Is it ok to call you Dan?
I’m sorry to have to bother you Dan when you are so busy the day before a big game but I have something very urgent to tell you or ask you –
I know it’s unfair to dump this on you but I have no other options. I really don’t.
I know it’s your first season as a defensive coordinator in the NFL and this is just the 5th game. I know that what I am about to ask you is very hard to do, almost impossible but please hear me out.
I know that when you joined us earlier this year this must seemed like a dream job. You get to take over the best defense in the NFL. Not only are they the best in points scored but you get all those shiny new toys to make it even better. You get Bennett and Avril. You get Hill and Williams in the draft. Even Clem is back earlier than expected and now Irvin is back.
But here’s the thing. When you got that job you had this great safety net called Offense. Remember those guys who kept your opponents off the field mounting long excruciating drives? Those guys who scored points to make your work less crucial at times? Remember those guys? RW the wonder kid? Lynch the beast behind the stars studded Oline? I’m sure you do.
Well Dan, you see, those guys I just mentioned, well…Let’s just say they are currently indisposed. Without getting into all the details about it, I am here to tell you they won’t be there on Sunday. As you might have already noticed – they were hardly there most of last Sunday but I know you were busy with your own problems and probably didn't pay that much attention to it. They won't be there this Sunday and may take a few weeks to get back. Here, I said it.
So, what I'm about to say Dan may be a bit unfair so early in your tenure with us but it has to be said so here goes:
THIS ONE IS ON YOU DAN.
There is no way to sugarcoat it. You'll need to win this one on your own. There won't be long breaks to laugh, high fives and cheers. You won't get the other team starting at their 20 or less for most of the game. Put the "prevent defense" plays in the drawer – you won't need them.
On Sunday you get to play Andrew Luck and his merry band of scorers on your own. There will be no one there to give a cushion. Every score your defense allows could be the one that lost it for us.
In other words – The first half of last Sunday cannot repeat itself.
Am I clear about it Dan? Do you understand what I am saying?
The only way we win this game with our current Oline minus Miller is by an outstanding defensive performance for 60 minutes. Not for 42 minutes or 30 minutes. 60 minutes of absolute top notch defensive play.
Let me make sure you understand the gravity of the situation Dan.
Winning the field position battle – That’s on you and your guys.
Keeping Luck and Colts off the scoreboard at their home - On you.
Winning the turnover battle – On you.
Do you follow me Dan?
You are on your own in this one.
If you and your guys allow the Colts to score 7 points more than you guys score we will lose this game. (and by "you guys" I mean the defense)
If you allow the Colts to be more than 7 points ahead at any time – We lose the game.
It’s your game to win or lose Dan.
I understand that dropping this on you a day before this game is not fair. I know this is not the position you prepared yourself and your guys to be in. I know it’s just your 5th game as a defensive coordinator in the NFL. I know how good the Colts are and I fully understand the magnitude of the task facing you. I know it all.
You have just 24 hours left Dan. It sounds like a TV special but it’s not. You have 24 hours to do everything you can and get your guys ready for the task at hand. I hope that last Sunday has charged them mentally for it. I hope it got them believing they can do anything because that’s exactly what I am asking them to do. They have to go out there and win this game. Usually the defense should make sure that we don't lose it and the offense should win it but not this time. Whatever is left of our offensive unit will undoubtedly put up a heroic fight. Many of them never dreamed to be starters on such a game and it will show. You can help them help you.
If you make sure they don't take the field knowing they need to score or come from behind they may be calm enough to not commit big errors. If you make them feel you have their back they might be able to avoid mistakes that will put your unit facing the colts with a short field ahead of them. Make them trust you and your guys, show them you have this one covered and they may do their best to make your job less difficult but don't count on them to win this one.
You see Dan, it’s like I told you at the beginning – THIS ONE IS ON YOU.
Now go get it. We believe in you.