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Takeaways from Colts preseason opener

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

As the Indianapolis Colts dropped their preseason opener to the Detroit Lions 24-10 there were some obvious takeaways to take note of as the team moves forward. Regardless of having multiple players sitting out with injuries it didn’t take long to understand what we were looking at.

Getting noticed is a part of the preseason, but only a handful were getting noticed for the right reasons. Additionally, some units as a whole were solid while others showed glaring issues that must be fixed going forward. Here are some of my takeaways from this preseason Week 1 matchup.

Colts looked solid against the run

Aside from Jake Rudock getting free for some yardage on the ground after plays broke down, the Colts did a nice job keeping the Lions’ running game in check. On 23 carries the Lions could only muster 72 yards rushing (3.1 yards per carry) and didn’t allow a touchdown.

Now, while we’re keeping in mind that the Lions’ top rushers didn’t see the ball much at all, the Colts second units were also the ones clogging the running lanes. The Colts had 4 tackles for loss with T.Y. McGill and Hassan Ridgeway getting into, and disrupting the backfield quite a bit.

Without seeing the actual statistic, it appeared that the Colts allowed too many yards after contact they were in the right position to make plays and that in itself is a step in the right direction.

Sean Spence made some noise after being quiet in camp

Spence has been near the bottom of the Colts depth chart, and had been less-than-impressive thus far. Today Spence looked like a man intent on changing the perception he’s helped create in practices by being one of the most reliant tacklers on the day and racking up 2 of the Colts’ 5 quarterback hits.

His ability to get across the field to help in the run, and screen game was noticeable to say the least. He was good in coverage and reacted fast throughout the day with his instincts that got him noticed last season being put on display for the coaching staff to see live under the lights.

Maybe my favorite play of his on the day was when he came up the middle and rocked Zach Zenner back three yards into the end zone who was protecting Rudock. Spence left the game in the second half and did not return.

Colts backup QB situation is a bad one

Scott Tolzien, though he had limited attempts, was no more impressive than he’s ever been. He overthrew Jack Doyle when wide open outside the numbers and struggled to read the defense in general. He actually had some good protection at times, but as soon as it broke down he tucked the ball and took his eyes off of his receivers downfield.

Phillip Walker showed that anything you’ve heard about him impressing through camp has been purely based off of his arm strength, not accuracy or his ability to read a defense. He was leaving clean pockets to try his luck at creating something, but literally caused some holding penalties from his premature escapes and showed his struggles with his accuracy on anything more than 15 yards downfield.

As much as I’ve spoken about Stephen Morris being my choice for the backup spot, he didn’t prove to show much today either. He, too, was inaccurate initially, and threw into heavy coverage as well. To his credit, he did settle down and began to show his nice combination of arm strength and accuracy late in the fourth quarter. Additionally, he stood pat and took some shots while delivering the ball to his receivers offering poise and accuracy that had been missing most of the day.

Additional takeaways

  • Malik Hooker was more physical than most would have thought
  • JoJo Natson has some very interesting speed and return ability
  • Jeremiah George was always around the ball and will be an interesting linebacker to watch going forward
  • Barkevious Mingo is quick off the edge, as long as he doesn’t have to engage with linemen
  • Colts cornerback depth has a lot to work on with tracking the ball, tackling. Looked good early with coverage responsibilities
  • Troymaine Pope is a quality, hard-nosed running back. Lacks deep speed though
  • Colts front seven was able to create some pressure early with first group