December 14, 2009
Despite having clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, the Indianapolis Colts won't rest its starters this week in a Thursday night game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In other news, apparently we're already having this discussion about whether or not the Colts should rest its starters.
We're not even through Week 14 yet and this is a topic of conversation? This discussion is like Christmas season: it starts earlier every year. Whatever you think of resting starters in the final weeks of the year, I think it's safe to say that we can all agree that Week 15 is a bit too early.
The Colts won't host a playoff game until Jan. 16, at the earliest. That's five weeks away. To put that in perspective, Indy had six weeks from the start of training camp until its first regular-season game. Five weeks is a long time, way too long to be resting guys before a month-long playoff push.
Coach Jim Caldwell seems to know that, as he immediately nixed talk of sitting Peyton Manning(notes) and others this week, saying that the team will prepare like it's any other game. This didn't stop the guys on NBC's Football Night in America from talking about it ad nauseum last night though.
This will (legitimately) be a hot topic after Christmas when the playoffs are a bit closer and the Colts still have two regular season games remaining, but not now. For this game, at least, Caldwell is making the right call. There's no need to bring back any player nursing an injury, but there's also no reason to rest a healthy one.
Caldwell's choice would still be correct even if Peyton Manning were to go down with an injury Thursday night. Because, if that were the case, then you'd have to make the argument that teams should never practice because players get hurt there too.
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