It has been a very rough year for the Indianapolis Colts, as they’re just 6-7 and about to miss the playoffs for the second straight year - and this time, they’ve had Andrew Luck for all but one game.
There’s no excuse for the level of performance the Colts have had this year, and one of the leaders of the team isn’t making any.
“I’m very disappointed in the outcome of that game,” Mathis said in his weekly radio show with Jake Query and Derek Schultz, according to Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen. “It’s not acceptable and it’s certainly not acceptable this year. We are not getting the job done. However you shake it, the blame falls on us. The fans being [pissed off] is fully acceptable. They pay their hard earned money to get entertainment and see their team come out and whoop a little tail. That didn’t happen. They are disappointed and that’s fully understood.”
He went on to say that, “Coming back against a team that has what you want in Houston, which is an AFC South title, we can’t rise to the occasion. That’s just unacceptable. I’m not bashing, I’m just telling the truth. I’m the leader and that falls on me. I’m the first one the fans should be angry at. If I can take those bullets for my teammates, I’m taking them. I have to do better.”
Part of the way Mathis can help his team is by getting back on the field first, and he told Query and Schultz that it will happen this week against the Vikings. Head coach Chuck Pagano seemed to corroborate that in his press conference today when he said that he expects Mathis back at practice on Thursday.
Mathis also had a very interesting comment about the Colts not being strong enough mentally, however. “The talent is there,” he said. “We can play with any team, when we are on our A game. It’s [just] a lot of mental. We are not the strongest mentally as a team. The physical ability, the coaching, the players, it’s all there. Mentally, we need to get stronger.”
It’s unclear what exactly he means by saying the Colts aren’t as strong mentally, but he’s likely meaning that they don’t have the right mindset or aren’t able to withstand the number of downs as well as in years past, as they’ve been a generally resilient team in recent years. Regardless of what exactly he’s meaning, however, doesn’t it seem that a team not being strong mentally has at least something to do with its leadership? Especially when the head coach is a guy in Chuck Pagano that his supporters say always gets his team to play hard for him and gets his guys to never quit? Wouldn’t you think that a players coach like Pagano would be able to keep his team at least mentally ready, regardless of the talent level, because the players just love to play for him so much? Underneath Mathis’s comments - which surely weren’t aimed as a shot at Pagano - are more questions about this team and their mindset, which ultimately does fall on Pagano. If his team hasn’t been mentally ready this year, that ultimately reflects back on the team’s leadership.