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Tag:Bill Polian
Posted on: November 29, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 2:02 pm
 

Colts fire DC Coyer, promote QB Orlovsky

Coyer is out as defensive coordinator, Orlovsky is in at quarterback. (Getty Images/AP)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It's been a busy day in the AFC South. The Jaguars fired head coach Jack Del Rio this morning, and by lunchtime, the Colts announced that they had relieved defensive coordinator Larry Coyer of his duties. Because, really, the defense was the primary reason the team is off to an 0-11 start.

“The move was made to improve communication and production,” Head Coach Jim Caldwell, via the team's web site. “We feel this is the most effective and realistic way to move forward and win games this season. We appreciate all of the effort and hard work Larry Coyer put forth in his three years with the Colts.”

We suspect that owner Jim Irsay will be issuing similar comments after the season when we learn that Caldwell has suffered the same fate as Coyer. For now, he's still in charge of a team that has a realistic chance to go winless in 2011.

Linebackers coach Mike Murphy has been assigned to replace Coyer.

In other Colts-related news, Caldwell has announced a new starting quarterback.

“Dan Orlovsky will (start this week at New England),” he said. “He’s been working at it and getting himself ready. … I think he’s a guy that certainly is comfortable within the framework of the system. I think he is a guy that’s also been around the league a while. He’s able to adjust and adapt to different systemic problems that you may have or see from a defense. He can adjust to those very easily. He has a nice, strong arm. We’re anticipating he’s going to be accurate as well, that’s key. The big is, obviously, to stay away from turnovers. He’s got to play smart and not scared."

It seems like a great opportunity for Orlovsky, who's probably best known for running unprovoked out of the back of the end zone when he played for the Lions during the 2008 season (Detroit, incidentally, went 0-16 that year). But the Colts' schedule shapes up like this the next two weeks: at New England, at Baltimore. If he survives that, Indy closes out against Tennessee, Houston and at Jacksonville.

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Posted on: November 17, 2011 12:56 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Mojo-less NFLers

P. Rivers has struggled this season (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Where there’s a star football player*, there’s always a star football ready to fall. Sometimes, they get old overnight. Sometimes, they get satiated by a rich, new contract and lose the desire to stay hungry and work out as hard. Sometimes, their one shining season was a mirage and their talent wasn’t all that great in the first place.

*Or a football coach, executive, etc.

Earlier this season, we discussed the league’s most underrated players, the players you really should know about, and in this edition of Top Ten with a Twist, we examine the players who, for whichever reason, have fallen off the cliff. Not necessarily overrated players, but players who once were great -- or showed us the potential to be great -- but have fallen on hard times. Some of these selections still play at a very high level. That’s not the issue. The question is: are they as great as they were?

The trick for them is to rediscover what made them great in the first place, to rediscover their mojo. If they can.

10. Bernard Pollard: It was at the beginning of the 2010 season when I ranked Pollard No. 4 on my top-five safeties list, which led CBSSports.com film-watching guru Andy Benoit to write, “I like that you went with Pollard -- that shows you’re paying attention. Few people even know about the fifth-year pro.” And just two years later, after Pollard was jettisoned out of Houston, few people remember how effective he used to be. Now, he’s in Baltimore and he’s actually a starter, and really the only time he’s making news is when he’s being fined for illegal hits.

9. Logan Mankins: Once one of the best offensive guards around -- and still a top-notch player -- the contract dispute of the last two seasons seems to have taken something out of him (in August, he signed a six-year, $51 million deal). Though he emerged from last year’s holdout, in which he missed seven games, as a Pro Bowl player, he’s struggling a bit this season. He’s been whistled for more penalties, and he’s allowed more sacks than normal. Listen, he’s still one of the best guards out there, but New York’s Justin Tuck and Pittsburgh’s LaMarr Woodley found success against him this year. That rarely happened in the past.

8. Andy Reid: Is it fair that Reid, after back-to-back 10-win seasons and a plethora of success during his 12-year Eagles career, is on the hot seat for the mess Philadelphia has become this year? Maybe not. But is Reid partially -- if not, mostly -- to blame for how the Eagles season has progressed? Yes. Bringing in high-priced free agents like Nnamdi Asomugha seemed like a great idea at the time, but some of those moves have fizzled. Moving former offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator has not worked out well. And at this point, it seems like a lock that the 3-6 Eagles will finish outside the playoffs. Should he lose his job? Probably not. Will he? Maybe.

7. Chris Johnson: True, he’s coming off his best game of the season (27 carries, 130 yards, one touchdown), but Johnson has been a major disaster this year. Which has to give heartburn to the Titans front office, which signed Johnson to a six-year, $55.3 million contract before the season. And with that, Johnson stopped producing. He stopped hitting his holes with big-time bursts, he stopped breaking tackles and he looked lackluster. It’s hard to imagine that a big, fat contract would have caused such an appetite loss for Johnson, but all we’ve seen out of him this year are two pretty good games and a whole lot of blame deflection.

6. Bill Polian: Has an executive’s talent-spotting reputation ever fallen as far and as fast as Polian this year? With the loss of Peyton Manning imploding the Colts, eyes have shifted to Polian as perhaps a reason why Indianapolis has struggled so badly this year. No quality backup quarterback and a bushel of questionable draft picks in the past few years have us wondering if Polian’s job is in danger (owner Jim Irsay has said it’s not). But man, did the talent of Manning shield our knowledge of Polian’s ability this entire time?

Polamalu5. Troy Polamalu: Some of my colleagues (cough, cough) love to rail on Polamalu as the most overrated player in the league. I don’t think he’s that at all. Polamalu still plays at a high level, and he’s still a guy you have to gameplan against. But to say he’s the same player he was five years ago is obviously untrue. He can still lay a mean hit on a receiver, but he struggles in coverage (as shown by his inadequate defense against an A.J. Green touchdown bomb last week), and he doesn’t have the speed of his youth. He doesn’t even have the speed of two years ago. Yes, he’s been hampered by injuries (he’s missed 13 combined games in the past two seasons), but he’s not the all-world safety anymore (though he’s smart and experienced, which certainly helps). That was proven correct in Super XLV when the Packers made him irrelevant all game.

4. Chad Ochocinco: We’ve over-analyzed Ochocinco to death on this blog, but man, it’s still kind of crazy that he has just 11 catches for 201 yards and zero touchdowns on the season. The guy used to be ultra-confident. Now, he’s slowly disappearing like Marty McFly’s family photo.

3. DeSean Jackson: You have to think that, with the statements Jackson has made about how protecting his health was his No. 1 priority this season and with the fact he overslept and missed a team meeting last Saturday and got himself deactivated on Sunday, Jackson is really, really interested in his new contract. Naturally, he wants to get paid, but I don’t think being tied for 71st in the league with 29 catches is going to attract a ton of positive attention.

2. Sam Bradford: This is a strange case. Bradford seemed on the verge of a breaking out in his rookie season last year, but he’s been a forgotten man this year. That’s probably because the Rams are a forgotten team and because he’s missed a few games because of an ankle injury. But his completion percentage is down this year (55.8 percent), his touchdown-to-interception ratio is a bit worse, and he’s lost twice as many fumbles (his offensive line and receivers are not helping matters at all). And it’s not just that Bradford has played worse; it’s that nobody nationally seems to be talking about him at all, good or bad. That’s just kind of strange for last year’s No. 1 overall pick.

1. Philip Rivers: He’s never had great form, but something about the Chargers quarterback seems off this season. His strange mechanics look even stranger, and Rivers leads the league in interceptions while his 4-5 San Diego unit is sinking in the AFC West. I’ve made the joke that, now that Rivers has six children, it's no wonder he’s had a tougher time. But in San Diego, this can’t be a laughing matter. Not when Norv Turner’s job is at risk and with the Chargers losing hope fast. I keep thinking Rivers can turn it around, but at this point, it’s tough to say if he will.

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Posted on: November 11, 2011 4:34 pm
 

Bill Polian doesn't blame Caldwell or Peyton

Caldwell, Polian

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For those of you who think that the Colts have fallen apart this year because coach Jim Caldwell is doing a lousy job or because Peyton Manning isn’t playing*, there’s at least one Colts official who believes you’re wrong.

That’d be team vice chairman Bill Polian -- who, himself, has come under much criticism for the team’s 0-9 performance this year.

*Somewhere close by, somebody truly believes Manning should be the league MVP this year, and that person is not necessarily incorrect.

Let’s take this point by point.

On the loss of Manning, Polian told NFL.com, “That's like saying New England is too reliant on Tom Brady. You rely on your stars. There's no credence to that theory."

Except for there’s one very easy counter to the Brady argument. Remember when Brady was out for just about all of 2008 with a knee injury? Yeah, his team didn’t go 0-for without him in the lineup. As I recall, New England went 11-5 without its star quarterback and won the AFC East.

On what Caldwell has accomplished in 2011, Polian said, “I think he's done a better job than he did in the Super Bowl year. He didn't have the adversity that year that he had last year and this year. Last year's team wasn't a playoff team, and he not only got it there, but came close to advancing. He's done. And he's done a magnificent job dealing with all the problems."

Is there even a response to that? Did Polian say that with a straight face? I mean, seriously? Caldwell has done a “magnificent job?” Obviously, Polian is in a better position to say that than just about anybody else, but if Caldwell has been magnificent this year, Tony Sparano has been freakin’ Vince Lombardi.

So, what is the problem as seen by Polian -- who, by the way, received a vote of confidence from owner Jim Irsay earlier this month?

"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."

On that, I think all of us can agree.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 10:36 pm
 

Caldwell applauds effort, Irsay less tolerant

Trying hard isn't enough. At some point the Colts have to win. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Either Jim Caldwell is delusional or out of ideas. Whatever the case, the head coach of the NFL's only winless team this season praised the Colts after their most recent loss for giving their all, fighting hard, keeping their head up and any other variation on the overcoming adversity sports-themed cliches.

“You can see that they are going to fight you until the end,” Caldwell said following Sunday’s game against the Falcons, via to PFT.com. “They’re just going to keep playing and playing extremely hard, but the thing that we have to do is we have to look at our situation and be honest with it, with everybody. The fact that there are some things that we didn’t do well, that’s why we didn’t win. We kind of look at those situations where we turn it over, and where we aren’t effective in terms of our execution.”

We think Caldwell's underselling the bit about "some things we didn't do well." As PFT.com's Michael David Smith points out, Indianapolis lost their last three games by a combined 96 points, and have been outscored by 155 points this season. It's one thing to applaud effort in the face of insurmountable odds when you're talking about the Bad News Bears or Rudy Ruettiger. It's something else entirely when we're talking about professional athletes, many from big-time college programs who are accustomed to winning. There are no underdog stories here.

Apparently, Colts owner Jim Irsay feels similarly. Via Twitter, which seems to be Irsay's primary means of communication these days:

“We will never accept this kind of chronic losing. It’s an unwelcome visitor, that we will not tolerate.”

Last week Irsay was asked about Caldwell's job status and he offered this cryptic explanation: “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. "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.”

Well, the Colts are 0-9 and you could make a convincing case that continuity is a very bad thing. That said, it sounds like team president Bill Polian, the guy responsible for putting this roster together, doesn't have to worry about losing his job.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 11:40 am
Edited on: November 4, 2011 11:41 am
 

Colts owner sticks by Jim Caldwell, Bill Polian

Caldwell and Polian are safe for now. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFL is a bottom-line business. Acts of kindness away from the field may make the world a better place but losing football will always get you fired. The Indianapolis Colts are currently 0-8, their personnel philosophy turned into a house of cards the moment Peyton Manning was sidelined with a neck injury. Manning has yet to take a snap in 2011 and there's a chance he won't. Two things have come out of this.

First, the Suck for Luck campaign is picking up steam, perhaps aided by the fact that Manning won't play forever, there's nothing wrong with having Luck sit behind Manning for a season or two before taking over, and if the Colts are going down in flames this season they might as well get something for it. Namely: their next franchise quarterback.

Second, questions about whether head coach Jim Caldwell or team president Bill Polian should lose their jobs. A few years ago, dumping Polian would've been unthinkable. But a series of questionable draft picks in recent years (Marlin Jackson, Anothony Gonzalez, Tony Ugoh, Donald Brown and Jerry Hughes are often mentioned), coupled with the team imploding without Manning because there was no capable backup quarterback on the roster doesn't reflect well on Polian.

Owner Jim Irsay spoke to Caldwell's and Polian's future Thursday.

“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, 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.”

We're not sure Irsay could be more vague. It sounds like Caldwell will keep his job … unless he doesn't. The owner added: “I’ll say this: Jim Caldwell did one of the greatest coaching jobs in the last four games last year to get us to 10-6, to get us in a position to have a chance, a game we really thought we had a chance to win at home against the Jets."

Irsay was less cryptic about Polian.


Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to square off against the struggling Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Who will come out on top? Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan take a look at this upcoming matchup.

“I’m committed,” he said. “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."

During last week's Pick-6 Podcast, we spoke to ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith about the Colts and he said this: "If I'm Irsay, I'm calling Caldwell and [the Polians] into my office and asking them 'Why shouldn't I fire you?'"

Seems like a fair question, although the real Irsay apparently has no plans to have that conversation.

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 2:01 pm
 

Peyton Manning not yet headed for injured reserve

Polian doesn't (yet) have plans to put Manning on IR. (US PRESSWIRE)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

After what the Texans perpetrated against the Colts on Sunday, Peyton Manning can't get back on the field fast enough. Unfortunately, doctors can't pinpoint a return date, which seems perfectly reasonable given that Manning just had neck surgery (his second since the spring).

FOXSports.com's Jay Glazer said earlier this week that the medical people he spoke with said Manning wouldn’t be able to take a hit for four months. Doing the math, that means Peyton might be ready in January and we all know Indianapolis won't be playing at that point in the season.

So it might make sense for the Colts to put Manning on injured reserve, right? Not yet, at least to hear team vice chairman Bill Polian explain it.

“We saved the spot for Bob Sanders last year all the way up to week 12, maybe even beyond that because the prognosis, which is just that – it’s a guesstimate the doctors give you, it’s not cast in concrete – was that Bob had a chance to make it back by the end of the season," Polian said on the team's website.

“That did not occur. What I’ve said to Peyton and what we’ve said publicly is that we will leave him on the active roster as long as the doctors tell us there’s a chance for him to come back.”

Which immediately conjures memories of this:


All that's missing is Polian sporting a bowl cut and a snazzy southwestern-inspired button-up.

After watching what happened against the Texans Sunday, and Polian scouting Andrew Luck the day before, we figured the Colts would give the season another four or five weeks, and if they continue to look like the worst team in football then they'd shut Peyton down for good. Because, really, there's no reason to rush him back to play for a team that might be 2-10, only to have him risk further injury. And Polian can't reiterate that last point strongly enough.

“It Bears very, very strong emphasis that [Manning] will not be allowed back on the field until the doctors are satisfied that he’s 100 percent and ready to go, regardless of what occurs with the season or doesn’t occur with the season. His long-term health is what the most important thing is here.”

Which is probably why it makes sense to put Manning on injured reserve now.

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Posted on: September 12, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 6:39 pm
 

Colts president Bill Polian scouts Andrew Luck

Is it too early for the Colts to start planning for life after Peyton? (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson


Nobody was eliminated from the playoffs after the first week of the NFL regular season, but it sure seemed that way for a handful of teams, including the Indianapolis Colts, who were Peyton-less for the first time since they drafted him in 1998.

Facing division rival Houston, the Colts looked like, well, a team without a quarterback, which was no fault of Kerry Collins' who, as recently as a month ago, was resting comfortably on his couch. Also not helping: Indy's defense and special teams.

The Colts trailed 17-0 after one quarter, and were down 34-0 (!) at the half before Texans coach Gary Kubiak took it easy on a team that is accustomed to being on the winning end of blowouts. It's a sudden change of fortune for an organization that has thrived with Manning under center. In fact, since Manning arrived in '98, the Colts have been to the playoffs every season but two (his rookie campaign and 2001), including a Super Bowl title in 2006.

While we don't want to overreact after one week, it's reasonable to think that this outfit won't sniff eight wins, and if Manning misses the season while recovering from neck surgery, they'll be lucky to go 4-12. And that would likely put them smack dab in the middle of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. (Yes, we know, such talk was unthinkable as recently as a week ago.)

ProFootballTalk's Michael David Smith writes that, "It sounds crazy to suggest that the Colts could take a quarterback with the first pick in the draft nine months after giving Manning the biggest contract in NFL history. But it also sounds crazy to suggest that a team with a 36-year-old quarterback coming off a major injury would pass on a quarterback as talented as Luck."

But we're not just spit-balling here. Colts president Bill Polian watched Luck whip up on Duke last weekend.



Sports Illustrated's Peter King elaborates:

"This is what [Polian] does on almost every fall Saturday -- scout. And this year, in the wake of the possible season-ending surgery on Manning's neck, that takes on added importance," King wrote in his Monday Morning Quarterback column.

"Is there any way the Colts could be bad enough to be in the Andrew Luck derby on draft day? Very unlikely, but the team will do its due diligence. And is there any way they'd take a quarterback from the possible pool of well-regarded players -- such as USC's Matt Barkley, Oklahoma's Landry Jones or a still-to-emerge 2011 college star passer? That's more possible."

We agree: Polian is doing his due diligence. It's not out of the ordinary for him to take in a college football game, but we're less optimistic than King about the Colts' prospects in 2011. Unless things drastically change, there's every reason to think that they'll be in the conversation for the first-overall pick next April. While that doesn't do much for fans this season, Peyton's not going to play forever. And if you have to replace him, why not do it with one of the best college quarterback prospects we've seen in some time.

But perhaps we're too quick to bury this team. If you're looking for hope, coach Jim Caldwell offered it at his Monday press conference: “There is no question I believe it’s all correctable."

Feel better? Neither do we.

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Posted on: September 4, 2011 9:54 pm
Edited on: September 5, 2011 9:48 am
 

Polian on Manning rumors: 'I don't know anything'

 
If, as reported, Manning is out indefinitely, the Colts are in serious trouble. (AP Photo/Tony Tribble)  
Posted by Ryan Wilson

UPDATE #2: 11:15 p.m. EST, via CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman: "After speaking to a source on the Colts, the team didn't believe Manning would get another surgery. There was, however, a serious concern that Manning was not only going to miss the season opener but the potential was for Manning to miss four or five games. Or more."

UPDATE: 10:25 p.m. EST, via Adam Schefter's Twitter feed:
"Peyton Manning is being revaluated by several doctors bc of slow progress. No other procedure planned now."


-------

Eleven days ago, the Colts signed quarterback Kerry Collins, who had been retired for less than two months, as insurance against Peyton Manning not being ready for the regular season after offseason neck surgery.

Last Monday, Manning was activated from the PUP list, but the team qualified the move by saying that it was "a continuation of the rehab process from offseason neck surgery that Manning underwent. He will participate in practice on a limited basis. All of his practice work will be scripted and on a controlled basis. The participation in limited football activity is a standard procedure in the club's rehab protocol."

And now there are reports from John Michael Vincent of ESPN 1070 Indianapolis that Manning might need to undergo another procedure on his neck. "Been told by multi(ple) sources that Manning needs a 2nd neck procedure. Will remain out indefinitely. Called Colts and waiting on response," Vincent tweeted Sunday night.

Later, Sports Illustrated's Peter King spoke to Colts president Bill Polian who told him, "I don't know anything about that. I honestly don't."

Follow-up tweets from King were as follows:

"Don't go thinking Manning's fine+will play in 7 days at Houston. I'm starting to believe he won't. KCollins could be a pretty smart $4m buy."

And then:

"Talked to an authority on Peyton surgery this weekend. Learned it's all about nerve regeneration. You can't rush Mother Nature."

If true, this could be devastating news for the Colts, who, without Manning would go from perennial AFC South favorite and playoff contender to an unmitigated disaster. Four wins might be too optimistic a prediction.

For now, all we have is a report of which Indy's team president knows nothing about.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com