April 24, 2014

Trading Places – Chatting with 18to88.com

18to88Last week the Dolphins blogs we contacted blew us off. Not cool. This week we’re pleased to bring back Trading Places with a chat with the Colts blog 18to88.com.

Some interesting comments here, particularly the perception of Tom Brady out in Indy.

At 8-0 these Colts seem like they haven’t missed a beat. Coaching changes, injuries, nothing has impacted their W-L record yet. How good is this team? Can they run the table?

Can they run the table? Sure. The toughest game (Sunday included) they have left is at Houston. Then comes the Pats. Indy has no fear of Denver or Baltimore, as neither franchise has beaten Indy in a meaningful game in nearly a decade.

Will they? No, obviously not. They will drop a couple somewhere along the way.

Most of the reason why the ‘obstacles’ haven’t affected them is because they are more ‘media obstacles’ than real ones. The coaching change was from Dungy 1.0 to Dungy 2.0. Jim Caldwell was with the franchise every day of Dungy’s tenure. He’s his own man, but there was little disruption in day to day activities with the switch. As for the injuries, the Colts were among the most injured teams in 2007 and 2008. As of yet, they haven’t lost any of the irreplaceable players on the roster (Manning, Wayne, Clark, Saturday, Freeney, Mathis, Brackett). The Colts’ system is built on interchangeable parts, especially in the secondary, so the impact has been minimal.

The observation in the media here has been that the Colts are winning more with their defense this year rather than the offense. It’s being said that Manning has been providing just enough offense with Wayne and Clark, but that the defense is the strength of the team. The numbers seem to bear that out. Is it true?

100% true. The Colts defense is extremely good. We’ve said all year we think it’s ahead of the offense. The offense is Manning, Clark, Wayne and a bunch of magic tricks. It’s no where near where it should be. The defense on the other hand has been smothering. People who just saw the Dolphins game think Indy’s D is weak. The truth is that even in that game, they only had trouble with the Wildcat plays (something NE fans know a thing or two about). Outside of Miami’s Wildcat, no one has done much of anything against the Colts D all year running or passing. If Indy wins on Sunday, it will be because they hold the Pats under 20 points, something they are entirely capable of doing. To put the Indy D in perspective, they’ve allowed 66 fewer points than the Saints D (who has gotten a lot of pub). That’s better than a TD fewer A GAME.

Injuries on defense, Sanders, Jackson, Hayden, Halger. Are these going to catch up with the Colts at some point, or will they keep finding ways to plug the holes?

Here’s the truth about those injuries…most of them haven’t played much all year. Sanders played parts of two games. Jackson missed four games, and when he did play saw only limited nickle action. Those losses were regrettable, but considering how little they’ve played it’s hard to argue they’ll hurt. What they did was take away dreams of ‘another gear’ for the D. All season, we’ve seen a #1 scoring D missing half it’s secondary and dreamed out about how much better they could be with Sanders and Jackson. Now they aren’t coming back, so we are left with…the #1 scoring D in football. It’s hard to whine about that.

Hayden has been in and out of the lineup…and he will be missed (he’s also coming back in a few weeks). Hagler did play until he got hurt, but he’s also the most replaceable player on the team. He wasn’t even the starter until the week before the first game. Phil Wheeler is regarded to be the more talented player, but young LBs often struggle in the Colts’ system because it’s not instinctive for LBs it’s all about responsibilities and maintaing gaps (not just flowing to the ball and reading and reacting). If we had to lose an LB, Hagler was the least painful one to lose.

Indy has reached the limit of their depth. These injuries were absorbable. The next one won’t be.

Tell us about a player on the Colts defense that Patriots fans haven’t likely heard that much of, but will know a lot more about after Sunday night…

Clint Session, LB. He’s beast, a violent hitter. His 14 tackles and a pick last Sunday served to introduce him to Texans fans. We picked him as a surprise Pro Bowl player before the season, and I’ve seen nothing to convince me otherwise.

Here in New England, some Patriots fans such as myself have come to respect Peyton Manning, his style of play and talent. Is there any of that for Tom Brady out there, or is it all just dislike?

It’s mostly just raw hatred, but I lay the blame of that at the feet of Pats fans. They said so many stupid things about Manning over the years (isn’t clutch, only puts up numbers because of Harrison), they gave most of us little choice. They fired the first shots of the war of 1812 and no one is quite willing to accept a cease fire yet.

Most Indy fans saw Matt Cassel’s year last year as indicative of just how great a coach Belichick is and how Brady gets too much credit for the team’s success. The best thing I can say about Brady is that personally, I’ve come to understand how solid his numbers are in the all-time sense. Mostly though, Indy fans will heap all the praise on Belichick and Moss (the single most devastating weapon in the history of football when he wants to be).

Prediction for Sunday night?

Indy 21 New England 18 I think the game will be low scoring. Indy’s D is much better than people realize and the O is much worse.

Thanks!

You can read our responses to his questions over on their Behind Enemy Lines post this morning on 18to88.com.

Comments

  1. So Colts fans have “a raw hatred” of Brady. Nice to know New Englanders aren’t the only deranged sports fans in the country with their raw hatred of Jeter. Basically I guess sports fans are idiots nationwide.

  2. Nice exchange. Civil but not watered down. I understand the “raw hatred” and have always cringed when homers dissed Manning. Manning’s earlier struggles had more to do with the briliance of BB but as BB admits now, its very difficult to fool him anymore as he’s seen everything. The guy scares me, just like Brady would if he were on the other team.

    I also like your response on 18to88 regarding the Brady rule. Nice reminder that their GM is the biggest whiner in league history.

  3. “Most Indy fans saw Matt Cassel’s year last year as indicative of just how great a coach Belichick is and how Brady gets too much credit for the team’s success.”

    :huh:

    They go from 16-0 to 11-5, and 50 TDs to 21, and somehow this is proof Brady’s a system QB?

  4. Wow, is the raw hatred tied to the fact that were it not for New England (and Brady is the face of the Patriots) Manning and Colts would have 2 extra rings? Just wondering.

    • Nope. It’s due the Pats fans attitudes. No one in Indy had a problem with New England (despite playing in the same division for nearly 20 years) until Pats fans made it their mission in life to tear down Manning.

      Colts fans have a healthy rivalry/dislike for Pittsburgh, but it’s NOTHING, nothing compared with the venom for the Pats. The difference is 100% in the attitude of the fans. Pats fans made themselves obnoxious for years and now everyone hates them.

      • Or Maybe its because Manning is 3-7 in games against a Tom Brady-led Patriots team and has more losses (with a 5-9 record) in his career versus the Patriots than any other team, even division opponents. Or maybe its the fact the Pats and Brady have 3 Super Bowls and 4 AFC Championships during Manning’s career and Manning only 1.

        • Nope. It’s the Pat fans. Trust me. You should read my hate mail sometime.

        • “mission in life to tear down Manning.” You’ll have to explain further. Every Pats fan I know respects Manning as Player and a Human Being. I will admit, there was a time when I was sick of seeing his face on (what seemed like) every TV commercial out there, but I’ll admit that the commercials have gotten better and thats made things better.

          Pats fans were delighted to see Brady overtake the TD’s record, but that’s just another measure of respect for the high bar set by Manning. Your comment about Pats fans is just plain wrong – I’ll give it to you though, there *are* obnoxious loud mouths in our fan base, just as I’m *sure* there are in your (and every teams) fan base. But are you going to judge everyone on the lowest common denominator?

          That would be like everyone judging the Colts team and their fans for booing a 15 year old girl who succeeded (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNYfEa120h0). Should we do that? Judge you, the Colts and all your fan base on that incident? Because, from everything I’ve heard Colts fans are very welcoming to opposing fans, and they let themselves down that time.

          I’m more inclined to think Greg’s theory is the real reason – and hey, nothing wrong with that! Look, if things went differently, and Manning had 3 or 4 rings, we’d all be rooting for his opponents. I just think you should admit that. There’s nothing wrong with “hating” because of the success, just don’t make up excuses for it.

          Cheers.

          • Sorry, you’re flat wrong. In fact, my limited interaction with you all today has been a pleasant departure from the norm of dealing with Patriots fans.

            Trust me, there’s no jealousy because honestly, most Colts fans don’t think Brady is in Manning’s class. They get frustrated because the Pats had the better team for most of the decade, and people assumed that meant Brady was the better QB, when all it meant was the Belichick is genius, and they had an incredible defense. Most Colts fans don’t find Brady all that impressive, to be honest.

            By the way, I was at the game the when the fans booed the girl in Pats clothes. It was a combination of things. First, they just made us endure 2 minutes of blaring in dome commercials in between the third and fourth quarter of a game the Colts were losing. Then, they extended the break to show the award winners (something that could have been done earlier with no delay to the game). Thirdly, it was kind of hilarious. I didn’t boo personally, but seriously, what did they expect. The same thing would have happened in New England.

            Colts fans HATE the Patriots because of their fans. I’m glad you and your buddies are all reasonable people. Maybe you are the majority, but if so you are a silent one.

          • I’m flat wrong about what? You throw plenty of subjectives around, but but that’s about it.

            “most Colts fans don’t think Brady is in Manning’s class” – I hope you’re wrong. But if not, then that says more about Colts than anything else. I’ll tell you for a fact, and I’m talking about the *vast majority* of Pats fans – they think its really close, and Brady has the edge. That’s about it.

            You can make up excuses for booing the girl, but all of the extenuating circumstances didn’t provoke the boos, the girl in the Patriots uniform did, and the “same thing” DIDN’T happen in New England, it happened in Indy.

            But I’m sure they were the vocal minority. The difference is, we’re not painting you with the same brush. You, however, seem to have no problem doing the opposite to us. That’s on you, my friend.

            Enjoy the game.

          • You are flat wrong about jealousy being the motivating reason for the hate.

            Colts fans view Brady as being in the Bradshaw, Aikman class of QB NOT in the Marino, Elway, Montana class. He’s an all time great, but not really a Top 10 guy; he’s more of a “happened to play with a great defense” guy. No one puts Bradshaw in the top 10 QBs all time, despite his four rings. Everyone recognizes that his defense won those for him, though he was at times spectacular.

            There’s a respect for the Pats as a team, but not for Brady. Think about it. When the Pats beat the Colts in the playoffs, Brady didn’t really play that great either time. The defense on the other hand…wow. So from a Colts’ fan perspective, we’ve never feared Brady. He’s never torn the Colts up. We fear Belichick…not Brady. No Colt fan has ever said, “Man, I hope Brady doesn’t beat us today!”

            So when Pats fans threw around his three rings and claimed that Manning sucked because he had fewer, it really pissed people off. They knew the truth Adam Vinatieri hit a lot of GW playoff fieldgoals for the Pats…Vanderjact missed two different kicks in the playoffs that would have won one game in OT and sent the other to OT. They saw Brady’s rings as the residue of his teammates, not him. His Super Bowl MVPs were a joke and everyone forgot his big fourth quarter pick verses the Eagles.

            For Pats fans to claim the better team was one thing, for them to claim the better QB was insane.

            Like I said, I’ve come to respect his overall numbers, and know they are better than people think they are. I’m just trying to help you understand why people in Indy hate him.

          • Brady didn’t throw an interception against Philly in the Super Bowl, let alone in the 4th quarter. He did throw an interception against Carolina the previous year but considering he also threw 3 TDs and was amazing on the game winning TD, one turnover is acceptable. Afterall, Lord Peyton won a Super Bowl MVP despite throwing only 1 TD and 1 INT as well as losing a fumble. His QB rating was a mere 81.8. So I’d say Brady and his 100.5 QB rating vs. Carolina was more than enough for MVP honors.

          • I’m sorry, I meant the Panthers game. I was trying to type that comment as I prepared dinner.

            My point isn’t to debate the merits of Brady MVP awards. I’m just trying to tell you how people view Brady in Indy. He had the game sewn up against the Panthers, and threw an awful pick. Only the terrible kickoff saved him from being the goat.

            Again, there’s no point in arguing the merits of the case with me. I’m not saying I believe it. What I personally believe is that it’s pointless to ask the question “who’s better” right now when there’s so much left in both men’s careers. I’m trying to explain why Colts fans hate Brady in particular so much. They think he gets too much of the credit for the Pats success.

            That makes sense when you look at how he played in both playoff games against Indy. His numbers weren’t that good in either one. Indy fans think of Belichick as some kind of evil defensive god. He’s the one who beat the Colts. Brady…meh. He was just along for the ride.

            You don’t have to agree with the position, but given the way the playoff games went between the teams, surely you can see how that perception arose in Indy.

          • DZ, you do a good job explaining the position that Colts fans take, and why they take it, re: Brady (even if you yourself don’t agree 100%), however, it seems to me that their view is viewed through colt-blue tinted glasses.

            The arguments you make about Brady’s success could be applied to Manning. Did the Colts not have a great D during the years we’re talking about? You espouse the play of the Colts D in your blog post – is Manning just not that good any more? And the Patriots D was good, but we’re not talking about 46-defense good, here.

            And how about Brady holding the record for TD’s in a season? Manning held the record prior to that – did that mean anything? Look at the overall stats, they are just so close. So, to say that Brady isn’t in the same class as Manning (or the other QB’s you mentioned) just defies logic.

            From there, you make your argument that Manning is better and we make the argument that Brady is. But you’re not doing that any more, you’re just saying he’s just not top 10, period. That doesn’t scan, either statistically, or result wise.

            This is a QB driven league, gone are the days of the 60′s and 70′s when a guy like Bradshaw could hand off the ball to Franco Harris half the time and make a cameo appearance every now and then.

            What I see from this conversation is respect for Manning from Pats fans for his accomplishments, and what we’re getting back are petty arguments for disrespecting the accomplishments of Tom Brady.

            It’s petty, man, it really is, and it speaks to the fan base. If you guys want to take that attitude when everyone else knows different, then that’s really on you. Have at it.

            This conversation, unfortunately, has run its course – its obvious that not I, nor anyone else, will magically say something that will turn a light on in your heads and say “Manning, Brady, Montana, yeah, tough choice there”, so, since you’re our guest here on this blog, I’ll give you the last word (on our thread, that is), and once again hope you enjoy the game Sunday.

            Cheers.

          • The light will come on, but it’s up to the rest of the Pats fan base to play fair.

            Like I said, you don’t have to convince me of Brady’s merit. I think he’s a top 10 guy.

            Pats fans finally accepting Manning will go a long way toward calming down Colts fans. Even Bill Simmons has written in recent weeks about how he finally respects Manning for being clutch.

            Of course, that’s hilarious since he won 6 games his 2nd year in the league with fourth quarter comebacks.

            Like I said, it’s a little unfair of Pats fans to start a QB flame war, conduct it for 6-8 years and then decide it’s over, and everyone should just be friends. I’m glad NE nation accepts Manning. That’s the first step.

            Give Indy fans some time to come around. They will.

            He’s always been clutch.

      • DZ
        i dont know if i can understand what you keep saying about brady being like bradshaw and aikman like “happened to play with a great defense” guy. No one puts Bradshaw in the top 10 QBs all time, despite his four rings. Everyone recognizes that his defense won those for him, though he was at times spectacular.
        Maybe people dont credit bradshaw because of the same limited thinking people dont credit brady.
        I ask you, would manning have taken teams with patten/brown then branch and givens then , caldwell,gaffeny and now moss and welker to AFC champ games. Dont tell me if he had the NE defense because we will never know. Brady has played with as much turnover on personnel and coaches and bad weather and good weathergames and remained consistent. i will admit that manning is a pure passer and frankly has improved drastically in mental strength since 2006 but just to trivialize brady as “happened to play with a great defense” is a bit too much

  5. Hatred for Brady? Is it more jealousy?

    I dont hate Manning. I think he is a great quarterback that whines sometimes when things dont go his way.

    Indy fans need to give respect to those who deserve it.

    http://boston.sportsthenandnow.com/2009/11/12/the-patriots-colts-rivalry-a-fan%E2%80%99s-perspective/

  6. “First, they just made us endure 2 minutes of blaring in dome commercials ”

    aww c’mon DZ, Colts fans should be used to piped in noise, at least Lucas Oil paid for a new skip free crowd noise CD

  7. Not respecting Brady on account of his performance in head-to-head playoff games is one part small sample size, one part willful blindness.

    • And it cuts both ways. Pats fans disrespected Manning first. Colts fans couldn’t have given a crap about Brady until the New England faithful, led by Bill Simmons tried to paint Manning as a choking dog and Brady as this super cool Lord of Clutch.

      They disrespected Manning because of a couple of games, and now on the whole of the Colts fan base violently dislikes Brady. If you don’t like it, take it up with Fitzy, Simmons, or any of the dozens of psychos who email me all the time. People in Indy dislike Rivers. They respect Roethlisberger.

      They hate Brady.

      The only difference is the fan bases in question.

      • Up until 2006, manning’s performance in playoffs was critic worthy honestly. Everyone kept saying that the colts had no defense and manning had to carry the team which was very true. but in his playoff losses his offense failed to show up.you can check the scores.If you read bruschi’s column today he says they gained a lot of respect for the colts after 2006 where they lined up and ran the ball down the pats throat playing tough physical ball.

        • Manning’s ‘failure’ in the playoffs is a massive myth which I’ve written about extensively. A lot of that stems from the OT playoff loss in Miami in which Vanderjagt missed the GW field goal by yanking it 50 yards wide, and the loss to the Jets in which a fumbled kickoff and a missed field goal put the Colts down 17-0. For the Colts to comeback in that game would have required the biggest road comeback in playoff history.

          Manning played one bad game in the playoffs, the 2003 AFC Championship game. Of course, that was on the heals of possibly to the two best games a QB has ever had in the playoffs.

          We have a saying around 18to88 that originated after some of those playoff games: “Well at least they won’t blame this on Manning”. It’s what I said after almost every playoff loss when it was clear Manning was playing well and the rest of the team sucked (esp. 2002 and 2005). It’s become a joke, because we’ve found out that Manning gets blamed whenever the Colts lose. He’s posted a rating over 90 in his last three playoff losses and played crazy well in all three games.

          Still he takes all the blame.

          QBs get too much credit and too much blame.

          • Chris Warner says:

            Didn’t the Colts lose to the Jets 41-0 that year? I’d expect a loss after getting down 17-0 like you said, but getting outscored 24-0 the rest of the way kind of kicks your argument.

        • Up to 2006 except for when the Colts lost in the playoffs at home to an 8-8 team last year

  8. So this season, based on Matt Cassell, Belichick’s a great coach. Last couple seasons, he was a full-blown cheater.
    Every single QB to ever play in the NFL has been part a system; some just run them better than others. Was the West Coast Offense w/ Montana and Young a system? Jim Kelly and the K-Gun? What was Marino doing all those years in Miami, drawing up plays in the dirt?

    Embarrassingly clueless. Ever wonder why Midwesterners are called Roundheads?

    • New Yorker says:

      I’m from Long Island but have flown out to Indiana quite a few times for business. I’m fairly certain you won’t find a more backward thinking people than you do in Indiana. It’s really strange, actually.

      Both players are Top 10.

      Brady’s reputation was based on winning which any intelligent fan must admit really is more of a team thing. To his credit though, he routinely comes up big in the big spots. Another argument for Brady is that no QB has ever done more with less. It’s amazing what he did on the offensive talent deprived team of 2001 and 2006.

      Manning’s reputation was based on statistical dominance which any intelligent fan must recognize is the product of playing on a dome team that was constructed to be an offensive juggernaut. Manning has always been surrounded by incredible offensive talent. Year after year, the Indy front office spends their first rounders on offensive skill position players.

      The significance of playing in a dome should not be dismissed. Every QB plays better in controlled environments. Without wind and weather, the ball goes where its intended and the WR’s are much better at catching it.

      My feeling is that Brady is the better QB. His averages in cold weather games surpass Mannings and perhaps surprising to some, his #’s in domes are higher as well, although in a much smaller sampling size.

      For me the bottom line is playoff performances. It’s not won/loss records since those really are team efforts. It’s about how each player plays. If Manning’s playoff record included a bunch of 38-34 losses where he only lost b/c his defense played poorly, nobody could criticize that. But the reality is that in most of Indy’s playoff losses, Manning himself has played poorly. Its the same argument I make against Dan Marino. Manning’s Colts and Marino’s Dolphins didn’t lose despite their All Pro QB’s, they often lost BECAUSE of them.

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