“Are the Colts trying to speak this into reality?” was asked by a cynical and suspicious member of the band of brothers who cover the team. All agreed they are.
What are the Colts trying to speak into reality? That Jacoby Brissett is ready to assume the role as starting quarterback for a Colts team that was thought to be a super bowl contender until Andrew Luck’s sudden (sort of) retirement.
Players and coaches are unanimous in their support for Brissett and belief that the franchise does not need to take a step back because Luck and his versatile array of weaponry are gone. Media are more skeptical – and correctly so. They should be. The media should respond to what it sees – not what it hopes for.
That attitude exists in stark contrast to media types in Chicago who have been united in their chorus of positivity about the Bears. “This defense is better than the ’85 Bears!” “Trubisky is ready to emerge among the NFL’s elite!” “These Bears aren’t just ready to win the division – we, er, they are ready to win a super bowl!” I’ve heard all those things listening to Chicago sports talk and TV over the past week.
They fully expected a coronation last night until the game against the Packers was finally played last night at Soldier Field. That game exposed the Bears as flawed, and educated the Chicago media about waiting until the game is played to crown a winner.
Colts media don’t need to learn that lesson. They are wary – fair, but wary.
There are serious questions about the Colts roster that don’t begin and end with Brissett’s ability to respond to the pressure of carrying a team. Among them:
- The offensive line was imperfect despite all starters returning from one of the best groups in the NFL last year.
- Marlon Mack is dynamic when healthy. The Colts were 10-2 in the games he played in 2018, and 0-4 in games he didn’t. Can he stay healthy for 16 games?
- Safety Malik Hooker was taken 15th in the 2017 draft as a ball hawk. For the first time in his career, he had an injury and rehab free offseason. Will he create turnovers and be able to flip the field for the Colts?
- Can either Kemoko Turay, Tyquan Lewis, or Ben Banogu break through as a game wrecking sack master instead of a young player with potential. Expecting Justin Houston, Denico Autry, and Jabaal Sheard – all 29 or 30 years old – can’t be counted on to provide all the juice and productivity on a front that will have to pressure quarterbacks to make the defense go.
These and other questions will be answered beginning Sunday. No one in Colts media knows the answers or pretends to know the answers 48 hours before the game against the Chargers is played.
That is what separates this media group from its contemporaries in the Windy City.
Let’s hope the Colts are as different from the Bears as the two media contingents are.