans who had cheered for him these past three years.
Indianapolis, it was pretty good football city, but the fans, they didn’t’ get more involved in media, and just showing us how much they care about the game. I always wanted to play in a big football for a legendary team, something like that and that kind of helped me choose Oakland.
Yeah, that's Philip Wheeler essentially telling Colts fans that you, well... that you suck with technology, and all. All those Sundays when you filled Lucas Oil Stadium, especially last year when the team was 2-14 and Wheeler was whiffing tackles for a defense ranked 28th in the league in scoring and surrendered 2,300 rushing yards... yeah, that wasn't enough. You all didn't get active enough on Twitter to Philip's liking! Shame on you!
Wheeler went on to take a few shots at the Tampa-2 defensive scheme:
[Raiders defensive coordinator] Coach Tarver told me there was going to be a lot of blitzing, just a lot of mixing up things, not just standing still in Cover 2 like I did in with the Indianapolis Colts for awhile. Nothing against that, we had a great offense that kept the lead a lot. We were able to sit back in Cover 2 and rush the passer a lot because teams had to catch up, and we had two great defensive ends that did that. But I also like to rush the passer and everything from the linebacker position and coach Tarver told me that it would be some of that going on.
I feel like in Indianapolis I wasn’t able to use everything that I had. It didn’t bore me. It just made my want to do something else, check to other teams. I just want to be able to use all of my talents.
I wish Philip well with his new team, and I hope he enjoys all his new Twitter followers. He was never a good fit in Indianapolis. Maybe Oakland provides him with a fresh start.
Oh, and I unfollowed him on Twitter.