Colts try to recover after humbling loss to Saints
The confidence that permeated the Colts' locker room for years has been replaced by emptiness.
With quarterback Peyton Manning recovering from neck surgery, the Colts started the season with a 0-6 record but maintained that they were close to turning the corner.
They focused on their recent history, saying they always believed they could win because they'd never had a reason to believe otherwise.
The remaining bit of that swagger disintegrated in Sunday night's 62-7 loss in New Orleans.
The few players who showed up in the locker room at the Colts' practice facility on Monday had nothing positive to say.
''We didn't play well at all, and there's no scapegoat in this,'' Colts center Jeff Saturday said. ''We all screwed it up, and we all got beat as bad as you can get beat. There are not enough fingers to go around, so we all share the same burden here and the same blame. We've got to get it fixed and go play better next week.''
Colts coach Jim Caldwell was blunt with his team in the locker room after the game in New Orleans.
''You tell them the truth,'' he said. ''We just got licked in every phase. I told them last night that we got whipped in every phase, and I told them wasn't pleased with my preparation for them. I didn't get them ready, obviously, and I've got to do a better job.''
The Colts allowed the highest point total in franchise history, and it was the team's second-worst loss. Only a 57-point loss to the Chicago Bears in 1962 was larger.
''They pretty much did what they wanted against us, and they controlled the game as far their offense and our defense,'' defensive back David Caldwell said. ''I haven't looked at the tape yet, but the only thing you can do is look at the tape and evaluate it from there.''
Sunday's meltdown came after the Colts lost their previous five games by a combined 32 points. Indy had been playing well early in games, then falling apart late. This time, the Colts fell apart right away.
''Right at the onset, we turned it over a couple times, and certainly couldn't get them stopped,'' Caldwell said. ''Things just kind of snowballed on us. All you have to be is a little bit off against a team like that, and you're going to have some problems,'' he said.
Caldwell said he's evaluating every aspect of how the team operates. He said personnel changes are possible.
''We're not into knee-jerk reactions around here,'' he said. ''We have to evaluate and make some decisions based on what we see and what we think is best for our team. We've been making some little moves here and there, trying to tweak some things and get ourselves in a little bit better position. We will continue to evaluate, but we won't do anything out of haste.''
Caldwell has become the subject of criticism from local fans, many of whom want him replaced. He said he's not worried about it.
''It's a business of performance,'' he said. ''The thing I'm most concerned about is getting our team ready, getting our team focused. Those kinds of things occur in this business. I focus on the things I can control, and that's our preparation on a daily basis.''
Saturday, for one, is tired of talking about losses.
''I'm not happy with where we are as a team, I'm not happy with losing, and there's nothing positive that we take out of last night,'' he said. ''The only thing is, we get another chance on Sunday, and that's the saving grace of this game. I'm going to have to hear from you guys for about the next six days, and then, hopefully, we can shut you all up and put together a win and talk about that.''
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap