Monday, December 19, 2011
What I think they're thinking (or should be)
By Paul Kuharsky
What I think they are thinking (or should be) in the headquarters of the four teams of the AFC South …
We had played at a consistently high level for a long stretch, and against the Panthers we didn’t come close to the standard we’ve set. That was not us, that was an aberration, the kind of one-week dud that pops up for good teams from time to time. We’ll bounce back with a big finish. It’s nothing to panic over, though we have some issues to resolve like Arian Foster’s sudden propensity to fumble and our red zone production. We’re happy to be getting back on the field quickly to wash this one away, and while we respect the Colts and see they played far better in their win against the Titans, we’ll prepare and play our game and should handle them.
That felt good. It had been too long. The defense really set us up for success and we’ll take the Titans’ foolish approach if it benefits us as it did. It’s odd to see it floating around that one good day will save Jim Caldwell’s job. Are we really significantly different today than we were on Saturday? Why would he want to stay in this job with all it entails going forward, anyway? Even on a winning day, our dysfunction shined through. If the team had been forthcoming about what was going on with Peyton Manning during the week, Bill Polian wouldn’t have felt the need to take the podium after the game to explain it all in defensive fashion.
We’ve now met Shahid Khan and know a fresh start is coming. If we want paychecks signed by him, we better show we deserve a place with the franchise going forward. Thursday in Atlanta was an absolute embarrassment, and the conversation is constantly about what we don’t have around Blaine Gabbert. The league didn’t bar us from signing or drafting anyone threatening on offense before the season, did it? We know the Titans well, we beat them on opening day. A sweep of a familiar opponent would really be something. It won’t come easily, as they are surely ticked about that loss in Indy and still have a remote chance at a playoff spot.
We stunk, and we really embarrassed ourselves with that massive dud. Mike Munchak and offensive coordinator Chris Palmer should be disappointed in how we performed, but they should take their share of the blame here, too. How do you watch the Colts’ season-long struggles and decide you need to be conservative on offense in order to beat them? That wasn’t very smart. We’ve got a quarterback controversy whether we want one or not, and no matter what Munchak says today, the conversation will dominate Nashville all week. We need to play well for whichever signal-caller is on the field. We’ve still got a playoff shot, and strange things happen all the time in this league, right?