Pep Hamilton is Gone, but was he the Reason for the Colts' struggles?
The Colts fired Pep Hamilton! All the Woes are over! The Colts are going to be amazing again! Probably not. Where I’m sure some of the blame can be put on Pep Hamilton’s shoulders, he isn’t the one that is making Andrew Luck make poor decisions. He isn’t tell the wide receivers to not get separation. He CERTAINLY isn’t telling the offensive line to just let their man hit Luck. The Colts have bigger issues than Pep Hamilton, and unfortunately, they probably always will.
First off, I want to say that I really like Chuck Pagano, I think he is a good coach, and I don’t think that he should be fired, even though I don’t think he will be with the Colts come the start of the next season, unless they absolutely turn this ship around and at least get back to the AFC Championship (not impossible, improbable… yes, but not impossible and I’ll come back to that in a bit). Pagano is a player’s coach. This team loves that man, and wants to win for him so badly, so what’s going on? Why are the Colts so bad?
Let’s start looking at EVERYTHING! It ultimately comes down to how players play. The offensive line is playing awfully, plain and simple, they are not playing well. They can’t protect Luck if he takes a deep drop, everything has to be short passes, which proved to work with Hasselbeck, so maybe this is what went into the Colts’ decision to part ways with Pep, but again they still have issues on the line despite what Pep calls.
The wide receivers are playing uninspired football right now. No one is getting separation, unless that receiver is TY Hilton and your defender falls on his face, twice, a la the Saints’ game. The Colts’ have some really good playmakers on offense, but they aren’t doing their part, again, maybe that’s on Pep Hamilton, but I refuse to believe that TY Hilton not getting open is Pep’s issue.
Andrew Luck has played the worst football of his career this year, he has also shown flashes of what he is capable of. Like in the 4th quarter Monday night against the Panthers, he led the Colts all the way back, or in the 4th quarter against the Titans, where he led the Colts back to a 4th quarter victory, or even the Patriots game, Luck played really well. (Also, clearly the Patriots game, fumble play, was CLEARLY Pep’s fault, good thing they got rid of that bum) Maybe Luck’s woes are due to injury, and how ironic would it be if he did in fact have broken ribs and the Colts were punished for “cheating,” but that’s a topic for another time.
Ryan Grigson. Well, well, well we keep bringing it up, maybe it’s Grigson’s fault. I mean, sure he doesn’t play the game, just like Pep doesn’t play the game, but Grigson spent 50 million dollars on offensive weapons in the off season, yet he upgraded the offensive line by 50 thousand. Hmmm, put a terrible offensive line around one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, sounds like a fool proof plan. Although, can you blame Grigson? The Colts have built this way for years, they have had a STAR quarterback with great weapons so clearly they don’t need a defense or an offensive line to protect or give that STAR time to throw. After all, Bill Polian and the Colts won a Super Bowl using this method, and got to another one. Plus, Polian is a Hall of Famer, and the Colts were so good for so long, so what he did has to be the right way to do it, right?
Bill Polian also CRUSHED it in the draft. He got Edgerrin James (1999 Round 1, Pick 4), Reggie Wayne (2001 Round 1, Pick 30), Dwight Freeney (2002 Round 1, Pick 11) Dallas Clark (2003 Round 1, Pick 24), Robert Mathis (2003 Round 5, Pick 3, Overall 138), Bob Sanders (2004 Round 2, Pick 12, Overall 44), also on this list: Marlin Jackson, Kelvin Hayden, Joseph Addai, Tim Jennings, Antoine Bethea, Pierre Garcon, Jerraud Powers, Pat McAfee (yes a punter), Anthony Castonzo. HE CRUSHED the draft, year in and year out.
Grigson actually nailed his first draft, but since then, it’s been… meh. In his first draft he nabbed, Andrew Luck, Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen, and TY Hilton in four consecutive rounds. In 2013, he drafted Bjorn Werner, he is a backup linebacker today, if you didn’t know. Then in 2014, the Colts didn’t have a 1st round draft pick, why was that? OH YEAH! Because Grigson gave it up for Trent Richardson, that was a GREAT move. Then this year, he used the first round pick on a fourth receiver, in Phillip Dorsett. He has missed all over the place, and I think that’s one of the big issues.
Grigson is CLEARLY an issue, but I don’t think we can stop there. Jim Irsay is ultimately the issue. When your team is built in a flawed way year in and year out with two different General Managers, someone is involved with the process and it’s someone who clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about. It’s really too bad you can’t fire the owner.
With all this said, football is played on the field, and despite Grigson not putting an offensive line around Luck, and missing in draft after draft, players play. Pep Hamilton shouldn’t have been fired, but now Grigson is in “cover your ass” mode and is hoping that changing things up will save him this year, and if Rob Chudzinski can come in and make a difference, maybe he keeps his job. As a Colts’ fan myself, they needed to shake something up because it wasn’t working, plain and simple, but I don’t think it was all Pep’s fault. In fact, I think out of everyone involved, it’s probably almost less his fault than anyone else. If Chudzinski comes in and the Colts are a completely different team, and they are back to throwing for 350 yards per game, and not turning the ball over, and are being competitive for the entire game, then maybe it was Pep’s fault, but I guess only time will tell.