The Indianapolis Colts won big on Sunday over the Minnesota Vikings to improve their record to 7-7 on the year, closing in on a possible second-straight .500 season. For a lot of teams - especially those like the Colts that expect greatness every year - that wouldn’t be acceptable, but Colts head coach Chuck Pagano isn’t hiding it: he thinks this team has the right pieces in place.
In his press conference today, Pagano was asked whether this past Sunday’s win is more indicative of this football team than some of the struggles they’ve had, and Pagano said it is.
“Yeah, it’s always been,” he said. “We’ve got the right guys, we’ve got the right culture, we’ve got the right environment, the right staff. Sometimes the ball’s going to bounce your way and sometimes it ain’t. And we all have a hand in that. I’ve played my fair share, and that’s how it goes sometimes. And again, we keep moving forward, but we definitely got the right guys. You don’t come back time and time and time again when you had disappointment and win football games the way this group has if you’re not wired the right way, and we’ve got the right guys in this locker room.”
Once these final two weeks of the season are done with, however, it’s ultimately going to be owner Jim Irsay’s call on whether the Colts have the right guys in place. For the high moments like Sunday’s dominating win over the Vikings or the blowout win over the Jets a few weeks ago, there’s also down moments like the two crushing losses to the Texans. It will be Irsay’s call whether this team - one that boasts one of the worst defenses in the NFL - has the right people in place, or whether they have the right coaching staff in place. Or even, really, whether they have the right environment, after we’ve heard Robert Mathis talk about this team not being that strong mentally, T.Y. Hilton talk about how the team laid down against the Texans, and Erik Walden talk about how the reason they didn’t play well against the Texans as opposed to playing well against the Vikings was that against the Texans they were “worrying about shit” and not just going out and playing.
So again, Chuck Pagano can talk all he wants about how the players and coaches that are in the building are the right guys, but he’s one of the only people who holds that opinion. To most people, this is a roster that isn’t overly talented with a coaching staff that isn’t really helping things too much. It’s a team with a bad defense. It’s a team that’s been incredibly inconsistent this year. It’s a team that did indeed blow out the Vikings and Jets and get a win in Lambeau as well, but also a team that blew a huge fourth quarter lead to the Texans and then later played an ugly game in their biggest game. But the one side that truly matters is what Jim Irsay thinks, and we’ll find out soon enough whether he agrees with Pagano that this team that’s about to miss the playoffs for the second straight year has the right guys in place.