That was ugly. Impossibly ugly. And it wasn’t just the outcome on the scoreboard.
If there is anything the Indianapolis Colts can simply not afford it is suffering injuries to key players at this point in their season. Entering this game, the only meaningful injures were to Andrew Luck and Clayton Geathers, who have both not taken a snap this season. Their potential return allowed fans to hold out some hope for a meaningful mid-season improvement.
Exiting the game?
Former first round center Ryan Kelly is injured, rookie first round safety Malik Hooker will be lucky to not have a severe knee injury, Indy’s top cornerback in 2017 Rashaan Melvin exited the game with a concussion and will have to clear the concussion protocol to return to the field, and last week’s defensive hero John Simon left the game with a shoulder injury. Don’t be surprised to see Jacoby Brissett show up on this week’s injury report too.
Offensively, the Colts couldn’t get anything going. The offensive line allowed 9 sacks. Well, that’s not entirely fair. The offensive line and Jacoby Brissett worked together to allow 9 sacks. Okay fine, the Jaguars have a really good secondary too.
Still, Brissett took a beating, no receiver was particularly effective, Marlon Mack dropped multiple passes, and for the first time in a couple of weeks Jack Doyle didn’t struggle holding on to the football. Frank Gore was a non-factor in the second half, where he was barely used at all.
Defensively, nothing hurt the Colts more than a brutal lack of pass rush. Losing Simon early in the game left Indianapolis with only Barkevious Mingo as having any chance to fill in. Bortles was able to stay in the pocket and allow his receivers to move well into their routes, particularly in the middle of the field. The longer a play stays live against the Colts secondary, the wider the holes in the Colts zone coverage gets — making it way too easy to pass the football.
The reality is that the Colts have a reasonably strong group of starters on the defensive line and at outside linebacker. It is also true that the secondary is young and has some promise but with Quincy Wilson inactive, whoever comes in to fill Rashaan Melvin’s shoes is going to struggle. Similarly, if Hooker has to miss significant time with what could be a disastrous knee injury, it increases the chances that T.J. Green will play a role in the deep secondary — which would be a drastic drop-off in talent.
Right now, this Colts team lacks an identity. There are a lot of new pieces to the team on both sides of the football, particularly at key positions, resulting in coverage breakdowns, missed blocks, and silly mistakes. It is hard to stress just how difficult it is to get all of the news pieces working together to be effective.
It is also hard to stress just how bad this coaching group has been in getting the most out of its players. This team consistently gets called for penalties at the most inopportune times during football games. Nice stops turn into first downs. Short gains for a first down turn into excellent field position due to a personal foul. Players make bad decisions — such as Kamar Aiken running backward when the Colts offense finally gets into the red zone.
These are unforced errors. These have to be cleaned up and cleaning these things up is the type of thing that coach staff’s are supposed to do. It is their responsibility.
We keep hearing how difficult it is for Jacoby Brissett to wrap his head around the offense. We keep hearing about the breakdowns in the secondary. If these things are true, why doesn’t the coaching staff simplify the calls on both sides of the ball? Why is it taking so long for the young players to get it? Most of these guys have been with the team throughout summer and training camp.
The excuses are running out. The depth is starting to run out. If it can go wrong for the Colts, at this point, it has gone wrong. This loss is embarrassing and does not bode well for outlook for this Colts team until Luck returns.