Indianapolis Colts: 3 players we desperately need more from in Week 2
By Adam Weinrib
Unless Indianapolis Colts fans enjoyed the sweet smell of defeat on Sunday afternoon in the long-awaited home opener against Seattle, they’re going to need myriad improvements prior to Week 2.
The schedule gods have gifted Indy with a second consecutive NFC West Super Bowl contender, as the Rams — led by Aaron Donald — come to town.
That’s not a joke. That’s really what the NFL decided to do to us.
OK, so … take a deep breath. Regroup. Week 1 looked bleak for the vast majority of the contest, with Indy’s energy level often looking one step behind their counterparts. Seeming a step slow in the NFL can be a death sentence, and judging by the number of unfinished defensive plays that allowed Russell Wilson to make magic, there was clearly a disconnect between both teams’ ability to execute and persevere.
With the Rams coming off a rudimentary dispatching of the Bears, one of those rare NFL games everyone predicted properly from start to finish, the Colts can’t take a step back to reassess the situation. Even a single step forward probably won’t be enough to avoid an 0-2 hole.
Keeping everything we’ve heard in mind this week, these are the three players (ok, fine, we got liberal with it) who we must see more from when the curtain rises again.
These 3 Colts players must show us more against the Los Angeles Rams.
3. Julién Davenport, Eric Fisher (?), Braden Smith, Ryan Kelly, and Whoever Else is Responsible for Keeping Carson Wentz Off the Turf
Did you all have fun keeping the Seahawks’ pass rush at bay? Not really? Good, because here comes Aaron Donald.
PFF’s seventh-ranked offensive line to end 2020 was bound to take a step back of sorts without Anthony Castonzo this season, and with Eric Fisher waiting in the wings at some point to theoretically breathe some life back into the unit.
Fisher might be plotting an ill-advised return this week, which sounds like an extremely unpleasant time to come back from injury. Imagine returning to the office from a week’s worth of sick days, then immediately being told you’re giving a three-hour presentation to Jeff Bezos? And it’s a presentation on something you, like, don’t even know and he definitely does. A presentation on Amazon’s corporate history.
His Week 1 fill-in, Julién Davenport, played below-replacement-level football in Fisher’s stead, allowing two sacks and six pressures in 48 pass block opportunities. Davenport has never been a starter in this league, and came to Indy fresh off ruining Josh Rosen’s preseason during his final shot to make the Miami Dolphins last year, so he settled in as an easy target for scorn. It would be simple to solve this issue if he were the OL’s only problem during their first loss.
Alas, he wasn’t.
Braden Smith wasn’t himself. Ryan Kelly didn’t seem up to speed after missing several weeks of camp nursing an elbow injury. Quenton Nelson also showed up late to the party in this one.
For Indy to be successful, this line has to be a good-to-great unit, with or without Castonzo. As Kelly said in Sunday’s postgame, they were so bad they allowed Wentz to show his toughness Week 1, but not much else. That must change.