Colts at Eagles: Preseason Under Review


After an encouraging two weeks in training camp, the Indianapolis Colts opened up the 2015 season with an ugly loss. The Philadelphia Eagles rolled the Colts 36-10 in the preseason opener.

Yes, it wasn’t a pretty game but Andrew Luck  played just 11 snaps and the game is essentially meaningless. The good news is that Luck looked very good in those limited plays, and that was without two of his weapons on the field (T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief).

Since 2004, the Colts are 11-35 in the preseason and 122-54 in the regular season (with an additional 10 playoff wins). Nothing to worry about whatsoever. The Colts are using these games to work on specific issues and evaluate their depth. The Detroit Lions were 4-0 in the preseason back in 2008 and went 0-16 in the regular season.

The Colts didn’t game plan for the Eagles (most team’s in the preseason don’t) and went out with specific things they wanted to work on. Couple that with the unique nature of Philly’s offense (the spread) and sweltering 90-plus degree heat and any team would have fallen apart.

The most important thing with any preseason game is to get through it without injuries, which didn’t quite happen for the Colts (although neither injury appears to be long term).

Here are our takeaways from Sunday’s game:

The Good

  • Josh Robinson. The rookie was as good as advertised. His running style (read: tackle breaker) is tough to gauge in camp and to see him churn out some tough runs. Over half of his yards came after contact and he definitely earned more carries next week against the Bears.
  • Phillip Dorsett. He played 41 snaps and was targeted eight times, hauling in four for 51 yards. The fumble was an unfortunate result of not tucking the ball away while a defender made a great play to knock it loose. That is incredibly easy to fix and I would wager he’s already realized the mistake and will work to correct it.
  • The Stanford Defenders. Nose tackle David Parry and defensive end Henry Anderson both had impressive debuts in the NFL. Parry was credited with three stops and two QB pressures. Anderson was better against the run, often moving his blocker out of position and forcing the ball carrier to make a premature cut.
  • Pat McAfee. It is highly unlikely that he’ll be punting that many times in a single game this season (eight on Sunday) but it is certainly good to see him booming the ball down field. The punt returned for a TD was not a case of outkicking his coverage, but rather four blown tackles. And there’s no way in hell that McAfee would risk injury to try and stop the return man in a meaningless preseason game.

The Bad

  • Matt Hasselbeck. If you’ve been to camp, this shouldn’t be that surprising but Hasselbeck looks like he’s completely done. It isn’t just that he was playing mostly with backups, his reads are slow and his ball placement isn’t that great. But he wasn’t nearly as bad a Bryan Bennett who completely fell apart (I’d say more about Bennett, but he’s a camp QB and will be cut soon).
  • Tackling. Whiff after whiff. Horrible angles. Fundamental flaws. A lot of this came from players who won’t be on the roster in a few weeks, but we even saw starting corner Greg Toler miss badly on a tackle (even with the pass too high and the receiver setup for a big hit). Some of this can be fixed in film study, and it will something to watch going forward during the preseason.
  • Coby Fleener. Another drop, drink. Fleener gets a rough rap from fans and analysts. He needs to raise his consistency and catch the easy passes. There are times when he doesn’t appear to be focused and gives up on routes, gets confused or tries to look up field before completely tucking in the pass. He’s still valuable to the offense, but it’s time for him to really put it all together.
  • D’Joun Smith. The rookie has had a rough training camp and really needs to get some reps against live opponents. Unfortunately he suffered a concussion after just eight snaps and had to be helped off the field. He didn’t really get to make an impact but he also wasn’t a liability. Hopefully he can fully recover from this setback.

The Confusing

  • Zurlon Tipton. It felt an awful lot like the coaches were trying to get Tipton killed on the field. He played the majority of the game with Frank Gore and Dan Herron out and really didn’t look good. It certainly didn’t help that the run blocking was suspect, but Tipton didn’t do much with the space he was given. He was on the field for 39 snaps and had 16 carries, a lot of work for one preseason game.