Monday, January 4, 2010

Colts' Hypocrisy: Risking Injury for Personal Statistics

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star pens an excellent article this morning in which he raises questions about the Colts' bizarre decision to keep Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark in the game yesterday to pursue individual marks. This decision comes on the heels of last week's decision to pull those same players out of the game and cost the Colts their perfect season, justified on the basis that the team couldn't afford to have injuries.

I was slightly surprised by the decision in Game 15 to pull the starters. But the decision in Game 16 to play those players and risk injury was shocking. It was even more bizarre move when considering the specific situation in which Wayne and Clark were placed. The field was icy and rock hard. Manning was dumping very short passes to Clark and Wayne where they were extremely vulnerable to getting hit hard, not by smaller cornerbacks and safeties, but by linebakers and defensive lineman. It would be hard to design a more hazardous situation for the receivers, especially for Reggie Wayne who doesn't even weigh 200 pounds.

After the game, Coach Jim Caldwell and Manning disputed that there was a deliberate strategy to force feed Clark and Wayne to get their 100 catches:
Those guys' records, we don't go into any ballgame looking to achieve anything in terms of individual records," coach Jim Caldwell said after the team's meaningless 30-7 loss. "If those (marks) get close in the natural flow of hings, we will address those issues . . . We got close, so we decided to let them finish it."

"It's not something we set out to do," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "Face it: Pierre (Garcon) is out, G (Gijon Robinson) is out, Joseph Addai -- who do you think I'm going to throw to?

"Those guys are our two main weapons. I'm just trying to find ways to move the ball down the field. I have the freedom to move guys around and get the ball into our playmakers' hands. The goal and the intent was to get some flow for our offense."
Yeah, right. Anyone who saw that game knew exactly what Manning was doing. Manning's last pass, a third down screen pass to Clark which lost several yards, speaks volumes about the strategy. It is one thing for Colts' management to lie to fans, do we also have to have our Hall of Fame quarterback also spinning tall tales?

The Colts management allowed key players to be put at great risk for injury yesterday solely for the purpose of pursing personal stats. Yet the week before those same players were yanked out of the game at home in the midst of pursuing a team mark, a perfect season. Hypocritical? You betcha.


Cato said...

I explained all this over on my blog. You must know that they could have got those stats inside the toasty warm Luke against the Jets, while getting a win and keeping the fans happy and a streak alive.

They didn't want to be forced to play 4 quarter Football in Buffalo.

The Bills knew the script and let Manning have his quick fun. Then, the real game began.

Had Enough Indy? said...

My husband mentioned the same thing after yesterday's game. I have to wonder if there were contractual obligations that set goals for the number of catches in the regular season, awarding big bucks if accomplished. There might have been legal exposure due to the decisions last week that the team's powerbrokers didn't want to face.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

These are paid entertainers, folks. Keep that in mind.