What I think they’re thinking in the headquarters of the four AFC South teams this afternoon…
We’re getting the hang of this, and 6-3 speaks for itself and says a lot about us. But beyond the Steelers, this doesn’t look like a line of playoff teams we’ve been beating either. So we need to stay mindful of that and not allow ourselves to believe anything more than that we’re good and we know it. Our defense is ranked No. 1 right now, and that’s quite an achievement considering a lot of people thought if we could just get to around 15 or 16 we’d make a huge improvement as a team. If we can make the plays we’ve made to earn this ranking, we shouldn’t just win the division, we should have a chance to host a game and make a run.
Every day is Groundhog Day, just different versions of the same stuff over and over and over. It’s terribly embarrassing to be 0-9 and we’ve got a proud bunch at our core. It’s hard not to imagine dramatic change as a result of the way things are unfolding. Clearly this is about more than being without Peyton Manning. Stick him back into this mix next year and we’d be a lot better, but playoff caliber better? We’re not so sure. We are sure we’re going to keep hearing questions about getting the top draft pick and what Andrew Luck would look like with a horseshoe on his helmet.
Time away is always good and we certainly needed it. But the things that ail us are things that can’t be fixed by time off. Odds are we don’t make any drastic changes, but why not? What’s to lose if we try to open things up? The Colts have good pass rushers, but a terrible secondary and poor tackling. Let’s protect just a little less in exchange for opening up to let Blaine Gabbert do more and take some shots. Surely our targets can get some separation and yards after the catch against the Indianapolis defense. People think we could be the Colts' first win. We think our defense will absolutely squash Curtis Painter.
This thing can get away from us in a hurry if we don’t find our balance. Houston’s two up on us in the win column and crushed us head-to-head. We only got one win out of a three-game home stand, our receivers and pass-catching tight end aren’t good enough and now they are banged up. Carolina’s hardly the pushover it looked like back in the offseason, and the Panthers are coming off a bye. The pass rush is on the list of disappointments and we need to do better chasing Cam Newton than we’ve done chasing quarterbacks in recent weeks. That’ll be tough because of his ability as a runner.