As talk heats up in Indianapolis that it could be time for the Colts to clean house, team president Bill Polian is coming to the defense of coach Jim Caldwell.
“How you evaluate [Caldwell] is what you do with what he has,” Polian said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “You can’t hold him responsible for injuries. You can’t hold him responsible for an unforeseen surgery [to Peyton Manning] that no one anticipated would happen. The things that he can control, I think he’s done a terrific job of, given where we are from a standpoint of personnel.”
Polian is right that you can’t blame Caldwell for Manning’s injury, but can’t you blame him for the complete failure of the team to respond to Manning’s injury? Teams have lost key players before and not go into the tank. The Patriots went 11-5 in 2008, the year Tom Brady was lost in Week One. To go back a ways, Barry Sanders was arguably the most indispensable player in the NFL in the 1990s, but the Lions still managed to go 3-2 in the five games he missed in 1993. Lots of teams have been hit hard by injuries, and they aren’t all losing by 55 points, as the Colts did to the Saints on Sunday.
So what’s the problem with the Colts if it’s not coaching? Polian doesn’t seem to know.
“The players are playing hard, and it’s hard for me to believe that Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney and Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner, and people who, on and on — Fili Moala — people who have played well in the past have all of a sudden fallen off the cliff,” Polian said. “That’s not been the case. That isn’t the case. So we’ve got to figure out what’s wrong and get it corrected.”
If the coach is doing a great job and the players are playing hard and yet the team is 0-7, it sounds like the team doesn’t have very good players. And that’s on Polian.