Jim Irsay's Bye Week Observations On 2016 Colts

Intro: Earlier this week, Owner Jim Irsay sat down with Colts.com for his thoughts on the start to 2016 with the team heading for their bye week. How has Irsay viewed the 4-5 start for the Colts?

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INDIANAPOLIS – With election week upon the United States of America, Colts.com received a "state of the union" from Owner Jim Irsay.

Earlier this week, Irsay sat down with Colts.com for his thoughts on the 4-5 Colts.

Here are some snippets from Irsay's sit down with reporter Caroline Cann:

On the Packers' win:

"It was a huge win. I think all of our fans know how tough it is to win at Lambeau Field with a healthy Aaron Rodgers. You look at what Aaron Rodgers and what Mike McCarthy have done, you just see an outstanding football team and how great they are at home, how dominant.

"When you lose close games, it's easy to get dispirited. Disappointed starting off against Detroit, home opener (and) not getting it done. Up 14 against Houston, not getting it done. Having that home game against Kansas City, really hoping we would get it done. And probably playing our worst game of the year, which was really disappointing.

"But the toughness and mental durability to go out and get a win (last Sunday), it was great for the franchise. It showed a lot about the grit and that this team believes there's some place this team can go this year."

On the ups and downs of 2016:

"Do we wish we were better than 4-5? Of course we do. Colts' fans know the games that slipped through our fingers, how easily we could be 7-2 right now and even have a different division record. But reality is reality. And we have to realize that we have had some real disappointment this season. However, we know, that when we play good football, we can beat anyone, anywhere. I think it was really important to see this football team go on the road and see what they did (in Green Bay).

"It's been a tough ride. I had said before the Kansas City game that it wasn't a good game for us, but we could have been 6-0 or 0-6. But that's this league. It's hard because it's a very fine line. I think the great thing with Andrew Luck, I can assure our fans, we have a great young man leading us at that position, just like Peyton (Manning). And (Luck) is not going to disappoint. You want it all soon and you want it as soon as you can. We have the type of team that can get hot, that can use this Green Bay game and come off it and get on a winning streak. I could see it happening."

On how difficult it is to maintain the success from the start of this regime:

"If you look at what this group has done, going 11-5 three years in a row and winning three playoff games and get to the (AFC) Championship game, and to do all those things so quickly, the assumption is that, 'It's always going to be like this. It's up, up, up and with Andrew Luck the expectation is it's going to be an easy walk to 12-4.' I think the biggest false assumption is that you put Peyton Manning on the field, you put Andrew Luck on the field, you put whoever on the field, then you just put your feet up and that's already at least 10-6, 11-5. That's so far from the truth.

"We are right now a little bit in that rebuild mode. What people didn't realize is that, yes, we were able to get it going in 2012, but we had to really patch it together because Bill Polian and I knew, 2011, we were going for it all. We had some older players that we weren't going to be able to keep. We were going to have to look at making some serious changes. Basically, at the end of Peyton's career, we were going to have to go into a rebuilding mode. We knew that. When we got Andrew, we were in rebuilding mode. We had no choice. And we did it so swiftly and so successfully. Again, you think it's going to stay at least as good as it was and then the Lombardi Trophy is in our hands again. But it doesn't always happen that way."

On what he wants to see in the team's final seven games:

"We want to see this offense be pretty consistent and pretty dominant. Defensively, when we get healthy, we are getting closer, but it's an area that we know we have to strengthen through the draft, maybe a selective free agent move in this upcoming offseason.

"But we feel offensively, especially the offensive line, when it solidifies with health, we have some really mature guys that are rookies that are playing at a mature level. Again, this team is going to be carried by the offense for the most part, but we can play good, tough, competitive defense and we have to, obviously. It's a team that can score 30-to-35 points per game and we have to take advantage of that. Offensively we have to continue to help the defense early in games. We cannot go three-and-out. We want to get that consistency going offensively. We've got a lot fighters though on defense and I think collectively, when we are healthy, I think we've shown that on defense we can be formidable and really do some things, particularly from a coverage standpoint. And we have to tackle well."

On the mindset looking ahead to the final stretch of 2016:

"We are really looking forward to these last seven games. We really feel there's something special about this group. This was a huge win (on Sunday) and it's a tough place to prove to our fans, 'Don't give up on us this year, because we still feel there's still some magic left in 2016.' We really feel we can be a hot team and get on a roll.

"This new era has that responsibility to bring greatness and bring that Lombardi Trophy and bring a parade back to downtown Indianapolis. I can't tell you how seriously Andrew Luck, Chuck Pagan, Ryan Grigson, all the guys take that. They really are doing everything they can to get it done. So we can have an anniversary of a team like 2016. And that's the exciting thing with a win like (Sunday). It reminds you, 'Hey, maybe we can get hot and get on that winning streak.' Maybe that's how it starts. It has to start with a big win like this and we know we have to follow it up or it doesn't mean anything."

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