The conclusion of the 2021 season for the Indianapolis Colts has been dissected all summer over and over again. But defensive tackle DeForest Buckner summarized the season bluntly while speaking to reporters on the first day of 2022 training camp.
“Excuse my language, but we s*** the bed last year,” Buckner said according to NFL senior writer Zak Keefer of The Athletic.
As all Colts fans know at this point, Indianapolis was a win away from the postseason with the last-placed Jacksonville Jaguars on the schedule in Week 18 last year. But the Colts lost that game, 26-11, to miss the playoffs.
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Motivation, Pressure to Win in 2022 Season
The loss to Jacksonville hurt everyone in the Colts organization — from owner Jim Irsay all the way down the ladder. Publicly, different members of the Colts have dealt with the defeat differently, but it’s pretty clear that it will be a motivating factor heading into the 2022 season.
When the team met for the very first time during the 2022 offseason in April, Colts head coach Frank Reich wasn’t quite as blunt as Buckner about the loss to Jacksonville, but addressed it.
“Can’t change it, wouldn’t change it,” Reich told the team in a meeting according to Keefer. “Because we’re a better team now. We’re going to be in a better position.”
Even quarterback Matt Ryan, who was still on the Atlanta Falcons when the Colts suffered the heartbreaking loss to the Jaguars, shared the same sentiment when making a guest appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on April 27.
“In order to win playoff games, in order to win championships, it takes a hard mindset,” Ryan said. “It takes a callous team.”
There’s going to be pressure on the Colts to redeem themselves this season, especially against the Jaguars, but Reich talked about that this offseason too.
“Naturally, there’s pressure to win. That’s the way it should be. That’s what you sign up for,” Reich said. “We all know what you have to do and we all know what happens if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do.
“This is the NFL, your job security is day to day. When you sign up as a head coach, you know that, you embrace that, you welcome that.”
More than anything, there’s pressure to win in Indianapolis because of higher expectations from the arrival of more great players such as Ryan, Yannick Ngakoue and Stephon Gilmore.
Facing Demons in Jacksonville
With that rematch so early in the season, the result could go a long way in forming the complexion of the 2022 campaign for the Colts.
Based on his very honest assessment of the 2021 season, Buckner will likely be motivated to be at his best this fall.