I had to post it.....couldn't help myself.....
Yesterday was my first Colts game as a season ticket holder in 29 years. That’s right, the last game I went to as a season ticket holder was on October 16, 1983 when the Colts were destroyed by the Bills 30-7 in a battle of teams atop the AFC East. This loss was far overshadowed by the Baltimore Orioles winning the World Series later that afternoon. But this write-up is not about the past – it’s about the present and the future…….which leads me to today’s 38-7 victory by the Andrew Luck led Colts over the St. Louis Rams.
Look, it’s preseason. I get it. Still, I would rather win 38-7 than lose 38-7. The team played really well in all phases of the game. Did the Colts play perfect? No. Did they play really, really good? Yes. I spent some time really watching certain players to assess their contribution in week 1 of the preseason. Here are my observations:
Dominique Jones – I really like what this guy brings to the team. He started on the first offensive play of the game as a wing back and threw a nice block to free up Donald Brown on his touchdown scamper. He also caught 1 pass for 22 yards. I know that Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen will be the feature tight-ends. However, I think Jones can be a 3rd tight end and blocking fullback. I watched him at camp last Sunday and he was a guy who impressed me with his pass catching and overall aggressiveness. Let’s see if he can stick
Vick Ballard – I like this kid. He is quick, strong and makes some really nice moves with the ball. Where Delone Carter can be more of a between the tackles power back, I see Ballard as a good second option (or 3rd option) to Donald Brown and/or Mewelde Moore. Ballard has lots of potential and I see him as one of four RBs we will keep (along with Brown, Moore and Carter).
Darren Evans – When I saw him at camp, I was really impressed with his size. That said, if we need a big blocking, I would rather see us keep a more versatile Dominique Jones than Darren Evans. He ran hard today although the fumble didn’t help. I do not think Evans makes the final 53.
Receivers – Yes, Collie and and Brazill dropped passes which should have been caught. That said, I would give the receiving group an A- for the day. I really liked what I saw from Brazill, Cosby, Ross, Hilton, and Adams. Now, it will be very hard for guys like Ross and Adams to make this team, but they showed quite a bit today and could catch on with another team (if they are not signed to the practice squad).
Defensive Line – It’s hard not to be impressed with the front 3 of our D-line. Even without Cory Redding, guys like Ricardo Mathews and Drake Nevis did a nice job stuffing the run. The Rams rushed the ball 24 times for only 68 yards!!!! Considering our past swiss cheese defensive line, I was very happy today.
Linebackers – The linebacker of the game has to be Jerry Hughes who came away with 4 tackles including 2 sacks. This is great to see. I’m not too hyped about it yet, but it’s easy to see how he could fit better into the 3-4 defense. His development would be a huge up-lift for the defense. I really liked what I saw from several linebackers including Jerrell Freeman (seems to be all over the place), Mario Addison (good QB pressure – is it enough to make the final 53?) and Moise Fokou (another guy who was all over the place).
Secondary – Not too bad. Justin King started and while I felt he gave a little too much room to his receivers, he was quick to the ball and came away with 6 solo tackles. Others that stood out included D.J. Johnson (very aggressive) and Cassius Vaughn (no surprise). I thought the safeties played extremely well today. They weren’t tested too often, but even the pass interference call against Jermale Hines was questionable. The coverage was really good.
There are probably many more positives that I could write about, but I want to go back and watch the game on television. I’ll add additional thoughts later. As of now, my final 53 are:
QB (3) – Luck, Stanton and Harnisch
RB (4) – Brown, Moore, Ballard, Carter
TE (4) – Fleener, Allen, Jones, (one of Andre Smith or Kyle Miller)
WR (6) –Wayne, Collie, Brazill, Crosby, Avery, Hilton
OL (8) - Satele, Linkenbach, Reitz, Costanzo, McGlynn, Olsen, Justice, Tepper
DL (6) – Moala, Redding, Nevis, Johnson, McKinney, Mathews
LB (8) – Angerer, Freeman, Freeney, Conner, Mathis, Hughes, Fokou, (one of Addison or Lloyd)
CB (7) – Vaughn, J. King, B. King, Powers, (3 of Lindsey, T. Johnson, D.J. Johnson, Rucker)
S (4) – Bethea, Lefeged, Zbkowski, (1 of Caldwell or Newton)
ST (3) – Snow, McAfee, Vinateri