INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With his former team floundering and in danger of missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1997-98, Reggie Wayne stepped up to the microphone and spoke out.
Why are the Indianapolis Colts – his Indianapolis Colts – off to a 1-3 start? Are injuries to blame? Is it the offensive line? Maybe a defense that’s allowing more than 31 points per game?
Is it quarterback Andrew Luck who was unable to mount a fourth-quarter comeback in Sunday’s 30-27 loss to Jacksonville in London?
In his first year as analyst for NFL Network, Wayne defended Luck and pointed an accusing finger higher up Tuesday evening on NFL Total Access.
“I honestly think Andrew Luck’s playing pretty good despite some of the O-line woes that they’re having,’’ Wayne said. “A lot of people are wanting to criticize Andrew Luck instead of really, in my opinion, going after what the big problem is.
“I think the big problem is a lot of front-office decisions. Whether it’s draft picks or it’s free agent picks, they’ve missed on a lot of guys. In free agency they got LaRon Landry and got rid of Antoine Bethea, who is a Pro Bowler. That was a swing and a miss.
“They had Arthur Jones who hasn’t found his way in there yet. You still have Trent Cole who is now out who hadn’t given them anything last year. You went and got his teammate, Todd Herremans, from Philly who also didn’t give them anything. You have Bjoern Werner, who is now out of the league. Khaled Holmes, who was playing center from USC. He came and left.
“And don’t forget the Trent Richardson trade. They got rid of a first-round pick to bring in Trent Richardson, who ended up not doing anything for them. That’s just how it’s been. They’ve used the money to get free agent guys that didn’t do anything.’’
Wayne’s interest in the Colts’ struggles is understandable.
He was a 2001 first-round draft pick who spent his entire 14-year career with the Colts. Only Johnny Unitas (17) spent more time with the team. Wayne played in a team-record 211 regular-season games, was selected to six Pro Bowls and ranks No. 7 in NFL history with 1,070 receptions and No. 8 with 14,345 yards.