The Colts did something we aren’t accustomed to seeing in the preseason very often. Getting a win. Yes, that’s right, the team came away with a 24-14 wins over the St. Louis Rams at a very empty Edward Jones Dome. So the team was able to scrape up a win in preseason against the Nick Foles led Rams, but what exactly can be taken away from this win?
Well, for starters, the Colts were able to escape with all their key offensive personnel intact and only Arthur Jones on the defensive side of the ball hobbled to the locker room. He later returned to the sidelines in a walking boot. Jones was the key acquisition last season and suffered an ankle injury in his Colts debut season. Andrew Luck looked as good as ever in spite of some shaky line play (again) and looks ready to go for the regular season.
A busted coverage hook-up between Luck and his new weapon Andre Johnson made it look easy and hopefully is the first of many touchdowns in the future.
Rookie back Tyler Varga made sure the coaching staff had some good footage for them to review of him before the cuts started. After this performance it’s hard to imagine that he won’t find a roster spot. This week showed that Vick Ballard seems like a he could be a long shot at making the roster. Ballard has had a difficult time staying healthy the last few seasons and the injuries look to have taken their toll.
Griff Whalen again found a way to make his case for the roster. Although he isn’t flashy or attention grabbing like some of the younger stars he just keeps doing all the right things and that is what the coaches like to see. Quite frankly, Whalen seems to have secured a position on the team compared to a player who I thought was a definite lock to make the roster, Duron Carter (more on him later).
Erik Walden has been the easy target for many who follow the team (including myself), but I give credit where credit is due and he has been one of the brightest stars so far in preseason notching up two more sacks against the Rams. Besides the sacks, Walden has been very good at “setting the edge” which is what he was brought in to do. The sacks have been a nice bonus that can hopefully carry over into the regular season. It seems like Walden is continuing the solid play that started to emerge midway through last season.
The offensive line continued the problems on the right side. The team even brought Joe Reitz in at right tackle after Jack Mewhort continued to struggle with his new position. I’m not sure what the plan is, but I’m guessing the Cincinnati Bengals game will provide some possible answers before the opener. Khaled Holmes has not been overwhelming at center and Jonotthan Harrison has been seeing some playing time with the first team, so keep an eye on that for the final preseason game.
Josh Robinson: Okay, you probably know that I’ve been trumpeting him getting more playing time with the ones, well against the Rams he came back down to earth. He wasn’t able to bust the big runs we’ve seen and even had a fumble (which Luck took the blame for). He did have an incredible block that helped Luck have the time to find a wide open Andre Johnson. Robinson stills seems sure to make the team, though this game proved that he isn’t ahead of Daniel “Boom” Herron yet.
The return game still seems to be a big issue as all of the players returning kicks or punts haven’t shown much except one Quan Bray return. Donte Moncrief didn’t impress and neither has Phillip Dorsett, Carter, or Whalen. I’m hoping one of the above or Tyler Varga will begin to emerge soon and fix the team’s long running woes of returning kicks.
Duron Carter. What more can be said? Many followers of the team had high expectations for the youngster (which now seems too high), but he just hasn’t made that plays the makes you say “Wow”! Time is running out for him and game four against the Bengals may be a make or break game for him. I think he still makes the roster, but he can definitely play his way off, if he doesn’t show anything.
From my perspective, I think the team should be fairly pleased with this performance against a good Rams defense. It wasn’t perfect by anyone’s standards, but as a whole and taken in context there is much to be excited about. Luck looks ready to put up some explosive numbers on offense, the running game looks like it will be a factor this season, and the defense looks like it might be just improved enough to make a run at the ultimate prize. Now, if the offensive line can get figured out and the Arthur Jones injury isn’t serious, the team should feel pretty good about their chances this season.