Under Review: Colts vs Saints


The Indianapolis Colts put in a disappointing performance against the new Orleans Saints last Saturday. While its the preseason, and therefore doesn’t count, its frustrating to watch this team fail to perform in the “dress rehearsal.”

The third preseason game is where you traditionally see the starters play for roughly half the game. If this performance is indicative of future games, this will be a long season.

We learned that the Saints are a much better team than the Jets or Giants and that the Colts have a long ways to go before being a consistently competitive team.

Here’s what stood out from Sunday’s game:

  • Trent Richardson is very average. When given space, he can string together solid runs that average more than 2.9 yards. This game will be pointed to as evidence that the offensive line is the issue, but Richardson is part of the problem too. In reality, Dan Herron has outplayed him and done it behind an inferior line. I wouldn’t mind seeing Herron get snaps with the first team offense at some point.
  • Andrew Luck still has off games. He wasn’t happy with his performance Saturday: “Disappointed in myself. A lot of mistakes. I know I made a lot of mistakes that need to be corrected if we’re going to have a chance to be a good offense.”
    • Luck should have thrown two interceptions and flat out missed a number of wide open players. It didn’t help that the pocket collapsed regularly.
    • The touchdown to Coby Fleener was beautiful. The Colts need to run tight ends on seam routes more often.
  • The defense is a mess. Chuck Pagano was brought in as head coach primarily because of his defensive pedigree. But the team had rarely produced on this side of the ball over the past two seasons (87 points in the playoffs). The bad tackling will be fixed, but players were simply out of position of far too many plays.
    • D’Qwell Jackson had a horrid game. He wasn’t effective in coverage or against the run (which is what he was brought in to do). Putting him in coverage alongside Kelvin Sheppard is a sure fire way to open up the middle of the field for opposing teams.
    • LaRon Landry is simply a bad safety. He’s an in-the-box safety when A) that isn’t really a thing in the NFL anymore, and B) the Colts need a coverage safety. Couple that with not having a quality starter at the other safety position, and this is going to be an issue all season long.
  • There were a few positives on defense. Bjoern Werner looks a lot better and will be a quality starter while Robert Mathis is out (and hopefully good enough to take Erik Walden‘s spot). Rookie Zach Kerr continues to impress in the preseason and has absolutely worked his way on to the final roster.

The Colts came out flat once again. It is becoming a disturbing trend. We keep seeing this team fail to show up early in a game, and then end up in a big hole (see: Playoffs vs Chiefs).

The playoff game against the Patriots proved that the Colts can’t have a slow start and hope Luck saves the day. This is a coaching issue where Pagano doesn’t have his team ready to play. Its easy to chalk this up to being a preseason game that doesn’t count, but we saw it happen far too often last season.

The offense will be about as successful as Luck can make it this season. It looks like they are firmly putting their faith in his hands, and that is exactly what needs to happen.

Defensively, this team looks like a mess. Mathis covered up a lot of problems with an unreal season last year, but there are concerns at a number of positions.

This could be a massive overreaction by me from one preseason game, but its a trend that has been around for awhile and bears watching. This might have been an isolated incident against a talented opponent, or a sign of things to come.