clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Stampede Blue Tweetbag: Landry, Moncrief, the Defense, and More

New, comments

Stampede Blue's Josh Wilson answers questions about the Colts submitted via twitter.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Answering your twitter questions about the Colts:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> Do you think Pagano will budge and move some O-line pieces around? I&#39;d love to see Holmes and Shipley in there.</p>&mdash; Samuel Mason (@____Mason____) <a href="https://twitter.com/____Mason____/status/526909430517227520">October 28, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I don't think we're really going to see any lineup changes right now based on Sunday's game, and it's simply because that's one game out of eight we've seen so far.  It sucked, yeah, but there's much more that goes into those moves than just one game.  What that one game did, however, was show us some of the holes that we already figured the Colts had - one of which, as you mentioned, was the offensive line.  Through the first seven games of the year, the offensive line was actually one of the biggest surprises and it was great to see.  There were moments, sure, but I think it was hard not to be impressed with the line based on what the expectations were.  On Sunday, however, the protection for Luck was awful.  But let's not panic after just one game - so far this season the line had been doing well.  The Steelers showed us some weaknesses in the line, sure, but we all kind of figured they were still there anyway.  What the Steelers were able to do was play in a passing situation on every down because of their lead.  They knew the Colts were passing, and Dick LeBeau dialed up some nice blitzes.  That doesn't excuse the poor blocking, but I don't think it's time to panic yet.  Besides - who's to say that Khaled Holmes is better?  I don't think he is, and I would have big concerns about starting him at this point.  And while A.Q. Shipley played well early on, I think Jonotthan Harrison has shown a lot of potential and could be the center of the future.  I don't think we'll see any offensive line changes, nor do I think any should happen, following the loss.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> is Moncrief going to move ahead of Nicks when Wayne returns? Would like to see Hilton, Wayne, Moncrief set.</p>&mdash; Kyle (@KRJindy) <a href="https://twitter.com/KRJindy/status/526910527365062656">October 28, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I hope so.  Really, that's all I can say.  Chuck Pagano really hasn't said much on the topic other than that the Colts are happy to have those receivers and that they all work hard.  I think on Sunday we saw clearly that Moncrief is the better option.  He caught 7 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown, while Nicks caught one pass for 27 yards.  Moreso, Nicks and Luck clearly don't have much timing down at all.  They're not on the same page one bit, and that's made worse by the fact that Nicks has struggled to create separation on his routes.  Moncrief, while not great, shows the potential that he can be.  He's one of the few options the Colts have to stretch the field (along with T.Y. Hilton).  He's just a better all-around option for the Colts than Hakeem Nicks and I think the Colts absolutely need to give him more and more playing time and Nicks less and less playing time.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> You More concerned about the pass rush or O-Line?</p>&mdash; Steven Pearlstein (@SPearlstein2) <a href="https://twitter.com/SPearlstein2/status/526910571409862656">October 28, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I'm more concerned about the pass rush (or lack thereof).  We saw a pass rush explode in the five-game winning streak, which gave hope, but that pass rush was largely manufactured.  Not to take anything away from the players, but the schemes and play calls of the coaching staff (namely Greg Manusky) helped the Colts get pressure.  On Sunday, I think we saw what happens when either the Colts can't blitz to try to create pressure and when the Colts' blitz fails.  We saw both of them and neither were good.  What the Colts lack is a star pass rusher, and as a result they've had to manufacture pressure.  It has worked in many games this year, but we know there will be games like the one we saw on Sunday, where the Steelers took advantage of the Colts' scheme.  The Colts offensive line was bad, yes - but I think they've been playing good this year and also I think we saw that, though we don't like to see it, Luck can play under pressure like he did against Pittsburgh.  To me, the lack of the pass rush is something that is a much bigger concern for the Colts moving forward.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> you hear anything about big trades?</p>&mdash; Willie Amos (@therealwillamos) <a href="https://twitter.com/therealwillamos/status/526912153090260992">October 28, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The trade deadline is this afternoon at 4 p.m. eastern time.  And at the moment, there's nothing imminent for the Colts or nothing even much in the works, from what I have heard.  I would be very surprised if they make a trade.  They're moving into a mode of collecting draft picks instead of trading them away, and I don't expect any trades.  With Ryan Grigson we can never rule it out, but I don't expect it at all.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> yeah. What happens to Landry?</p>&mdash; Heath Matthias (@HMATTHIAS) <a href="https://twitter.com/HMATTHIAS/status/526909614835503105">October 28, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

That's a great question.  We'll have more on this throughout the day today, so stay tuned, but here are my thoughts - LaRon Landry was terrible this year before his suspension.  Sergio Brown, while nothing great, has been solid when starting for the Colts and has brought energy to the defense.  I'll take that any day, and if it were up to me Brown should be starting.  But it's not up to me, and I have a feeling that Landry will end up getting his starting spot back soon, whether Monday night or after the bye.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> Steelers went max protect and killed us on 3rd downs. With a pass rush that is smoke and mirrors, how can we adjust?</p>&mdash; Dennis Hawkins (@Eltoast0) <a href="https://twitter.com/Eltoast0/status/526918619683250176">October 28, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

That's a great question, and unfortunately there's no easy answer.  If you're the Colts you have to hope that Vontae Davis and Greg Toler can stay healthy.  With those two guys in there, the Colts can take a few more risks in the secondary to try to get to the passer.  I'm still not sure it would have worked on Sunday, but it will work most weeks.  There will be games like the one against the Steelers where the Colts can't get pressure, and that's something the Colts are stuck with due to their not having a star pass rusher.  But with what they have, Greg Manusky needs his two corners to stay healthy and stay out there so that he can leave them in man coverage while sending others to rush the quarterback.  Like I said - I'm still not sure that would have worked on Sunday.  But it'll work more often than not - just like it did in the past five weeks.  Ultimately, I think that the Colts can manufacture enough pressure to win - but it's not easy and it likely won't be consistent.  Hopefully, guys like Davis and Toler can stay healthy, as that gives the defense the best chance at getting to the quarterback.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/Coltsfanwilson">@Coltsfanwilson</a> are the Colts &quot;exposed&quot; on defense? How do they handle a team going 4 or 5 wide and spreading them out?</p>&mdash; Brandon VanDyke (@b_random1021) <a href="https://twitter.com/b_random1021/status/526921504056147969">October 28, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I'm glad you asked the question of whether the Colts were "exposed."  I think that perhaps they were a bit, but let's also remember that we've watched eight games and Sunday's game was only one of them.  What we saw on Sunday doesn't negate what we saw in the previous five weeks, but it does show us something we already knew.  Many people within football have told me the common refrain that, "you're never as good as you think you are after a win and you're never as bad as you feel when you lose" (a quote from the legendary Joe Paterno, I believe).  That's true of the Colts, and in back-to-back weeks we saw both their best and their worst.  In the shutout of the Bengals, I think we all knew the defense wasn't that good, and I think we all knew that they weren't the third best defense in the NFL.  They might have been playing like it for five weeks, sure, but I think we all knew there were issues there just ready to be "exposed."  I also think we all know that this defense isn't as bad as they looked on Sunday.  A whole lot of things went right for the Steelers and a whole lot of things went wrong for the Colts.  That's life in the NFL.  Sometimes you'll take those punches.  I know I'm oversimplifying things, but this is the bottom line - the Colts defense is somewhere in the middle of the last two games.  I think what teams see even more clearly now is that the Colts have been manufacturing their pass rush and I think teams have been given some ideas as to how to play the Colts.  Todd Haley had a great game plan, and he deserves credit.  When Davis returns to the secondary we'll see them look much better (it wouldn't have been very good on Sunday even if he played, but he's their best player) and I think that's the strength of the team.  There will be teams that see what the Steelers did (such as going max protect to guard against the Colts' blitz) and try to do the same, and some will have success with it.  But by and large, I think what we saw from the Colts defense was what we already figured - that they weren't as good as they had been playing and that a good offense and a good quarterback could take advantage of them.  But let's also keep in mind that they're not as bad as they looked on Sunday (and they looked really bad) - we just received a big reality check as to what issues still remain - most prominently, the lack of a pass rush.  So were they "exposed?"  In a sense, yes - we saw clearly that they weren't as good as the defense we had seen previously.  But in another sense, I don't think many thought that anyway.  Now we just saw that on the field.