INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Colts’ fan base isn’t exactly up in arms, but neither is it satisfied with the current state of affairs.
Consecutive 8-8 records and missing the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1997-98 can lead to restlessness, a level of discontent and overall dissatisfaction.
Darius Butler understands. Players also aren’t accepting the end results.
“It’s not good enough,’’ the veteran defensive back said. “It won’t ever be good enough for this organization.’’
That was the overriding motivation to a seismic roster upheaval during the offseason. The 53-player roster includes 26 first-time Colts.
A byproduct of that, along with the normal annual turnover of NFL rosters, has left the Colts with only a handful of long-tenured players. Butler is one of six players who were part of the reboot in 2012 and have proven valuable enough to retain. The short list: Butler, placekicker Adam Vinatieri, offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, quarterback Andrew Luck, cornerback Vontae Davis and wideout T.Y. Hilton.
“Yeah, there’s not many of us,’’ Butler said with a smile. “Just a handful sticking around here. We want to build it. Me personally, when we took that step every year (from 2012-14) and the last two years we took a step back, we want to get back to what Colts football has been known for.
“Growing up, I always knew Colts football was about winning, always being in it until the end. That’s what we want to get back to.’’
Everyone agrees 8-8 is unacceptable. But for those who consider that a dreadful season, some perspective is required.
The Rams, Sunday’s season-opening opponent, have endured a full decade without reaching 8-8. The Cleveland Browns have had one winning season since rejoining the NFL: 10-6 in 2007. They’ve won seven or fewer games in 17 of 18 seasons and suffered double-digit losses 15 times.
And let’s not forget the Jacksonville Jaguars. The last time they finished at least 8-8 was in 2010. They’ve lost at least 11 games in each of the last six seasons.
Five players have been ruled out of Sunday’s game: quarterback Andrew Luck (right shoulder), cornerback Vontae Davis (groin), center Ryan Kelly (foot), wideout Chester Rogers (hamstring) and guard Ian Silberman (lumbar).