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Jim Irsay on Colts: “We have to be able to be a tougher team”

Jim Irsay

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in Indianapolis. The Colts will play the Denver Broncos in a divisional playoff football game on Sunday. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


The Colts keep making progress, getting a step deeper into the playoffs in each of Andrew Luck’s three seasons.

But as has become evident by their annual thrashings at the hands of the Patriots, there’s clearly something missing, and Colts owner Jim Irsay saw in full display in last night’s 45-7 loss in the AFC Championship Game.

“When you get to this level, this championship level, we have to be able to be a tougher team,’’ Irsay said, via Mike Chappell of RTV6 in Indianapolis. “We have to be able to stop the run. We can’t turn it over.

“What’s missing is trying to continue to bring in a team that I talked about, which is a really tough defensive team. A team that can run the ball and surround Andrew with that.’’

Of course, that would be easier if the players they spent to provide that toughness could actually play. Their 2014 first-rounder went to Cleveland for ineffective running back Trent Richardson. Their 2013 first-rounder was used on pass-rusher Bjoern Werner, who was a healthy scratch last night.

Yet Irsay sees progress.

“Tonight it’s hard to feel the appreciation, but it’s there when you take in the whole season,’’ Irsay said. “We’re really disappointed. We knew this was a measuring stick that we wanted to get over, and we didn’t.

“We just didn’t have it tonight and I know how empty that feels. However, we’re not that far away. We’re close.”

But until Luck can learn to beat Brady, it might not matter how close.