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Stampede Blue Tweetbag: Talking Colts Wide Receivers, Defensive Line, Offensive Line, and More

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

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Answering your twitter questions about the Colts:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/JoshWilsonSB">@JoshWilsonSB</a> Are the Colts giving too much autonomy to Luck? Word is that he took the Colts out of more than a few run plays on Sunday.</p>&mdash; Rick Tapia (@RomeroFactor) <a href="https://twitter.com/RomeroFactor/status/643559592325218304">September 14, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Andrew Luck did check out of several run plays on Sunday, but that doesn't mean the Colts are giving him too much freedom at the line of scrimmage.  Basically, the Colts give Luck the freedom to choose plays at the line that he thinks will put them in the best situation possible.  When you give him that freedom, you know he won't be perfect on every single call, but neither is even the best coach.  Luck is smart enough to handle the responsibility, and everyone - the coaching staff and Luck - knows that they need to be able to run the football.  There's no doubt about it that this will be a pass-heavy offense, but they need to be more committed to the run game than they were on Sunday and I'm sure they will be in other games moving forward.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/JoshWilsonSB">@JoshWilsonSB</a> do you expect better production from Andre Johnson next week and the rest of the season? Did he just have a rough first game?</p>&mdash; jeff tannehill (@jefftannehill) <a href="https://twitter.com/jefftannehill/status/643561070435676161">September 14, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I do expect more from Andre Johnson next week and the rest of the year, but the play we saw on Sunday from Johnson was reason for some concern.  He struggled to create any separation at all, dropped a two-point conversion, and had a very limited impact on the offense.  It wasn't at all like the Andre Johnson we saw in training camp and at times in the preseason, and while there are legitimate aspects of his game on Sunday that are concerning, I'd hold off on freaking out quite yet.  He'll be better than we saw last week, I'm sure of that.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/JoshWilsonSB">@JoshWilsonSB</a> ILB play was poor at times. We see Sio Moore or Nate Irving more?</p>&mdash; Derick Geise (@DJgeise) <a href="https://twitter.com/DJgeise/status/643564809472991232">September 14, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The defensive line, which was heavily talked about this offseason, did a good job on Sunday.  The linebackers, however, did not.  And, to be honest, the inside linebackers were a weakness at many points last season too.  The combination of Jerrell Freeman and D'Qwell Jackson is average - you can do better, and you can also do worse.  I don't expect any significant changes to the Colts' use of either, however.  We've seen them use Clayton Geathers a bit as an extra defensive back in place of Jackson, and I think that will continue in passing situations.  Irving will be used more in run situations, and as he continues to get more playing time recovering from injury he could see more time.  And then lastly is Sio Moore, who I think is the wild card of the group.  He's a talented player who should get some time as he learns the Colts system, and it'll be interesting to see what he can do with the team.  So to sum it up, I think the Colts have options at inside linebacker that they might rotate in, but I don't think we'll see any major changes at the position when it comes to the starters anytime soon.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/JoshWilsonSB">@JoshWilsonSB</a> Is vontae the best defensive player on the team?</p>&mdash; Roman Reigns (@TheSamoanSavage) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheSamoanSavage/status/643567734966591488">September 14, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Absolutely.  There's no question about it: Vontae Davis is the best defensive player on the Colts, and it's not really that close.  Robert Mathis would probably be the closest you could think of, but at this point he's a big question mark as he hasn't played in over a year.  The Colts defense has a lot of average players and a few good players, but only one elite player.  And that's Vontae Davis, who was fantastic again on Sunday, not allowing a single reception while shadowing Sammy Watkins.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/JoshWilsonSB">@JoshWilsonSB</a> Why do you think our WRs struggled to beat man-on-man w/single high safety? That was the most alarming trend in the loss to me</p>&mdash; Ahmad Atari (@Ahmad__Atari) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ahmad__Atari/status/643593190910488576">September 15, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

It was very clear on Sunday that the Colts' wide receivers struggled to create any separation or get open so that they could make plays on Sunday.  There's no denying that, and the hope now is that it's not a lingering occurrence but rather just a one game thing.  And I think there were two things that we saw on Sunday that can be reason to be hopeful that the receivers will be better moving forward.  Firstly, I think we need to give a lot of credit to the Bills' defensive backs.  The Colts didn't play particularly well, but at the same time the Bills played very well.  Their corners were all over the Colts' wideouts and had terrific coverage.  Of course, from a Colts' perspective you'd like their receivers to be able to win matchups no matter who the opponent, but understand that they won't be facing the Bills every week.  Secondly, we also must realize that the Colts were forced into a very quick passing game.  With the Bills sending so many rushers at Andrew Luck, he took a lot of three-step drops and got the ball out very quickly on Sunday out of necessity, which really didn't give the receivers much time to get open.  It doesn't give any time for double-moves or anything like that, so the blitzing had an impact on the receivers as well because of the Colts' quick passing game.  So I think that, despite the concerning things we saw from the receiver position, there is plenty of reason to not freak out yet and expect improvement the rest of the year.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/JoshWilsonSB">@JoshWilsonSB</a> How did the rookies on the defensive line grade?</p>&mdash; Marc (@IndyMarc65) <a href="https://twitter.com/IndyMarc65/status/643569649448194048">September 14, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The two rookie defensive linemen, Henry Anderson and David Parry, both did some good things on Sunday.  David Parry wasn't flashy nor spectacular, but he did his job and played solid football.  For a rookie in his first career NFL start, it's hard to ask much more than that from him, so I'm encouraged by Parry's play.  Anderson was one of the biggest stars of the day for the Colts, without a doubt.  He was fantastic and was all over the field making plays - especially in the backfield.  There's a lot to love about Anderson.  I liked both Parry and Anderson entering the season but thought they might struggle early on as they adapted to the NFL.  On Sunday, you wouldn't have even been able to guess that they were rookies, which was a big positive, and the defensive line as a whole did a good job.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/JoshWilsonSB">@JoshWilsonSB</a> reminded this bills D, minus Rex, positively destroyed Rodgers. Any chance we can be optimistic that they’re just that good?</p>&mdash; Corey Blevins (@cjblev) <a href="https://twitter.com/cjblev/status/643570417257484292">September 14, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Absolutely.  The Bills defense is very good.  There's really not much shame in having an off day against them, as they can disrupt even the best offenses.  Their passing defense is fantastic and their defensive backs showed that on Sunday.  And now you add in Rex Ryan as their coach and he sent a bunch of blitzes at Luck that threw off the Colts' offense.  So there's absolutely no shame in looking bad against the Bills defense.  If I had to guess, I'd feel confident saying that we'll look back on this game as just an aberration for the Colts' offense and not a representation of the unit.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/StampedeBlue">@StampedeBlue</a> how to improve our crappy pass protection?</p>&mdash; Danilo Higa (@danilohiga) <a href="https://twitter.com/danilohiga/status/643556531372470272">September 14, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

I know this opinion might not be popular, but I didn't think the offensive line looked that bad on Sunday - at least, not any worse than should have reasonably been expected.  There were some struggles on the interior of the line (ahem, Lance Louis), but again, that should have been expected.  The biggest struggles for the offensive line came in penalties, as they were called for a couple of holding calls, a false start, and an illegal formation - penalties that really hurt the offense and disrupted the rhythm.  The Bills defense blitzed a lot and that forced the Colts into quicker passes and three-step drops, so to say that they disrupted the Colts' offense and threw off their protection is accurate.  And there were plays that the line looked bad on - but, again, that was expected.  So I really don't think the offensive line was among the biggest concerns on Sunday, in large part because we know what to expect from them.  Three of the five starters looked good (while Louis and Khaled Holmes struggled) and they weren't the biggest weakness.  If that can be true in games where they're not facing a vicious pass rush and in games where their quarterback is playing better, we won't be talking much about their line.