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Bill Polian takes on “stats geeks”

Bill Polian AP

For years, Colts president Bill Polian has been regarded in league circles as a bully.  Every once in a while, someone not in league circles gets a taste of it.

It happened most recently on Tuesday, Joe Staysniask of 1070 the Fan posed this query to Polian:  “What do these guys, [Anthony] Castonzo and [Ben] Ijalana have that are going to help with that running game?”

Though Polian didn’t go off on Staysniask for asking the question, Polian fired a sawed-off shotgun in the direction of anyone who would look to the statistical performance of the running game as evidence that the running game possibly needs to be improved.

Said Polian, via our friends at StampedeBlue.com:  “Well, first off all, let me say that the discussion of the running game is way off base.  This is a stats geek looking at a stat and saying, ‘Oh, gee.  Indianapolis has a problem.’  We finished first in the conference and, I believe, second in the league in total offense.  [Editor’s note:  The Colts were third in the conference and fourth in the league in total offense, not first and second, respectively.]  We’re always among the top four or five in scoring every year.  The object of the game is to score.  It’s not to make stats geeks happy in terms of yards per carry.  And I’m criticizing people who, make no bones about it, who deal only in statistics.  The object of our running game, because we are such a high scoring, high powered offense, is to run effectively; i.e., run in the red zone, which we do very, very effectively.  And run in four minutes and short yardage, which we have not done effectively.”

But most fans aren’t “stats geeks,” and most fans realize that the Colts’ running game leaves a lot to be desired.  Even with a high-octane passing attack fueled by one of the best quarterbacks of all time, the Colts haven’t been able to keep defenses honest by pushing the pile when defenses are focused on not being burned to a crisp.

So back to the question .  How can Castonzo and Ijalana going to help the running game?  We don’t know, because Polian didn’t answer it.

But we do know, without assessing complex stats, that the Colts need help.  After all, they were 29th in the league — and dead last in the AFC — with 92.7 rushing yards per game.

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44 Responses to “Bill Polian takes on “stats geeks””
  1. andrewf16 says: May 4, 2011 1:46 PM

    Darn “stat geeks” and their “objective facts”.

  2. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: May 4, 2011 1:46 PM

    Polian always has thought he is smarter than everyone. A pompous jackoff is all he is.
    He made ONE correct out of a 50/50 chance when he chose Manning, that’s it

  3. thevillain112 says: May 4, 2011 1:49 PM

    So you didn’t draft Donald Brown in the 1st round because the run game needed to be improved?

  4. hobartbaker says: May 4, 2011 1:52 PM

    Meanwhile in accounting, a plump pale guy with thick glasses adjusted Bill’s salary a couple digits to the left, giggled, farted, and helped himself to another slice of pizza.

  5. niceguyeddie1 says: May 4, 2011 1:54 PM

    Polian may an arrogant douche, but he also may have a good point. Consider what the backlash would be if on a critical 3rd down they try to run the ball instead of passing. How many “analysts” would crush them for not putting the game in Peyton Manning’s hands?

  6. mightymightylafootball says: May 4, 2011 1:55 PM

    I don’t follow the Colts, so I don’t know about the rest of it, but when he said,

    “I’m criticizing people who, make no bones about it, who deal only in statistics.”

    I’m 100% behind him on that.

    Is anyone ever able to know everything about a game from ONLY reading the box score? Exactly. Stats help tell the story – but they’re not THE story.

  7. 3yardsndust says: May 4, 2011 1:57 PM

    If Bill Polian can’t see that his team has trouble running the ball, he’s due for an eye exam.

  8. cardiovascularendurance says: May 4, 2011 2:00 PM

    Most fans aren’t stats geeks? Really? You’re right, fantasy football isn’t all that popular.

  9. citizenstrange says: May 4, 2011 2:00 PM

    Speaking of Geeks ….

    Happy Star Wars Day!

    MAY THE FOURTH BE WITH YOU!

  10. benh999 says: May 4, 2011 2:04 PM

    Most overrated personnel guy ever. How would he be regarded if he didn’t draft the best QB first overall in 1998?

  11. nfl25 says: May 4, 2011 2:04 PM

    i been saying this for the last two years. i am an eagles fan and all i hear these unhappy eagles fans say is, andy ried doesnt run the ball, he will never win cuz he dont run the ball, he doesnt know what he is doing blah blah blah.

    the whole point on offence is not run or pass, its to score. and we score alot. so dont give me the whole running thing. the object is to score. the only thing the eagles could do better is run better in the red zone. the point isnt to get 30 run plays, its to run the ball efficiently when you do run and the birds had the number 1 or 2 run average in the nfc.

  12. lucky5934 says: May 4, 2011 2:04 PM

    I am not a stat geek, but a football fan. And any football fan will tell you that the Colt’s running game was unreliable down the stretch of games and made Peyton one-dimensional. If his goal is to “Win the division” and “Finish top 4-5 in scoring” then he has met his objective. If his goal is to win a second superbowl before Peyton retires, then he faced the cold hard facts that the running game/offensive line needed to be improved. A truth he FINALLY acknowledged on draft weekend when he drafted two offensive lineman and another running back.

  13. touchdownroddywhite says: May 4, 2011 2:08 PM

    Gee. I seem to remember Peyton Manning thinking the lack of a running game was a problem some time last season.

    I wonder if he’s just looking at stats too?

    Bill Polian lucked out the moment he drafted Manning. Had he chosen Ryan Leaf or had the Colts not been in a position to take Manning, Polians career would likely have been over in Indianapolis quite some time ago.

  14. snowpea84 says: May 4, 2011 2:09 PM

    I couldn’t agree more. There are too many people out there who can’t see the truth through the stats. His record and the way he’s done his job demonstrate that he can see the truth.
    (I’m looking at you Didinger….just the worst.)

  15. capslockkey says: May 4, 2011 2:14 PM

    Funny that he gets so defensive about it. It’s not like Staysniask said “terrible” or even “struggling” running game. Obviously Polian thinks it’s crap, otherwise he wouldn’t have responded the way he did. You could ask the same question to a team that has a top 5 running game (ex. What does the FB Bannon bring that helps the running game in KC?) and do you think they’d flip out like this?

  16. zoxitic says: May 4, 2011 2:15 PM

    Bill Polian makes all the right decisions, and Bill Polian’s son agrees with me.

  17. Patskrieg dot com says: May 4, 2011 2:17 PM

    How does drafting high on 2 high ranked offensive linemen not offer something to your running game?

  18. eaglesfan290 says: May 4, 2011 2:17 PM

    Bill Polian is one of the best drafting GM’s in the League, so to turn a pretty simple question like that into this is weird.

    I think the question is simple a better O-line means more protection for an older quarterback, and hopefully guys who can block at the second level and open holes for an anemic running game!

  19. killxswitch says: May 4, 2011 2:18 PM

    I just created an account so I could say that Bill Polian a pompous-ass gasbag. For years he has tried to convince everyone how smart he is but look at his drafts for the last 4 years (2011 was the first Chris Polian draft). He has made some good picks but he is massively overrated and unable to admit mistakes or deficiencies that are glaringly obvious. I’m glad his son is taking over, put Mr. Bowtie and fedora out to pasture.

  20. horatio69 says: May 4, 2011 2:21 PM

    The inability to develop a decent running game is one of the reasons Peyton Manning has a Rex Grossman-esque 9-10 record in the playoffs.

    Hey Polian…the teams you were the GM for are were 1-5 in Super Bowls…primarily because they ignored the running game and couldn’t score points when they needed to.

    What a jerk!

  21. jfreak213 says: May 4, 2011 2:27 PM

    Why would anyone want to be “friends” with Stampede Blue?

    Gross.

  22. capslockkey says: May 4, 2011 2:34 PM

    YES! Stats are for geeks. That’s why I’m going to ramble off a bunch of stats like we ranked second in offensive yardage and 4th or 5th in offensive scoring in the conference, league, etc to prove my point!

  23. tinytim4115 says: May 4, 2011 2:34 PM

    Bill Polian is absolutely right. Why fix whats not broken? If the Colts can make the playoffs every year (putting themselves into position to win the superbowl) with a lacking running game, then so be it.

    If it works, it works, and its been working for several years now.

  24. bradjames33160 says: May 4, 2011 2:34 PM

    I’m a stats geek who watched lots of Colts games and I think Jarvarris James is a great option when healthy. #42 is a cool number anyway!

  25. brutus9448 says: May 4, 2011 2:35 PM

    Luck has a lot to do with how sucessful you are in NFL and in life in general.
    Polian was lucky that he had the number 1 pick when manning came out of college.
    He hasn’t done anything else.

  26. capslockkey says: May 4, 2011 2:50 PM

    I’m no Colts/Polian fan, but to say all the guy has done was luck into Peyton Manning is ridiculous. He got the last laugh when he was criticized for taking Edgerinn James over Ricky Williams. Dwight Freeney, Bob Sanders, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark….this guy has a knack for drafting talent.

  27. hkirch says: May 4, 2011 2:58 PM

    Any team near a 100 yards per game has a running attack! To say nasty things and name calling about one the most succesful GM is just
    silly and a real waste of time! Come on geeks – you know who yiou are!!!

  28. CKL says: May 4, 2011 3:04 PM

    Name me another QB in the entire NFL ever who has had FOUR 1st round RBs in his career.
    Just 1-PM.
    Plus a 1st round LT, and now finally when his son is in charge of the draft…another.
    A bunch of 1st round WRs, etc.
    It’s the way Polian builds his teams…all of ‘em. He cares only about skill offensive players…and wants a defense with a couple good pass rushers and interchangeable parts otherwise.
    Period.

  29. m1k3g says: May 4, 2011 3:19 PM

    iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says:
    May 4, 2011 1:46 PM
    Polian always has thought he is smarter than everyone. A pompous jackoff is all he is.
    He made ONE correct out of a 50/50 chance when he chose Manning, that’s it
    —————————————————————————————-

    Seriously. It’s not like he was the GM of a team that went to 4 straight Super Bowls or something!

  30. shackdelrio says: May 4, 2011 3:26 PM

    “capslockkey says:
    May 4, 2011 2:50 PM
    I’m no Colts/Polian fan, but to say all the guy has done was luck into Peyton Manning is ridiculous. He got the last laugh when he was criticized for taking Edgerinn James over Ricky Williams. Dwight Freeney, Bob Sanders, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark….this guy has a knack for drafting talent.”

    Of the guys you mentioned, the last one was taken in 2004. You left off Marlin Jackson, Joe Addai, Anthony Gonzalez, Tony Ugoh, Donald Brown, Jerry Hughes and all the other busts that Lord Polian has taken the last six years.

  31. ty46 says: May 4, 2011 3:34 PM

    Polian’s drafting got his teams to 5 SBs, so f*** off, haters.

    Also, PFT skews the truth all the time, to get the Colts in bad light. Polian was criticizing the usual “analysts” who always know better without watching the actual games.

  32. EJ says: May 4, 2011 4:10 PM

    Polian is the best GM in this league hands down, but what an arrogant ass. Just shut your pie hole and answer the damn question like anyone else would.

    Is somebody a little touchy about their running game? Big baby.

  33. rpiotr01 says: May 4, 2011 4:27 PM

    “But we do know, without assessing complex stats, that the Colts need help. After all, they were 29th in the league — and dead last in the AFC — with 92.7 rushing yards per game.”

    I know, too, that the Green Bay Packers were 24th in the league in rushing in 2010. God help that poor team!

    I agree generally with Polian. There are areas where they can improve in the running game – as he admitted – but their running game is more or less fine for what they want to do as an offense.

    The real question to ask him is, what is being done at DE to ensure that there’s no drop off in pass rush once Freeny and Mathis start to slow down.

  34. watchthisjack says: May 4, 2011 4:50 PM

    “Well, first off all, let me say that the discussion of the running game is way off base.”
    +
    “We finished first in the conference and, I believe, second in the league in total offense.”
    =
    a non-sequitor

    “what do you mean I don’t know how to snowboard?!, I am one of the best water skiiers you know!”

  35. weneedlinemen42 says: May 4, 2011 5:42 PM

    “How can Castonzo and Ijalana going to help the running game? We don’t know, because Polian didn’t answer it.”

    Am I missing something? Isn’t it rather obvious how adding two new offensive linemen might help the running game? Radical thought here, could it be that they might improve the blocking.

    Blocking is quite useful to the run game, maybe, just maybe adding two offensive linemen with two high draft picks might improve both the run and the pass blocking.

    I am a Redskin fan so I know what the absense of drafted o-linemen does to a team. It torpedos both the run and pass.

    Having grown up with the Hogs, and grown frustrated with Vinny and Danny’s inability to draft anyone bigger than TE, any draft featuring two pretty decent linemen looks pretty sensible, as it will tend to improve all aspects of an offense.

  36. dannyduzit says: May 4, 2011 5:50 PM

    if you follow the colts you would know that its our defense and injuries that dictate how far we go, in regards to all negativity towards Polian on how good of a GM he is, refer to this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Polian

  37. axespray says: May 4, 2011 6:33 PM

    Aren’t stat geeks the ones that stand up for Peyton Manning whenever the “BRADYvsMANNING” debate comes up?

  38. JSpicoli says: May 4, 2011 7:36 PM

    But most fans aren’t “stats geeks,”

    ___________________________________

    Beg to differ, and you mediots are the cause. Quit trying to list everyone and rank players. Annoying and childlike. Go count your leggos or something.

  39. Steve says: May 4, 2011 8:19 PM

    Polian may have answered the question in an unnecessarily douche-y way, but to suggest he just got “lucky” by drafting Peyton Manning is ludicrous. He was one of the key architects of the Bills run in the late 80’s-early 90’s, and ran the Panthers when they made the Super Bowl in their 2nd year of existence.

    Prickly? Yes. Overrated? Hell, no.

  40. obsession55 says: May 4, 2011 10:36 PM

    benh999 says:
    May 4, 2011 2:04 PM
    Most overrated personnel guy ever. How would he be regarded if he didn’t draft the best QB first overall in 1998?
    —————————–

    Hey dumba–, hes the one who SELECTED Manning instead of Ryan Leaf, when all the “stat geeks” and “experts” projected Leaf to be the better pro!! Your statement is ridiculous.

    Bill may be a bit of a prick, but hes old school and hes done a great job for many years. Besides, how many people actually like that turd Aaron Schatz and all his numbers?? I’m with Polian

  41. stanklepoot says: May 5, 2011 1:00 AM

    niceguyeddie1 says: May 4, 2011 1:54 PM

    Polian may an arrogant douche, but he also may have a good point. Consider what the backlash would be if on a critical 3rd down they try to run the ball instead of passing. How many “analysts” would crush them for not putting the game in Peyton Manning’s hands?
    ________________________
    You mean like what happened the year they finally got past the Pats in the playoffs and went on to win the SB? The Pats knew they were going to keep throwing and were shutting them down. Saturday advised Peyton that they needed to run the ball in order to win the game. After Peyton blew up at Saturday in that famous NFL Films clip, he finally gave the run game a try and it worked. The NFL is definitely more of a passing league these days, but you do need to be able to count on the run at times.

  42. benh999 says: May 5, 2011 1:05 AM

    obsession55,
    Yeah… he selected Manning. If he had declared a year earlier, where would Polian be?

  43. CKL says: May 5, 2011 3:09 AM

    Steve says: May 4, 2011 8:19 PM

    Polian may have answered the question in an unnecessarily douche-y way, but to suggest he just got “lucky” by drafting Peyton Manning is ludicrous. He was one of the key architects of the Bills run in the late 80′s-early 90′s, and ran the Panthers when they made the Super Bowl in their 2nd year of existence.

    Prickly? Yes. Overrated? Hell, no.
    ______________________________________
    The Panthers didn’t make the SB until 03 when Marty Hurney was the GM and the QB Polian drafted there in round 1 quit on their team, but please don’t let facts get in the way of your Polian hagiography. The FACT is that his way of building a team has led to one ring which mainly came when the two parts of his team he doesn’t care about as much (run game and defense) came through big time. The guy’s ginormous ego and temper get in the way of his admitting he’s wrong more often and that hurts his teams’ chances for SBs.

    THE model franchise for consistent and successful drafting through many, many years/eras is Pittsburgh. Period. I’m a Pats fan, but I know they measure their success in SB trophies not SB appearances.

  44. dasportsninja says: Aug 22, 2011 1:08 PM

    Here are some of Polians Draft Picks-This is going back a bit
    Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Shane Conlon, Nate Odoms, Edgergin James, Paeyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeny, Bob Sanders, Dallas Clark…..The list goes on and on-so to say he made his name with 1 good pick with be a gross overstatement. He lead the Bills to 4 Superbowls. He took Carolina to the NFC Championship game in its second year. And he turned the perenial losers (colts) into a cometitive superbowl winner, that makes the playoffs every year.

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