In just a few weeks, Bill Polian will officially be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, helping to cement the legacy of a person who many consider to be the greatest executive in league history. Not only did he build the Buffalo Bills teams that made it to four straight Super Bowls, he also built the Indianapolis Colts teams that had one of the most successful decades of any team in league history.
Because of that, Polian's analysis carries a bit more weight to it, and he recently talked to ESPN's Mike Wells about this year's version of the Indianapolis Colts - and he noted that "they're as good as anybody."
The reason for that? Well, as Polian and anybody else would tell you, it all starts with quarterback Andrew Luck. "It all starts with Andrew and clearly he's the best of the young quarterbacks that have come into the league in terms of everything he can do and he has a chance to be one of the greats before it's all said and done," Polian told Wells. "They're extremely fortunate to have him. And when you do, you're automatically a contender when you have a quarterback of that magnitude."
With that said, however, Polian still has questions about the team, and they are the same questions that many fans and media also have: is their defense good enough?
"Can they play adequate enough defense to be able to really be a challenger?," Polian wonders. "Obviously what we saw last year in the (AFC) championship game is not good enough and they were soundly beaten by the Patriots twice. So that's a hurdle they're going to have to overcome, but it's going to have to be on defense."
Those are the same questions that many people have, and the Colts really haven't done a ton to answer the concerns this offseason. They added Kendall Langford, Henry Anderson, and David Parry along the defensive line, Nate Irving at inside linebacker, Trent Cole at pass rush, and Dwight Lowery at safety, plus are getting a healthy Arthur Jones and Robert Mathis back, but there are still questions as to whether those moves will be enough to get the team over the hump and to beat the Patriots. Those questions really won't be answered until the season, but right now fans are left wondering and hoping.
Polian does like the additions the Colts made this offseason (such as Andre Johnson and Frank Gore) and likes that they are "battle-tested guys with terrific character" who "everybody else on the team can rally around," but he noted that they're not long-term fixes.
"Those are terrific additions, but they're obviously not long-term additions," Polian said. "The question is: Even if they can reach the heights this year, which they're certainly capable of doing if they play good defense, how do you sustain it? But this year, they're as good as anybody, that's for sure."
That's really the bottom line with these additions: they help the team this year. That's something that many of the national analysts have missed, but Polian hits a nice balance between acknowledging that this year they are better but that the Colts need to figure out how to sustain that success long-term. The answer to that sustained success, however, is the very reason that Polian started with in talking about the Colts this year: Andrew Luck. And as long as Luck is the quarterback, the Colts should have a chance to contend. This year, according to Bill Polian, they're as good as anyone.