Last night, my wife and I turned off our TV, I pulled my laptop out of my office, and together we watched the first preseason game of this 2018 season. I’m not going to write an article saying “All is well. The Colts are back! Super Bowl bound! Andrew Luck for President!” Every sports writer in the United States is saying the Colts are bottom of the barrel in the league. I’d say we’re somewhere in between.
I told my wife this past week that I’d consider writing a book about life without football called “186 Days” because that’s how long it’s been since the Super Bowl. Also, since the norm in the NBA now is to put all the stars on one squad to give LBJ a run for his money, I’m basically out of stuff once March Madness ends unless the Pacers do something crazy and trade for some talent, since the East is wide open this year!
My spring was saved by the World Cup this year, but without a real dog in the fight, I’ve spent the last 6 months and change embarrassing your spouse and your children in Fortnite. I finally got bored with that yesterday, so I’m awfully thankful the NFL is back.
First things first, there were fourteen players (some of whom we can actually use!) that didn’t play at all last night. It’s hard to evaluate the offensive line’s progression without Anthony Costanzo or even Denzelle Good. The same could be said for the defense. I know you don’t like the Tampa 2. It’s hard to tell you if that’s the “right defensive scheme” because Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers didn’t play, and if I know anything, it’s that safety play is uber-important in the coverage portion of the Tampa 2.
Luck looked really solid and with the exception of two forced throws to TY Hilton (both on out routes that were well-defended), he put together back-to-back scoring drives on a historically pretty stout defensive team (obviously with a lot of missing pieces on both sides of the ball themselves). He also ran with the ball, took a couple hits, and didn’t break into a thousand pieces when he got hit by Bobby Wagner. All those things plus the result on the scoreboard equals a win, right?
The offensive line didn’t necessarily over-perform, but then again a couple starters were out and I watched Quenton Nelson actually hit somebody not in a Colts uniform and that made me happy. So who really knows? Honestly, though, the RPO (run-pass option) offense should get the ball out of the QB’s hand faster and should involve the tight ends and running backs more often, meaning 12 doesn’t take as much of a beating. I’m for all of those things.
The defense didn’t look like it was going to do much, but in the end, the team recorded 4 sacks and a mess of hurries, plus had an interception. I get it. The old “bend, don’t break” Tampa 2. Yuck. That said, a lot of pieces are missing and largely, I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to this style of defense because much like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, I don’t believe in it. Neither do you.
It’s worth reminding ourselves that a lot of starters were out on both sides of the ball and the Colts have something along the lines of $50 million in available cap space to further improve the roster as the season progresses. Clearly, Khalil Mack and Le’Veon Bell don’t cost quite that much money per year, so we can dream, right!?
It’s going to be difficult to discern what deficiencies the Colts are going to have to overcome until we have more tape, and I saw a lot of people losing their minds over TJ Green’s play (I agree that he gave up a TD) and can only assume the Colts are a little light on talent at cornerback as a result.
Outside of that, RB Marlon Mack looked like a cruise missile, WR Chester Rogers had a nice catch and run, Jack Doyle was Jack Doyle and RB Robert Turbin ran pretty well for a guy who’ll miss four weeks for PEDS.
Football is here! The Colts will go 0-16! They’ll also go 16-0 and then march to the Super Bowl for the next 10 years in a row. The wife says they’ll go 13-3. I keep winding up around 11-5. This is still the preseason. This is all just the beginning.
What did you see?