Every week Colts.com features a blog written by one of our fans. This week’s blog was submitted by Ken Truckenmiller.
Reality can be painful, at times. I have been a Colts fan since 1968, so I have had some years like this to deal with , in the past. It’s never easy and certainly not fun. I seem to have a very different perspective on this season than most EVERYONE, maybe that’s due to having dealt with it before or …..something else.
I have to start with the most telling stats:
115 wins in a decade-NFL record
7 consecutive 12 win seasons- NFL record
9 consecutive playoff appearances-NFL record
23 consecutive wins-NFL record
There is a pattern here, the NFL has been around for 91 years, yet no team has ever done it before, I have to repeat-EVER! There have been some very dominating teams over the years and in todays salary cap era, domination isn’t supposed to happen, the system is set up to keep teams from dominating, yet the Colts did.
The one thing that I think really dictates greatness in the NFL, is track record, if a person or team have a great track record over many years, that dictates greatness! It is a short list. When a team has that degree of success, it indicates…..great leaders (top to bottom) great coaches, great players, a great system, there is no other explanation.
Peyton Manning is one of, if not the best ever to play his position, but to think that he did all of that, all by himself, is naive and ……………
I have read all year, everywhere, that the Colts are done….rebuild, start from scratch, severe lack of talent, leaderless, how can it get so bad, so fast………
What’s the true indicator, one year or a decade? I know this is a what have you done lately business, but when a team has shown greatness over an extended period of time, that has to be considered in the thought process.
Football is complicated and at the same time , very simple. There are win-loss records,stats,etc…….but there are also reasons and you have to really watch, really look and really understand to see why. You have to really want to know why.
It starts at QB, if you do not have a quality QB ,winning is very difficult. If you have a great defense and/or running game, you MIGHT make up for that. The best you can hope for is some wins. maybe .500, maybe. If that player happens to be one of the best ever to play the game and he isn’t playing, the consequences will be very severe, “any” QB who tries to fill in, will come up ….short. Add to that a rebuilt O-line, with 4 “new” starters and it can get kind of crazy.
Injuries are part of football, epidemics are not, if you lose 1/3 of your starters and many more missing games, that makes a bad situation worse. Young players need time and reps to develop, they learn as they grow, if they are forced to play before they have gained that experience, it can look …ugly. When “that” QB isn’t playing, opposing teams have a totally different game plan, not a game plan of keep up, which is how the defense is built, but a game plan of keep away and a run the ball-time of procession style of play, which is not how the defense was built. It’s all part of that system.
Winning one game in the NFL is very hard, teams that have a history of success tend to make it seem easier than it really is. There are a small handful of teams that have dominated for an extended period of time, there is a reason for that, it’s not the norm. They are the exception, not the rule. They have proven over time, that it takes a total, complete system in place, to cover all of the countless decisions that need to be made, for that success to continue.
When we view this season, the losses, the stats, it looks hopeless, it’s not, far from it. The system is still in place and it’s proven, that’s hope in itself. What comes next is talent level, how good is it? There is a difference between a bad team and a team that is playing bad, bad teams lack talent ( and leadership) teams that are playing bad, usually are making (critical ) mistakes (fumbles, interceptions, penalties,missed tackles, missed assignments,etc). There is a difference between a bad player and a young player, young players will make mistakes, that’s a given , even great young players will make mistakes. It can take 2-3 years and even more, in some cases for players to adjust to the NFL and play like they are capable of playing.
What we are seeing this year is a team without it’s best player, missing 9 players who were either starters or part of the starting rotation ( we are getting close to half the starting lineup) and too many other players who have missed time, to compete on a weekly, consistent basis. Consistency is really the key to the year, good in spurts, but not for a full 60 minutes of football.
The system is in place, the leaders are in place, the talent level is fine ( when healthy-and it has nothing to do with conditioning) you can thank the football gods for that. When everything is in place, the only thing left is time (patience) . There is no reason to panic, or over react. With a 91 year history, there really isn’t much that happens now, that hasn’t happened , many times before, so there are plenty of scenarios that can be looked at, to get the needed perspective.
The final pieces of this puzzle, will take place this off season, when many decisions will need to be made, who stays, who goes. It’s still early, but the signs are pointing to Peyton being 100% next year and if he returns ( and he better be ) I feel very strongly that drafting a QB #1 overall, is not a good way to win championships, it is a great way to win games-but not championships. My hope is that we have that pick, trade it away and re stock what I think is a very good team already.
There are so many clichés used in this league and most of them are quite accurate, it’s never as bad as it seems, when you lose……
It’s not excuses, it’s not blue colored glasses, it’s reality.
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