@Coltsfanwilson Do you think the Colts should go with Khaled Holmes going forward? Or stick with Harrison?— Ʊ Chris Petrovic Ʊ (@RebornRonnie) December 23, 2014
To be completely honest: I have no idea. The benching of Jonotthan Harrison in favor of Khaled Holmes on Sunday took us all by surprise, as we found out at game time just like everyone else. I thought Holmes looked better than Harrison has this year, though still not great. What that means for the team going forward, however, I don't know. Chuck Pagano wouldn't commit who his starting center will be this Sunday when asked about it on Monday. He said that Holmes and Harrison will both split the reps this week and then they'll make a decision. I don't mind them sticking with Holmes (my first choice would be going back to A.Q. Shipley, but that doesn't seem like an option), and I think that since they made the move they had to have been thinking that it would be for more than just one week. I don't think you make that move while thinking that it'll only be for a week before then going back to Harrison. To me that makes zero sense, but with what we've seen so far from the Colts when it comes to handling the line, maybe that's what will happen. Ultimately, though, I think that the Colts will stick with Holmes. Pagano's answer on Monday reminds me a lot of Pagano's answer back when he was making the move to Harrison, and besides, I can't see even the Colts making the move that they did to start Holmes while then planning to go right back to Harrison.
@Coltsfanwilson Pagano... Fired or shot from a cannon out of town?— Morgan F (@morganfass) December 23, 2014
Funny… but I get your question. It's one that a lot of Colts fans are asking right now, and it's about the future of Chuck Pagano as the Colts head coach. I'll start off by saying this: it's been a long time since I've seen the Colts' fan base this upset with a coach. Colts fans are pissed, and I can't say I blame them. But let's take a step back and let's be realistic: there's very little chance Chuck Pagano will be fired this offseason. I was asked elsewhere if I thought the Colts would fire Pagano if they suffered a playoff loss as bad as the one they did on Sunday to the Cowboys, and I think that might be the only scenario that would cause Jim Irsay to seriously consider it, but even then I don't think anything would happen. So no, I don't expect Pagano to be fired this offseason at all, regardless of what happens in the playoffs. But unless the Colts make a run, I think his seat could be getting hotter entering the 2015 season.
@Coltsfanwilson Do we need a new offensive line coach?— Dennis Cultice (@DennisCultice) December 23, 2014
This is a question I've seen a lot of people asking as well. Joe Gilbert is the Colts' offensive line coach and it's clear that their line has struggled in the past few years. But let's also consider that the Colts' struggles along the line stretch back before Gilbert even arrived (in 2012 as assistant OL coach, then taking over as OL coach in 2013). I'm not going to place the blame for the offensive line on Joe Gilbert. Maybe he's not helping, but I'll tell you the main issue: the players. Quite simply, Ryan Grigson has missed on some of the personnel moves that were supposed to improve the line. And that's why they're struggling. Maybe a new offensive line coach would help some, but I think the real issue is the talent-level.
@Coltsfanwilson Is this team worse than it was last year? Last season we could beat good teams despite the bad losses.— Dennis Hawkins (@Eltoast0) December 23, 2014
That's a great question. And actually, I think there's a case to be made that last year's Colts team was better than this year's Colts team. I think that, when the Colts are playing well, this year's version is better. Their offense has been explosive at times and has been very good, though they've been slumping recently. Defensively, this year the Colts are taking care of the teams they should take care of. I think there's plenty to be encouraged by from the Colts' defense when it comes to their performance against average to below average teams, but when it comes to facing good teams they're still not good. So I'm torn about which team was actually better, though if we're talking about the team that has shown up in the last month it's no question. I think we'd have to eliminate other variables and just look at each team playing their best football - which year's version was better. And I think a very strong argument could be made for last year's team actually being better. Regardless, though, I think the fact that this is even a question worth considering and that it's so tough to tell is a clear indication that the Colts did not do a great job of improving. Because they're hardly improved, if at all.
@Coltsfanwilson If you could have back one former Colts player who is active on a different team. Who would it be to help this team?— Dan Schulte (@showltee) December 23, 2014
Fun question. While Peyton Manning is the best, most prominent, and favorite former Colt still playing in the league, he's not the one I'd want right now to add to this year's Colts team - because Indy has Andrew Luck. So I think I'd have to go to the defensive side of the football, and really there are two options: Dwight Freeney or Antoine Bethea. In San Francisco this year, Bethea has had a terrific season for the 49ers and pairing him at safety with Mike Adams instead of LaRon Landry or Sergio Brown would be a significant upgrade. But, at the same time, what the Colts desperately need is pass rush, and the thing they're lacking is a star pass rusher. They've had to rely almost solely on blitzes to generate pressure this year, and so adding a rusher like Freeney to the mix this season would help a lot. So I'd go with either Bethea or Freeney as my choice of a former Colt still playing in the league to add to this year's Colts' team.
[A reader mentioned Jerry Hughes, and Hughes would absolutely be one to consider. That's one player I forgot to mention.]
@Coltsfanwilson Did the Colts really throw the game?— The Frank McMahen (@Frank__Samuel) December 23, 2014
No, they didn't intentionally throw the game. NFL teams have too much pride. Not even the 2011 Colts threw games. But it was pretty clear that the effort wasn't great for the Colts on Sunday against the Cowboys and it looked like they were not that motivated. So no, while they didn't throw the game, they didn't look like they cared much about the game at all (even though we know they did).
The Colts this season have almost always played Vontae Davis on one side of the field and Greg Toler on the other when it comes to the cornerback position. They really haven't changed that up no matter who the opposing receiver is. The only time I've seen them adjust at all was a game in which Davis missed, when they had Toler shadow the receiver for some of the game. The plan all season long has been to keep their corners on sides - which is the same thing the Seahawks do, if you've noticed. But on Sunday, we saw once again the weaknesses of Greg Toler. Now, I don't think he's as bad of a corner as many fans do, but there are clear limitations and weaknesses with him that have to be realized, and on Sunday when Dez Bryant and the other Cowboys' receivers were torching Toler, it was clear that it wasn't working out for Indy. They didn't adjust on Sunday to have Vontae Davis shadow Bryant, but I think they might have to consider doing that in some games. I don't think the Colts should enter a game planning on having Davis shadow the opposing team's number one receiver because I think the Colts have their plan for a reason and that's perfectly fine. But when the game is going like the Dallas game did, in which Toler was repeatedly getting burned, I think the Colts have to consider moving Davis into the shadow corner mode. He's one of the best corners in football this year, so the Colts can trust him in that role. They "stick to the process," however, and that's fine - but in a game like the one against the Cowboys, with Greg Toler getting torched, I think it's something the Colts have to reconsider. Would it have made the difference in the game? No. But it's something they have to look at, I think.