Heather Lloyd (a.k.a. The Blue Mare) offers her weekly female perspective to Phillip B. Wilson on the Colts, who have won two in a row entering Sunday’s home game against Baltimore.
Phil B: The Colts took apart the Titans the way they did the Jags. Everybody feels good about the team and I’m guessing you have a little more confidence, too?
Heather: Yeah, I feel good. I read a funny line today. Someone is calling the Colts ‘the slayer of cupcakes.’ (Laughs.) I guess, looking at the last two games, you could say that. But the reality is, we started off the season playing two really good teams, and we played them hard and didn’t get slaughtered by them by any means. Then we followed it up obviously with two teams that aren’t going to be at the top of the list for the playoffs this year. The Colts beat both of them decisively. It does make all of us feel better. Again, I’m going to downplay how bad people thought the Colts were based on the first two good teams they played. I’m also going to downplay the other overreaction, which is what the Colts looked like playing two teams that probably aren’t going to be in the playoffs. I think this, if anything, puts the emphasis on this week. Here, we’ve got a really good team that could be in the playoffs, not at the top of the NFL but not at the bottom. I think the Ravens are going to be a really good test for this team, to assess where they’re at, what they look like playing a team that’s always pretty darn good. I’m looking forward to seeing that.
Phil B: Before we get to the Ravens, your thoughts on the mostly bad news. Good news is Robert Mathis got extended one year. Bad news is you subtract LaRon Landry and Da’Rick Rogers from the equation. It seems like we’ve had our share of not-so-positive news off the field this year.
Heather: My line when I wrote my story was the Colts won on Sunday and then lost on Monday.
Phil B: That’s a great line.
Heather: It’s disappointing. It’s not just the Colts. It feels like every team in the NFL, at some point, it seems like they’re taking two steps forward and then one step back. You kind of have to keep doing that throughout the season. The reality is it’s disappointing to lose a player like LaRon Landry for four games. The Da’Rick Rogers thing, I kind of put him up there with the Chris Rainey thing. He knew what it was about. He knew he came in with two strikes against him. He knew what was expected of him and he didn’t live up to it. So I’m not going to lose any sleep over that. Hopefully he does and he takes it as yet another wake-up call in his life, which he may or he may not. The Landry thing is disappointing is because the Colts have a lot invested in him. I don’t know how they feel like that investment has paid off thus far. I would hope that after something like this, he comes back and he displays more of a team player attitude and we see him maybe going above and beyond a little bit. I think when people look at LaRon Landry right now, you’re looking at a player who hasn’t overachieved on the field, he really hasn’t achieved up to expectations on the field, and he’s not really gone out of his way off the field, either. If I’m (general manager) Ryan Grigson, I take that opportunity to sit down with him and have a long chat and just say, ‘Hey, do you want to be here? Why are we going to continue to invest in you? Do you want to be here? Are you going to keep yourself clean?’ I would like to see him doing more stuff here than what’s required of him. No matter how you feel like he performed on the field, he was always a guy you kept your eye on, if nothing else. I know we’ve got some young guys. We’ve got Colt Anderson, and Sergio Brown has been great. Those guys are going to come in and step up, and boy, what an opportunity for them to do that on Sunday against the Ravens.
Phil B: The next six games are going to be tough. Baltimore is 3-1 and has won three in a row. If not for a late TD pass against Cincinnati, Andy Dalton to A.J. Green, the Ravens would be undefeated. Baltimore might be one of the best teams the Colts will face. Denver is pretty good. Philadelphia is pretty good. Is this another chance for the Colts to prove something against a quality opponent? And if they don’t get this done, how much more of a step back does this team take?
Heather: This is a really good team for the Colts to test themselves against. What they’ve been able to do on offense these last couple weeks against defenses that aren’t as good in the NFL, this is going to be a great team to test that stuff against. I feel like the Ravens are always good, even in years where maybe they don’t rank in the top of the NFL. They’re always good. They’re always strong on defense. I obviously want to see the Colts win this game. I want to see some of the execution they’ve been able to have the last couple of weeks against a better defense. I want to see the same thing. I want to see Andrew Luck protected. I want to see him have some throwing time. The stuff we’ve been working on up until now, I really want to see them take that further against a better opponent. This is going to be a tough game. I think they can win it. I really do. If they can come out of this game victorious, we’re all going to feel like that’s a real strong step in the direction we want them headed in. If they don’t win, then let’s face it, it’s going to point out some problems that they have that maybe up to this point we were wondering if they’re really a problem.
Phil B: I’m fearful of another roller coaster ride, this up and down, you never know, they could lose here and go down to Houston next Thursday and win, or vice versa. I’ve got a feeling we’re in for a wild ride these next six games. You hope they can come through this stretch .500 or better, and then the finishing stretch of games is more favorable. Maybe those expectations are a little low. I’m not trying to be negative.
Heather: This season is feeling like that, though, like it’s got that roller coaster ride feel to it. Let’s face it, a lot of these last few seasons have felt like that. What you would like to see at some point is string some things together. We’ve gotten two wins in a row now, let’s get three, and let’s continue to execute in some of those areas. But you know, that’s the NFL. What we want to see is them build every week, improve every week, obviously win every week. There’s a lot of good teams out there and it’s hard to do that consistently every week. It’s also hard to do that consistently when you don’t have the same roster every week. At a certain point, the roller coaster makes you crazy. On the other hand, it’s kind of one of those things where you’re in there paying attention to every single game every single week because they all matter and they’re all so different. There are certain sports where you take a couple of weeks and not even watch it, and then come back and say, ‘I didn’t really miss anything.’ Football is not one of those sports because every single game matters. Every team goes into every game with a different roster because no one has got 100 percent health throughout the season. So as much as it makes us crazy, it’s also one of those things that has us on the edge of our seat every single week because you just don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know what you’re going to get from every team. Half the time, you don’t even know who’s going to be out on the field for every game. It makes it really hard to prepare. It’s just one of those things where, yeah, you just kind of brace yourself and hope for the best and go in there every week and see what happens. It’s what we love about the sport and what we hate about the sport.
Phil B: I’m worried that The Blue Mare might need to be inspected for gray hairs. This can drive you crazy. Not trying to make you old.
Heather: Am I sounding too wise for you?
Phil B: I just think it’s going to be crazy. I think it will make fans pull their hair out.
Heather: This season is going to be a wild ride. It’s already been a wild ride and we’re coming up on Week 5. Good Lord, who knows what every week is going to entail. By the end of the season, we’re all going to have a few more gray hairs, me included.
Phil B: What else is on your mind?
Heather: I’ve been saving this one for you. The other thing I need to chime in on is this ‘NoiseGate’ thing, which we happen to be revisiting this week for some strange reason, in particular Ravens coach John Harbaugh mentioning the ‘rumor’ about piped-in crowd noise. This came up before and we were real offended when it came up the first time (nine years ago). My reaction to the ‘NoiseGate’ issue is, I’m going to borrow a line from Seinfeld here. ‘It’s real and it’s spectacular.’ Just like a woman who is walking around with real breasts that people are accusing her of being fake, I kind of feel that same way about Lucas Oil Stadium. If people are accusing us of having fake noise pumped in, that’s actually a huge compliment for us. It means Lucas Oil Stadium is one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL, people hate coming in there to play and they hate it so much and it’s such a factor for them, they actually accuse us of going to extreme means to bring that noise in, including piping sound in, which is ridiculous. All in all, if anything, it’s a huge compliment to Colts Nation. When we went from the RCA Dome, which was so tiny, it was so easy to get that place loud and rowdy and have such a competitive advantage. When we first moved into Lucas Oil Stadium, I was concerned about the noise because I thought the first couple of seasons I didn’t think we got anywhere close to as loud as the RCA Dome was. Over the last two seasons, really starting with the Broncos game on ‘Sunday Night Football,’ Lucas Oil Stadium is as much as a competitive advantage for us as the RCA Dome. But it took a lot more to get there. That place is huge. To get that loud, it takes a lot more energy than it did in the small space we were in before. I just want the NFL to know that not only is it real, it’s a great competitive advantage and it’s completely organic.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.