The Indianapolis Colts have started the season 0-3 for the first time in a decade, and the frustrations are beginning to show through as the team quickly stares down the barrel of a lost season.
Dropping their third straight to open the season in a lackluster 25-16 loss against the division-leading Tennessee Titans, linebacker Darius Leonard vented some of those frustrations in a postgame interview on Sunday.
“It sucks. That sucks. Especially being a true competitor, that sucks. That sucks being 0-3. This is a sick taste in my mouth,” Leonard said. “When you talk about 1-0, 1-0, but damn, we got to get 1-0 and we got to get there soon.”
The Colts haven’t particularly looked like a team ready to compete for the top spot in the division. They’ve been bitten by the injury bug all over the roster, but their execution in situational football leaves much to be desired.
Part of that falls on the defense and its inability to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. It also falls on Leonard, the $100 million linebacker leading a defense that can’t consistently get off the field on third down.
The defense that prided itself on being “bend-but-don’t-break” has been breaking far too often and far too easily.
“Pissed. If you don’t hang your head that means you don’t give a damn. If you’re a true competitor walking off that field, if you don’t hang your head and understand that this hurts, you don’t need to be in that locker room,” Leonard said. “I don’t care about people talking about hold your head up high. Sometimes you’ve got to understand that something is going on and we’ve got to find out what is going wrong, and we got to find a way to get a victory. Until then, we are sticking together but it hurts. It is what it is.”
Leonard’s game was up and down against the Titans on Sunday. He nabbed an interception late in the first quarter that helped spark the offense’s first touchdown of the day.
He was also responsible for a touchdown in the fourth quarter—the eventual dagger—as the flat defender on a third-and-10 play that resulted in Titans running back Jeremy McNichols easily finding his way into the endzone on a reception.
The Colts are battered and bruised. Their ego is hurting after so much hype and praise this offseason from the national media. It’s a frustrating time in the Colts locker room.
And until they get better play from leaders like Leonard, those frustrations will continue throughout the season.