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Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and the team’s GM, Ryan Grigson, reportedly got into a heated argument in the locker room on Sunday following the team’s disappointing 27-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints that saw them trail 20-0 at half time. The Indy Star first reported the incident.
With the loss, the preseason favorites to win the AFC dropped to 3-4. Despite their record, the Colts are still comfortably in first place in the AFC South. The Houston Texans are currently in second place, at 2-5.
Still, through the first seven games of the NFL season, the Colts have been the most underwhelming team in the league. It starts with quarterback Andrew Luck, who many expected to make a leap into MVP conversation, but the blame can be spread far and wide around the Indianapolis locker room.
As the Indy Star’s Zak Keefer notes, the team’s season can be summed up by left tackle Anthony Castonzo’s words following the loss on Sunday: “The bottom line is that just wasn’t good enough. Not even close.”
Castonzo, who signed a $42 million contract in the off-season, has been a disaster thus far. He leads the NFL with five holding penalties, and he’s also racked up 3 false starts and innumerable mistakes in play.
Luck, too, has been mediocre at best. He’s thrown 9 interceptions, which puts him not in MVP conversation but tied with Matt Stafford and behind only Sam Bradford and Peyton Manning, both of whom have thrown 10. Crazy as it sounds, the Colts are 1-4 with Luck as a starter, and he’s only thrown 2 first-half touchdowns, forcing the team to play catch-up in the second half.
Trent Colt, the 33-year-old pass-rushing linebacker who signed a $16 million contract in the off-season, has just one sack. Todd Herremans, a 33-year-old left guard who was signed during the off-season to shore up the line, was benched after two games and watched on Sunday in street clothes. Andre Johnson, 34-years-old and due $21 million, has been nearly invisible thus far, save for one breakout game against the lowly Texans.
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It’s no wonder, then, that Irsay and Grigson reportedly got into such a heated conversation. Grigson spent a lot of money in the off-season on players in their 30s, and the age has proved costly. But the rookies haven’t been much better. The team’s first round pick, wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, has caught just 10 passes and is expected to miss the next month with an ankle injury.
All around, this team is a mess.
And yet, there’s still plenty to be optimistic about. Namely, the weak division means this team will almost certainly make the playoffs. They simply play too many games against horrible teams not to. But things could get way worse way before they get any better. The team’s next two games come against the 6-0 Panthers and the 6-0 Broncos. If they can figure out a way to end even one of these perfect seasons, it could turn their entire season around. Or, they could fall to 3-6, at which point Pagano might find himself without a job. Saints head coach Sean Payton has already been linked to the Colts this off-season, but that doesn’t mean that Pagano is guaranteed a job through the regular season.
As the cliche goes, only time will tell with the Colts. But for a team that everyone liked as the favorites to dethrone the Patriots from their AFC throne, this season is already a nightmare.