Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Purgatory, Tennessee

It was clear to most observers that the Colts were going to sign only one of their free agent guards this offseason.  The consideration was purely economic, and the only question was whether it would be Ryan Lilja or Jake Scott.  Some even suggested that it was a question of whomever signed first, which smacks of hapless ignorance considering Bill Polian's prudence as the Colts President & GM.

Lilja Scott



The Colts chose Lilja (or, true enough, he signed first, if you must).  Now Scott has landed himself a surprisingly lucrative deal with the Titans.  Scott is certainly a quality player.  He never missed a game due to injury with the Colts, and he showed great versatility in playing multiple positions on the line.  However, I'm not convinced he's a good fit within Tennessee's offensive philosophy (moving target that it is).  While I liked Scott, I think Tennessee overpaid... especially when you consider that he'll be protecting Vince Young, who is decidedly not a pocket-passer.  Perhaps they assign more value to his run blocking, although he'll need to clear bigger holes for fat LenDale White (comically listed at 235 on his NFL.com bio).

However, the bigger question to me is why the Titans are collecting former Colts.  By my count, they signed David Thornton (2006), Ben Hartsock (2006), Gilbert Gardner (2007), Corey Simon (2007), and Nick Harper (2007).  Of those, Thornton and Harper were the only worthwhile signings.  Gardner was horribly disappointing for the Colts and has zero impact, nor playing time with the Titans.  Ben Hartsock was purely mediocre, and didn't last.  He now is with Atlanta.

The most bizarre ex-Colt signing was that of Simon.  Following knee surgery, he had a known, but at the time undisclosed illness (polyarthritis) that was so bad the Colts placed him on the non-football illness/injury list, then terminated his contract after he failed his physical.  Grievances were filed by both parties, and it was pretty clear that Simon's playing days were over... it was just a question of how much money he was owed on his way out.  Tennessee, blinded by his horseshoe, had a different interpretation and promptly signed him.  There he would play 4 games, amass a single tackle (assisted, not solo), and abruptly retire.  It must have been a glorious tackle.

Now that the Colts are preparing to move into their new digs at Lucas Oil Stadium, they're selling off the RCA Dome one seat at a time.  I suspect Jeff Fisher et al are looking to complete their master plan of reconstituting the 2004 Colts... player by player, and perhaps inch by inch.  Looking at the pricing... it will cost them.

Corey Simon & Gilbert Gardner sat here!!!


How will this impact the Colts?  No line position is unimportant, but I'd think Howard Mudd would much rather replace the right side than the blind side.  As Deshawn Zombie says:

Howard Mudd will invariably turn some 4th round pick from Fartville State and create a serviceable guard out of him.

How long will that guard play for the Colts before Tennessee signs him, and how much would you like to see him introduce himself on Monday Night Football as hailing from Fartville State?

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