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Bill Polian: Colts problems aren’t all about Manning injury

Indianapolis Colts v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian took serious issue with an argument that his son Chris has had a big hand in the team’s 0-9 record this season, so we definitely welcome a chance to hear what he thinks is to blame for the team’s record.

Albert Breer of NFL.com gives us a chance to find out in an interview with Polian. The Colts exec isn’t taking the easy way out and simply blaming things on the absence of Peyton Manning. He’s also doesn’t want to hear from anyone who thinks Indy is too reliant on its star player.

“That’s like saying New England is too reliant on Tom Brady,” Polian said. “You rely on your stars. There’s no credence to that theory.”

Well, there’s a little credence to that theory. It’s the 11-5 record the Patriots posted in 2008 when Brady blew out his knee and Matt Cassel stepped in to replace him at quarterback.

Polian also doesn’t blame coach Jim Caldwell, something that’s become a fairly popular outlet of frustration in the Colts’ season. Polian says that he thinks Caldwell is doing a “better job” this year than when they went to the Super Bowl and then doubles down by saying Caldwell has been “magnificent” this season.

So, what is to blame for the 0-9 start for a team that’s barely competing on a weekly basis?

“I think it’s 70 percent that we’re just not playing well, and we need to figure out why and get that fixed,” he said. “And then, it’s 30 percent talent at certain positions. At defensive tackle, it’s injuries. At cornerback, perhaps it’s talent, and it’s definitely needing better depth. Beyond that, we just need to play better. … (But) I agree with (Bill) Parcells, when he says you are what your record says you are.”

Hard to argue with that last point.

When a lack of talent keeps coming up — and, really, what’s 70 percent not playing well other than a nicer way of blaming the lack of talent — you have to look at the people who put together the team. Polian doesn’t go there, probably because he doesn’t want to make a public declaration that he and his son haven’t done all that good of a job constructing this year’s team. Realistically, everyone has a hand in the debacle of a season but the buck needs to stop with the guys at the top.

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39 Responses to “Bill Polian: Colts problems aren’t all about Manning injury”
  1. trbowman says: Nov 11, 2011 5:04 PM

    No, they are all about Peyton.

    I mean sure, the secondary is awful, but if Peyton is playing it’s out of sight, out of mind.

  2. trbowman says: Nov 11, 2011 5:07 PM

    Colts need to stop wasting carries on Donald Brown and give the rock to Carter.

    Let him take his lumps, not like the season isn’t already over for them, anyway.

  3. thesaint257 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:12 PM

    Word?……what a revelation!

  4. pnut87 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:13 PM

    Well yeah. When you’re a double digit win team for a decade, you’re not supposed to goose egg over night. Especially when you have only one notable player loss. Last I checked, Peyton never played defense. Doesn’t matter what argument you make, there is zero excuse for this season. There’s just too much talent on this team besides Manning. And the lack of planning for a back up QB is out of this world. The guy’s had 3 surgeries to put his head back on his shoulders. Does that sound like a long term player to you? No team should ever rely that much on a single player. Guess who’s at fault here. And its not any other player on the team. Irsay screwed up with the decision with the QB position, (by that I mean no back up) he screwed up with the coach, and now he has to pay for it.

  5. kingmj4891 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:16 PM

    Fire Caldwell and the Polians and start the rebuild in 2012.

    Caldwell should have never been the HC that was Dungy’s doing.

    Polian has never been a good GM and has gotten lucky with Manning being so good.

    Manning best QB of all time because he can make a crap team a annual playoff contender.

  6. mikehockhurtz says: Nov 11, 2011 5:19 PM

    Hello Captain Obvious….

  7. thedonnilhama says: Nov 11, 2011 5:20 PM

    This is all on the Bill Polian. Hired no name coach when he could of had anyone at the time Dungy Retired. That window has closed now. Hired his son without having earned the job. Now that window is closed for hiring a good GM.

    Bill needs to quit worrying about making his family secure and more about the good of the team. Jim Irsay wake up and fire this guy.

  8. croghan1919 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:21 PM

    The Indy Star’s Kravitz said he talked to more than a few former employees and they ALL pretty much said the same thing.
    When more than a FEW people independently say pretty much the same thing it CAN”T be disregarded as “rat’s telling lies about people”

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

    Chris Polian needs to GO!!!

  9. bdert says: Nov 11, 2011 5:23 PM

    What is he seeing the coach do so much better in a year where the team is 0-9 vs a superbowl…year?? must be a brilliant judge of talent…but then again, how could th@ be??

  10. gopackgo47 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:23 PM

    “I think it’s 70 percent that we’re just not playing well, and we need to figure out why and get that fixed,”

    Isn’t that the head coaches job to figure it out and fix it?

  11. tools17 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:24 PM

    Caldwell never came close to a winning season at WFU, now his real coaching talents showing with the colts.

  12. croghan1919 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:25 PM

    AND……The Star is a daily newspaper. The rules governing them are not the same as an internet blog site.
    The Star cannot make stuff up and call it opinion like blogs can.

  13. jpb12 says: Nov 11, 2011 5:34 PM

    Jim Irsay looks more like Col, Sanders every day.

  14. someidiotfromouthereintheprojects says: Nov 11, 2011 5:37 PM

    if he’s just now seeing that it’s no wonder they’re 0-and 9

  15. forthelove says: Nov 11, 2011 5:41 PM

    Translation: 70% our players are playing like crap, 30% our players suck anyway, and 0% my son has built a crappy team.

    Got it.

  16. brintfatre says: Nov 11, 2011 5:44 PM

    It’s not about the Manning injury. They have a serious management/coaching issue and a blockhead for an owner.

    I really don’t think they would have a winning record if Manning was playing this season. I think Manning knew it and that’s why he didn’t mind taking the season off and trying to get to 100%.

  17. buckybadger says: Nov 11, 2011 5:48 PM

    This illustrates exactly why no team is ever going to tank to get a better draft position. Everyone is under scrutiny in a losing season and you could never ask a coach or player to throw a game to get their any teammates replacement.

  18. thankheavenfornumberseven says: Nov 11, 2011 5:53 PM

    I can’t believe all the people who say the Colts would be a good team if Manning were playing. You don’t give up 62 points to the Saints because your starting QB isn’t in. This would probably be a 5- or 6-win team with Manning. They’re very lucky they can hit rock bottom this year so they can get a head start on the rebuilding with great draft picks.

  19. nineroutsider says: Nov 11, 2011 6:05 PM

    I believe that this same colts team would have been fine with Peyton Manning. Maybe not a Super Bowl team, but a playoff team.

    The Colts were built around a very specific style of play and without Manning they can’t execute it, so now they look horrible because they can’t play a more traditional style of ball. With the exception of a few stretches, their defense has never been that impressive at all but wasn’t exposed (until the playoffs at least) as teams were always playing from behind.

  20. jcusa514 says: Nov 11, 2011 6:10 PM

    Here’s and idea. How about those terrible 1st round selections theyve made over the past years. Anthony Gonzalez, Joe Addai, Donald brown? How come no one ever questions their drafts. Their team has always been about Manning. Manning is a system, Tom Brady is the product of a system. Bill Walsh said the same thing when comparing Marino to Montana. I think it applies more to manning and Brady

  21. snarkzilla says: Nov 11, 2011 6:24 PM

    Must suck to be a Colts fan right now. At least there won’t be a reason to worry about a midnight move to Omaha or San Antonio till after XLVI is over.

  22. jimr10 says: Nov 11, 2011 6:27 PM

    Did he actually say Caldwell has done a magnificant job? Then no wonder they suck. Caldwell does not appear to even know where he is..

  23. backindasaddle says: Nov 11, 2011 6:44 PM

    “Jim Caldwell has been magnificent this season”……I guess he thinks we’re all idiots.

    “I think it’s 70% that we’re just not playing well and we need to figure out why and get that fixed”……Isn’t that exactly what the coach is supposed to do?

    Bottom line: Napolian is very pleased to leave things just the way they are for the rest of the year and continue losing so he can get the #1 pick and choose Andrew Luck to be his next franchise QB. Anything else, such as these recent comments from Napolian, are nothing but pure spin. Napolian wants nothing more than to set up his son with a great franchise QB for the next generation. This is the opportunity and, although you’ll never get him to admit it, he wants that #1 pick.

  24. kelly8791 says: Nov 11, 2011 7:19 PM

    It’s not that the Colts suck without Manning, per se. They have a lot of talent. The problem is, on offense their talent is at positions, like WR & TE, that only matter, really, if they have at least a competant QB.

    And it affects the defense too because they’re built to play with a lead. They have small, fast guys who can make plays when opponents are forced, most likely because they are losing, to take chances.

    That being said, Chris Polian is a disaster. He’s taken over at a time when the team, and, most importantly, the QB are aging. And he’s replacing his daddy, which is naturally going make people shout about nepotism. That he’s put himself in this position–one where it’s so easy to question his ability when the team loses, at a time when the aging core makes losing more and more likely–speaks either to immeasurable arrogance, insanity or stupidity on his part. In any case, they’re a mess.

  25. db3300 says: Nov 11, 2011 7:47 PM

    You’re right, Bill. The Colts problems come from years of bad management. My team’s QBs (Meredith, Staubach, Aikman) have been some of the best in NFL history but I think Peyton Manning may be the best I’ve ever seen. A 12 year old girl could have put better talent around Manning and have 4 or 5 rings by now but you’ve given him a lot of role players.

    So, congratulations Bill, your leadership may have convinced the heir apparent to Manning that he would be better off going to any other team.

  26. rudwo says: Nov 11, 2011 7:51 PM

    Chris Polian should have been fired years ago.

    Caldwell was never a good HC – Dungy got him a sympathy job.

    The Polians and Caldwell are lucky they had Manning to cover for them, but at this point just clean house and start over.

  27. FinFan68 says: Nov 11, 2011 7:51 PM

    The colts (on both sides of the ball) were “built” around Peyton’s ability. The Colts can’t sustain a drive so their defense is on the field an awful lot. The defense is equipped to get after a team that is forced to pass because they are playing from behind…that’s not the case this year (because Peyton is not playing) and the defense is not able to handle much since they are not as rested. Caldwell is a figurehead at most. Manning handled everything on the field and now Caldwell’s lack of ability is exposed. It is all about Manning being gone and the personnel not able to deal with it.

  28. 6ball says: Nov 11, 2011 7:59 PM

    .

    “That’s like saying the Patriots are too dependent ob Tom Brady “.

    The Patriots have Brian Hoyer who’s been in the system for 3 years and rookie Ryan Mallet. Both played well during the exhibition season. While it’s not like having Montana and Marino on staff, I’ve never heard complaints about them from Patriots fans.

    .

  29. badtimeoutcaldwell says: Nov 11, 2011 8:27 PM

    Why do people say this is only a 5 win team even if they had Manning? What are they bad out this year, that they haven’t been bad at for the past 5 years??

    Last 5 years their Run game, run defense, pass defense, special teams, tackling, and coaching all STUNK. And yet the team averaged 13 wins each of those seasons.

    Only difference is this year we can now throw the passing game into the laundry list of failures, and you end up with an 0-9 record, and on your way to 0-16.

  30. redstar504 says: Nov 11, 2011 8:29 PM

    I can’t stand Peyton Manning off the field he seems like he would be a pretty cool guy but on it he is a jerk. He treats his fellow players like kids. He is a whiny baby with the refs. I could go on an on.

    At the end of the day I respect him. I think that this year has shown us that Peyton Manning is without question the greatest QB the NFL has ever had. Just look at it, with Manning this team is on it’s way to the playoffs like they do every year. Take Manning out the equation and they haven’t won a game.

    I would even make the argument that if you take the MVP trophy for what it is, the Most Valuable Player, you can make a solid argument that he should win that award again this year. His absence alone has proven he is the most valuable player to his team beyond any doubt.

    I still don’t like him but this season has made me respect him even more.

  31. randomguy9999 says: Nov 11, 2011 9:14 PM

    you give one player that much of your cap space and you then have to have a freakin genius Staff AND an entire team of unknown affordable talent…

    which never happens, so yeah, you guys are too reliant on him and its your own fault

  32. buzzbissinger says: Nov 11, 2011 9:32 PM

    No it’s not about Manning, this is one of those, you know, coincidences.

  33. descendency says: Nov 11, 2011 10:00 PM

    The Patriots went 11-5 the year the AFC East was handed the AFC West and NFC West. They lost to Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Miami (wildcat game), San Diego, and NY Jets.

    The Jets and Dolphins were average at best. The Bills were what the Bills always (for the last decade) are, slightly below average.

    They did not beat one single good team that year.

    The Colts should be a 4-5 win team without Manning and the Patriots shouldn’t have won 11 games that year (if they had a normal difficulty schedule). The difference is the competence of their GM, coaching staff, and owner.

  34. cclaser says: Nov 11, 2011 10:02 PM

    F Bill & C Po… Same problems year in and year out that Mannings has covered. No one has thrown the ball in less time than Peyton and done so much. Heck, Tom Brady can blow dry his hair before he gets a pass off. That coupled with a poor defense, horrible special teams, etc. Manning deserved more, and it is time for a change…

  35. gguffey says: Nov 11, 2011 11:39 PM

    When Manning is in the game, you are scoring points and burning clock, therefore an opposing team won’t be able to score 62! Maybe they will score 32 on your awful defense, but manning will get you 35 or so. They play in a weak division, if Manning were playing they would be 6-3 right now!
    With all that said, he’s not playing & most likely never will play again. Fire the Polian’s and start the rebuilding process!

  36. gimmeabruschi says: Nov 12, 2011 4:22 AM

    Be real. They are tanking for the draft pick. They have a soon to be 35 year old QB with a serious neck problem that they will have to pay megabucks to until he is nearly 40. What should they do, pull every string to go 7-9, still miss the playoffs and have a mediocre draft?

  37. CKL says: Nov 12, 2011 5:48 AM

    I HATE the argument that PM should be MVP every year since the Colts don’t have a team built to win when he’s not there. More likely they should give Polian the “least valuable executive” every year for building a team that way to begin with. There’s a reason that the NFL MVP every year seldom wins the SB (last time may have been Warner in 99 and THAT team had a very good defense in points allowed). Because football is such a TEAM sport that any team depending on huge stats from one player is easier to stop/take out of the game come playoff time. Manning has the most MVPs of any active player and also the most one and done playoff runs of any current QB. Coincidence? Not in my book. I HATED when Brady won MVPs…all it meant was they were too reliant on him to put up big numbers to win. Result-no SBs those two years and one “one and done”.

  38. toledoohoh says: Nov 12, 2011 7:56 AM

    The only logical reason to bring Kerry Collins out of retirement a week or so before the season begins is to sabotage the season. That team was set-up to fail from the beginning. If you don’t trust your backup QB, why have him on the roster in the first place? They knew full well Peyton was possibly going to miss the season, yet the did no planning for that eventuality.

    They would rather go 0-16, than go out get a solid NFL QB and finish 6-10.

  39. jagwar73 says: Nov 12, 2011 12:47 PM

    Manning will ultimately carry Bill Polian into the HOF. Too bad Polian couldn’t have drafted/assembled better talent to get Manning one more SB. Bill Polian is overrated. Genius my @……

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