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Pagano, Ballard Ignoring Colts Recent History with Backup QB Battle

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Bill Polian and Curtis Painter say hello

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t the first time that Indianapolis Colts’ fans have disregarded what comes out of Chuck Pagano’s mouth, and it doesn’t appear that it will be the last either. What we’re hearing from him in his post-game pressers, and what we’re seeing from his decisions when the team is on the field simply don’t matchup.

Most notably, the quarterback ‘competition’ outside of Andrew Luck. Spoiler: it’s a complete sham. Chris Ballard and Chuck Pagano have hammered this notion that EVERY position will be in a competition for playing time, but this doesn’t appear to be the case at all. Pagano was asked why he started Jeremy Vujnovich instead of Le’Raven Clark at right tackle.

His answer? “We’re just trying to find the best five.”

Sure, okay, that’s great. Why not, right? I can live with that as a fan and observer. Vujnovich was pretty unimpressive to this point in the preseason, but I’m absolutely okay with seeing what gels the best with the offensive line – with every position for that matter.

On the other hand, we saw last year in the preseason, and are seeing again this preseason that Scott Tolzien is not good, doesn’t thrown downfield and is robotic to say the least in what he brings to the position. Additionally, Phillip Walker hasn’t done anything to earn a backup role. He hasn’t been good in camp, and he looks like a UDFA thus far into the preseason.

Stephen Morris, however – stop me if you’ve heard this before – continues to impress with very little time to get anything done, and he’s doing it with the bottom barrel of the Colts’ roster. He’s confident, accurate and is leading the team down the field and putting points on the board when he’s under center.

Pagano mentioned the obvious issues with the offense in his opening statement Saturday night of his post-game presser, saying “If we can’t get that fixed, it’s going to be a long year, so we’ve got to go to work on that, and you’ve got to be able to move the ball, offensively. Put together some drives, get first downs, move the ball down the field and put points on the board. If you can’t put points on the board, it’s going to be hard to win games.”

Wow! What insight. You’d think this might lead to a change in the garbage you’re putting under center with the first and second units.

As much as the fan base argues that Pagano is clueless, he’s clearly seeing what we are. A moment later he offered this:

So, if we’re to believe that EVERY position is in a ‘competition’, what exactly is taking so long to put Morris in there with the first unit? It doesn’t sound like they used what they’re seeing on the field to decide, and that, to me, is troubling. What Pagano said next, sounds as though it was a predetermined choice to allow two disappointing quarterbacks to get significantly more playing time than a guy who is going out there and actually moving the offense, you know, what Pagano just said they need from their offense…

I’m confused. Pagano says in one breath that Morris is going to play with/against the scrubs, but in the next that he’s been prepared when we all know that the other two playing ahead of him have not been, and cannot execute. What exactly is he waiting for? Does he want the team to actually have a puncher’s chance when Luck isn’t in the lineup – you know – and possibly save his job? Or is it something else?

What else could possibly keep Morris out of the starter’s role at this point? Okay, let’s give the man the benefit of the doubt. He had one week of Morris, Tolzien and Walker to evaluate in game like situations this preseason, and let’s be honest, this year is what really matters.

But, now there’s no more excuses. No more “blah blah blah” that’s going to appease anybody with two eyes and a pulse. Morris is the best option RIGHT NOW. Pagano simply has no choice but to let him get an opportunity with the first, and second units in their dress rehearsal next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

For some teams it takes several years to find a franchise quarterback, some never seem to. But, it’s just as difficult to find, and keep a serviceable backup in the league. Morris’ practice squad days are over, he’s too tenured in the league. He’d have to be cut, and only eligible for an active roster position wherever he’s at.

Is Pagano and Ballard really going to hang on to Scott Tolzien who’s not a serviceable backup, and is about four times as expensive? I remember a general manager who lost his job because he couldn’t retain a decent backup. His name was Bill Polian.

Is Ballard going to completely dismiss Colts history and risk this team going in the tank with no legitimate backup for Luck? For me, and the rest of the fan base, he and Pagano would certainly owe us an explanation if they do.