|Hardly shocking, we know, but 0-16 could mean curtains for Jim Caldwell in Indy. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
In the immortal words of Joe Theismann, you don't have to be Norman Einstein to know that Colts head coach Jim Caldwell isn't long for Indianapolis. Never mind that he was hand-picked by Tony Dungy, he's 24-8 in his previous two seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance in 2009.
The reality is this: Indianapolis is 0-13 and there's a reasonable expectation that by the time it's over, they'll be 0-16. Not having Peyton Manning has almost everything to do with the Colts' predicament. And that only makes things worse for Caldwell; if Indy's success hinges on Manning's health -- not Caldwell's ability to coach without one of his best players -- why keep him around?
Which is why, barring a miracle only Tim Tebow could deliver, Caldwell will be looking for work on or about January 1.
During his weekly Monday night radio show, team president Bill Polian admitted that, "I bear a lot of responsibility for what happened here and it weights heavily on me. It breaks my heart that there are good players and good coaches who are going through an awful time because we didn't build a strong enough football team."
But he also hinted that, ultimately, Caldwell could be held responsible.
"My fervent hope is that Jim's job is not in jeopardy because my fervent hope is that we don't go 0-16," he said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Tom James. "And we're doing everything we can to try and avoid that."
On Wednesday, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora pretty much confirmed through sources what Polian intimated Monday. "…Unequivocally, an 0-16 finish by the Colts will cost Caldwell his job."
The possible follow-up question from some Colts fans: "Hey, Bill, what about you and (your son, Colts general manager) Chris?"
After all, a series of poor personnel decisions played a non-trivial role in Indy's current plight. (Forget Polian's recent admission that "we were getting ready to draft" T.J. Yates -- just take a look at the team's first-round picks from '05 to '10.)
A month ago, back when Indy was just 0-8, owner Jim Irsay said this about the Polian's future.
“I’m committed. In [the Polian's] defense, it’s pretty radical after the successes we’ve had to start even talking about the question, in my opinion. If this is five or six years or losing; you’re talking about eight weeks. The great things we’ve done, there has been a tilted sort of perception when you win so much that it’s disappointing."
Irsay was less certain about Caldwell.
“When it comes to changes and Jim’s status and that sort of thing, it’s something that eight games going forward, more will be revealed," the Colts owner said on November 4, according to the Indianapolis Star. "This situation is always changing. But it’s really going to be always what’s best to give us a chance to win. I don’t have any predictions or any votes of confidence or anything like that. I don’t have any non-votes of confidence. At this point, continuity is a good thing if it makes sense in terms of winning.”
Let's see: the Colts are 0-13 and their starting quarterback is Dan Orlovsky, the guy who was 0-7 as a starter with the Lions in 2008 (that team went 0-16), and is currently 0-2 in that role in Indy. Pretty sure continuity would be a bad thing. And who knows, when the Colts draft Andrew Luck, that thinking could extend to Manning, too.
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