I have Tweeted incessantly for the last three years about the disaster that is the Indianapolis Colts. They were given football’s greatest gift, a franchise quarterback directly on the heels of a franchise quarterback. And what have they done to support him? Nothing. Under the regime of Jim Irsay (who is as much to blame as anyone), Ryan Grigson (who might be the league’s worst GM) and Chuck Pagano, the Colts have failed to build Andrew Luck either an offensive line or a defense. They’ve signed fading veterans in free agency, drafted speedsters they don’t need and let supremely talented players – *cough* Jerell Freeman *cough* – walk out the door for no reason. This last item came to head in London where Freeman’s replacement, Sio Moore, was so bad he was thrown out of the team plane over the Atlantic Ocean.
On to the game…
BRIAN HOYER VS. THE HYPE
Yep, it’s a thing.
- Hoyer is well-aware that his performances over the last two weeks are not just those a back-up quarterback filling in while the starter’s thumb is in a sling. Hoyer doesn’t have a lot more time left in this league and if he continues to deliver 300-yard, no interception efforts, and more importantly win, it will make the decision to pull him off the field a very difficult one for John Fox.
- The Colts defense is one of the worst in the league and Hoyer is going to be tempted to throw the ball down the field with more frequency than he did last Sunday. But not succumbing to those desires is exactly what’s enabled him to play efficient football. Not having Kevin White running go routes down the field may make this a bit easier.
- How will Hoyer respond if things don’t go well? What if he’s missing open receivers or tosses an early interception? What if Bobby Massie can’t hold the edge and he’s constantly under duress? It’d be interesting to see the journeyman handle some adversity. He saw very little Sunday against the Lions.
PATRICK ROBINSON & WHOMEVER
- While other players may have graded higher through four games (Sitton, Freeman), Eddie Royal has been the Bears MVP of the first quarter.
- There was a time in the NFL when teams would take their best corner, point at the opponent’s best receiver and say, “cover him!” That has been tweaked over the years. Bill Belichick used to take Darrelle Revis and lock down the opponent’s number two, allowing him to double the one and shut down a passing attack. The new development is to stick your corners on one side of the field and leave them there, despite the opposing formation. Whatever the Pagano strategy was Sunday, it didn’t involve Vontae Davis on Allen Robinson for some reason. But it would be hard for me to fathom, with Kevin White out of this game, that Davis would be lined up on Cameron Meredith or Josh Bellamy or inside on Royal. And if he is, Alshon Jeffery may have a 200-yard game.
- Royal simply looks better than he has in years. And knowing both his history, and the current trend of the 2016 Bears, he will want to maximize that burst he’s been displaying before venturing to IR with the rest of the roster.
The Bears, at full strength, would win this game. But full strength ain’t waking through that door.