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 second installment:*

Q:  Have you thought about re-adjusting the coaching staff at this point?

A:  Well, I appreciate your call and your support, but I respectfully disagree.  I think this team's been prepared very well.  It's played extremely hard, and those are two of the biggest things you look at your head coach in that regard.  We're ready to play, and we play really hard.  There is an adjustment in terms of Peyton (Manning) not being there.  You have to kind of scale the offense back and try to adjust it for what you have.  Obviously, Kerry (Collins) started the first three games and now we've had Curtis (Painter) in there, so that's an on-going process.  In terms of the work our coaches have done, this team's been prepared and played hard and we have no issues with what's occurred on that front."

Q:  Can you talk about the play of Curtis Painter?  It seems like his confidence is up and he's playing well.

A:  I think any time you play and you play well, as Curtis has, it's a natural confidence-builder.  The other thing is the practice reps, the preparation, those things all add to your confidence going in, and I think we've seen that.  Curtis has made good decisions, he knows where to go with the ball, he's gotten us in the right play.  There are some hiccups as there always are.  For the most part, he's been prepared, he's executed well.  Obviously, his physical talents are evident in throwing the ball.  The one thing he's always been, even his time at Purdue and here, is Curtis is a very even-keeled guy.  I don't think much gets to him.  He does have a mental toughness and resiliency to him.  He's a very physically tough guy as we saw last week, unfortunately, with some of the hits he took.  I think as he continues to prepare, he prepares very well, works very hard at it.  Obviously (he) has learned that from watching Peyton do it.  As he continues to play and play well, his confidence should get better.  (It's) a little bit of a different situation for him now than it was over the summer when we all still were hopeful and anticipating Peyton (Manning) would be back at some point.  It's kind of a different view on things when we know he's the guy behind the wheel versus just waiting for somebody else to come back.  I think that perspective has changed a little bit, and we're very pleased with the way he's played.  He's given us a chance to win."

Q:  It's tough losing close games because the team has had a chance to win the last four games.  Also injuries are hitting other teams and all the other AFC South teams lost this past weekend, too.

A:  What happens on Monday is everybody has a wrap up of that week, but it's only a wrap up of that week which occurs on Monday.  Then you have to go on and play 16 weeks.  There is still a lot of football left to play.  We'll get better, and we feel good about where we are going."

Q:  Will the organization hold everyone accountable at the end of the year?

A:  Thank you for your support, and (we) obviously value our season ticketholders.  It's frustrating for everybody to be 0-5, and part of handling that correctly is making sure we identify what we can address to help the team win and focus on those things, which we're doing.  As we all know, we're not used to being in this position, and 0-5 is extremely frustrating for everybody involved.  We certainly do not take our fans for granted and acknowledge both the financial and emotional investment everybody makes with us and certainly understand everybody's frustration of where we stand right now."

Q:  Can you talk about the play of Jacob Lacey and Jim Caldwell's halftime adjustments?

A:  Well, thank you for your call and your support.  Obviously, Jacob had a tough day, and we've got to get ourselves re-collected there in the secondary.  First of all, (we have to) decide how we are going to lineup if Jerraud (Powers) can't go and get back to work there.  We play hard, we play smart and as I said, we'll get back to work.  I know that's not what people want to hear necessarily today, but that's where we are."

Q:  Changes aren't needed and doing anything in the middle of the season is not wise anyway.

A:  We have a cap back in effect this year which did not exist last year, so you have that issue.  Then you have player availability.  It's very easy and trust me, nobody is more guilty of this than I am.  You get upset and, 'Let's change this, let's do that, let's do that.'  When you look at the alternative…the alternative is not going to be any better.  We've got some young guys in the secondary.  Chris Rucker and Kevin Thomas haven't had much of a chance yet.  They'll have to step up and hopefully be part of the answer, rather than adding to the problems we had there yesterday."

Q:  Why do the Colts go into a prevent offense?  Sometimes it seems like the offense runs the ball and doesn't try to score when it has the lead.  Also, why didn't Peyton Manning have to pass a physical examination before the club signed him?

A:  He (Manning) did pass the physical.  Peyton was franchised.  The franchise tag held up over the course of the lockout.  Once you exercise the tag, it's fully guaranteed for skill, cap and injury.  We tagged him with the intent of getting a long-term deal done.  We certainly were not going to withdraw the tag.  Again, we appreciate everybody's support, and we understand everybody's frustration.  We are trying to run the ball more this year.  We are doing it a little bit more efficiently, not well enough consistently, but more efficiently.  We have to because of the fact that Peyton's not playing.  We understand everybody's frustration.  As I said, we appreciate everybody's investment, not just financially, but emotionally, time, everything they invest with this club.  Our players, our coaches, all of us, it's not taken for granted, and we certainly understand where the frustration is.  We understand the level at which this club has performed.  We understand the standard which is expected of this club, and we know that 0-5 does not match that.  As I said, we understand everybody's frustration."

Q:  We know that some fans voice their frustrations, but some of us just appreciate the team and want to encourage everyone.  Just keep getting after other teams.

A:  Thank you for your support.  We know we have a stadium full of people who share the same thoughts you do because it was a great atmosphere yesterday, beautiful day with the window and the roof both open.  The stadium was rocking yesterday.  The fans were into it, and we know they will be.  As I said, we know what the standard (is) that's been set with our performance here.  We know the season, up to this point, is not measuring up.  We understand everybody's frustrations and certainly continue to appreciate everybody's support, and (we) had a great atmosphere yesterday because of our fans."

Q:  Parts of the team are really progressing, but is Dallas Clark doing all right after his injury from last year?  He doesn't seem to be laying himself out there.

A:  Obviously, Dallas had a tough day yesterday, (a) couple drops.  I don't see any hesitancy for him to lay himself out there.  The one (play) late in the fourth quarter would have been a great catch.  It was a good throw, the only place he (Curtis Painter) could have put it, (he) kind of dropped it in between the linebacker and safety and would have been a great catch.  We didn't get it done.  Dallas has obviously been a very key and a big part of what we've done, and he will be.  He'll make those plays.  Nobody works harder.  Dallas is one of those guys, he loves practicing, and he just catches ball after ball.  If (the) defense is on the field, he's over there with the ball boy throwing to him or (with a) coach throwing to him.  Again, his level of performance is at such a level that any drop, any kind of stub of the toe causes some discussion.  Dallas is going to be fine.  He's going to be a big, big part of what we do."

Q:  Is it possible that he's pressing a little bit?

A:  I haven't sensed that yet, to be honest with you.  I think what happens is when things don't go well, is particularly veteran guys who have a lot of pride say, 'I'm going to step up.  This is my play.'  Maybe you do press sometimes at that point, but I have not sensed that we have gotten to that point yet."

Q:  What can you say about Cincinnati?  They're 3-2 and playing pretty well, aren't they?

A:  They've got a really good defensive front.  (They) can cover in the backend, active linebackers (and an) athletic, fast defense.  Andy Dalton is playing very well. Offensively, he's settling in, getting better by the week.  Cedric Benson, Jermaine Gresham, the tight end, they've got some talented players.  Coach (Marvin) Lewis has got them playing really hard and playing well."        

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