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Dear Panicking Colts Fans: Please Calm Down!

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NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries, a lack of depth, and a lack of talent have plagued the Indianapolis Colts just as much as poor coaching decisions since Chuck Pagano took the reins in 2012. It’s been a couple of years since the wheels fell off, in terms of the type of success Colts fans expect from their franchise.

When you can’t protect your most important asset (Andrew Luck) and have a front office that isn’t efficient at building a roster that can sustain injuries, this is how you wind up where we are now; 0-2 for the 4th time. Chuck Pagano must be on the hottest seat in the NFL.

After giving up a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter Sunday, some serious thought has to be given to the idea that this coaching regime will not last the season. You don’t fire someone for struggling offensively with a backup quarterback in play. You don’t fire someone for having to deal with a lackluster roster and considerable injury issues year-in and year-out. You fire someone for doing their job poorly.

There are glaring examples of poor coaching decisions in seasons past that come to mind, and the start of this year is no different.

In Week 1, rookie RB Marlon Mack took a Tolzien pass for a touchdown that was incorrectly called short of the goal line. The Pagano-led Colts ran up to the line of scrimmage as if they intended to catch the Rams defense off-guard or prevent a review of the play. The problem is that the review would have HELPED the Colts and they didn’t have the right personnel on the field to run the play they ran. They needed to throw the challenge flag on THAT play. This is a coaching error. A glaring mistake.

In Week 2, WR T.Y. Hilton caught a ball and was stopped clearly short of the first down marker. For some reason, Chuck Pagano challenged THAT play, seemingly for no reason. This cost the Colts a timeout. With all the giant TVs in Lucas Oil Stadium, you could clearly see there was no reason to challenge that play, Chuck. This again was a coaching error. This was a mistake.

I like Chuck. He’s been through a lot and previously put together a couple of winning seasons. But those things aren’t enough to save his job. Coaches should be fired from their jobs when they’re bad it it. It’s that simple. There’s not a sexy way to dress this up.

Ryan Grigson is in Cleveland now, apparently trying to burn up what’s left of that poor franchise’s soul. The recovery effort led by the new Colts GM Chris Ballard is admirable but with multiple marquee starters missing time, mixed with some terrible (turrible, I tell you!) decision making from the ole head ball coach, it really wouldn’t surprise me if the Colts dropped yet another completely winnable game against Cleveland and started 0-3.

I’m just being realistic, folks.

Still, there are some things to look forward to.

Andrew Luck will play this season and so will Ryan Kelly, Vontae Davis, Clayton Geathers and Erik Swoope. When they all play, and if they all play together, is the real question.

I have had this sneaking suspicion the Colts are simply trying to avoid further injuries and are being coy regarding Luck’s return because we live in the information age. The less your opponents know about what is going on, the more variables they have to plan for, and the higher likelihood of victory you have.

I’m saying that I’m fine with the Colts being shady about Luck’s return. I’ve watched football my entire life and this isn’t new. I’ve seen quarterbacks listed as questionable every week win Super Bowls. This should tell us something. It all means nothing, until it means everything.

I get it, the preseason means nothing. The season is everything, you say? It’s not.

We have got to understand that unless we’re talking about a Division game, we aren’t talking about a highly important, must-win game. Fans aren’t due any more information than they get, and although I understand everyone’s frustration, remember that this is a game that gets played both on the field and off the field.

It’s also important to point out that, in the first three weeks the Colts will have faced three teams playing without their best player. The Rams were without Aaron Donald. The Cardinals were without David Johnson. The Browns have no good players, really, but they did just draft Myles Garrett and he won’t play either, so the Colts aren’t the only one without all $150+ million of its talent on the field every week.

The Colts open up as underdogs to the Browns and they’re having struggles of their own. I expect a Colts victory because seriously, who loses to the Browns?

Relax. This will all blow over. Everything will be fine.

Right?