Last week the Colts came out and did something they rarely do; they won a preseason game. Not that the victory means anything, the Colts routinely go 0-4 in the preseason, but it did provide a brief glimpse of the 2009 Indianapolis Colts and what they are capable of.
Despite playing against many of the Eagles back ups and reserves, the Colts showed some really good things during the game. Unfortunately there were also some bad things as well. Today we’ll look at four positives and four … well … not so positives.
1) The Offense – Last Thursday Peyton Manning came out fired up, ready to play with an intensity rarely seen in the preseason. And boy did it show. The first team offense played amazing, driving the field and scoring touchdowns – via Manning’s arm – in two of the first three drives. Manning hit several recievers, including Dallas Clark, Joseph Addai, Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez – efficiently picking apart the Eagles defense in the process. If this were a regular season game, it would have been one of those contests where Manning thew for six touchdowns by the third quarter.
2) Jacobe Tamme – The second year tight end was a major point of the passing attack and it was good to see. After missing most of last season to injury, Tamme showed he’s still got the goods against the Eagles. Tamme hauled in five passes for 60 yards, creating a nice 12 yard average. He also just missed a touchdown pass from Manning, but had the ball ripped away as he fell to the ground. Tamme will be a nice end opposite Clark and will be another weapon on this high powered offense.
3) The Defensive Line – Without getting into the specifics, overall the defensive line looked very good against the Eagles. The starters were able to get some pressure on Donovan McNabb for the most part and Dwight Freeney was able to record a sack and force a fumble. Ed Johnson, Josh Thomas, and Fili Moala all had two tackles and combined the line helped hold the Eagles to a total of 23 rushing yards. If this unit continues to improve it will be a major upgrade from last season.
4) Shane Andrus – Ok, ok I know that no one cares about the back up kicker. None the less, Andrus has done a very admirable job filling in for Adam “I will destroy your will to live with my leg” Vinatieri. Andrus connected on field goals of 24 yards, 31 yards, and 41 yards. Not too shabby at all. It is doubtful that Andus will stay with the Colts, but hopefully he is doing enough for himself to land a starting gig somewhere in the NFL. Best of luck to him in the process.
1) The Special Teams Coverage – In many ways this has long been an Achilles heel for the Colts. We simply need to shed blocks, get to the ball carrier and tackle better. After looking good the week before, the special teams unit gave up several big returns. We can’t let the opponents start every drive on the 40 yard line. Enough said.
2) Pierre Garcon – Officially listed as the 3rd wide receiver on the depth chart, Garcon is not playing like it. He did have one catch for 12 yards, but that is compared to Austin Collie’s two grabs for 32 yards. Collie is emerging as the favorite for the slot position. Garcon also had a drop in the game on a WR screen play (that would have been at least a short gain) to go with a drop from game one. In my opinion, and I could be wrong, but things are not looking good for Garcon. A Yahoo article from last week says Garcon or Collie could be an impact player this year. My bets on Collie.
3) The Running Game – Not much to say here, only that it still needs to improve. After an impressive performance in game one, Donald Brown only managed five yards on three carries and starter Joseph Addai ran for 11 yards on two carries. Lance Ball totaled 48 yards on 19 carries in mop up duty late in the game. Short and simple, the run game needs to get better.
4) Chad Simpson – I hate to keep calling out individual players, especially since I like Simpson and was hoping he would make the roster, but he really did not do much in the game to help his cause. I was pulling for him to make the team as a 4th RB/KR, but it’s looking like his chances are dwindling. He only managed five yards on two rushes and zero yards on one catch. Even worse, he didn’t even get a chance to one back a kick. Not good for Mr. Simpson.
Hopefully these things improve, and much more, when we take on Matthew Stafford and the Lions this weekend!
And as always … GO COLTS !!!