3 Colts players that need to redeem themselves after Week 1
1. RT Braden Smith
The day before the Indianapolis Colts first game of the season they signed Quenton Nelson to a four-year $80 million contract extension with $60 million guaranteed. This showed their commitment to investing in their offensive line and the players they have drafted. In July of last year, they made a similar commitment to Braden Smith signing a four-year contract extension worth $72 million with $42 million guaranteed. Smith was not a $72 million right tackle in Week 1.
Smith started to show signs last season that he wasn’t worth the money and it happened again to start this season. He was supposed to be an anchor on that side of the line and provide stability and protection for Ryan. Instead, he got smoked by Jerry Hughes allowing him to sack Ryan twice and even intercept one of his passes. On the interception, Smith literally let him break off and snag the ball right as Ryan released it. At times, it seemed like Smith quit on plays before they were actually over and didn’t put forth much effort in the running game.
When you have Nelson on the left side of the line, there is little reason to run the ball anywhere else. Smith has to step up in Week 2 and redeem himself before Colts fans start clamoring more about his poor play. Indianapolis is trying to focus on the opposite side of the line with Matt Pryor and Bernhard Raimann splitting time. Ideally, you sprinkle in some new linemen amid the veterans that anchor this line. Instead, Smith was allowing breaks in protection which caused repercussions along the line with Danny Pinter having to help cover and Ryan Kelly having to fill in for Pinter.
Week 2 isn’t going to be any easier on Smith. In fact, it may be more difficult with Jacksonville’s quicker and younger defensive line. Travon Walker, the Jaguar’s first, first-round pick and number one overall selection, had one sack in his NFL debut to go with four tackles and one pass deflection. Jacksonville took Devin Lloyd with their second, first-round pick, 20th overall, and he led the team in tackles with 11 starting at the left-inside linebacker position. Smith has to redeem himself in Week 2 or it’s going to be a long season with Ryan taking some serious blows.