Indianapolis Colts: The Case to Keep Jim Caldwell

Robby HowardContributor IIINovember 2, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 16:  Jim Caldwell the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts watches the game action during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

It's not all his fault.

It's not any one individual's fault, really. Well, except for Peyton Manning's cursed neck maybe. 

The Colts' awful excuse for an NFL season can't be blamed all on Jim Caldwell. It can't all be blamed on Bill Polian. It can't all be blamed on Jim Irsay. And it can't even all be blamed on Peyton's neck.

There's plenty of blame to go around for the Colts being in the top position in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes and still winless after eight weeks. So don't call for Coach Caldwell's job just yet.

Most importantly, it's safe to say that the season would look nothing like this if No. 18's neck was just fine going into the season and didn't require multiple surgeries. The Colts certainly wouldn't be undefeated, but they most certainly wouldn't be winless either. Plenty of articles have been written about the impact Manning has on this team, and with that, the city of Indianapolis. So, some blame has to go to that troubled neck of his.

Some blame has to go to Bill Polian, too. And not for the Kerry Collins deal. Think back to August when Colts fans were watching Curtis Painter absolutely get destroyed by NFL third and fourth stringers. Polian had to do something. It didn't look like Painter could last longer than five minutes in a game. Collins seemed to be a reasonable choice, so that's not his fault.

It is his fault for building a lack-luster defense. I understand that the defense is built around Manning, but 62 points is 62 points. That can't happen. Ever. This team needs significant personnel help.

Jim Irsay certainly hasn't helped the situation. He continues to tweet mysterious things that just confuse fans and stir up rumors. P.S. Don't bring Peyton back at all this season. No matter what. But that's another column. 

Then there's Jim Caldwell. While he appears to lack motivation and inspiration on the sideline and in the locker room, that's his coaching philosophy and it's proven to work in the past. Remember the 2009 season with essentially the same team? Yes, the season where the Colts started 14-0 and made it to the Super Bowl.

Jim Caldwell is not a bad coach. Losing Peyton Manning caught him blindsided just as much as it did the entire organization. He wasn't prepared for that, and it's not fair to have expected him to have been ready for that. Manning had been the Cal Ripken of the NFL. He was Iron Man. 

That being said, Caldwell has to change his defensive scheming. Whether it's blitzing more or improving coverage, something has to be done. He just needs to try moving the pieces. 

Fans have been able to see Caldwell (with lots of help from Manning) develop the young Painter. He has improved leaps and bounds from August. Now he actually looks like he could play in the NFL.

So don't go after Jim Caldwell just yet. After all, it's not all his fault.