The Indianapolis Colts return to Lucas Oil Stadium tonight to face the Baltimore Ravens, the home preseason opener for Indianapolis. Andrew Luck and the rest of the starters are expected to play at least the first quarter, and the team will be looking to work on some of their areas of emphasis especially in the first half with the starters.
Owner Jim Irsay once again had a pre-game tweet this week, but this one wasn’t about Andrew Luck’s status; it was instead about what he’ll be looking for and what the team wants to work on.
ColtsNation- 1st Half,tonight: Offensively want to look productive on ground and thru air/OL under pressure to Pass Pro/Run Game-PRODUCE!!— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) August 20, 2016
Jokes aside about the Colts wanting to be able to produce on the ground and through the air (yeah, that’s a pretty good gameplan), it’s clear that the Colts also want to focus on their run game and their offensive line.
Last week, the interior of the offensive line did a fine job but the line overall had an up-and-down outing, so the Colts will surely be looking for a more consistent performance this week - especially with Luck making his season debut. The stakes are raised this week even though it’s just a preseason game because the franchise quarterback will be the one in the pocket, not Scott Tolzien.
Furthermore, the Colts rushed for just 30 total yards last week on 23 carries, averaging just 1.3 yards per rush. When you take out the rushing yards from the quarterbacks, it’s even worse: the Colts’ running backs rushed 19 times for just ten yards, averaging just 0.53 yards per rush. Head coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this week that the run game would be an emphasis this week, and it’s clear from Irsay’s tweet saying the run game needs to “PRODUCE!!” that it will be. The pressure is on some of the younger backs to step up and get the running game going, because the owner of the team knows they need to and will be watching that area closely.
Irsay’s tweet gives us an idea as to what the Colts will be looking for tonight against the Ravens, though it also puts the pressure on the team to perform well. It’s only preseason, but the owner doesn’t want his team to be embarrassed at home. And when Jim Irsay says something, it’s probably a good idea to listen.