Sunday - Aug 18, 2019

Home / Commentary / What do I know? Heading into Week 17

What do I know? Heading into Week 17

To Sit Or Not To Sit

That
was the dilemma facing Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell this past
weekend regarding his starting lineup. In the normal scenario of having already
clinched home field throughout the playoffs, this would not be major issue.
After all, the Colts earned the right to do whatever the hell they pleased
after achieving that goal. It has been common practice to rest players within
this organization when they have secured the top seed in the conference but
this decision was a different animal. The Colts were undefeated and had a realistic
chance of heading into the post-season without a loss. By choosing to rest
their starters while nursing a five point lead at home against the Jets last
Sunday, they essentially admitted that the game was not important to them. I
don’t know about you but in all my years of being a sports fan, I have never
seen a team essentially give a game away and not have it come back to haunt
them. Now the Colts may very well end up winning the Superbowl but by choosing
to act as if the Jets game didn’t matter, the management have put further
pressure on the players to do just that. Mind you, the Colts players didn’t
make this call so this is not on them regardless of how their post-season plays
out. This is clearly on the powers that be, the head coach, general manager and
now the owner. Each has come out to defend the decision. Team owner Jim Irsay
signed off on the decision saying “I felt the pain and the frustration
that (fans) felt, but I knew it was the right way to go. You can disagree with
the philosophy, but to say we’re not giving 100 percent effort, that obviously
is not true. For anyone to attack any of the virtues or the integrity of what
we’re doing is misguided. The goal is to win a world championship.” Let’s be
clear, the only ones giving 100 percent effort were the guys who were actually
out on the field. It was a calculated gamble by the Indy coaching staff. I just don’t
know why a head coach would not give his team the best shot to succeed each
and every time out on the field. That messes with the integrity of the game and
is a slap in the face to every fan. I hope I’m wrong for their fans’ sake but
if the Colts do fall short of their ultimate goal this season, their fans won’t
help but wonder if resting certain players and giving away a game was the right
call.

They Had Their Chances

All right, I am a bit obsessive about my Steelers
but I just have to get one last column in before the season ends. Barring some
unlikely outcomes the last week of the regular season, the defending Superbowl
Champion Pittsburgh Steelers will not be going to the playoffs this year. The
reasons for this are many; from losing two of their top defensive players
(Aaron Smith and Troy Polamalu) for much of the season to just plain old losing
to inferior teams (they know who they are). I would really love to put this on
the players but I just can’t. The coaching staff, after making it their mantra
not to ease up after their Superbowl win, did just that. Veteran Hines Ward was
quoted after the

Kansas City

loss
saying

“The
coaches have to put us in a better position. All of us have to look in the
mirror, but we’re all in this together; the coaches have to evaluate themselves
as much was we do.”

  Heck, even Mike
Tomlin admitted that the team was not prepared to play adding “Really it is
quite simple; I take responsibility for that performance. I have to have this
football team better prepared to play and, ultimately, we have to play better
than what we played today in that stadium. We are capable of much more than
that. You have to tip your hat to the Chiefs because they played well enough to
win, but that is not what we are capable of and

that is not us, it won’t be us.

It was us today and
as a guy that stands out front, I accept responsibility for that.” I’ll
give him credit, at least he took responsibility for that loss.

Mike
Freeman writes more about it here but basically, it comes down to head coach Mike Tomlin taking a country club
approach with his veteran players. So much so that when he finally had to
“unleash hell” as he put it when the Steelers backs were against the
wall, the leash was empty. Now let me preface this by saying that I like Mike
Tomlin and think he’s going to be a great head coach for many seasons with the
Steelers but this year, at least, he dropped the ball. He has to know that. All
the fire and brimstone speeches or clever sound bytes are not going to save the
season when there is not enough discipline to back it up. It’s sad because I
really thought this team was something special. I thought they had a legitimate
shot at repeating as Superbowl Champions. I was wrong and it’s looking more and
more like this team is on the decline. What was supposed to be another title
run has turned into a draft day exercise in making every pick count.

 

One and Done

I
just want to thank many of my loyal readers here at Fantasy Sharks for enduring
another season of my inane ramblings. I admit I tended to focus on some stories
over others this season but it was what was on my mind and hopefully I
addressed some of the concerns fellow NFL fans shared. If not, I’ll take another
shot at it next year. I know I had my share of misses on fantasy advice but
maybe my hits were enough to make up for it. It’s the nature of the job and if
you were able to use any of the fantasy information I wrote to your advantage
then I’ll consider this season a success. Lastly, congratulations to all the Superbowl
winners out there and for those of us who toughed out a losing season, Happy New Year!

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com launched in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is (or has been) home to some of the most talented and respected writers and content creators in fantasy football.