Going With What You've Got

In two weeks it starts to count. No more "It's only preseason so it doesn't matter." Sunday, September 11th, it does matter. Every game will mean something, every game will count. In a 16 game schedule, they all mean something. Each and every play, each and every pass, run, tackle, fumble, interception, kickoff, field goal and touchdown will mean a lot.

This has to be the year. And this can be the year if things fall into place for  Colts.

No, the world doesn't end if there is no championship, no Lombardi Trophy paraded around our fair city at the end of the season. I'm smart enough to know that.the sun still comes up. I know that life goes on. Thank goodness that it does. Thank goodness that I finally realized that. But I still want to see this team win it all, preferably this year. The time has come for that emotional investment to pay off. We've been patient and unconditionally loyal. We just want that big payoff, and WE WANT IT NOW!!! In this world of instant gratification, we have endured.

Don't misunderstand when I state that I have "endured." As a fan, these past few seasons have been exciting, entertaining and for the most part, enjoyable. I love watching this team play football; I love my autumn afternoons in Indianapolis. But looking back, there have been some trying times, some seasons when "enduring" would be the right word to use; the only word that seems to fit. Actually, I can think of another word; brutal.

But at this point, that's all in the past, much like a bad dream. It's behind me, and that Sunday evening in Baltimore on September 11th is what matters. The Sundays that follow right through February 5th are all that matter when it comes to this team that I support.

The schedule seems to fall in our team's favor this year. Yes, I know that the games have to be played each and every Sunday, and that anything can, and will happen. But as I've noted in previous columns, with the Patriots, Chargers, and Steelers on the schedule, the opportunity to secure home field advantage throughout the duration of the postseason is within reach. The opportunity is there. And I can not help but think that with that home field advantage, this team is destined to win that elusive championship.

It doesn't seem all that long ago that we watched our Colts beat the Buffalo Bills to open the '99 campaign. We were giddy, with talk of "The Triplets", of having the best young QB in the league, of how our time had finally come. We got caught up in the glowing future of our team; the talk of multiple championships. I was right there, basking in all of it, taking it all in, and enjoying the ride. Why not?

Six years later and there is talk that the window of opportunity may be slowly closing, that the "The Triplets" may be a memory after this year; that our brilliant young QB just can't win the "big one".

Six years later and we still wait to celebrate that first championship, much less multiple ones.

Six years later and we still see our team field one of the youngest defenses in the league.

Six years later and we still wonder if that very young defense can stop the run.

Through the draft, this team has added to that young defense, hoping that through this new mix of players it will finally come together enough to make a difference; that this defense will stop the run, will continue to create turnovers, will make the big play when called upon.  And that this defense will give Peyton Manning and Co. the opportunities that it needs when the chips are down. As we all say, this defense does not have to be great, it just has to be good.

So we hope that those young guys stay healthy, pick up the schemes quickly, live up to the potential that this organization sees in them. We hope that these young guys stop the run and get the heck off the field when it is needed.

Yes we are hoping for quite a bit from these young guys, but they are all we got.

Let's go with them.

Email me at cima19@aol.com. I always welcome your thoughts, questions, and concerns.

You can listen to Jersey Johnny talk about the Colts and sports from 6-8 pm Sunday nights. Click this link to his page at WIBC and bookmark it as you can listen to his broadcast through WIBC's website.

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