THE POLIAN CORNER

Chris Polian is in his 14th season with the Indianapolis Colts, his fourth as Vice President and General Manager. Polian has been involved actively in every phase of the club’s football operations since joining the franchise in 1998. Polian has been a part of eight division-winning teams with the Colts. In 2010, Indianapolis tied the NFL record with a ninth consecutive playoff appearance, and the Colts are the only team to earn double-digit victory totals and playoff berths annually since the 2002 NFL Realignment. Each week during the season, in The Polian Corner, Polian and Colts.com will discuss issues pertinent to the Colts and the rest of the NFL. The Polian Corner will run in two installments each week. Below is this week’s first installment:*

Q:  No one likes with where the record is now.  The team played well in the first half.  What did you see when you watched the tape of the Kansas City game?

A:  It was a tale of two halves.  We played well in the first half.  We were able to overcome some things, convert some third-and-longs, which is a situation you don't want to be in.  We did well there.  We got off the field on third down.  In the second half, it was the opposite.  We couldn't get off the field on third down.  We had a chance to convert a third-and-one, but didn't get that done.  It was a tale of two halves.  (We) played hard, played smart, played a little cleaner.  (We) need to continue to work on those things, acknowledging what our margin of error is right now.

Q:  Did Kansas City change many things at halftime?

A:  No, I don't think so.  I think they got some momentum with that last drive of the half.  They got some confidence on that.  They came back out, got the ball and they moved the ball pretty easily on that first drive.  They ended up not getting points out of that drive.  I believe there were a couple of penalties there that kind of stopped things.  Then we got a sack on second down I believe after a penalty to get them off the field there.  They moved down the field pretty easily, pretty quickly to get that touchdown before the half.  I think that boosted their confidence pretty significantly.  They came out and were able to move the ball the first drive after that.  We knew we had our hands full at that point.

Q:  People knew about Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster, but many did not know about Jackie Battle, did they?

A:  (He's) a big-body guy who ran hard, ran north and south, broke tackles and finished some things.  Obviously, we had some issues with our run fits where he got out a couple of times.  You have to give them credit.  They certainly moved the ball pretty effectively in the second half. 

Q:  There was a roster move today and defensive tackle Dan Muir came back.  He can contribute right away, can't he?

A:  I think so.  Dan went to St. Louis this year and did not make it.  He's been out the last couple of weeks.  As everybody knows, this time of year it's kind of a roster juggle between healthy, inactives and who's going to be down, all those types of things.  We've been heavy along the offensive line the last couple of weeks because of injuries.  Joe Reitz has made it back okay.  We're hoping Ryan Diem has a chance to go this week.  We'll know a little bit more as the week goes on.  What we did is we were able to bring Dan back on the 53-man active roster.  We let Mike Tepper go today.  (We) waived him, and we're hopeful he'll clear waivers and go on the practice squad later this week.  We are working on some moves for tomorrow and Wednesday as we finish up the injury information here tonight.  We'll probably have one or two moves on the 53(-man roster), then always some practice squad moves this time of year to balance out practice from an available-body standpoint.

Q:  Is there any update on Joseph Addai and Jerraud Powers?

A:  They're finishing up MRIs and treatment today.  At this point, it does not look like it's going to be anything real quick (their return) where that would be a decision this week.  We hope we hear differently, but both of them went out with the hamstrings yesterday.  Joe's looked a little worse.  He did it on that run and you could see it kind of clench up on him.  Jerraud was able to actually finish the play.  We'll get more information (tonight).  They'll get their MRIs and see the doctors tonight.  We just finished practice and meetings up a little bit ago, and they'll see the doctors.  They'll have a chance to review the MRIs tonight, and we'll get a little bit more definitive picture.

Q:  The 'Next Man Up' theory is getting tested.  It's getting pretty thin.

A:  As Jeff Saturday said last week, 'We have to start finding that 'Next Man' and bring him in.' It's part of it.  It's part of the business.  Unfortunately, a lot of Monday news is all injury now.  Any time you put on ESPN or put on the Internet, it's all injury updates.  That's part of it.  Hopefully, you have some depth on your roster.  We've played okay at safety with Melvin (Bullitt) down.  Pat's (Angerer) done well at 'Mike" in Gary's (Brackett) absence.  They were able to play very efficiently and functionally on the offensive line yesterday.  (Give) credit to Clyde Christensen and Pete Metzelaars and the players for getting that done.  That's part of the 'Darwinian Nature' of the NFL at this point in the year.

Q:  Quinn Ojinnaka came in and played very well, didn't he?

A:  He knew the concepts.  There are a lot of similarities.  He's been in different systems.  He's been in some pass-first systems where the protection concepts and what you're trying to get done is a little bit familiar.  He's a veteran guy.  We did not think he would be able to come in and do that well, to be honest with you.  We signed Michael Toudouze as well last week because Michael had been with us and kind of been in that situation before where he just gets thrown in there but can get it done.  (He) knows the cadence, snap count, calls, all those things.  Quinn did very well.  He had a tough match-up with Tamba Hali out there.  The backs did well in terms of chipping and helping and doing some things to slow him down.  I think we got home about 4:30 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. last Tuesday.  We gave him a call at that time.  He got on a flight, showed up Tuesday night, and that's a pretty good week's work.

Q:  Did you and Bill Polian have a chance to look at film today to assess what happened on Sunday?

A:  It is very frustrating for everyone involved to be sitting here 0-5.  Part of it is our guys have played so hard and put forth such an effort.  You really want them to be rewarded with a win at some point.  In terms of the answer, there is no magic bullet.  There's nothing real 'sexy' to say, for a lack of a better term.  We just have to do things better.  Part of the reason we're 0-5 is we are inconsistent, and you can't win in this league doing things inconsistently.  You have to do it consistently over four quarters to give yourself a chance to win.  The margin for error is too thin, and the competition is too good, regardless of whom you're playing.  We need to just keep grinding away.  It's going to be frustrating I think for a lot of people to hear that.  It's frustrating to keep saying that to the players.  You have to believe.  You just keep grinding away.  Keep working at the little things and, hopefully, the big things take care of themselves.  You need to block better.  You need to tackle better.  We're running the ball a little bit more efficiently.  We've converted some third-and-long situations that we haven't in the past.  We didn't get the two third-and-ones converted.  We've cleaned up our play.  We didn't have any turnovers.  We didn't have any sacks, but we didn't get any turnovers either.  It's really that inconsistency.  We need to focus on doing things a little bit better and being a little bit more consistent.  Until you do things more consistently, you're going to be consistently frustrated.  That's kind of where we're at.

Q:  Donald Brown played pretty well yesterday, didn't he?

A:  He ran physically.  He finished his runs.  He did well chipping and in pass protection helped.  Reading some things last week, it was not his miss (at Tampa Bay) in pass protection, but we got that cleaned up.  He finished his runs well.  He ran hard, blocked well.  With a lot of guys, it's just a matter of when they get that opportunity and what they're going to do with it.  It was promising what he did with it yesterday.

Q:  How do you review your draft classes so you can judge how you did?  Also, is there a number of years of production you hope to get from the different draft picks in each round?

A:  In terms of reviewing the draft, we do that both formally and informally.  The review of everything we do occurs every Sunday, in reality.  That's apparent for everybody to see and to formulate their own opinion on how we're doing there.  In terms of talking about it internally, a lot of it is informal.  Then we do also have a formal process where we sit down each spring, review what happened, get input from coaches, scouts and everybody involved.  (We) try to learn both from positive and negative experiences and put those things into practice.  (We try to) clean up your axioms, make sure you're reviewing your axioms, all your draft rules, those types of things so that they're applicable and on target with what you're trying to get done.  As I said, it's kind of an on-going process.  It's always occurring, both on an informal and formal level.  The more formal level will be done at the end of the season when we sit down and review the whole season, how we played, who played well, who didn't play well, how come?  They you can dial down into a lot of detail at that time.  In terms of the goals of each draft round and how long those guys play, we don't necessarily set a goal going into a draft of how long each guy in each round plays.  There's certainly norms there and statistics that prove that.  We all know the first round is about 50 percent, then that kind of breaks down in the different 1-10 and 11-20 and 20-32 (picks).  It kind of breaks out.  You want to get a certain amount of starters.  You need a certain amount of backups each draft.  You hope the draft is balanced.  We try to look at the draft and one of the things we do look in lower rounds is, 'Does a guy do one thing well enough that puts him at a starting level in that quality?'  If he does, we feel he has a chance to start.  That's what we're looking from down below.  Obviously, your top picks, you're investing traditionally in bigger, faster people, probably a little bit more physically equipped to have longer careers, just from a body make-up standpoint.  You're hoping your first-round pick, your second-round pick gets to a second contract, and you need that to occur to have a foundation for your team.  You need to have a good amount of players to get to their second contracts as starters to have a foundation for your team.  We don't necessarily break that down by round, but there's a certain amount of starters that you need out of each draft.

Q:  It was strange in Tampa Bay to lose your first three picks to injuries in one game, wasn't it?

A:  Anthony (Castonzo) and Ben (Ijalana) had never missed time in college.  It's one of those quirky.  Ben had missed some time with a sports hernia last year after the season, so it kind of disrupted him in the draft process but it didn't disrupt him on the field at all.  Injuries are a part of what we do.  It's a part of rookies breaking into the league as well.  Most rookies don't play 16 games.  We know that stats on that.  It's part of that physical maturation of learning to become a pro, unfortunately.

Q:  What are you looking to do in the first round of the draft?

A:  Well, hopefully we end up going 11-5 and we're drafting in the 20's again.  It's much too early too tell.  You don't have the full draft class yet.  Like always there will be a handful of juniors that declare in January.  Obviously, we have to play the rest of the season out, and we are going to do our best to have a bad draft position.  That's what you hope for is to be drafting low.  Our scouts are out in the process of evaluating players across the country.  That process continues.  That will move through, (and) we really won't have a firm handle on what's out there until January and February.  At that point the board goes up.  You can kind of start looking at it a little bit.  You know your draft position at that point.  At that point you can start looking at it in a little bit more of a fine-tuned perspective, but right now, it's still very a broad, broad lens and (you're) just trying to evaluate players at this point."

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