Preseason 2008: Colts 16-Falcons 9

No other running back conjures up more horrible memories for the Colts than Michael Turner. Good God! Does this guy own the Colts defense or what? I mean, I damn near threw a goodbye party when Travis Henry smoked his way out of the NFL, because for years he tormented the Colts defense as well. But for some reason, I don't think Turner is as stupid as Travis "What's a condom?" Henry. Atlanta's new running back gained 113 yards on 4 carries. Two of those carries were runs of 52 and 63 yards. To Indy's credit, players like Marlin Jackson were able to run Turner down from behind and keep him, and Atlanta, out of the endzone. Consider also that Atlanta had 318 total yards of offense, with 1/3 of that on Turner's 4 carries.

P1_turner-ap_medium

Michael Turner: You haunt me.
Photo: AP: John Bazemor

I'm not ready to press any kind of panic button with the defense. This is pre-season. Guys are just coming back healthy. Anyone saying "OMG it's just like 2006" is just someone who enjoys worrying. This same group last year was very good against the run. Watching clips of the Turner runs tells me it is a communication thing (guys out of position, taking bad angles, attacking wrong gap, etc.). It is also impossible to judge this defense when it's two best players (Bob Sanders and Dwight Freeney) have not played at all. So relax. Chill. It's only pre-season.

Here are more observations:

  • Jim Sorgi was, once again, terrible. All this Sorgi post game love is just smoke and mirrors. I love how people are praising him for conducting a long drive, and that his quarterbacking left everyone with "a nice feeling." Cut the crap! Despite having arguably the most potent offensive weapons at his disposal in the entire NFL, Jim Sorgi failed to score a TD against a team that last year ranked 29th in scoring defense, giving up an average of 26 ppg. I'm sorry, but if Sorgi can't get this Colts team into the endzone under those conditions, HE CAN'T DO IT PERIOD! I'm not saying Quinn Gray or Jared Lorenzen have distinguished themselves much (because they haven't), but consider that those two guys have played a helluva lot better with the second and third string guys than Jim Sorgi ever did when he QBed the back-ups. Since Peyton is unlikely to return for next week's dress rehearsal game in The Lube, why not see what Quinn Gray can do throwing to Marvin Harrison? I'm tired of seeing Sorgi. He sucks, and if he makes this roster it is because he's got naked pictures of Chris Polian with a donkey, or something.
  • OMFG! Kenton Keith caught a pass last night! I did not see the play, but the box score clearly shows he caught a pass.

    Kkpass_medium

    I'm also told that he got a first down with that catch. Bravo Kenton! Ah, but one problem: K2 was playing with the fourth stringers. That does not bode well for last year's primary back-up to Joseph Addai. PhilB noticed it as well:

    Based on the substitution patterns, Mike Hart looks like he's got a spot on this team as a running back. Same with Garcon as a receiver/returner. That doesn't bode well for running back Kenton Keith and wide receiver Devin Aromashodu, among others. Clifton Dawson even played before Keith.
    Bye-bye Kenton. We all have pretty much known for months that you are getting cut. You run like a demon, dude. But RBs in this league must catch the football. If they can't, they're garbage. Utter garbage.
  • I'm going to do a lot of special teams praising in this recap. So please, bear with me. Writers like Colts Homer, the Zombie bros, and bamock have done great jobs recapping the offense and defense. So, I feel as though I'm just treading over what's already been said if I state that Mike Hart looked good again (which he did) or Marcus Howard was a 5th round steal (which he was).
  • Pierre Garcon did some good things returning punts and kicks. His 27 yard kick return (his only one of the night) showed me something. Between Garcon and T.J. Rushing, who has been very impressive in camp and pre-season, the Colts might have a couple of  good returners for 2008. Those are potent weapons for a team that sports a scary offense. 
  • Nice to see the defense generating turnovers. 5 turnovers, including 2 INTs for Brannon Condren and 1 INT for Kelvin Hayden, who returned it for the game's only TD. The play looked very similar to his Super Bowl 41 prance into the endzone. The defense also did not allow a TD, and was getting good pressure all night.
  • Despite jumping offsides a lot, Curtis Johnson did some good things last night. Colts Homer was especially impressed. Johnson needs to make a name for himself rushing the passer though. Stopping the run is great, but guys like Josh Thomas are very good at stopping the run. Indy needs pass rushers.
  • As bad as Indy's starting offense looked last night, at least it wasn't as bad as Jacksonville's or Tennessee's. Jacksonville's offense was shut out well into the third quarter in its pre-season game against Miami Saturday, with the passing game looking particularly dreadful. And Tennessee? Well, let's just say the natives are getting restless with Vince Young (aka they are booing him at home). Vince went 4-13 for 37 yards against the Raiders, and it could have been worse; the Raiders dropped a couple of gimme INTs. As bad as Sorgi has played, at least he hasn't been Vince Young bad. On the flip-side, Houston's offense looked impressive.
  • More Adam Vinatieri love: The guy is destroying his kickoffs. His next one might make a sonic boom, or hit the Met Life blimp, or something. Adam had 4 of his 5 kickoffs go into the endzone, and one was a touchback. He also had a FG.
  • For the third straight game, the Colts special teams coverage units looked damn good. I talked to MasterRWayne after the game, and he said it best. This kind of stuff is something you can walk away with in pre-season. If your special teams are good in pre-season, chances are they will be good in the regular season, because the same guys playing now will play when the games matter.
  • Jacob Tamme = stud. I think he just passed Gijon Robinson on the depth chart.
  • That was 5 WR look I saw in the game, with an empty backfield. Nice play design, Tom Moore!
  • Good to see Indy using the reverse with Dallas Clark. I'd like to see them run it with Marvin or Gonzo. Heck, maybe even Matt Giordano could com in and run it.

All in all, the areas that were weaknesses last year (special teams, pass rush, depth at WR) have continued to look strong in pre-season. Next week we'll get a much better gauge when the Defensive Player of the Year and The Fright return from the PUP.

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