Indianapolis Colts team president Bill Polian does not fault coach Jim Caldwell for his team's 0-7 start, pointing to a slew of high-profile injuries -- not coaching -- as the reason for the Colts' disastrous record.
"How you evaluate him is what you do with what he has," Polian said in an interview Thursday with SiriusXM NFL Radio, via ESPN.com. "You can't hold him responsible for injuries. You can't hold him responsible for an unforeseen surgery that no one anticipated would happen. The things that he can control, I think he's done a terrific job of, given where we are from a standpoint of personnel."
Many have pointed to the loss of quarterback Peyton Manning, who underwent a third neck surgery in the last 19 months right before the start of the season, as the main reason the Colts have fallen from a perennial Super Bowl contender to league cellar dweller. Manning's loss certainly plays a huge roll in the team's lack of success, however, the Colts also have lost safety Melvin Bullitt and linebacker Gary Brackett as well as a number of other players.
The Colts defense has dropped to last in the league in both total defense and points allowed without Bullitt and Brackett, but Polian said he doesn't think a lack of effort is to blame.
"The players are playing hard, and it's hard for me to believe that Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney and Pat Angerer and Kavell Conner, and people who -- on and on -- Fili Moala -- people who have played well in the past have all of a sudden fallen off the cliff," Polian said. "That's not been the case. That isn't the case. So we've got to figure out what's wrong and get it corrected."
Caldwell, to his credit, said he's not concerned about his long-term status as the Colts' coach.
"There are no guarantees in this league, you know that," Caldwell said in a conference call with Tennessee media on Wednesday. "I have been around long enough to understand that every year is different, every year takes a lot of work and itâs highly difficult. In terms of me personally, I donât get into all of that stuff. My personal feelings and all of those things donât matter. Iâm more concerned about the guys that I coach, getting them to head in the right direction and trying to get this thing turned around, thatâs my impetus right now, thatâs my focus."