Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tony Dungy, Peyton Manning & The Colts

All kinds of analysis of the Colt's crash & burn against the Steelers is whirling around Indy. Well, here's my 2 cents worth.

Tony Dungy by any standard it would seem, is a good man. He obviously has a great mind for football. The latter can apparently be said of offensive coordinator, Tom Moore as well. Not ever having heard Tom Moore so much as say boo, I can't vouch for his character. I don't think he's been thrown in jail or accused of beating his dog or anything.

When things are going well for Peyton Manning on the field, when he has enough time to find his receivers, he is often brilliant.


A couple of years ago Mike Vanderjagt, our "liquored up kicker," made an accusation against Dungy and Manning regarding their apparent lack of emotion. Of course everyone from here to Tampa lambasted Vanderjagt for such an outrageous statement. Was he wrong? Given the Colt's poor showing in the playoffs the last 3 years, I'd have to concede that perhaps Vandy had a point. What has been missing in the 3 most recent of the Colt's miserable playoff losses? Perhaps it has been, after all, a lack of passion and emotion. In all 3 of those games, they were outhustled and outplayed. The Colts responded like a deer in headlights.

The Colt's arguably have as much or more talent on their roster across the board as any team in the league, certainly at the so called "skill" positions. And yet, come the playoffs, they haven't managed to be competitive. (Take away the improperly overturned interception, and last Sunday's game would have likely ended at no better than 21-3 and could have been worse.) Are we to believe that Pittsburgh or even New England are or were that much more talented than the Colts? I don't think so. In my humble opinion the difference lay wholly on mental and emotional preparedness. That is the job of the coaching staff.

I believe that coaching changes - mainly Dungy and Moore - should be seriously considered. The brain trust at Tampa Bay apparently realized that Dungy could not take them to the next level. Enter John Gruden. Further, it is possible that Moore and Manning are just too comfortable with each other. Perhaps Manning is given too much responsibility. Let the coaches coach and the players play. Manning has made what appear to be poor choices in play calling in crucial situations.

Given Bill Polian's 0-4 Super Bowl record at Buffalo, the ongoing playoff failures here in Indy, coupled with Dungy's and Manning's past failures in "the big ones." (remember, Manning never won any significant championships at Tennessee either,) shaking things up might ultimately be the best thing that could happen to this team.



Anonymous said...

I don't know if you will see this comment, but this is one of the more idiotic posts I have seen, even without the benefit of hindsight. Coming off the 2005 season, where tragedy struck the Colts family with the suicide death of Dungy's son late in the season, precipitating the first loss of the season and draining much of the energy of the team, a shake up was the last thing required.

Terry S said...

Anon (The ghostly blog commenter,)

Given what happened last season, I would have to admit you are correct.

But at the time, things did not look particularly rosy for the Colts' future. At that juncture, the "window of opportunity" for the Colts to bring a championship to Indy appeared to be closing.

I knew then that the death of Dungy's son made it all the more difficult for the organization to focus. Had there been just the one playoff loss to Pittsburgh to consider, I probably would not have written the article. But, the loss to Pittsburgh made it 3 in a row.

I don't think I was the only one who had doubts. One had to consider that there may have been good reasons why Tampa gave up on Dungy. Their subsequent Super Bowl win brought further seeds of doubt. The predominant emotion Manning displayed was essentially pouting when an offensive drive failed. At the time, it just simply seemed that leaving things as they were was NOT going to get the team to the next level.

Obviously, I was wrong given last year's success. But that was not so obvious in the wake of the devastating loss to Pittsburgh.

Again, was I proven wrong? Yes. Idiotic? I'd say not.