Staring down life without Reggie Wayne and entering the bye week, many expected Ryan Grigson to step up to the table once again and make a move. The NFL trade deadline passed Tuesday at 4:00 pm EST and only one minor deal was made, which did not include the Colts.
At the end of the day, it was probably the only sensible path available. Already missing their first (Trent Richardson trade), fourth (traded to Cleveland to select Montori Hughes in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft) and seventh round choices (conditionally traded to San Francisco to acquire Cam Johnson) in the 2014 draft and tight against the salary cap, the Colts simply did not have the ammunition to make another move. Not one of consequence, at any rate.
In the last article we examined the three options available to Indy. Mid-season NFL trades are simply a different animal. In the NBA and MLB, respectively, you can move a first basemen or power forward to a new city and plug him into the lineup with far fewer complications. Different schemes of varying complexity make the NFL a more complex environment in which to make these types of deals.
The Colts travel to Houston to face the Texans in the Sunday night prime time game minus one of the true leaders of the team. The Texans have had their own challenges this season and surprisingly find themselves with a 2-5 record coming out of their bye week. Houston’s defense ranks first in the NFL both in total defense (yards per game) and passing yards per game allowed. The major differences are they have allowed 27.7 points per game and are – 11 in turnover ratio thus far.
It promises to be a struggle for the first couple of weeks while the Colts get their bearings on offense, but they approach this game knowing full well it’s a division battle against the two time reigning AFC South champions. Quite simply a Colts win could all but derail the Texans’ division title hopes, while a Texans win very well leaves the door open for anything to happen.
You can’t automatically stick a fork in the Colts for the remainder of the season, but let’s not underestimate the impact of losing Reggie Wayne. The only thing that matters is performance on the field and the end result. If Andrew Luck has to hand off 50 times to win, he’ll do it with a smile on his face. However, if Indy turns even more to the running game and struggles through the remaining nine games of the season, not letting their best player use his arm and legs to try and win, they will face severe criticism.
Uncertainty breeds anxiety and anticipation. As nerve racking as that is, it's also why they play the games.