Donald Thomas Says Line Progressing
Guard Donald Thomas was one of eight unrestricted free agent additions for the Colts this year and came to Indianapolis along with Gosder Cherilus to help bolster the offensive line.
The first unit played about half of the game at New York and at intermission, the Colts had 12 rushes for 48 yards.
With a stated intent to run, the Giants were waiting.
“They brought the safety down in the box,” said Thomas. “From there we made some adjustments on the sideline and once we did that, we were fine. I think the emphasis for them was to stop our run game. That was part of their game plan.”
One play that helped loosen the defense was a designed keeper by Matt Hasselbeck to stop outside pressure. Hasselbeck scooted for nine yards on a first-down play on his fourth scrimmage play to help keep on-rushing defenders honest.
As the Colts move to week three with starters likely playing into the third quarter, Thomas wants to see more progress.
“I thought overall we communicated well,” said Thomas. “Our execution was there a little bit. I also feel we took some steps in the right direction.
“You know me. If it were up to me, we’d rush for 250 yards every game. You take the good with the bad. I honestly wanted more yards than we got. We just have to keep working.”
Thomas claims the line operated more smoothly than in the Buffalo game.
“I thought overall we seemed a lot calmer,” said Thomas. “We were making our adjustments and calls before the snap (better). I liked our execution much better.”
Chuck Pagano liked the more blended results in play distribution and says some of the passing yards are extensions of the running game.
“(We) would have liked to have a few more yards on the ground offensively. We tried to balance that thing out,” said Pagano. “We talked about being more balanced, I think we were.
“You see those quick throws out to the wide outs. They are actually called runs, but they are loading the box up, putting eight, nine, 10 guys up there to stop the run. We feel like that is just a long hand-off when you toss it out there.”
So much of a team’s overall success depends on the offensive line. One can argue, easily, it is the most important of all functions for a team to achieve.
Thomas expects the line’s performance to be peak efforts. He says the Colts are not at that level yet.
“No, we’re a work in progress. We’re going to continue to work together and gel,” said Thomas. “The next game will be a huge test for us. We’ve made some strides and hopefully when the season starts, we’ll be rolling on all cylinders.
“We’re getting there, though. We’re getting there.”
Indianapolis ran for 88 yards and a 2.7 rushing average at New York. Pagano said the team still is adjusting to some of the running schemes, and that will be something on the front burner as the team readies for Cleveland.
Saturday’s game could be the Indianapolis debut of running back Ahmad Bradshaw.
Still, Pagano likes what he saw from the first half with Thomas and crew on the field.
“You run the football, move the chains, stay ahead of the markers, the down markers, get third and manageable, make those plays, make some chunk plays,” said Pagano. “At the end of the second half it was probably more me than anybody else, making sure we took care of the football and we didn’t do anything crazy out there.
“We want to be aggressive, but we are going to play good team football.”