Colts vs Rams: Post Game

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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.

The Good:

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 Bad:

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 Ugly:

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.

What to Watch: Rams v Colts

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The third and most important game of preseason gives the Indianapolis Colts a much needed opportunity to fix issues that popped up in the previous game against the Chicago Bears.  All eyes will likely be on the offense, but not because of the weapons that Andrew Luck has in his arsenal. No, it is because they will be on the offensive line.  To say that the line has had issues is an understatement and the Colts will be facing a much better defensive line in the St. Louis Rams.

Game Notes:

The Colts O Line vs Rams D Line will be the biggest thing to watch for in this game.  It will be hard to imagine that the team will be able to fix all their issues since last week, but improvement will be something to watch.  Right tackle Jack Mewhort struggled protecting Luck as did the team’s best lineman, left tackle Anthony Costanzo.  The guards of Lance Louis and Todd Herremans proved unable to open holes for the running backs and center Khaled Holmes hasn’t been able to get much of a push either.  I don’t think it’s realistic to think we’ll see a different line out there, but the Rams should provide a good opportunity to see what needs adjusted before the season opener.

Rookie running back Josh Robinson has continued to impress in preseason and will be given some opportunities with the first team offense.  Fans who follow the team seem to think the kid has something special and should be given more of a showcase for those talents this game gives him a perfect opportunity to see how he can perform against a very good offensive unit.  Frank Gore and Dan Herron are known commodities and both seem ready to go for the regular season, so Robinson should get some carries to figure out where he will end up on the depth chart. Should he should be taking carries away from Herron? That’s what the team needs to find out before the season opener.

The Colts Defense was not particularly sharp against the Bears, especially when trying to stop the run.  To be fair, the first team held the Bears to three field goals, but the Bears seemed to be able to move the ball, especially using Matt Forte, who is one of the better backs in the league.  How will the defense fare against the Rams rushing attack?  Erik Walden played well when in the game, but the biggest question remaining concerns the ability to get pressure on the quarterback. Robert Mathis likely will not be playing the first few games, which means someone will need to step up and there are many who can help. Trent Cole, Arthur Jones, Kendall Langford, Bjoern Werner, and Jonathon Newsome are the prime candidates to apply pressure on the opposing team, but will any of the above answer that call well enough?

These are the areas that I will be interested in for the Colts vs Rams. Let us know what you are interested in.

Mathis Placed On Active Roster

Robert Mathis has been removed from the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and has been placed on the active roster. This is great news for Colts fans everywhere. Mathis said earlier this year that he wanted to be ready to go by week one. Irsay stated just a few weeks ago that the time isn’t known for Mathis, but it looked like possibly late September or early October as his return date.

The Colts had to move Mathis to the active roster before the regular season began or they wouldn’t have been able to activate him until week six. Moving him to the active roster now doesn’t mean there has been progress or that he will play immediately, but it does mean that they feel he will be ready before week six. There hasn’t been much news coming out on his status either. With him becoming active don’t think we will be seeing him on the field any time before week one. I’m skeptical that he will be on the field during week one. I, however, wouldn’t rule out that he could be ready by week three.

The team will bring him along slowly and handle him like they have handled Ballard this preseason. With EXTREME caution. Mathis won’t want to go slow, but he and the fans must realize this man hasn’t played football in over a year and is no spring chicken at the age of 34. I’m just glad that the team made the move and gave us all hope that we will see him in uniform very soon.

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