Peyton Manning didn't look good. He didn't look awful, but he didn't look good. Sometimes, in the regular season, he gets into what I call "pissy panic mode", which usually occurs when a receiver ****s up and then Peyton is subsequently thrown off his game by the ensuing error. He kinda did that a bit tonight. Too much trying to quick snap the defense, too many questionable throws. That said, I'm not surprised at his throw selection: mostly quick-hitters. Behind that OL, you better believe his first priority was not to hit the dirt.
- Oh, but I think he'll be alright this season. Might even start. Just a hunch.
Curtis Painter played markedly better, but let's not make too much of it either. He's not suddenly competent. The offense has now been outscored 76-7 when he's in the game. I'll hand it to him tonight, and Taj Smith finally showed up for him tonight too. But again, let's not make too much of it. It was one competent performance out of countless incompetent performances. Looked good tonight, but is hardly indicative.
Tim Hiller won't make the team but looked alright. Nice mobility. Passes fluttered a bit too much for my liking, and too much zip on a slant to Brandon James. You could do worse at QB3, but he really doesn't have a legitimate shot at QB2 and the Colts will only carry two QBs, so he'll be cut.
- The OL is an absolute mess. Christ. Tony Ugoh is just awful. Complete headcase with zero confidence and minimal on-field effort. The Colts were down to Jeff Linkenbach at guard, and as he's essentially the Dan Federkeil utility OL replacement...that's not a good thing. On the positive side, I really thought Ryan Diem looked good tonight. He was consistently good every drive.
Jamey Richard almost looks like he's reverted at center. Not that he was ever an elite player, but he was at least alright in Jeff Saturday's 2008 absence. Now he just looks pitiful at the position.
Marcus Stroud made him his bitch tonight.
Brody Eldridge is a legit TE. I bought into the notion that he was just a blocking TE, but the man has hands and can make yards after the play too. Should be fun to watch him compliment Dallas Clark this year.
- Blame Anthony Gonzalez on that pick-six all the way. Probably a wasted play on offense anyway (~2 yard gain if completed), but Gonzo missed the catch and deflected it (freakishly) back to the DB. Players and coaches can talk up Manning and Gonzo's timing all they want, but it looked off on a handful of plays tonight.
Joseph Addai is, and should be, the starting RB. He proved it last year and continues to prove it this year. Not a world-beater but just a tremendously well-rounded talent. Love what he can do as a receiver, and showed some nice burst and elusiveness tonight. Believe me, Addai has earned his two preseason TDs. The OL really hasn't given him **** to work with.
Donald Brown needs to start impressing. I'm sure he'll still enter the season as the RB2, but right now (even though I'm aware he did not play tonight), Mike Hart is a more consistent player. Brown is too tentative, too boom-or-bust, and he's not a consistent receiver. I honestly feel better with Hart in there right now. Brown still has a lot to prove in this league, despite certain NFL types talking him up as replacing Addai in the starting lineup.
Devin Moore, obviously, was the star of tonight's game. You would have liked to see him cash that one punt return for a TD, but he looked tremendous in all three phases he was featured in: punt returns, kick returns and running. Patient with great burst and some impressive moves out there. I'm a bit guarded because it seems like one Colt stands out every preseason as a returner and then doesn't really do much in the regular season, but Moore seems like the type that can justify his position on the team through more than simply being a returner. Aside from Addai, he's been the most impressive RB this preseason too.
Javarris James might be a PS candidate, but he needs to listen to Edge when Edge says his #1 priority should be protecting the QB. J. James looked pretty horrendous in pass protection tonight. He also goes down much easier than I would hope a player of his build would. I still think he's a player you can work with on the PS, though, and promote if you have a long-term injury to one of your RBs.
- The top four WRs (Gonzalez, Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Pierre Garcon) are locks. I really have no idea who gets the fifth, and potentially sixth, spot(s) though. Nobody has really stood out amongst the others. You would think Sam Giguere was the early favorite because of his previous roster experience, but he's done little to stand out. Smith will always give you a good preseason game or two, but that's nothing we haven't seen before and he's hardly proven himself a consistent player. Blair White looked fairly ordinary tonight, and Brandon James survives on the grace of his return prowess, not his (stone) hands. It's really difficult for me to say who is favored in that race. You could make an argument for any of those guys, really, and it would be hard to refute with a counter-argument for anyone else from that pool.
- Speaking of B. James, he looked very good on his first punt return but not so good on his second. It's hard to joystick your way around the NFL. Worked for Dante Hall for a season, but that's it. Moore tended to get north-south quicker and easier, B. James seemed to dance a bit more. Should be interesting to see who wins that battle, because (see note below) they are clearly the top two candidates. Wouldn't be shocked if both made the final roster though.
Ray Fisher might have played himself out of a returner spot today. Too much good competition around him, and that muffed punt was just brutal. No way that bodes well for him.
Pat McAfee continues to blast punts. Tonight, he added a new move to his arsenal: the throwdown. That's why this kid is a fan favorite. How can you not love his presence?
- Impressed with Pat Angerer on special teams. I don't know if he made any tackles, but that kid's gonna be a presence. He really flies down field and puts himself squarely in the action, patrols return lanes. I like his chances of being an impact special teams player this year.
Robert Mathis sure had a brutal whiff on C.J. Spiller's TD run tonight, but recovered nicely to send Trent Edwards begging his coach to pull him from the lineup. That TD run was just an ugly play altogether. Mathis whiffs, Ramon Humber is in terrible position to clean up, Jacob Lacey dives and grabs air, Bob Sanders is then in terrible position to clean up and ultimately Antoine Bethea makes a tackle worthy of a no-pad training camp practice. By makes a tackle, of course, I mean gets turned around and doesn't make a tackle.
- Also let's hit on that Lee Evans TD really quick. This is the second game in a row where a safety has completely blown coverage on a deep passing play. It was Bethea last week, and thankfully Vernon Davis proceeded to drop the ball. Bullitt is the goat this week, and I'm starting to wonder if maybe Coyer's system isn't quite fully ingrained yet. Aggressive is good, but maybe some of these guys are a bit too eager to jump those passing lanes. Two weeks in a row and we've seen the same thing.
- Other than those two plays, though, the starting defense looked fine. I think/hope they'll have their kinks ironed out by opening week, and they'd better if they hope to contain Andre Johnson. Antonio Johnson and Dan Muir get better every game I see them and really dominated the inside tonight; they're a good DT duo whether the NFL wants to admit it or not.
John Chick looked abysmal tonight. On one play, he actually beat his man and had a free shot at the QB. For some insane reason, instead of blindsiding the QB, he chose to run back into the LOS and engage a guard. Seriously. Did anyone else see this? The only thing I could think of is that he thought it was a running play. It was one of the top 10 retarded things I've ever seen a football player do. Also, at one point, Chick attempted Dwight Freeney's spin move to hilarious results. Lost balance and went rolling along the ground. Something tells me there's quite a talent differential between Chick and D-Free.
- On the other hand, I thought Ervin Baldwin had great presence out there and played big, deflecting a handful of passes. Ricardo Mathews also seemed to do this - to a lesser extent - while playing from a more inside position. Baldwin was consistently causing chaos, but some of that I think was due to the competition. I think Baldwin makes the team and is a solid snap-eater, but that OT he was beating up on looked awful.
- The defensive player that most stood out to me was Terrail Lambert. He was all over the place today, making tackles and deflecting passes, shoulda come up with a pick or two. He played a tremendous all-around game. Ray Fisher will get the highlights for a violent hit (even though he was positively Jennings-like in coverage all day), but Lambert was by the far the most impressive CB vying to make the squad.
- Somebody needs to teach Mike Newton how to wrap up. I like his energy and hustle, and he has the right idea. He just lowers the shoulder instead of wrapping up though. Sometimes, that works for tackling. But you gotta take the sure route. With Newton now infinitely more likely to make the squad as Jamie Silva heads to IR, it would behoove him to learn this little tip.
- Thanks for playing, Terrell Skinner. But no.
- Ditto James Williams. I swear, I saw a tear streaking down Williams' cheek after a false start. Yikes. Don't need any more Ugohs on this team.
Jerry Hughes has been absolutely invisible all preseason long. I've always maintained that he's a max 3-4 sack player who will probably step up later in the year like D-Free and Mathis, but you'd like to see at least a little game out of him. Nothing so far.
Marlon Favorite has been getting a lot of looks and might just have gone from "who the hell is that FA?" to firmly on the roster bubble. He's like a lesser Mookie.
- Last word: Jacob Tamme. I know Omaha hates him, but Tamme's never looked bad when in a ballgame. You just know, though, that the Colts probably won't need him. As long as Clark is on the field, he's redundant, and they're gonna like Eldridge more as a TE2. There just isn't really much room for Tamme in the gameplan. He's consistently proven himself to be a solid receiver, though, and I can see a situation where he goes on to another team post-Colts and becomes a modestly successful receiving TE. Hey, no matter your opinion, you can at least agree he's better than Gijon Robinson, who actually might be in danger of getting cut even though the Colts dropped Tom Santi earlier in the summer.
This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.
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