What the Stephon Gilmore deal means for the Colts both on defense and in the front office. Short Thoughts.

So another major hole in our team has been addressed. Our pass defense just gained a huge asset in Stephon Gilmore. And with this acquisition the Indianapolis Colts have bolstered each and every layer of the defense this offseason. A defense that greatly needed several issues addressed at the beginning of this offseason seems to have been given not only an upgrade, but several proven, and significant upgrades. I’m not saying the defense is unstoppable now, but the additions we’ve made this offseason are poised to make quite an impact on the success of the Indianapolis Colts this coming season.

Coming just on the tails of signing Rodney McLeod, the Colts and Stephon Gilmore have agreed on a 2 year, 23 million dollar (14 million guaranteed) contract. This has made the Indianapolis Colts secondary a truly intimidating matchup for even the most productive receiving corps out there. We let go a middling corner in Rock, while I appreciate his time working For The Shoe, I have to say who we went out and got to replace him, is quite the upgrade.

While his last two seasons were hampered by his quad injury and surgery, Stephon Gilmore has a proven track record throughout his 10 year career. He brings the intangibles to the game that the Colts will use to improve on already impressive turnover creation rates. His nose for the ball is elite level, he knows the game and having him gives Kenny Moore a veteran mentor that has been a premier athlete at the position for years. This could potentially go a long way in making the already elite Kenny Moore II even more dangerous. With proven veterans like Gilmore and McLeod coming in, these defensive acquisitions stand to aid Julian Blackmon is sharpening his game, and his raw talent. However these guys come in, I think they stand to send positive ripples throughout the defense. Adding maturity and experience to a raw and talented secondary.

Gilmore on the Ghost

With this addition, the Colts have addressed the secondary. After getting Ngakoue I feel the Colts addressed the lackluster pass rush, hopefully freeing up Deforest Buckner to make more of an impact by having less attention and effort exhorted on him by adding an outside threat. This is going to be an exciting defense to watch this season. I just hope Gilmore has got more in his tank to really become an essential fixture in this defense.

While I had little hope heading into this offseason, I truly believe some great decisions have been made here. Another factor that has presented itself is the idea that the tenure of these contracts can lead one to believe the current Colts regime is giving themselves 2 more years to win before evaluating if a team wide rebuild is necessary. I personally, do not believe blowing it up to ever be the answer, seems like every time a team is blowing it up, they were already one of the last few to blow it up before that. Stability is essential. Those quick to choose failure, get comfortable with that failure.

All of these moves have given me hope for the coming NFL season.

I feel that this coming season has the potential to be something truly spectacular. That’s just this fan boy’s opinion.

The Colts Need to pay some people now and get some help for Matt Ryan.

Throughout this free agency, I keep thinking to myself… Why? Why isn’t Chris Ballard out here looking to chuck some dough around. What is he waiting for!?! Does he not see the writing on the wall? He needs to fix this team QUICK if he wants to be the General Manager for the Colts for much longer. I can’t imagine that Irsay will stand for this much longer considering how outspoken he’s been this last week on his frustrations with some of the moves made by the organization (mostly Carson) and his frustration with consistently losing to the Tenessee Titans. He’s had enough and he knows most of the fan base has had enough as well.

This guy wants to win bad.

So even following the acquisition of a proven veteran in Matt Ryan the Colts are still dominating the cap clearing game. I don’t get why Ballard hasn’t thrown a bag yet. I mean Irsay has been candid this week on what he’s wanting out of his squad, and I would think if I were Ballard I’d be looking to pay somebody, show that you are out here using the cap space that you’ve worked so hard to get. While getting the QB was essential, now we need somebody who can set the tone and the attitude of the receiving room.

We need to get some help. At least one of the remaining wide receivers out there is a must. We need a veteran presence to get in the buildingand help set the tone throughout our wide receiver room. While Michael Pittman is developing well, he is doing just that, developing. We need a receiver who’s been around and has really cut his teeth. We need someone who can come in and be the veteran presence all of our developing receivers can look toward.

For those of us out there thinking that we need to trust the plan here, unfortunately the plan has gotten us to middle of the road play with a carousel at the single most important position in the game. Chris Ballard is an absolute A+ talent evaluator in my book. But man… he needs to be willing to spend some of this cap space if he wants to keep calling the shots in my personal opinion. I don’t know what dream scenario Chris Ballard thinks is just waiting to present itself. But there’s no pride in going into the season as the most underpaid team in the league, so do something and make a splash Chris!

I truly believe Will Fuller has a lot left to play for. I think getting him would be a great boost to our offense. In my own, unprofessional and often delusional opinion, Will Fuller would compliment Michael Pittman Jr.’s game nicely. Will Fuller has got some NASA grade burners when fully healthy. While the last injury to hold him out was a broken thumb, I believe that his speed should not be the issue. Paying Fuller would present Matt Ryan with a dependable option at each level of the field. Jonathon Taylor in the flat, Michael Pittman in the middle, and Will Fuller in the deeper part of the field. I really think if protected by a line committed to the game plan this year, that offense could be something to write home about.

Also I guess there is Jarvis Landry… But I’m thinking his personal evaluation of his own skills may be a tad out of the range that Ballard may be willing to spend. But, I’d figure a man with his job on the line, as I believe Chris Ballard is, he’d be looking for any way to succeed at any cost to the Colts. For better or worse Chris, you can’t spend the money when you’re gone. What are you waiting for?!

Don’t be a cheapskate Chris.

For The Shoe.

The Carson Wentz era has come to an end… just some thoughts defending the trade.

Carson is out in Indy.

Now that can’t be breaking for anyone here. But I wanted to take some time to mull it over before writing this. And I just wanted to lay out a few thoughts this hopelessly optimistic fan boy has on this trade.

I don’t see any problem with the trade. I can see our fan base is divided… many are clambering that we should have kept Wentz. WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! We had bottom tier production from a quarterback that stands to be the 9th highest paid player in the NFL next season.

This level of play from the NINTH HIGHEST PAID PLAYER IN THE ENTIRE LEAGUE!! unacceptable. If you are honest with yourself and honest with what yourself you know this to be true. Best case scenario we give someone a shot… someone overlooked and he becomes the next Tom Brady (so ridiculous… but you can’t say that wouldn’t be best cast scenario right?). Or worst case, we don’t have any real and stable option at QB but are still in the black with far more cash to play with. All this to say Carson Wentz may have been the worst value in all of sports this last season. I’m definitely not wanting Ballard to run it back for him to figure it out while taking a cool 32 milli from the Colts Salary Cap. I’m sorry but if your making that scratch you need to at least bring stability and game management skills to the table. Carson Wentz can’t get out of his own head, and we can’t keep waiting to see if he’ll figure it out.

Word on the street is that Carson sought to “clear the air” and Jim Irsay wasn’t even willing to meet with him. Frank Reich I guess has apologized to Irsay as well for pushing for the trade so hard.

Listen, I know we don’t have many, if any, options on the table for reliability under center. But what I do know is this trade frees up enough cap space to surround an equally mediocre quarterback with better weapons. I’m hoping this goes a long way in getting a much needed second receiving threat to free up Michael Pittman Jr. It is much easier to accept middling quarterback play when it doesn’t come with a 32,000,000 dollar price tag.

With the NFL cap moving from $182.5 million per side, to $208.2 million, the Colts have a significant chunk of bank to play with the free agency, starting March 16 officially, offering some answers to other glaring holes in both the defense and offense. This money allows us to get a stronger corner to sit opposite Kenny Moore II or an edge rusher too get more pressure on the QB and free up Deforest more plays. It allows us to offer better receivers a contract.

All in all, this is good people. The AFC is packed to the brim with dominant and YOUNG quarterbacks. If you don’t have one of these guys (Patty Mahomes, Josh Allen, Joe Burrow, etc), you don’t have a shot to win unless you can find someone to manage a game, and there is not a single other glaring flaw in your game. While it seems that all of the elite options at QB are running out, we had to make this trade to sure up the other positions if we are looking to compete this year. If that means having similar play from a QB who we have to pay 1/4 of what the Commanders will be paying Carson . If we have to run it back with anything other than a top notch QB, may as well allocate our money towards getting a supporting cast that can close the gap on the top teams in the AFC.

For those of you looking for Carr to join the squad. I don’t want to say we’d have to pay bookoo bucks. But we would really have to shell out for a huge price tag on a contract extension I would imagine. And I also think he still enjoys the Raiders franchise, even with all the off the field issues that seem to be running rampant through that squad and front office. Each day I wake up, Carr seems like less and less of a possibility. Here’s to still holding out hope though.

Why Purdue is STILL Indiana’s little brother (an observation on what matters in College Basketball)

So I was defending my comments regarding Purdue still being Little Brother to IU in the comments of various boards, Twitter (@flyoverwire) and facebook, and figured I’d just really lay out my defense rather than keep defending my points in the comment sections. I want to lay out the facts and really “hammer” it home to all of you that Purdue is still very much little brother, and I think anyone with half a mind for what the top teams are really vying for in college basketball would agree.

Just a little backstory. I graduated from Indiana with a history degree. While that certainly didn’t give me the keys to the Brinks truck after graduation, it certainly gave me a hunger and appreciation for perspective. Because really, that’s all history is. Perspective on the past. That if understood, can help with your present or provide any sense of foresight for things to come. And I have to say whoever thinks Purdue is now Big Brother of the Indiana-Purdue rivalry, lacks perspective.

Let me give you some.

It’s 1980. President Reagan was just elected to his first term as the President of the United States. The top song is “Call Me” by Blondie. And the US Men’s hockey team just beat the Rooskies in the “miracle on ice”. That March Purdue Men’s Basketball played in their 2nd and most recent final four appearance…

That’s right. This was the fashion during Purdue’s last Final Four…

Actually kinda drippin’

0 NCAA Championships… I don’t know why this post has to continue any farther than that. Zero. And you can say we haven’t had one in decades. To which I’d respond at least we made a Final Four in the current millenia (2002).

Sure they’ve won 10 of our last 11 matchups… sure. But we’ve been to 8 of the last 10 (also the last 4) Final Fours among the two of us. So all you “what have you done for me lately” folks saying they’re the bigger program now… I could argue what has Painter done for the Boilermakers lately?

I would say you can settle for Big Ten Titles and sweet 16 exits, but that’s not our goal in Bloomington. We are going to try everything we possibly can to get back to the National Championship. If that means down years, heck down decades, on our way to another title, so be it. The next title is always the sweetest. So we will chase that centuries if need be (God I hope not). The real ones here know settling for the annual tournament exit is not an option.

We strive for far more than our Purdue breathren. In the words of the philosopher-poet Robert Matthew Van Winkle… (Vanilla Ice), “anything less than the best is a felony”.

Please put that quote on my tombstone.

I’m sick of hearing even a few Indiana fans gas up Matt Painter. Guess what you hypocrites, if an Indiana coach was here for as long as he’s been at Purdue we’d expect him to have 3 made final four appearances and have won at least one national championship. That Indiana coach would never get the chance to win as many games as Painter has because the same people who gas him up in the Indiana camp, are some of the same people who would be calling for an IU coach’s head for not doing diddly squat in the tournament. No Final Fours. Not one in 16 years with Painter. If any Indiana Coach let us down in the tournament that consistently we would have fired him ten times over. Heck, we did it with Crean. And he was only half the tease Matt Painter is. That’s what you call higher standards. And we do have just that, higher standards. Mike Woodson is currently sitting at .500 against Matt Painter and also already has the same amount of final four appearances, and National Championships for that matter (0). Facts. Very. Recent. Facts.

You can say we are tied to our history too much but anyone who has common sense on what really matters, Final Fours and Championships knows Purdue hasn’t done squat to take the Big Brother monicker from us. Anyone who doesn’t think that… think bigger. College Basketball amongst the TRULY elite schools out there is an all or nothing game. You either get all of the glory with a national championship or you end up with nothing to show for it.

So you say “Purdue has more Big Ten Titles“…

In the national zeitgeist do you think Big Ten Champs are remembered?… GET OUT OF HERE!!! To the common fan nationwide the Hoosiers are synonymous with basketball, because Indiana’s got serious hardware. Some serious hardware collecting some serious dust, but nonetheless there isn’t a bare trophy case! OH!!! Sorry, Purdue did have that one retroactively awarded pre-NCAA, pre-integration, and pre-crossover “national title” in 1932.

This is Rucker Park legend and drug kingping Pee Wee Kirkland, credited with inventing the crossover. (He was born 12 years AFTER Purdue’s only “title“)
Credit:slamonline.com

Yeah… we rushed the court against Purdue this year. I’m not proud of the younger, less versed Indiana fans for that one. In their defense, that student section is packed to the brim with young, dumb, and drunk kids (I know because I was one of them). They lack PERSPECTIVE. Also, I’ll give them a little more leniency for being a minor milestone on our track to turning this program into a title contender again. Mike Woodson did in his first matchup what Archie couldn’t in 7. And come on, when you’re in college aren’t you looking for any reason to throw a party?!

I may be a dumb Indiana fan boy… but I know history remembers the champions. Everybody asks “what have you done for me lately?” I say what has Purdue done for their fans lately?!?! Except let them down in March to an extent that would never be accepted in Bloomington. We expect more because we’ve had more. And I for one don’t want to settle for less than our greatest efforts, trying anything and everything to get back there. I think Matt Painter’s had enough squads with enough talent have their expectations dashed to know… HE AINT IT CHIEF!!

All this being said, I’ll be the first to point out that this could be seen as Purdue living rent-free in my mind. But that isn’t it. It’s people who can’t see the forest for the trees. What is the point of all this but to be the best? Indiana has been the best before, so we are always striving to get back there. That’s why we would never accept Painter’s current tenure. Everyone wants to anoint him a living legend coach, but what has he got to show for it?!!! Jack squat.

Would any of us really accept the “stability and success” of the Painter era? 16 seasons. No Final Fours. You can be stable amongst the second tier all you’d like. I’d risk losing seasons in the pursuit of a national championship any day.

Until they win anything that demands NATIONAL attention, they will continue to live in our shadow. Don’t ever let those Purdue fans forget. Our final four drought is 20 years, but theirs is 42.

Rant over.

Down with Michigan. Mike, keep your head on a swivel and watch for stray open palm punches.

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Had to digest that one for a while. Here are some thoughts after that Purdue loss.

Alright. I think I gave myself sufficient time to digest that loss. What a ride. An absolute battle between 2 staples of college basketball. I don’t write on stats so much as I do the eye test and emotion, but want to know an absolutely bananas stat? In all-time win percentage Indiana (2,945 games played) is at .635 and Purdue(2,898) is at .634. While we may potentially be two ships passing in the night. I truly believe this team is on the precipice of widening that .001 gap in the coming seasons.

Indiana fought hard. And while the loss was absolutely defeating and emotionally draining. No Indiana fan should look back on this year and see it as a failure. You know what Archie was never able to do? Win against Purdue. Mike Woodson’s first season. He is one possession from winning 2 matchups against them this season. We are trending up and that needs to be remembered. And Mike showing Purdue that things are different in his first year is a promising start to his tenure back where he belongs.

This is the reason Purdue was out for blood friday, and we still nearly stole it from them. If it wasn’t for Stajochskwfictiistz, or whatever the heck, making some ball(d)er shots. We would have went into “Mt. Mackey” and stole one.

The game yesterday was a heartbreaker… while simultaneously being a heart bearer. I don’t care what you think about Xavier Johnson’s game. If you think he forces it. Speeds up his game to much. Whatever… That guy is all-Indiana in my book. I’ve never seen someone want it so bad. The ferocity he played with is exhibit A on why I will I will go to the mat with XJ trash talkers any day all day.

I mean expecting him to ball out like a 5 star is unfair. But the tools he got he is going to utilize to the umpteenth degree to try to will Indiana to the W in a given game. His skills may not be Yogi-esque but his willingness to fight for this squad most certainly is. So crazy that a transfer can cement himself so firmly in the hearts of us who actually sit down and watch his effort for the course of 40 minutes.

He took bad shots. Yeah. But what was the man supposed to do? No one. And I mean no one else was looking to get one off. So he went full thanos.

And like thanos he ultimately came up short. He didn’t rely on his team. Because he really couldn’t. Nobody wanted to miss shots, so nobody wanted to take shots.

I know we are all licking our wounds from that loss. But we must cut the fat from this one, see what we can salvage and get to building on next season. The shooting is coming folks. The boys didn’t have their second half flat start this game. So there’s a plus.

Also we didn’t let Zach Edey absolutely dictate the paint. Our undersized guys stood tough. Even though Edey made Trace Jackson-Davis look like a high schooler in size on him. Now Mike can go get some of his guys. A few guys to matchup specifically for larger front courts that we will consistently face in the Big Ten, will go a long way in solidifying a contender.

And just a sidebar in case you weren’t aware, Purdue still very much has a little brother complex with Indiana University. I can speak for that by how insufferable my own traitor of a little brother (current Purdue student, even though he grew up rooting for our boys) was blowing me up. They love to see us lose, because they haven’t done anything of significance since integration.

Purdue’s last National Champions (named retroactively). I can’t speak to whether or not the crossover was even invented yet.

All this being said. Our dreams for banner 6 are not dashed yet. Win the Big Ten Tournament and we are in. While the highest seed to ever win the tournament was Michigan at the 8 seed in 2017, Indiana could be the first 9 seed. Now I understand how unlikely this is. But hey, why not us? Why can’t our boys come out like men on fire and secure the tournament bid? I mean we play the games for a reason people. If we truly find a way to shake off the second half slow starts, there isn’t really a team this year we couldn’t contend with. The big ten is a bunch of good teams beating up on eachother. For that reason I’m going to take our fighters chance and absolutely wear my heart on my sleeve this week! Lets put on a show and sneak into the party!

Don’t worry little brother, we’ll be back, and we’ll be out for blood. We just won’t make such a big deal out of it when we get back to fully expecting to whoop some boiler butt. We know how to act like we’ve been there before because well… we have.

On to dismantling the Big Ten this week,

LUX ET VERITAS!!!

Xavier Johnson everybody!!! Indiana at Minnesota recap

Going into this one Indiana was in desperate need to follow up the 5 game losing streak snapping victory over Maryland. Indiana University had to come out swinging if it didn’t want to backslide right back into the lows that were so apparent throughout that epic February losing streak. I mean no hyperbole whatsoever when I say this was a must win. Indiana is without a doubt on the fence come selection Sunday, and can not afford to put anything other than the hits out.

And the boys did not disappoint!!!

IU came out with their second win in a row. And what a game it was for Xavier Johnson! Xavier dropped 24 as he led the Hoosiers to victory in this one. Let me really lay out for you what Xavier Johnson’s been up to… In the last two games Xavier Johnson has racked up 48 points 14 assists, and 7 boards. All of this against 4 turnovers committed. What a pair of games!! He is also 7 for 9 from the 3 point arc. Xavier is stepping up like only a few Hoosiers ever have! Xavier Johnson continues to carve out his own area of my Hoosier fan heart. His game has been outstanding and he deserves all the praise heading his way!

That was a fun game to watch on our end. The Hoosiers were absolutely draining them from beyond the arc yesterday. As a team the Hoosiers shot 10 of 21 from 3 point range. If your team is sinking them, you’re going to have a good time. This hot handed Hoosier team must keep rolling, and building on this momentum if we are going to bring this absolutely necessary shooting to compete in March.

What a strange second half of two one sided acts. After going on a 30-10 run to begin the second half. They closed it out by letting up a 36-14 run by the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Honestly, the game was still very much in contention until who else but Xavier Johnson sank the dagger free throws to close it out. Never not stressful watching the Hoosiers play ball for me.

These last 2 games were must wins. Looking to what’s left, I believe that Indiana gets in if they win 1 of the remaining 2 games. We still have Rutgers at home and then… at Purdue to close out the season. Both very good teams. I believe, should the Hoosiers pull one of those two out, they will be dancing.

Here’s to Xavier Johnson and our boys for stopping the bleeding and salvaging something from this season.

On to Rutgers!

“1883” Thoughts on episode 7, “Yellow Lightning Hair”

I fully expected this episode, being number 7 and all, to be a pretty tame filler episode. The start of this episode pointed towards this absolutely being the case. Boy, once it got going, this episode STAYED GOING! So I just want to post here weekly my thoughts following each episode of Paramount+ exclusive “1883”

First major thought of this episode is Elsa needs to slow her roll and maybe take a little chastity break. She is losing it, her emotions be all over the place. Throwing vibes to each and every hombre that comes across our intrepid travelers. She may want to slow down, Eeevvveeerrryyyybbboooodddyyyyy knows how quickly gossip can spread throughout a wagon train. Tale as ol’ as time right there.

That tornado absolutely truck sticked the wagons. So insane how wind can just shred through stuff that easily. I have been bitching about that break in the release of these episodes. I’m wondering if the devastation in Kentucky following those tornadoes led to Paramount delaying the release so this episode in which several lives are decimated by a twister was played so quickly following the terrible aftermath of the Kentucky Tornadoes.

If you didn’t notice that is the same actor from Yellowstone. Pretty awesome that they can show that his lineage came across the Dutton’s lineage even miles and miles away from where the events of “Yellowstone” take place in the present of this shows universe. His character really stepped up to the plate, even with Elsa being so emotional unhinged it seems this guy plays it cool. That’s really the extent of my thought. This native american cat was one cool SOB. Absolutely swoops in to save the girl from dirty ol’ bandits, save the day, and ride off to slay some more tail down the road I guess.

All in all, great episode here!

When Sam says “So I Killed him and took it”. Chills People. Chills.

-Burke

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