FanDuel - WFBC

December 28, 2009

Like It or Not, Caldwell Sticks to His Plan for Colts: After the Colts pulled their starters Sunday and quickly unraveled, the frustration of Caldwell’s players was obvious. Peyton Manning stood with his arms crossed and helmet on, and in the locker room Reggie Wayne came as close as any Colts player to publicly criticizing his bosses. “Doesn’t everybody want to be a part of history?” he said.

posted by irunfromclones to football at 09:33 PM - 29 comments

Say what you want about Caldwell's decision to keep his eye on the biggest game instead of history, his own team's history mocks him:

Dungy rested players in the final game of the 2007 season, lost that game, then lost in the divisional round the Colts' first playoff game that year to the Chargers. They also rested in the final two games of the 2005 season (one win and one loss) and then lost to the Steelers in the divisional round.

You would think that based on that poor track record of resting players, Caldwell would have taken a different tack. And, in a game where momentum is critical, wanting to keep up a winning momentum going into the playoffs would make the most sense. If this is his idea of a new coach stamping his imprint on a team, he's taking a huge risk it will backfire.

On the sidelines Manning had a look on his face that would have curdled fresh milk in a second, a look that most of his teammates shared. Caldwell has just created a huge motivational mountain for himself that will detract from post-season prep.

posted by irunfromclones at 09:49 PM on December 28

I didn't watch the game, so these are legit questions (not rhetorical).

Were the Jets getting through the line and hitting Manning more than expected? Is it possible Caldwell was worried about his quarterback getting injured and decided to pull him? If he decided to pull Manning, maybe that carried through to pulling everyone else just to be safe.

posted by grum@work at 10:53 PM on December 28

Grum, I didn't watch the game either so I can't answer you. To me it just doesn't make sense to pull your top players when you are only up by 5 in the 3rd quarter? I understand you don't want injuries going into the playoffs, but..... somebody help this make sense to me.

posted by skippy at 11:15 PM on December 28

To me it just doesn't make sense to pull your top players when you are only up by 5 in the 3rd quarter? I understand you don't want injuries going into the playoffs, but..... somebody help this make sense to me.

They really don't get anything by winning (aside from the chance for greatness, keep momentum going, etc., etc.). Winning that one game would not help them do anything as far as getting into the playoffs or gaining advantages in the system.

posted by LionIndex at 11:22 PM on December 28

Were the Jets getting through the line and hitting Manning more than expected? Is it possible Caldwell was worried about his quarterback getting injured and decided to pull him?

I didn't watch the game but from what I've read the Jets weren't not only putting very little pressure on Manning, but they weren't getting through the line at all.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 11:26 PM on December 28

Though, of course, it should be noted that one of the key moments of the game was the Jets getting through the defense, sacking Manning's replacement, and recovering the ball for a touchdown. The two major Jets touchdowns were special teams and defense. Heh.

Would the same thing have happened if the normal offensive line had been present? No idea.

I did watch the game and between the sometimes ineffective Jets offensive line (Sanchez got walloped at least twice when a Colts defender basically ran directly at him unblocked) and a typically unstopable Manning lead offense, I just can't imagine the Jets winning the game or even touching Manning.

Not that I won't gladly take the win for the Jets, but the only way this makes sense is to figure Caldwell is resting his key players.

posted by Joey Michaels at 12:27 AM on December 29

the only way this makes sense is to figure Caldwell is resting his key players

But given the fact that the same tactic completely backfired for Dungy and the Colts every time it was tried in the past, you have to really question the wisdom of this choice.

posted by irunfromclones at 01:22 AM on December 29

From Peter King:

The Colts could rest the guys they need to rest, in my opinion, without putting Manning at undue risk of injury. In the last two years, he'd dropped back to pass 1,132 times and been sacked 24 times. That's one sack per every 47 dropbacks. Offensive coordinator Tom Moore and Manning are smart. They could easily have formulated a gameplan including only quick and intermediate throws, to even further lower the risk of injury.

I don't agree that there's nothing to gain from going undefeated. I think it would be a huge accomplishment. I think the risk of Manning getting hurt, and we're talking about a quarterback that's never missed a start in 12 seasons, was very low.

posted by justgary at 04:17 AM on December 29

Only thing I was upset with was not winning the game and putting the Jets out of the playoffs with the loss. Now there is a chance that the Colts will have to play them again. Why not take care of a good team with the help you received from other teams, their record speaks to that effect.

posted by coach at 05:07 AM on December 29

I think it was the wrong decision. It messes up the competitive balance for one. The Jets should have had to play the Colts starters. Second, if they don't win the Super Bowl, they tanked the potential perfect season for nothing. Finally, the players weren't happy about it. Why create drama for no reason?

posted by bperk at 08:52 AM on December 29

Hey, look what a perfect season got the Patriots: a big goose egg at the end of it. That's what a "perfect season" is worth. While you're chasing after that ring, you don't even know what you're tripping over until you fall on your face. I say meh on perfect seasons, they don't buy you anything.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:14 AM on December 29

The Patriots were minutes away from a perfect season that would be remembered for decades and give them a permanent place in the discussion of the greatest NFL teams of all time. That's hardly valueless.

posted by rcade at 10:18 AM on December 29

Though, of course, it should be noted that one of the key moments of the game was the Jets getting through the defense, sacking Manning's replacement, and recovering the ball for a touchdown.

That quarterback held the ball a lot longer than Manning does. The Jets also blitzed, which they would've been more reluctant to do with Manning under center.

posted by rcade at 10:20 AM on December 29

I just was upset that the loss of a potential perfect season gives those old Miami players at least one more year to gloat. Its getting old, especially since the Colts should be undefeated still. They basically gave up the game. The Colts game last week did not mean anything either but it seemed that staying undefeated was important to the team and they played a tough game all the way to the end. It just doesn't make sense after last week to fold the tent this week just one more away from perfection.

posted by Atheist at 11:08 AM on December 29

What about the idea that Caldwell didnt want to deal with the pressure of the "perfect season" during the playoffs.

Having said that I would have liked to see them go for it.

posted by WolfpackMD at 11:23 AM on December 29

One mistake the Colts made was in what they asked Curtis Painter to do when they sent him in. He is not ready to execute medium length and longer throws down field as they had him attempting to do.

Shorter, higher percentage throws should have been called for him. And the Colts also paid a price for not having a more robust running game. Painter should have been able to rely on making some yards on the ground. Instead, his playing time looked like a wing ding preseason test of his arm and ability make reads. Painful to watch. Not a regular season professional football viewing experience.

posted by beaverboard at 11:31 AM on December 29

Only thing I was upset with was not winning the game and putting the Jets out of the playoffs with the loss. Now there is a chance that the Colts will have to play them again.

Perhaps that is exactly what the Colts wanted. They may prefer the prospect of a game against the Jets, rather than Denver or Pittsburgh, or whichever team is eliminated through their apparent generosity

posted by Irish627 at 11:40 AM on December 29

What about the idea that Caldwell didnt want to deal with the pressure of the "perfect season" during the playoffs.

During the playoffs, how is the pressure of a perfect season any different than the pressure to win or go home? The Colts still go into the postseason with the expectation of reaching the Super Bowl, like all No. 1 seeds.

posted by rcade at 11:49 AM on December 29

Perhaps that is exactly what the Colts wanted.

The Jets are among seven AFC teams that are either 8-7 or 7-8 going into the final week, all with a chance of earning the final playoff spot. How could the Colts think that letting the Jets win assured them of the sixth spot, and why would the Colts want to play the Jets more than any of the other mediocre teams at 8-7 or 7-8? The way the Jags are defending the pass, the Colts could play them 16 times in a row and win 17.

posted by rcade at 12:14 PM on December 29

The Patriots were minutes away from a perfect season that would be remembered for decades and give them a permanent place in the discussion of the greatest NFL teams of all time. That's hardly valueless.

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, rcade. Sounds like "valueless" is a pretty good description to me.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:27 PM on December 29

how is the pressure of a perfect season any different than the pressure to win or go home?

I think anytime you have the possibilty of breaking a record that adds pressure to just winning. Remember back to the Patriots run all anyone talked about was how if the Patriots didnt win the super bowl their record meant nothing. I have to think the Patriots got tired of hearing that. Not that I think that had anything to do with the loss but its just another thing they had to deal with.

posted by WolfpackMD at 01:39 PM on December 29

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, rcade.

If David Tyree drops that pass and the Giants don't convert the fourth down, you'd be whistling a different tune. The Pats' run that season was epic. Speaking as a non-fan, I thought they were one of the most enjoyable teams to root against in NFL history. I rooted for the Giants, but I was hoping Brady and the Hoodie would foil me again as they had so many weeks in a row. That New England squad is the Best Team That Will Never Be Considered the Best Team Because They Lost the BowlTM.

posted by rcade at 01:46 PM on December 29

Sounds like "valueless" is a pretty good description to me.

Seriously? That's the kind of thing that makes me want to trade my fan passport for a different region. They were within minutes of the best season of all time. They didn't make it. Oh wells. Hard to complain, and even if you can manage to tough out a gripe, you're never going to convince me the Giants don't win if the Patriots had rested players down the stretch. I think you've got a pretty selective memory; are you going to tell us you were upset when they pipped the Giants at the very end in Week 17 to finish off a perfect season? Because I think I almost broke all my living room furniture in celebration.

posted by yerfatma at 02:20 PM on December 29

I'd be pretty damn excited if the Lions managed to go 16-0.

Although I'd be pretty damn excited if the Lions managed to go 8-8.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:14 PM on December 29

Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, rcade.

...and in thermonuclear warfare.

posted by Howard_T at 03:58 PM on December 29

I think we could add child molestation as well.

posted by yerfatma at 04:18 PM on December 29

Here in Ohio there is a radio show that has Bob Golic* for their host from 3-7pm. Even Golic ripped the Colts for resting their key players, and I agree. He said most players he knows would rather stay in the game and get the repetition that they get every week. Especially when they are ahead, there's no pushing anything, it is just sticking to the game plan. Not to mention if I was a paying fan in attendance for that game I'd be pissed about paying to see my team lose the game due to that reasoning. Even as a football fan I am still somewhat mad about not getting to see another run at a perfect season.(I wasn't born in '72 when the Dolphins did it.)

* www.wnir.com They broadcast their shows on the web also.

posted by jojomfd1 at 12:49 AM on December 30

if I was a paying fan in attendance for that game I'd be pissed about paying to see my team lose

Agreed. Any team that does this should announce it in advance.

posted by yerfatma at 09:30 AM on December 30

That New England squad is the Best Team That Will Never Be Considered the Best Team Because They Lost the BowlTM.

Damn trademarks!

posted by BornIcon at 02:44 PM on December 30

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