Editor’s Note: We’re very lucky here at Black&Teal to be part of Fansided, a wide-reaching network of blogs for every NFL team (as well as a huge selection of NBA, NHL, MLB, and other blogs as well). We’d be dumb not to take advantage of these resources, so welcome to our new feature: Enemy Intel. Each week, we’ll be checking in with the staff from the Fansided blog representing the Jaguars’ opponent for that the week.
This week, we’ll be talking with Adam Hughes, editor and lead blogger for Naptown’s Finest, Fansided’s Indianapolis Colts Blog. A huge thanks to Adam for taking the time to update us on what’s going on in Indy as we head into an always bitter division rivalry with the Luck-bound Colts. Make the jump to see our Q&A about the Ponies with Adam…
Andrew Hofheimer: Give me a solid reason why the Colts should not and are not purposely sucking to pick Andrew Luck. And if they do end up with the #1 pick, what happens?
Adam Hughes: I actually have no problem with the Colts tanking the rest of the season to get at Luck, as I’ve maintained for a few years now that it’s time to groom Manning’s successor, or at least find a competent backup. They may actually be marching toward oblivion with some purpose, such as landing the #1 pick, but I remain unconvinced that they would use that pick on Luck. Bill Polian is, if nothing else, a stubborn man, and he just about refuses to cut bait on his previous decisions or change his strategies. So, IF the Polians are still around, and IF the Colts have the first pick, then I think their most likely play is to trade the thing for a bunch of players and/or draft picks and try to arm Peyton Manning for one last hurrah. Of course, given the Colts’ recent draft history, that would probably mean taking some undersized defensive lineman, a couple of flashy receivers, and a middling running back or two. If Manning returns strong, though, even that plan could work.
Hughes: I think Manning was much more vital to this whole house of cards than just about anybody realized. His play calling and quick release masked a lot of problems on offense, he could eat the clock at will to give the defense some rest, and the Colts always had the hope of coming back from a deficit with Manning under center. I think the team tried really hard early on, but when the losing started and then Collins went down, other pieces started to fall off of the Colts’ damaged sculpture. It’s a whole lot easier now for players to take time off in practice (Dwight Freeney) or games (Joseph Addai?) because the team isn’t doing much anyway. Why shouldn’t these guys rest up for next year, right?
Hughes: As I alluded to in my first answer above, I think it all depends on Manning, as always. If he’s healthy, Indy will go for the proverbial reload and try to give Manning some new toys: a young, steady receiver, a horse running back, maybe another offensive lineman. With the comfort of having #18 back in the pocket, don’t be surprised to see another typical Colts pick-up on defense: a light, quick, fragile DB or LB.
Hughes: The Colts need to keep the Jaguars’ running game in check, and Indy needs to get their own wheels running a bit. I actually think the Colts could win the passing battle on both sides, and I can’t say that often these days, but it won’t matter too much if Maurice Jones-Drew runs all over the field. The Colts would also benefit if they could get their return guys to just take a knee.
Hughes: I think this is maybe the Colts’ best chance to win a game this year, but I’m not convinced that they can or will. I’ll take the Jags, 14-10.