The Indianapolis Colts lost 33-25 to the Oakland Raiders Saturday and were knocked out of the playoff chase as a result. Their inability to make the playoffs is becoming a concerning trend.
With the loss, the Colts fell to 7-8 on the season. Their chances of making the playoffs were slim ever since they lost to the Houston Texans in Week 15. However, they were clinging onto that glimmer of hope.
Unfortunately, the defeat sent them back down to reality, and it should force everyone affiliated with the organization to face the reality of their situation.
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For the second straight year, Indianapolis has failed to win the NFL’s weakest division: the AFC South. Both times, the Colts have conceded the division to the Texans, who are or have been led by quarterbacks Brock Osweiler, Tom Savage, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett.
The fact Indianapolis cannot beat a division rival who is incapable of finding a decent quarterback is troubling. In fact, it may be a little more embarrassing than troublesome. That is not an indictment on one one person, it is an indictment on everyone from the players to management.
On numerous occasions, the Colts’ players failed to make the simplest routine plays needed to win football games. The coaches staff failed to devise a good enough gameplan to beat some of the worst teams in the NFL (Jacksonville Jaguars). Also, scouting and general management have had countless missteps with drafting and signing overrated players.
Everyone needs to be held accountable for missing the postseason for the second season. Also, this trend could continue unless some changes are made; specifically at head coach and general manager.
Look, Chuck Pagano is a likable guy. It is why most were clamoring for him to keep his job at the end of the 2015 season. However, this is the second year in a row, the team has been inconsistent, lacked discipline, and blown leads due to a lack of mental toughness.
This more than just a blip in Pagano’s five-year tenure. This is the second year in a row the Colts have been plagued by these issue. It is his responsibility to clean it up. He has not done so.
Also, he has not done what owner Jim Irsay hired him to do: build an elite defense. Pagano’s defense have typically been below average, but this year, the Colts were horrendous defensively. At some point, Irsay needs to realize Pagano is not going to deliver a strong defense.
Meanwhile, general manager Ryan Grigson is not well thought of inside NFL circles and by fans and media. Most people question his managerial decisions, and he has the reputation of being a control freak. As a result, most would be happy to see him removed from his position.
Grigson is known for a laundry list of bad moves. Specifically, his most notable one is probably trading a first round pick for running back Trent Richardson. He has also made a lot of smaller mistakes that have decreased the overall talent of the roster.
The Colts did make the 2014 AFC Championship with Grigson as general manager. However, that was two years ago, and Indianapolis looks nowhere close to that team now. It is a two year decline, and frankly, the roster has gotten worse. That’s Grigson’s fault.
Both Pagano and Grigson have been below average or mediocre at their jobs. How can Irsay expect these guys to solve their personal shortcomings when they have shown no signs of doing it over the past five years? He can’t.
The Colts gave Andrew Luck a six-year, $144 million. The fact that cannot make the playoffs after making that sort of investment probably does not sit well with Irsay. He could be inclined to making some changes at the end of the year, and frankly, not many would blame him if he did.