Any website can post "offseason grades" for NFL teams, mixing the draft and free agency into transaction soup, then straining it through the mind of some sportswriter who doesn't know who half the players are. Only the Shutdown 50 has the resources to get actual players, coaches, and executives from each team to evaluate their own offseasons! That's right: over the next few weeks, you will get transaction evaluations straight from the horse's mouths: straight talk about who was signed, who was lost, who was drafted, and why.
(For the satirically challenged: all player, coach, and executive remarks are made by an impersonator).
To kick off the series, Colts owner Jim Irsay (a must-follow on Twitter, by the way), breaks down his team's offseason. Take it away, Mr. Irsay:
JIM IRSAY: Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns.
Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around.
Dudes! I didn't see you there. I was just rockin' out with some tunage. So, you have come to my mushroom mountain seeking wisdom. Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream. It is not dying. Last year was dying. Curtis Painter … ugh.
Like, the Peyton Manning era was an everlasting summer, but you could see it fading fast. So I gave Peyton his freedom. Though are any of us really free? I am! I can sit around in a bathrobe strumming George Harrison's old guitar while wearing a Super Bowl ring. That's freedom.
Anyway, Andrew Luck is from Stanford, which is not quite as groovy as being from Berkeley, but the kid is so smart that he will blow your mind. He's going to have two good rookie tight ends to throw to in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. And we kept Reggie Wayne because, like, Wayne is the only guy who knows where I parked half the time.
We are also changing to a 3-4 defense, which means Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis will have to move to linebacker. Now I know what you are thinking: two tight ends? A 3-4 defense? Have I become a sellout? Am I just following trends instead of letting my freak flag fly? Have I joined the establishment? No way, man: this is about going with the flow, and being flexible.
Be the willow, and not the oak. Read the Tao. Expand your mind.
Chuck Pagano, our new coach, has brought a lot of 3-4 defenders with him from Baltimore. We signed defensive end Cory Redding, safety Tom Zbikowski, and linebacker Brandon McKinney from the Ravens. At first, I was worried about the karma: if the Colts take too much more away from the city of Baltimore, it could upset our chakras. I spent two days in my sweat lodge listening to "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" until my spirit wombat appeared and told me that the past was the past, that I had to let go and leave in the present, man. I love that wombat.
So, like, this is a rebuilding year. It's a grass roots movement. We're gonna drop out of sight for a while, get our heads together, and then look out! The revolution is gonna be out of sight, man.
Now if I can just get this Luck kid to let his hair down a little.