One of the all-time great Indianapolis Colts players, Reggie Wayne, wants to set the record straight as to what the team’s biggest problem is right now.
Wayne is now an analyst on NFL Network and was asked about Andrew Luck. But Wayne didn’t dwell on Luck but instead moved to what he thinks is the real problem: the front office.
"I honestly think Andrew Luck's playing pretty good, despite some of the O-line woes that they're having," Wayne said, according to NFL.com. "A lot of people are wanting to criticize Andrew Luck instead of really, in my opinion, going after what the big problem is. I think that big problem is a lot of the front office decisions. Whether it's draft picks or it is free-agent picks, they've missed on a lot of guys.
"They went in free agency they got LaRon Landry and got rid of Antoine Bethea who is a Pro Bowler; that was a swing and a miss. They had Arthur Jones who hasn't found his way in there yet. You still have Trent Cole, who is now out, who hadn't given them anything last year. You went and got his teammate Todd Herremans from Philly, also who didn't give them anything. So they missed on so many guys and also picks in the draft. You have Bjoern Werner who is now out of the league. Khaled Holmes who was playing center from USC -- he came and left. There were so many decisions that they made in there and they just missed. And don't forget the Trent Richardson trade. They got rid of a first-round pick to bring in Trent Richardson who ended up not doing anything for them.
"That's just how it's been. You look at all those other teams in the past, you take a Seattle, when they used their money to build around, until it was time for Russell Wilson to get his deal. Then when that time came, gave Russell Wilson his money and then they had guys around him. [The Colts] used the money to get free-agent guys that didn't do anything."
Wayne is absolutely right in his assessment of the Colts. The Colts have missed on a lot of moves, and the last part about the comparison with the Seahawks is especially insightful, I think. Some Colts fans want to defend Grigson because his last two drafts have been better, but here’s the reality: in year five, the Colts are lacking in talent. They had arguably the biggest bargain in football over the past few years with Andrew Luck’s rookie contract, yet they failed to build the foundation around him. So now, the Colts are left re-building their team while Luck makes his money too. As Wayne noted, the Seahawks built the foundation around Wilson while he was a bargain and now are still a good team even though Wilson has been paid his money.
It’s especially noteworthy that these criticisms come from Reggie Wayne. We here at Stampede Blue have been pretty open in the past few years about our thoughts about the Colts’ front office, but Wayne saying as much is much more significant. Here’s why: Wayne played with a lot of the players he talked about. Wayne played for Ryan Grigson in Indianapolis. And Wayne is now saying, essentially, that Grigson has failed at his job in bringing in a lot of the players that were on the team when Wayne was there. Are these new thoughts? Has Wayne suddenly had a revelation since joining the media and has he just magically had his eyes opened to the issues? Or, more probably, were these thoughts that he was having even at the time while with the the team? And if Reggie Wayne was thinking that, what about some of the other Colts players?
It’s no secret that most people who have watched the Colts play think that they lack talent and that Ryan Grigson at least shares the blame for the team’s struggles, and Reggie Wayne has now revealed that he does too. Knowing how much Jim Irsay cares about his team’s history and former players (which was evidenced at the Hall of Fame induction and Peyton Manning’s homecoming, among other times), you can be sure he’s heard Wayne’s comments (or will hear about them).
For his part, outside linebacker Trent Cole responded to Reggie with a Facebook post:
“I don’t respond to media,” Cole wrote, despite his post being a response to a media member, “but I can’t stand people who think they know whats going on like he is in the building amongst us, playing beside me and know what some players going through. Put your drink down quit smoking cigars, watch the dam game and look at playing time of different players and stats!!!!!!!! The film don’t lie. So don’t use my name ever again because if you do, these things you will take back them words of time I was playing. I stay in my lane, because I’m here for my team. This goes for everybody and certainly Reggie Wayne. Reggie I have all respect for you, you will always be a Colt for life. I know you are mad about what you are seeing but this is not the way to talk about the team who gave you opportunity!
If you laughed while reading that, that’s a perfectly acceptable response - because it’s hilarious. Here’s Trent Cole, who has recorded just three sacks in 16 games with the team, telling one of the greatest Colts of all time that he can’t criticize the team. That’s laughable. Wayne played in more games than anyone else in a Colts uniform and was a part of the greatest run of success in Indianapolis history, not to mention the fact that his job is now to talk about football (meaning that it probably was the way he should talk about the team. Plus, Reggie Wayne was in that locker room and played with many of those players longer than Cole has. And here’s the biggest thing of all: Reggie’s right.
Wayne also offered his own response to Cole’s comments this morning:
So yeah, I’m definitely Team Reggie, and I think he’s absolutely right about the Colts issues. Good for him being honest about the team’s issues, and maybe Jim Irsay will finally take notice when one of his franchise’s all-time greats says what many fans have been seeing for a while.