Well boys and girls we’re half way to the end of preseason. Less than 3 weeks until the games count; and, we’re finally getting closer to some real damn football. So, on this glorious day of only having 2 preseason games left, I thought it might be fun to hit on a few notes from the game against the Giants. I won’t touch OLine because 1st Fan of Lucks has promised us another excellent recap about it. I won’t hit too many negative points because our lovely BcB will most like replicate another report this week as well. And, I am sure that a variety of other SB faithful will post on the points that I miss or leave out. For which, let me first say that, I am very grateful that we have so many dedicated fans that help illuminate in a multitude of light how our boys’ are standing at the moment. Its great to see so many people involved with so many different perspectives.
Where’s the fun in writing a fanpost if you don’t hit on the more controversial players right out of the box? [Drum roll please……..] Erik Walden has finally shed some light on why the Colts brought him in. I must add a disclaimer that, in order to talk football, we must take his contract out of the picture. If someone would like to write an article full of that foreign language front office people speak, by all means, go for it. My goal for this article is purely football. As such, Walden is our hard-nosed edge setting OLB that, turns out, can play some ball. Many have questioned his pass rushing ability; for which, I recommend watching tape (or even highlights) of his time in Green Bay. From my perspective, Walden is the poster boy for"almost but no cigar" of pass rusher from the strong side. Many times when he takes the edge, he almost gets the QB. Why doesn’t he? The QB steps up due to a lack of interior pressure and Walden looks like a buffoon that was driven too deep by the offensive tackle. What happen in the Giants game? Our DLine got interior pressure, Eli couldn’t step up and instead tried to evade by keeping his tackle between him and Walden, and Walden got a massive sack. This, my friends, will occur more often than not if our interior DLine continue to stop a QB from stepping up on Walden’s rushes.
Does this mean I am believer in Walden as a pass rusher? Nope. He is a one trick pony. From what I saw, his bull rush is saddening, his inside tact gets him lost in the crowd, and he doesn’t get off blockers well until he gets his blocker "out-angled" – which is most commonly done when taking the edge. But, from our strong side OLB, and Walden’s previous reputation, I’ll take it. I was very impressed by his edge setting abilities. He is solid when doing it. Not great. Won’t make too many plays by throwing his blocker and grabbing the RB (See Werner below). But, he will force guys back inside to our play making ILBs. That said, he has a lot of areas to improve on, but this game helped illustrate why Grigs thought he was important to bring in to replace Mathis at strong side OLB( and allow us to shift Mathis over to our Rush backer).
Speaking of Mathis the quick note, that I remember, is how he looked setting the edge. At least in the first series, he did very well in setting the edge. There were a few moments I thought he was a different player by what he did. Looks like our good ole vet has learned a few new tricks. It is definitely an area to be worked on, but he has shown improvement. And, I hope he can continue to build off what he did in that first series.
Speaking of first series for our defense. What the hell happened on that huge run in the middle? Of all places… the middle? You mean where Conner, Sheppard, and Franklin were?..... Those three are good ball players but damn… I cannot wait to get Freeman healthy and hopefully the 2011 Angerer back… I would love to see Chapman, Freeman, and Angerer in the middle f*cking sh*t up. But, I digress… I don’t have DVR and wasn’t able to replay that run over a few times, and I was paying attention to what Mathis & Walden were doing, so I am not really sure what happened, but it was not the brightest moment of our run defense that game. And, while I would like to say our run defense was pretty good holding the Giants to 95 rushing yards (According to the NFL Box scores); the Colts do have 3 elite (maybe 4 if you consider Tate elite) RBs in the division that are heavily relied on. If Wilson (who is on his way to becoming great/elite) can rip one off like that through the middle, so can MJD, Foster/Tate, and CJ. Area to improve? Definitely. But, bad plays do happen; and our boys didn’t allow a TD from it, or all night. Last on this note, when have we ever kept a team with good RBs to less than 100 rushing yards in a game? A nice change even if it is only preseason
Next player to hit on my list is Werner (yes, I am bias to LBs)…. Damn that boy can play. His rookie debut was electric and full of potential. I love what I saw. He can pass rush a QB, he can set the edge, he can shed blocker, I can’t remember seeing him in coverage but hell that normally is a tough transition for LBs like him anyhow. As promised above, I am going to do a bit of a comparison between edge setters. Walden will always take on his blocker, force the RB inside, and his job is done. If the RB manages to bounce it because the inside gets slammed too soon (yes, too soon can happen), then let’s hope either a) a MLB scraped or b) our safety is coming down like a bat outta hell… This is why Walden is a solid edge setter. Now an elite edge setter does all that, but when a RB tries to bounce it, he sheds his blocker faster than cutting melted butter (yes I went there), and tackles the RB for a 4 yard loss. That is what Werner did, and to me, that speaks volumes about his potential. He *will* be an elite OLB (Rush or Strong). He needs two things to become so: Experiences & Coaching. Luckily with how he played last night, he will continue to get experiences. And, for coaching? Ehhh we have this guy named Mathis. He is kind of good. Just a little… little as in future HoF candidate; whom I might add is a very vocal leader looking for a replacement partner in crime… Yeah… Sh*t is better than cake.
And for the last defender I will mention: Toler…. He wins some. He loses some. And, he steals candy from WRs. This guy was a great pick up. Health pending, he will be a heart stopping CB. We will love him for some plays and hate him for others. But, he is a important cog in the machine. And, this machine we call a secondary could be top 5 in the league, under Pagano, if Davis, Toler, Butler, Bethea, and Landry say healthy. Furthermore, I don’t think that PI call was justifiable. He did get there a bit early, but he was always playing the ball. He never really looked at his guy, he was purely, in my opinion, going for the ball. Nonetheless, our red zone D is good. 4 (5 in regular season since Coughlin wouldn’t of gone for it on 4th down) field goals. 12 (15) instead of 21(28) points is big. So big, it meant we didn’t get beat by 1(8) point/s.
Alright, time to wrap up this novel with a few offensive guys. Time in the system has been good for DHB. His hands were hot. Great to see during a game. Fleener… high hopes, slowly sinking. This guy has potential to be great; luck [no pun intended] has just not been on his side. He is a developmental guy. No other way to put it. I hope he does develop; but, pre-injury it was not a strong showing. I became a big Fleener fan after watching college tape on him, but he needs to not look so lost. Mistakes? They are going to happen. Lost puppy? Take it to the pound… Still, jury isn’t in just yet on Fleener as some guys just need more time to transition. I hope he comes back from this injury on fire and lights up the field. TY = Damn. No words. This kid is a monster. Please lord let him stay healthy week after week. Reggie Wayne = Reggie Wayne. What was that quote from the new(ish) Alice in Wonderland? (To paraphrase) He thinks of X number of crazy ideas that are impossible to do; and then he f-ing does them! Dude is crazy. I love it. We have been blessed to have him as a Colt. And ,last… I saw a comment somewhere (and sorry I can’t remember who said it to give them credit), but does power running mean we use a fullback and still get no yards? Tough day for our RB core. Hopefully in week 1 they can keep moving forward. A lot to work on, and Bradshaw will be a much needed return.
Unfortunately the novel needs to end here, but there are important honorable mentions to note: Chapman (Nasty Mammoth), Pagano (Fire in his eyes this time), Pep (most of the play calling was good, some was not), Rayford (Big Man, Good Results), Howell (good safety depth), RJF (Solid), Nevis (Fast as hell), Luck (we all know he’s great, I don’t need to write a novel to tell people that), and last but not least Harnish’s attempt to hit on Pam Oliver. Next time just walk over and say hi, don’t hit her with the ball…. THERE ARE BETTER WAYS TO MAKE AN ENTRANCE..... Good luck next time Buddy... Keep your chin up.
Thank you for reading another Chapman Will Hug You’s novel. I swear it started off as a short post and escalated quickly from there. Colts are looking loaded, dangerous, and full of potential. There is a lot of work left to do. A lot of timing left to gain. And, a lot of ropes to sweat in order to keep the sails tight. But, two more preseason games to get to a level where we will beat the Raiders. And, then it’s week by week from there on out until that glorious parade in Indy for winning that trophy. Keep the monster hungry. #ColtStrong