Colts' Caldwell defends decision to rest starters

NFL Notes

Indianapolis lost 1st game of season Sunday

'Skins' secondary coach interviewed for head coaching job

December 29, 2009|By From Sun news services

Colts: Coach Jim Caldwell will not second-guess the decision to rest his starters Sunday.

He'll let everybody else do it for him.

One day after Indianapolis pulled the plug on its perfect season by sitting Peyton Manning and others with 5:36 left in the third quarter of a game it led 15-10, the great debate raged.

NFL purists expressed disappointment that the Colts sidestepped their shot at perfection. Other analysts suggested the Colts had an obligation to play it straight, and hometown fans expressed their anger with strong critiques on local radio shows.

None of it fazed Caldwell.

"I'm one of those guys - it's probably my greatest strength and my greatest weakness - I can focus in, I can narrow my scope, and once you make a decision you have to live with it," he said. "Certainly, you weigh all the options before. You take a look at all the things that could occur, but once that decision is done, you just keep moving."

After Colts fans filled Lucas Oil Stadium with boos over the final 20 minutes of Sunday's 29-15 loss to the New York Jets, Pro Bowl wide receiver Reggie Wayne joked to a local television station that Indy might be the first 14-1 team to get booed at home.

Caldwell's decision could have ramifications on the playoff race.

The Jets now have control, thanks to Sunday's victory, and teams such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans could end up missing the postseason because the Colts rested key players.

BRONCOS: Denver will be without starting left guard Russ Hochstein and returner Kenny McKinley for the season finale after both suffered knee injuries at Philadelphia. McKinley will be placed on injured reserve after hurting his knee on a kickoff return.

BROWNS: New Cleveland president Mike Holmgren has not decided whether coach Eric Mangini will be back next season. Holmgren, who signed a five-year contract to try to fix the Browns, said he will wait until he arrives in Cleveland next week before making any changes. Holmgren plans to meet with Mangini after the Browns complete their season.

DOLPHINS: Inside linebacker Channing Crowder will miss the rest of the season with a right foot injury. He had a magnetic resonance imaging Monday, but a decision has not been made regarding surgery.

PLAYOFF SCENARIOS

AFC

Clinched: Indianapolis-AFC South and home-field advantage; San Diego-AFC West and first-round bye; Cincinnati-AFC North; New England-AFC East

Eliminated: Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, Buffalo, Tennessee

Ravens:

- Clinches a playoff spot with a win

N.Y. Jets:

- Clinches a playoff spot with a win

Denver:

- Clinches a playoff spot with:

1) Win and N.Y. Jets loss or tie and Ravens loss or tie OR

2) Win and N.Y. Jets loss or tie and Pittsburgh loss or tie OR

3) Win and N.Y. Jets loss or tie and Houston win OR

4) Win and Ravens loss or tie and Pittsburgh loss or tie OR

5) Win and Ravens loss or tie and Houston win OR

6) Pittsburgh loss and Ravens loss and Houston loss and Jacksonville loss OR

7) Pittsburgh loss and Ravens loss and Houston loss and N.Y. Jets loss OR

8) Pittsburgh loss and Ravens loss and Jacksonville loss and N.Y. Jets loss OR

9) Pittsburgh loss and Houston loss and Jacksonville loss and N.Y. Jets loss OR

10) Miami loss or tie and N.Y. Jets loss and Ravens loss and Houston loss and Jacksonville loss or tie

Pittsburgh:

- Clinches a playoff spot with:

1) Win and Houston loss or tie and N.Y. Jets loss or tie OR

2) Win and Houston loss or tie and Ravens loss or tie OR

3) Win and N.Y. Jets loss or tie and Ravens loss or tie and Denver loss or tie

Houston:

- Clinches a playoff spot with:

1) Win and N.Y. Jets loss or tie and Ravens loss or tie OR

2) Win and N.Y. Jets loss or tie and Denver loss or tie OR

3) Win and Ravens loss or tie and Denver loss or tie

Jacksonville:

- Clinches a playoff spot with:

1) Win and Pittsburgh loss and Ravens loss and Denver loss and Houston loss OR

2) Win and Pittsburgh loss and Ravens loss and Denver loss and N.Y. Jets loss OR

3) Win and Pittsburgh loss and Ravens loss and Houston loss and N.Y. Jets loss OR

4) Win and Pittsburgh loss and Denver loss and Houston loss and N.Y. Jets loss OR

5) Win and N.Y. Jets loss and Denver loss and Houston loss and Ravens loss

Miami:

- Clinches a playoff spot with:

1) Win and N.Y. Jets loss and Ravens loss and Houston loss and Jacksonville loss or tie

Ravens, N.Y. Jets, Denver, Pittsburgh and Houston can also make the playoffs if they tie this week in combination with various other results.

Jacksonville and Miami cannot make the playoffs with a tie.

NFC

Clinched: New Orleans-NFC South and home-field advantage; Minnesota-NFC North; Arizona-NFC West; Philadelphia, Green Bay and Dallas-playoff spot

Eliminated: Detroit, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington, Chicago, Seattle, Carolina, Atlanta, San Francisco, N.Y. Giants

New Orleans:

Minnesota:

- Clinches a first-round bye with:

1) Minnesota win and Philadelphia loss or tie OR

2) Minnesota tie and Philadelphia loss

Arizona:

- Clinches a first-round bye with:

Win and Minnesota loss and Philadelphia loss

Philadelphia:

- Clinches NFC East with:

Win or tie

- Clinches first-round bye with:

1) Win OR

2) Tie and Minnesota loss or tie

Dallas:

- Clinches NFC East with:

Win

- Clinches a first-round bye with:

Win and Minnesota loss and Arizona loss or tie

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