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The Colts Are 7-3, But Are Still Tremendously Flawed

The positive is the Colts have gotten through the true meat of their schedule with a winning record. The negative is the team is incredibly flawed.

Andy Lyons

These comeback wins are driving me crazy.

Do NOT get me wrong. I’m absolutely ecstatic that the Indianapolis Colts pushed their record to 7-3 and all but locked up the AFC South with a 30-27 come from behind win over the Tennessee Titans at LP Field Thursday night. The Colts are 3-0 in their division with all their wins on the road. Going forward, they should sweep their remaining division games and be in a position compete for a first round bye.

Emphasis on the word should because, with this team, nothing is a given. Well, except maybe slow starts.

I’m happy the Colts won, but I think I need to get this off my chest now that we’re 11 weeks in: I don’t like this team.

Once again, Indianapolis started a football game spotting the team 14 points. They’ve been outscored a total of 66-9 in the first half over the last three weeks. In two of those three wins, quarterback Andrew Luck had to lead furious second half comebacks to secure the victory.

Leading up to this game, we heard head coach Chuck Pagano talk about how the team was focused and determined to start strong after enduring the worst home loss in 20 years. The Titans game "couldn't come soon enough," Pagano said on Tuesday. He also said he was happy with the team's short week practices. This was after Pagano himself stated that he hadn't done enough to get the team ready to play the Rams, who beat the Colts 38-8. Indianapolis responded to that 30-point thrashing by coming out flat and seemingly disinterested, especially on defense.

That’s an indictment of Pagano as a coach.

Call me a Chuck hater. Call me anti-Pagano. Call me Willy Wonka. I don’t care. When the head coach makes it a point of emphasis for the team to start fast and the team responds by not only coming out flat but, eventually, completely losing their composure - as the Colts defense did in the second quarter - that head coach is going to take a hit to his reputation.

Pagano looked inept last night. Even worse, it looks as if his players simply do not fear or truly respect him. If they did, they wouldn’t have needed a fire and brimstone halftime speech by Andrew Luck in order to go out and play like professionals in the second half.

The worst part of the game was the second quarter. On the Titans second drive of that quarter, the Colts defense came completely unglued. Three straight personal foul penalties were called in a row with none worse than Erik Walden head-butting Delanie Walker after the whistle. Walker, at the time, wasn’t wearing a helmet!

Walker called the move bush league. He was right. Walden should have been tossed from the game. I personally think he should be suspended. Maybe even cut. I lost respect for Walden on that series. That’s just me.

I’m happy the Colts won, but I think I need to get this off my chest now that we’re 11 weeks in: I don’t like this team.

I don’t like their make-up.

I don’t like the mentality.

I don’t like their soft play.

I don’t like their coaching.

I just don’t like them.

Outside of Andrew Luck’s brilliance and Adam Vinatieri’s clutch kicking, there is very little reliability within this team. Everything and everyone is hit and miss, game to game. I know many of you share this opinion about the team while others probably love anyone who wears a horseshoe. Maybe you’re indifferent. I don’t know.

What I do know is that, week to week, this team simply isn’t consistent. It all goes back to coaching and to the roster dynamic, which begins and ends with Chuck Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson. I honestly don’t think they have a handle on this team, and that Pagano simply does not inspire or motivate his players to play well on a consistent basis.

If he did, we wouldn’t be see these slow starts.

The positive is the Colts have gotten through the true meat of their schedule with a winning record. They have home games against all three of their bad division opponents, a road game against the Cardinals, and trips to the Chiefs and the Bengals. They should go .500 with these next 6 games and host a playoff game.

Again, emphasis on should.

The 7-3 record makes me happy.

The team - including its player make-up and inept coaching - does not.