The return of Colts football (even if it is in the pre-season) also means the return of the Monday After Awards! It's a moment you have all been waiting for all summer, I know.
The Colts opened the pre-season yesterday against the new-look Philadelphia Eagles, and boy was it an uninspiring performance. A performance made worse by the fact that I was stuck watching the Eagles broadcast of the game (which actually wasn't terrible). Regardless, I have some pre-season awards to hand out from the Colts first game.
MVP - Josh Robinson
I'll just jump on the bandwagon with every other analyst for this game. Robinson had the top performance on the offense, and therefore on the team, by far. After Zurlon Tipton failed to get going early in the game, Robinson came in and ran much better. This included Robinson carrying the load on most of the Colts lone touchdown drive of the game, including the score as well.
Robinson and Tipton figure to be fighting for the fourth running back spot (if the Colts keep four backs) behind Frank Gore, Vick Ballard, and Daniel ‘Boom' Herron. After one game, Robinson had 44 yards on 10 carries (and a score) while Tipton had 34 yards on 16 carries. Let's keep in mind, though, Robinson did go up against the third and fourth stringers on the Eagles defense. Still, it looks like he can play.
First Impressions Award - Phillip Dorsett and Nelson Agholor
The two rookie wide receivers were by far the two best players of this game. In fact, they are probably what we would all be talking about if it wasn't for a certain fourth-string Eagles quarterback.
Pep Hamilton wasted no time in getting his new weapon involved in the offense. Dorsett was the target on many of the Colts passing plays, and we saw a nice mix of one step, post, and comeback routes from the rookie. Even in this game, it was easy to see that the Eagles defenders were very wary of his speed. Also, Dorsett has already established himself as a vast improvement over Josh Cribbs in the punt return game.
Agholor also looked very good for the Eagles. His touchdown catch was more a product of Greg Toler (more on that later) than anything else, but he showed some wheels after the catch. Yes, Agholor had some drops, but Dorsett also had a fumble. For both they were rookie (and first game) mistakes, and as Dorsett mentioned, August is the best time for them to happen.
Get Outta Here Award - Pat McAfee
The Colts punter was another strong candidate for the MVP of the game. McAfee punted the ball eight times, and a lot of them were absolute rockets. In fact, on the punt that Kenjon Barner ran back, the Eagles announcers were almost speechless due to how far McAfee kicked the ball.
That play is why McAfee is receiving this award. At one point, McAfee was the only blue shirt standing between Barner and the endzone. When an Eagles player came over to block McAfee, he most just scooted out of the way. Clearly, he wanted no part of that play. And nor should he, it's the pre-season and McAfee simply was there to kick the ball, not to make any big-play saving tackles.
Same Old Stuff Award - Coby Fleener
Come on Coby.
On a third down on the first series, Andrew Luck scrambled around before finding a wide open Fleener for what would have been an easy first down. The problem with this play? Fleener dropped the pass. After a season where drops (like this one) plagued Fleener, he appears to have picked up where he left off. Still, it is the pre-season, so let's not lose our minds over this one drop, as disappointing as it was.
Can the Season Start Yet Award - Andrew Luck
I couldn't go through an awards section without talking about Luck. The Colts quarterback was on point yesterday, going 5-6 for 43 yards in limited action. Included in that was a third down where Luck drew the Eagles offsides, and proceeded to hit Dorsett for a first down anyway. As Josh mentioned in his write up as well, Luck appears to be in mid-season form.
Who's This Kid Award - Bryan Bennett
This is probably really bad of me, but I had no idea Bennett was even on the Colts roster until he took over for Matt Hasselbeck yesterday. And while he wasn't overly impressive, I liked what I saw from the rookie. He can do a lot of similar things that Luck can do (as in run or throw), just not at the same level. Is he going to supplant Hasselbeck as the back-up to Luck? Nope. But if the Colts can keep him on the practice squad, I think it would be a win.
LVP - Tackling
Holy smokes. The tackling by the Colts defense was atrocious yesterday. The punt return alone was enough to make us all cringe, but the defense (particularly the secondary) was just as bad. Throw in Toler's boneheaded play (seriously what was he doing?) and it was a dismal day for the defense. Again, I know it was the pre-season, but this was a very poor performance.
All in all, we got to watch the Colts play some football again, which is always a great thing. Plus we got to see the NFL Network and ESPN drool over Tim Tebow yet again. It was an overall poor performance, but then again so was the game against Buffalo in the pre-season last year. I'm not concerned, I'm just happy football is back.