Finally it's all sunk in. The Colts' unexpectedly quick exit from the playoffs has left a bit of a void in weekend sports these days. But I'm okay with saying that I'm glad that we lost.
I know, shocking, in fact blasphemous, yet I'll stand by my statement after watching the atrocity that was our excuse for playoff football last Sunday.
We didn't deserved to win against the Chargers in any shape or form. And what that loss does for us is save our self esteem from what we would have felt if we backed into Foxboro this weekend for what surely would have been a pasting versus the Evil Belichick Empire.
I think that if the Colts would have managed to pull out that win against the Chargers, that the Patriots would have been salivating at a chance to play us. I mean who could blame them after watching our secondary consistently allow Phillip Rivers find open receivers and make him look like the next coming of (gasp) Tom Brady.
Our sad pass rush and an unwillingness to blitz at all, not even against the vaunted Billy Volek for God's sake, would have created obscene results against New England.
If we couldn't handle nine-toed tightend Antonio Gates at about 40 percent health wise, then imagine what Ben Watson and Wes Welker would have done against us. Then you can add in the REAL Randy Moss, who finally showed up when he allegedly committed battery against a Florida woman recently and then refused to allow her to get medical treatment. So much for the huggable, lovable version Pats fans had grown to love.
But I digress.
So perhaps it's best that we sigh and polish our 2007 Super Bowl Trophy and pack it away along with the "defending champion" banner and prepare for next year.
Perhaps this unsatisfying end to this season will provide a little fuel for the furnace for next year. We've long played with a sort of 'happy go lucky' attitude, outside of Darrel Reid's special teams hit that makes my teeth ache still. So perhaps this will just make our guys a little hungrier regardless of whether coach Dungy returns. I'm not sure his possible successor, assistant coach Jim Caldwell, will provide a different attitude at the top or not, but maybe it's time for a bit of change.
We stand in line to improve a team that's already quite good when healthy. Our backups, especially on the lines, got invaluable experience as starters this year and despite a lack of a first round draft pick, we have very few key free agents to sign.
Dallas Clark is a sure fire sign as an unrestricted free agent and will get the franchise tag most assuredly if we can't work anything out immediately. The only other unrestricted free agents are o-line staples Ryan Lilja and Jake Scott who have combined for more than 110 starts over the past five years.
Josh Thomas is also a key reserve on the defensive line and could quickly be re-signed as well.
The important factor is that we could be opening up a lot of contract money as we can put Corey Simon's ill-advised signing behind us and his contract comes off the books along with Booger McFarland who could very likely be gone as well.
This organization has had remarkable success in the draft, providing important depth with backups selected in late rounds in past years.
See fifth round picks Tyjuan Hagler, Charlie Johnson and Michael Toudouze the past three years along with seventh round pick Antoine Bethea and T.J. Rushing.
We'll likely get some compensatory picks from free agent losses this year, which will provide some more depth for the Colts.
This year was a very good example of why the team needs to add some more depth along both lines, especially at defensive end. Despite the great ability of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, most teams now have three, four or five guys who are solid pass rushers and the Colts need to do the same.
A backup running back with hands not made of stone (see Kenton Keith), would be a nice luxury as well as maybe some free agent experience in the secondary.
Watching the 2008 NFL Draft as a Colts' fan will very likely be a snoozer again this year with little flash and dash as far as recognizable star power from the college ranks, but remember, that's a sign of a good organization.
If your in a position to be drafting a guy that was on the Heisman Watch, than your likely the Miami Dolphins or Atlanta Falcons and I certainly don't want to be forced to watch that on Sundays.
So dry your tears Colts fans and be comforted by the fact that next year will be here before you know it and the Blue Brigade will be back in Terre Haute most likely bigger and badder than ever next August.