I wanted to get a very general understanding of what this team does well -- what our strengths are. Unfortunately, we don't do anything well. Perhaps punting, as Rigo Sanchez has been outstanding.
OFFENSE: League ranking out of 32 teams
Total offense - #27
Rushing - #20
Passing - #26
Defense: League ranking out of 32 teams
Total defense - #31
Rush Defense - #19 (#18 YPA)
Passing - #30
I understand that our passing offense is going to struggle without Andrew Luck, so I will not worry about that too much. It will also effect our offense's ability to run, since teams will not worry too much about our passing game and can focus on stopping the run.
We have been excited about our run defense, but it's not good. It's below average, however, it's an improvement for the Colts who were ranked #25 last year. Some will say that poor offensive play has led to the struggles on defense, but I will point out that for years the Texans and the Jaguars have had horrible QB play, yet have maintained a good defense, (Texans #1 and Jaguars #6 last year, Cleveland Browns #8 this year). We cannot use that as an excuse.
It's simple, this year's Colts team is not good. It's part of a rebuild and I see that talent is better than we've had in years past. I think this team will gradually improve as the year progresses and we will be more competitive next year.
It appeared Mack and Hooker struggled more in this game than prior games. Mack appeared to have a great opportunity to score a long TD run but he cut it back inside instead of using his blocker to get farther outside where it looked like clear sailing. Other plays showed a similar lack of his full ability. Hooker was schooled on the long pass play and especially by Henry near the sideline. Hooker needed to get even with Henry, not ahead of him, to push him out of bounds. It didn't help that the trailing backer failed to recognize that Hooker had cut off the sideline so that Henry's only move was back inside. Hooker needed to get lower and trip up Henry's ankle or foot, not hit him where he's strongest in the thigh.
Are these young players simply showing their inexperience or is something else involved? Is Mack hurting physically from being subjected to NFL hits? Does he have the requisite durability to play running back in this league? or is he better suited to be a slot receiver? Hooker didn't look explosive at any time in this game -- is he healthy? Is he hesitating because he's insecure in reading opposing veteran QBs?
I'm hoping it's mostly inexperience.
Since Pagano is at the helm I'll take a wild stab and say the Colts will:
Run up the middle every down using Gore and Mack sits on bench
Don't run any plays to get TY open
Don't max protect when Jags blitz
Don't run any screens, slants, bootlegs, play action, or designed QB runs
Frank Gore, no doubt. Highest floor and a decent ceiling.
Ted Ginn, not enough consistent looks at all for a good floor. Kyle Rudolph is still TD dependent.
Blount is the other option but with the emergence of Jeffery, Ertz and Agholor, and the Redskins' pass D not nearly as potent as the Jags' pass D, the odds of Blount getting more carries than Gore is less (but you never know with the Colts OC )
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