Colts suddenly looking hapless and hopeless again

It looks like the bad old days are back for the Indianapolis Colts.

After the Colts made their midnight move from Baltimore in 1984, they didn’t win 10 games until Peyton Manning’s second season in 1999.

They then posted seasons with double-digit victories 11 times and went to two Super Bowls, winning one.

When Manning was injured in 2011, the Colts went 2-14 — but that was a good year to get the first pick in the draft. It gave them a chance to start over with Andrew Luck.

Owner Jimmy Irsay released Manning, when went on to appear in two Super Bowls with the Broncos, winning one – and fired general manager Bill Polian and coach Jim Caldwell. He replaced them with Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano.

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Bortles’ garbage-time stats are another damning indictment

“Blake Bortles is the Tom Brady of Garbage Time,’’ blared the headline on the fivethirtyeight.com website.

The site is noted for crunching the numbers on political issues, but also covers sports. And Michael Salvino studied the numbers on Blake Bortles, the fourth-year Jaguars quarterback, for the past two seasons.

It turns out he was the best quarterback in the league in garbage time the past two years. Garbage time is defined on being down by nine or more points with four minutes or fewer left.

There has been a perception that Bortles tends to put up meaningless numbers in garbage time and Salvino’s research shows it is true.

Bortles completed 78 of 118 passes for 964 yards and 12 touchdowns and just four picks with a passer rating of 111 in garbage time. Tom Brady, who barely even knows what garbage time in a loss feels like, had a 112 passer rating for the season last year.

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As the only team with a quality (healthy) QB, Titans sitting pretty in AFC South

It’s usually not noteworthy when a quarterback completes two of three passes for 15 yards and runs for six yards in the first preseason game.

But it was significant for the Tennessee Titans and the AFC South when Marcus Mariota made his preseason debut against the New York Jets last week.

That’s because Mariota showed no ill effects of the broken leg he suffered at the end of last year and appeared to be able to run the same way before he was injured. And being able to run is a huge part of Mariota’s game.

On the first play, he rolled right on a run fake and dodged defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, who got in his face.

“Instincts just kind of took over,’’ Mariota said after the game. “You just kind of play the game you’ve always been playing.’’

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Arians’ new book, like the man himself, is a breath of NFL coaching fresh air

In the new book by Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians called “The Quarterback Whisperer,’’ Arians compliments Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts while giving a not-so-positive evaluation of many of his colleagues.

‘’There are a lot of assholes in the world of coaching – backstabbing is common and a lot of guys have personal agendas – but Chuck isn’t one of them,’’ Arians wrote in the book he did with Lars Anderson. “He’s a good, decent, hard-working man who is also a hell of a coach.’’

Most coaches wouldn’t talk about their fellow coaches the way Arians did.

But then Arians isn’t most coaches. He speaks his mind.

That is why his book is interesting. He doesn’t sugarcoat things.

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