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Everything posted by CurBeatElite

  1. Reich (and Ballard) both recently got contract extensions through the 2026 season. Not saying for sure Reich will be around for 5 more years, but he's not going anywhere until at least after next year (IMO), and if I had to guess, Irsay wants Reich to stay for the remainder of his contract. Not giving Reich excuses... but he (and Ballard) have dealt with kind of a lot... Luck retiring was certainly a wrench in any plans. Then the injury woes we've had this year have almost been unreal. Hard to dominate in all 3 phases consistently in this league, and darn near impossible when key pieces are going on the injury report week in and week out.
  2. Another thought here.. we just cut Eason who I think a lot (myself included) thought may be our future if Wentz doesn't pan out... and Eason didn't clear waivers to make our PS (Seattle grabbed him). I don't dislike Ehlinger, but I have serious doubts that he has the arm to be a franchise NFL QB. If Eason were around and progressing on the trajectory many of us hoped he would, I'd almost be giddy about the idea of sitting Wentz after our 10th game if we were more than a game behind TEN at that point (and if the wildcard seemed like it'd be tougher than the AFC South, not out of the realm of possibilities that the AFC south winner has a worse record than the last wildcard team)... just to see what we had in Eason. I could be wrong, but I think what we have in Ehlinger is a guy with a lot of heart, a sound football player and a very solid career backup. I just don't think he has the arm strength to be a franchise QB and truly would not be all that excited to see us being playing him and Hundley (IMO, neither of them are our future franchise QBs) just for the sake of not losing a draft pick. Wentz has been playing pretty amazing football for us lately. Like @Wentzsznjust said, no reason to think (if he stays healthy) that Wentz isn't our QB for the next 5+ years.
  3. If we lose this game, we're not out of it. It will be interesting to see what the 17 game season does.. but I think 10-7 or 9-8 has realistic chances of winning the AFC South. 10-7, 9-8 and perhaps even 8-9 could get a wildcard birth. I was a bit disappointed the Bills lost to the Titans, but the Titans have a very rough stretch ahead. We have SF (I think we should win), then the Titans (a true must-win), Jets and Jaguars... in that same stretch the Titans have KC, Indy, Rams and Saints. Assuming we beat SF and Titans lose to KC, if we beat them next week, then Indy-TEN are both 4-4 and 1-1 in head-to-head. I would like to think we beat the Jets and Jags, so if we go on a 4 game streak here, we'd be sitting at 6-4, whereas if they lose to KC, LAR, and NO (or at least 2 of the 3, and Indy), they'll be sitting at 4-6 or 5-5.... I think the game against SF is a big game. Not necessarily a must-win... IMO, the most important game of the season is going to be next week vs. TEN. Should we lose this weekend, there is still a decent chance we are 5-5 after 10 games, and if we beat the Titans, there is a good chance they are 5-5 or worse after 10 games. I believe Wentz has to play 70% or more of the snaps for us to lose a 1st round pick. That basically means he has to play 12 games (or 11.9 games, and he's already missed a few snaps). My thoughts are, always play to win until you're mathematically eliminated from the playoffs (and still, play to win, but also time to start giving younger guys a shot, keep vets healthy and think a bit about the future). We'll know a lot more where we stand in terms of AFC South and wildcard after 10 games... and really a lot more after our next game against TEN. So, for now... no our playoff hopes are still there and even with a loss on Sunday, we should still be playing to win.
  4. I think he has a shot, especially if he continues to create or pickup turnovers (by create, I mean INTs and forcing fumbles.. by picking up, I mean someone else creates and he falls on the ball -- he had an INT, forced fumble and fumble recovery yesterday.. wow!). In years past, I think his tackle numbers were so insane which really helped him make all-pro as he was flying under the radar. He also had quite a bit of sacks for his position. Now he's a household name for fans around the league and his tackle numbers are down (not saying they are bad.. but he's not leading the league, heck he's not even leading his own team with 45 thru 6 games.. behind Okereke's 51). Unless he somehow really turns his tackle numbers up (which I don't foresee the way he's playing on this D, especially with his ankle issue), he's going to have to either start getting a lot of sacks or continue with the turnover streak if he's going to make all-pro again (probowl is a different story, as now that he's a household name, I think he'll get a lot of fan votes).
  5. Leonard has always seemed to have a knack for creating turnovers and he seems to be able to do it at key times (e.g., his forced fumble last year against the Texans). Today's game, though it wasn't a spectacular INT, it came at a key moment. Up 10-3, HOU got a stop on us to start the 2nd half... had they scored and tied the game after getting the ball back, it's a different game -- Leonard getting the pick to give us the ball right back (with good field position), really shifted momentum today and allowed us to blow the game wide open. It does seem to me like Leonard is having kind of a down year (considering he's been an all-pro his first three years, it isn't shocking to see him slip some). My guess is a good bit of that is due to his ankle. It also seems like he's being used a bit differently without Walker around. Additionally, as our front four (hopefully) continues to improve (remember we're missing Autry and Houston who were two of the 3 biggest pieces on last years front four, Paye and Turay have battled injuries all year, etc.), I think Leonard will benefit. Anyway, Leonard is definitely a leader of this team and brings a high level of energy and excitement to the group. Glad he is a Colt... hopefully he can get this ankle issue figured out and remain healthy and on the field for us for a long time to come.
  6. Ballard has been very open since day 1 that he is believes in coaching and that some players need a few years to develop with proper NFL coaching. The 2017 draft, like others have said, was largely based on Pagano's wants. As @EastStreetsays (quoted below), Hooker played well early. Quincy had a time period where he looked good (when Mike Mitchell was here), but definitely seemed to lack something in the mental part to really be a solid NFL player (at least while he was here -- he is still in the league and still relatively young at age 25). Turay has looked very good this year, IMO. His big issue has been inability to stay healthy, which stinks. Turay did have an injury history, so maybe it's fair to bash Ballard on taking a guy with an injury history... but Ballard said pretty much right away that Turay was a bit raw and would take a couple years to develop. He seems to be developing all right. Lewis has also suffered due to injury bug, though he really looks to be pretty good this year. I think his toe injury which hampered him most of his rookie year hurt him a bit, not just because he missed time or was playing hurt/slow, but also because I think it impacted the way he was used as a rotational DL who sometimes plays inside and sometimes plays outside. This year, he looks good and it looks like he is being used the most effectively he has been in his career. He's on pace for ~10 sacks this year, which (IMO) is pretty hard to say is disappointing from a guy drafted at 64. The 2019 draft... again Ya-Sin has been hampered by injury for sure. He had his ups and downs last year and got into a little rut with pass interference calls. He worked his way up to CB #1 this year before getting hurt again. If he stays healthy and on the trajectory he's on, he's a solid pick. Banogu doesn't look horrible this year, but of all the picks you mentioned, he has been the worst IMO.. still not giving up on him completely as he was definitely a project player when drafted, but he's gotta turn his potential into production ASAP. Then Campbell has shown a bunch of flashes. I thought he looked very good against Balt. and think as WEntz develops more confidence in him, the more he'll grow. Again, Campbell has been hit with the injury bug (and in this case, he had no real injury history when he was drafted)... which is unfortunate. I think, if healthy, you'll want to remove Campbell from this list by the end of the year. Now, I get it -- DK Metcalf is doing great in SEA -- that said, DK had a huge flag about him regarding a neck injury which is why so many other teams passed up on him, so I don't blame Ballard at all there. I think Hooker's inability to stay healthy was his biggest issue. I think he could be all right in Flus' system -- as you noted, he was a better fit for Pagano's D than Flus', but if he stayed healthy, I think Hooker would be all right in Flus' system. The other thing with Hooker was he kinda disappeared at times, which for a FS, I don't think is a terrible thing (i.e., I think teams were mostly avoiding throwing his way even in Flus' scheme).
  7. That loss was frustrating... though, some positives came out of it: 1) Wentz looked very good for the most part ( a couple plays I thought he held the ball too long or didn't make the right read, but just a handful... for the most part, he was very good, I was glad to see he was so poised on the last drive of the 4th Q, putting us in a position to win on a 47 yard FG attempt). 2) Our OL looked very good despite not having Q, B. Smith and having Kelly banged up (again, a couple plays weren't good, but for the most part, they looked very good against a tough D -- if you count STs, their worst two plays of the game, IMO were the last two field goal attempts, letting Campbell get that far inside -- he went right over Glow both of them, blocked the first one and if Rodrigo kicked the next one straight, it looked like it would've gotten blocked again), 3) Our WRs looked impressive -- Baltimore is a tough team with a very strong D, and our WRs did well for the most part, 4) Our RBs looked very good -- Taylor had a very solid game, so did Mack... Hines was OK in limited time, 5) Our D looked solid for 3/4 of the game -- I won't have time to rewatch anytime soon, but for now, I'm not sure how much of the 4th Q/OT meltdown is on Flus, how much it is on having the secondary so banged up, how much it is on the fact that Lamar Jackson is a legit MVP candidate year in and year out the past few years and there's only so long you can hold an offense led by him back, etc. Some major negatives: 1) Our injury bug is ridiculous -- it's been going on since preseason.. but it seems like it is hitting us at almost every position now (again, I imagine some of that 4th Q meltdown was the fact that we were without a huge chunk of our secondary), 2) We may have a major K problem -- if Blankenship is truly hurt/injured, I expect we'll see him IRed tomorrow and his replacement brought in... even if he's not, I gotta worry about his confidence now and never thought he had a strong leg to begin with... we have been spoiled as most of the Vanderjagt years and all but his last year, the Vinatieri years, we had one of, if not the best, kicking games in the league... it's never good when we're losing games due to missed PATs and FGs from within 50 yards, 3) Our LB pass coverage -- I thought they tackled OK... but Andrews (TE) gashed us up... I thought the coverage from Okereke on him, especially on the goal line in the 4th Q was pathetic. 4) Some dumb penalties -- the first that comes to mind was the pass interference against Pittman. I like Pittman, but it seems like he has at least one dumb play (penalty) too often. Not that our other 4 penalties were any better, but at least some on the OL I hope can be chalked up to the fact that we're missing 2 starters, still welcoming Fisher (his false start was bad), and at least one of our other starters (Kelly) is playing banged up. 5) Earlier this year, we let R. Wilson (a mobile QB) throw for a perfect passer rating against us... last night, Lamar had probably the best game of his career. Other than his fumble and his slow start.... the 3rd/4th quarters and OT, he absolutely scorched us. I get it, we were playing with a very banged up secondary. That said, if we make it to the playoffs, we're doomed if we can't figure out how to deal with mobile QBs, as we'll likely have to face Mahommes, LJ, Allen from the AFC (all of whom are mobile QBs who can also throw). A point I think is moot: 1) Offensive play calling and Wentz -- we played very well against a very strong D for most of the game. Other than the fumble, and maybe a few plays where he held the ball a bit long, Wentz played well. There were one or two plays where I thought he should have audibled out of the play he called, but otherwise, Wentz was solid. Reich and Brady, I thought, did a heckuva job on the offensive play calling. For all those complaining that we should have gone for a big play on 3rd and 8 before Blankenship had a FG blocked, I guarantee if we turned the ball over (INT or fumble), if Wentz got sacked and moved us back a few yards, if we had an offensive penalty, etc... you would be the same ones saying Reich was dumb for not going for a first down on a 3rd and long and settling for a FG which would have put us up by two possessions and made it pretty impossible for us to lose. Also, Blankenship missed a PAT (which stinks) and then up 22-3 we missed a 2 pt conversion which also stunk. That said, making the 2 pt conversion puts us up 3 TDs. For those calling for Reich to be fired because he went for 2 pt conversion instead of going for PAT, you all would have been just as bad had we gone for the PAT and Blankenship missed again. I'm sure Reich remembers last year when we held Balt to 7 points in the first half and gave up 17 in the second half and was thinking (aside from Blankenship possibly being injured) that 24-3 is way better than 22 or 23-3 with how explosive LJ and the Ravens O can be. Why I remain hopeful: 1) We have 5 very winnable games in a row with Houston, 49ers, Titans at home, NYJ, Jax. Should be realistically able to go 5-0 during this stretch... so if we are 6-4 going into Buffalo I think we'll be in a good spot. Then we have a tough TB at home, and Houston. Very realistically, I think we can go into the bye week at 7-6 .. after our bye, the only concern I have is AZ.. so I think a 10-7 record is very feasible for us (if not better, assuming we don't lose any games we should win, beat the Titans in the rematch, and potentially get a win over Buff, TB, or AZ). As bad at HOU and JAX are, I think our only competition in the AFC S if TEN. At 3-2 (with a loss to the lowly Jets), they have the Bills, Chiefs, us, Rams and Saints in the next 5 weeks... while I think we can legit go 5-0, assuming we beat TEN, I think the best they will be able to do is go 1-4 in the next 5 (with losses to Buff, KC, LAR and a win vs. the Saints). That would put us at 6-4 and them at 4-6 after 10 weeks.. assuming we beat TEN and I'm wrong on a couple games, it's very possible we both go into week 11 at 5-5. 2) We should, hypothetically, get healthier. I assume Q and Braden Smith will come back, that Fisher will continue to improve and that Kelly will stay as is or get healthier -- so our OL should only improve moving forward. We should get TY back at some point, which should help our O, especially if he comes back and is able to play healthy down the stretch (his major knock the past few years is that he was so banged up down the stretch). We should get Ya-Sin, Carrie, Paye, etc. back on D... I don't know how the injuries to X. Rhodes and all the other DBs that got hurt last night are, but assuming they come back healthy, our D should continue to improve (that said, I think if BoPete Keyes and Chesley are our CBs moving forward, we're in for some trouble). 3) I'm encouraged by some of our guys who are in kind of 'prove it' years. A couple examples: Tyquan Lewis, IMO, is playing by far his best football of his career. Turay is making impressive plays each week. As we get a bit healthier and these guys start gelling more, I think we'll continue to see improvement.
  8. Funny thing about our OL... they did play very well for most of tonight (a few bad pressures given up and a bad holding call late, as well as a bad blocking job on the last to FG attempts).. we're missing the guy who is our best G, Kelly has been banged up, Smith has been hurt... our OL, hypothetically, should be even better. Campbell got in pretty far in the kick at the buzzer, too... it was like Blankenship had to kick it left to avoid him.
  9. I could see that... I know a lot on here seemed to think Rochell may get cut... I see him almost as a clone of Autry when he first came here and 6 is about where I was thinking he would be.
  10. 1) Hot Rod will make at least one clutch game winning kick (by 'clutch' I mean as time expires or very near, rather than a game winning kick in a scenario where we are tied say 17-17 in middle of 3rd Q and he hits a FG to go up 20-17 and the score doesn't change the rest of the way). 2) Colts will have 6 or more pro-bowlers -- Buckner, Leonard, Q., Jonathan Taylor are my locks with at least two from the following group making it: Paye, B. Smith, Doyle, Wentz, Blackmon, Moore II, I. Rodgers (KR), Odum (STer), X. Rhodes, Hot Rod, Kelly, P. Campbell. 3) Flus lands a head coaching position after this season. 4) Colts win AFC South.
  11. Is there a link to the original source? I believe this... but would be interesting to see what the criteria for 'best' actually is and what angle the NFL Agents are voting from (e.g., is he the best to work with in terms of getting deals done? the fairest guy in negotiations? the best at engaging with fans? or is he, what I am most concerned with, the 'best at building a winning football team'?)
  12. Replying to all 3 above here... I tend to think it'd be weird to have an agreement before camp or at the time of signing. For multiple reasons -- 1) as previously eluded to above, Piniero most certainly didn't sign with a team with the expectation that he had no shot at making the roster, 2) Ballard basically said it was Hot Rod's job to lose, but I think it is fairly well known that Hot Rod's leg strength coming out of college was the major concern and last year he was 1/3 from 50+ and missed another two kicks from 40-49 yards, so my guess is Ballard/Reich/etc. told Hot Rod that he had to put on some leg strength in the offseason and he would be tested in camp/preseason by a guy who was 2/2 from 50+ last year, and 3) injuries are always a topic of concern in the NFL (confounded by covid these days), and I have a hard time believing Ballard would agree with someone upon signing them that they would be released after the 2nd preseason game if they hadn't done enough to make the team (e.g., suppose Blankenship had a very minor ankle sprain that they wanted to rest in preseason game 3, but they still favored him over Eddy P.. or suppose Blankenship had tested positive for covid and had to miss week 3/4 of preseason.. my guess is in either scenario, they would have kept Eddy P.). All that said, I wholeheartedly agree with @Supermanthat the timing of the cut was done to give him a shot to make another roster. Ballard is very good about this for players who he respects. Not the same situation, but he repeatedly said with Jacoby Brissett that he wouldn't consider trading him or doing anything if it weren't both in the best interest of Jacoby and the Colts organization. Obviously, Eddy P is a K (not a QB) and was only here a few months, but my guess is Ballard saw Eddy doing well and had a good feeling that he'd have a solid shot to compete for a job on another roster so he gave him a good chance to do so by releasing him now rather than at the final cut. It is pretty rare for teams to trade for kickers (especially ones who aren't spectacular, not saying Eddy's not good, but he doesn't do a whole lot to really stand out... e.g., there are rumors swirling that Santoso, the NYG backup K, may get traded for a pick, but the guy has also hit from 63 and 66 yards in camp.. I hadn't heard anything like those numbers about Eddy). Also, NFL GMs are pretty keen on having ideas of what other teams may do when it comes time to cutting players -- with injury concerns at QB, OL, and major decisions to be made a multiple other positions, it is very unlikely that we'd be able to keep 2 placekickers and a punter - so other GMs have pretty much 100% odds that either Eddy or Rod would be cut after the 4th preseason game, regardless of how well they both played in weeks 3/4 of preseason. And, because most teams only keep 1 K, it's not like Eddy would have all the options in the world of who he could sign with (i.e., come the end of preseason, there will be few, if any, teams who have an open kicking spot and are willing to sign someone to the active roster -- and it's not like Eddy's some superstar -- so even desperate teams would have the opportunity to try to sign him or someone else who got cut who is similar in skillset). I wonder if Tell's missing the season last year will hurt him at all this year. I tend to think it won't hurt him in the eyes of coaches or Ballard too much, but who knows. Where I imagine it hurts a bit is that he was developing nice as a rookie and who knows if that was stunted drastically due to not playing last year. Anyway, I thought a reason Ballard really liked Tell was because he had ability to play CB and S (and fits that long/rangy mold he seems to covet). As stated in a previous thread, I tend to not put much stake into the preseason depth charts. While it's impressive that Chachere is listed on the depth chart as FS and N... I don't see why Tell couldn't be listed as FS if needed when it really matters (i.e., regular season). My guess is we'll keep 10 DBs and my guess on them is: Moore II (N), Rhodes (CB), Carrie (CB/N), Blackmon (FS), Willis (SS), I. Rodgers (CB/N/Returner), Odum (SS/ST Ace), Shawn Davis (FS), Ya-Sin (CB), Tell (CB/potential backup FS). Won't be shocked at all if we let Tell go and keep Chachere... or if I'm wrong somewhere else up there... I just think of something happens to Moore II, we'd be better off moving Carrie to nickel and Ya-Sin to outside CB (honestly, won't be shocked if Ya-Sin gets the couple bad interference calls out of his head and beats Carrie out at some point for 2nd CB after Rhodes). Ultimately, I think the last couple of spots will come down the health throughout the remainder of preseason and who can contribute most on STs.
  13. Dulin has been very solid on STs for us (mainly as a gunner and in coverage, but also can return punts and kicks). He hasn't been called upon much, but when he has, he's shown promise as a WR. He played in 13 games as a rookie and made the active roster last year (I think he was out with injury for 3 weeks or so). So he's got 2 NFL seasons under his belt. As others have said, I don't think this depth chart really means much. However, I'm not surprised that Dulin is listed over Patmon. Patmon has 2 preseason games under his belt now, and has no regular season experience. The main issue with Patmon coming out of college was that he played too soft (or not up to his size) -- to me, that may suggest that he isn't an ideal candidate for being a gunner or a coverage unit guy who has to risk putting his body on the line pretty often.
  14. You're funny. And yes, when you quote someone and your response is directly regarding the post/topic the person you were quoting was talking about, it typically means you are responding to them. I've not seen many 'fawning over Harris like he's some hidden gem', though I think a lot of people have reason to be excited about him based on his performance last year - he showed a lot of burst and provided a spark on several occasions (even if he never really broke a huge play). I think it's too early to tell whether or not he has room at the inn. If I had to guess, I think he's on the outside looking in and if he clears waivers (which I doubt he will) they'll try to stash him on the PS. That said, he was an RB in college and he has shown he can play WR. In some senses, he reminds me a lot of Hines, where he could line up as a change of pace RB, in the slot or as a WR. There's still plenty of time left in pre-season and injuries can certainly happen, but he provides very good (albeit, backup) versatility which makes him unique compared to a guy like Patmon (and maybe Strachan) who likely won't even be able to contribute much on STs.
  15. We're pretty much set at returner with I. Rodgers and Hines. Then we have guys like Dulin (if he makes the roster), Mack, Carrie and others who can also return kicks. Harris is pretty small and I don't recall him being used as a gunner or on kickoff units. Sure, he would probably be all right returning kicks as the 3rd-5th backup, but I think his value is more like a swiss army knife (sort of like a poor man's Hines) on offense. I could be wrong, but it seems like Reich likes to have speedy/shifty guys on the roster (Campbell and TY both fit that mold, so does Hines, so does Harris). Patmon, Dulin and Strachan are all bigger, straightaway speed type guys. The fact that roster cuts will be hard is a good thing, but I can see Harris having a little bit of an edge for that last spot due to Patmon, Strachan and Dulin all being similar WRs (i.e., keeping one of them and Harris may give us a bit more versatility should WRs 5 and 6 ever need to see the field than keeping two of those guys). You're taking my comment way out of context. But yes, he appeared in 7 games. Strachan and Patmon appeared in none (Patmon, like Harris didn't have a preseason last year), so both of them are completely untested against NFL talent in game action. Nowhere did I say anything close to 'Harris has a guaranteed roster spot' or 'he's better than x, y, z' like you are trying to spin here. I said it is possible that Harris got less volume in the first preseason game than Patmon or Strachan because the coaches have never seen Patmon or Strachan in game action before. There's 3 more preseason games left. Maybe you should relax for a bit and let things play out.
  16. He had 1 catch for 6 yards on 1 attempt his way. Not the volume Strachan and Patmon had.. but it is preseason and the coaches know what Harris can do in real games moreso than Patmon or Strachan because Harris performed well when he was brought up last year, so there's always the possibility he had limited targets due to that.
  17. Also, aside from Wilkins being one of (possibly the) best 4th string RBs in the league, I think the FO will remember that Mack is coming off a season ending Achilles injury and likely value having a 4th RB a bit more than they normally would. Mack did look pretty good today, but I still imagine Wilkins ST value plus Mack's recent injury gives him a decent chance at making the roster. That said, Benny Lemay looked pretty good at RB today. Strachan and Patmon both had solid games. The WR battle is going to be a tough one. My guess is we go with TY, Campbell, Pittman, Pascal, Strachan and Patmon .. though Tarik Black and Tyler Vaughns looked good and I really liked DeMichael Harris last year. Wouldn't totally shock me if we kept 7 WRs, but I would be surprised, especially because we're likely going to at least start with 3 QBs and potentially an extra OL if Nelson is questionable to start the season. I also can see the argument that Patmon and Strachan are similar WRs and they'd keep one or the other and a guy like D. Harris who can play a totally different role. I was more impressed by Eason than I was by Ehlinger, though Ehlinger has pretty good legs and I can see him being used similarly to how we used Brisset last year (Wentz is obviously more mobile than Rivers and there is a good chance we won't need a QB to come in to run on short situations, but with Wentz' health being a concern, I wouldn't be shocked to see Ehlinger get a couple of reps in the regular season - anyone else remember the rumblings after he was drafted of Ehlinger being like our Taysom Hill?). I'll have to watch the tape a bit more... but one position battle which I don't think gets a lot of attention, but which I find interesting and far from over is Hot Rod vs. Pineiro at kicker.
  18. You said: "Our added speed with Kwity, Speed, Okereke, Shawn D." I said I don't really consider Okereke as an addition since he played >2/3 of the snaps last year. I get he will likely replace Walker on first downs, so we may be a little faster there, but Oke seemed to struggle mightily vs. the run last year so I'm not so sure replacing Walker with him on running downs is going to be a benefit, even if we are a little faster. Paye has better combine measurables coming in as a rookie than Houston does as an old vet, sure... he's still a rookie who is raw coming into the league -- will he actually be faster in live game action? Time will tell. Same for Odeyingbo. Rhodes has played in this system before (or very similar). He's on the wrong side of 30. More likely than not, he's not getting any faster. Agree on Blackmon. Speed is more athletic than Walker, for sure -- see my comments on Paye-Houston above -- we have nothing to go by regarding Speed on D (well very, very little). Like I said, I'll remain optimistic, but we have a LOT of ifs on our D this year. I get what you're saying and I don't totally disagree. That said, a strong pass rush greatly helps the pass coverage. I know you'll point out that we had good pressure %, but we also had a lot of pressures in which we failed to actually sack the QB, hit the QB, significantly alter the QBs ability to get rid of the ball, or tip the ball/bat the ball down. I remember a game where DeFo was mic'ed up and said something like "I am so close, I gotta stop being close and actually hit the QB, it's coming." He then went on to make a big play (I think a safety or a sack-fumble). It seemed like Buckner was not the only one who was just a step or two away from turning 'pressure' into either a sack or a scenario I just mentioned which may result in an interception or a bad throw. I think we'll need more of them this season than just 'pressure' per se.
  19. I think the reason why Irsay kept Pagano after Grigs left is because he felt he owed it to Pagano to let him actually be in control of coaching a team. It was widely reported that Grigs was calling the shots of who Pagano could play vs. not-play (e.g., Trent Richardson was a bust but Grigs forced Pagano to use him as a bell cow so as not to make Grigs look awful for making such a bad trade to get him). I didn't think it really had much to do with Irsay's financials -- I think it had more to do with the fact that a lot of players actually seemed to like Pagano and they didn't like Grigs (Pat McAfee has plenty of clips about how much he disliked Grigs and talks about other players also not liking/respecting Grigs). I can think of far more scenarios where a new GM has the option of retaining an existing coach or bringing in their own than I can scenarios where the GM is essentially forced to keep the current head coach (as was seemingly the case with Ballard). This instance was pretty odd, as we knew from day 1 Ballard wanted a 4-3 D and Pagano was a 3-4 guy.
  20. Interesting that it seems like this was paid for by Under Armour. Here's a part of the article: "“Our main goal was to take Jonathan out of his comfort zone by removing the control he typically has over his workout conditions, meal planning and sleep schedule, and push him to thrive in the most extreme, sub-zero conditions,” Under Armour vice president of Human Performance, Science and Research Paul Winsper said. “My team and I look forward to seeing how the mental and physical benefits of Jonathan's offseason cold-weather training pays off on the field this year.”" ---- I tend to think JT is a stud and just needed some time to get comfortable last year. I think if he did a 'normal' offseason he would be pretty well off, too. That said, glad to see him challenging himself. Having recently moved from Wyoming, I can vouch to the fact that hiking/snowshoeing through mountains in subzero weather is a very physically and mentally challenging thing and from the article it sounds like he put both mental and physical tests to the limit. I am just curious to know how much the Colts training staff and Under Armour worked together on this, as I haven't really heard of a player's sponsor saying something very close the statement that Under Armour had where it seemed like it was almost entirely their idea (e.g., I imagine Gatorade had some role in some of the mic'ed up clips of Peyton talking about how good Gatorade is, since he was sponsored by them and the Colts have Gatorade coolers/water bottles on the sidelines, and imagine they asked Peyton to drink Gatorade instead of Powerade or another competing brand when choosing a sports drink, especially when he was being filmed... but I don't ever remember them saying 'we wanted to take Peyton out of his normal offseason routine this year and go out into the wilderness to climb mountains and dig ice pits in sub-zero weather').
  21. Speed and Okereke are going into year 3. Okereke struggled some last year (personally, for the most part, I thought he regressed a bit from his rookie year, though he was used in a bit of a different role so I want to give him benefit of the doubt) -- I don't see him as 'added speed' from last year as he played 2/3 of the snaps (he and Walker were nearly equal with Walker at 67.5% and Oke at 66.4% - I get it, we may be faster on 1st down with Oke in there instead of Walker, but I still don't see him as 'added speed' and frankly he struggled against the run last year). I hope to see Speed get some opportunity, and remain optimistic on him but he has barely seen the field on D over 2 years in the league and is largely an unknown. I will also remain optimistic on Kwity (assuming he stays healthy), but he's expected to come in and replace a borderline HOFer in Justin Houston so I also don't want to get my hopes up there. In the secondary, I expect Rhodes/Carrie/Moore will remain steady and hope to see Rock and Blackmon improve (I also hope to see Tell play well, though ESPN has him very low on the depth chart if that means anything)... that said I like Willis but think we've pretty much seen his ceiling and I don't want to hang my hat on a 5th round rookie safety (Shawn D., though he seems to be promising, he also seems to be battling injury right now and I haven't heard much about him at all this camp), or the other Sean D who is two years removed from missing 15 games and who only had 12 tackles last season. If Lewis and Banogu play up to the hype they've been getting in preseason, that will be a good thing. If Turay stays healthy and emerges as a legit passrusher, that will be a good thing. If Rochell can be like Autry for us (I think he can), that will be a good thing. If Paye's ankle truly isn't serious and he can play at a level near Houston (very high expectations for a rookie who is comin g in pretty raw), and he lives up to his hype, that will be a good thing. If Buckner and Stewart both stay healthy and play at or above the level they played last year, that will be a great thing. If all of these things happen, we'll probably have a pretty good pass rush and that will be helpful to our backend. That is a whole lot of 'ifs', and while I remain optimistic, we also have to hope Leonard stays healthy because we are unproven at LB behind him. My gut tells me our D will be improved, though, until I really don't think we'll know what we have until around week 5 or maybe even later. What last year showed me was that we lack depth at critical positions on D. This is understandable as we were (and still are) very young on D and we have quite a bit invested in our O. I don't have time to get too in depth here, but let's just look at points allowed. I know this is not 100% accurate to judge the D on because some points allowed were a direct result of our offense turning the ball over (e.g., week 1 against Jax two Rivers interceptions gave them two possessions starting inside our 30 which resulted in 10 points)... anyway, week 1 we gave up 27 (hypothetically 17 without those 10 points due to bad turnovers), week 2, 3, 4 we gave up 11 points, 7 points, 11 points (albeit to MIN, NYJ, CHI so not very good offensive teams)... then Leonard gets hurt and misses week 5 and 6 where we gave up 32 points to CLE (who had a good O) and 27 to CIN (not a bad O, but still a 4 win team). Just from week 4 to week 6 our D rankings had to drop significantly, not saying it is all because Leonard was out, but our D was noticeably different without him. Then, let's look at our two games vs. TEN -- the first time we played them we won 34-17 and held Derrick Henry to 103 yards rushing and 0 TDs... two weeks later with Buckner out (I believe due to covid protocol) we got thrashed 45-26 and allowed Henry to rush for 6.6 ypc for 178 yards and 3 TDs -- it was very obvious without the other true stud on our D (i.e., I consider Leonard and Buckner the only true studs on our D last year) that we had a significant weakness. Don't get me wrong, I get that Buckner and Leonard are both all-pro caliber players and very few teams in the league would be able to play without losing an all-pro at the same level they can with them... but when either of those guys were hurt last year, it was so obvious how much they were missed and how much inadequacies they could mask when they were out there. Also, we have to really emphasize the difference in our strength of schedule early vs. late last year. Our three best D games came week 2, 3, and 4 (at least in terms of points allowed) vs. a 7-9 MIN team (11th in scoring offense, we held them to 11), a 2-14 NYJ team (32nd in scoring offense, we held the worst team in the league to 7), and an 8-8 Bears team (22nd in scoring offense, we held them to 11). Then in week 17 we held JAX to 14 (they were 30th in scoring offense). Aside from those games we held TEN to 17 in our win against them when we more or less kept Henry in check, and every other game we allowed 20+ (we averaged 22.6 pts/game allowed for 10th best scoring D in league). Given that 2 of our 3 best games (scoring wise anyway) on D came in weeks 3 and 4 against the worst and 22nd worst O's in the league, it isn't really a shock that our ranking fell as the year went on. On the flipside, had we played GB (1st scoring O in league), BAL (9th scoring O), and TEN (4th scoring O in league, especially if we played them without Buckner) in weeks 2, 3, 4 (instead of weeks 9, 11, 12) and played NYJ, CHI, MIN the same in weeks 9, 11, 12... we would have gone from a very bad D (points allowed) to a top 10 D (points allowed) after the first 1/4 of the season.
  22. Oke is a lot more athletic than Brackett. And how do you know nobody is challenging him? My guess is EJ Speed is challenging him and so is every other guy not named Darius Leonard in the LB room. EJ Speed is a freak athlete from a smaller school. The coaches and Ballard all said since day 1 it would take a couple years for him to develop into an NFL player and my guess is he'll finally get his chance to show what he's developed into on the field a bit this year. I think Rochell is going to do a nice job. He reminds me a lot of Autry and I think he's capable of filling Autry's role without really skipping a beat. My main concern with Paye is that he's a rookie so he'll likely have a few mental lapses or times where inexperience hurts him. Otherwise, I think he'll be solid. Not concerned about Lewis vs. the run. Turay against the run concerns me, but I tend to think we'll see Turay on the field almost exclusively for passing downs. This is a silly post. Look what happened when Peyton got hurt, we went from AFC South favorites (in many folks' eyes AFC and SB favorites) to 2-14 without a competent backup. Irsay said then that he was going to make sure we always have a competent backup. Fast forward a few years and when we just barely missed the playoffs when we had Hasselbeck as a starter. Obviously it's not ideal to lose a starting QB for a large chunk of time. It is rare for a team to overcome that, though it's happened - like the time Brady took over for Bledsoe in week 2 of the 2001 season, or the time Nick Foles took over for MVP candidate Carson Wentz and led the Eagles to the SB (as @NewColtsFanalluded to with a decent list of other solid vet backup QBs). That said, making the playoffs in the NFL is a tough thing to do (e.g., even with an 11-5 record last year, the Colts barely got in with a wildcard spot and aside from squeaking in with that record, we had 7 regular season games and a post-season game which were decided by one score or less). Having a backup QB who can step in for a game, a portion of a game (yes even if only a single series) is very important. The value of a vet QB is he typically has experience and poise to handle adverse situations (e.g., subbing in on the fly in the 4th quarter of a tied game). I believe Reich and Ballard trust that Eason will be OK to handle situations if he gets thrown in there (and given the fact that a fully healthy season for Wentz has only happened 2x in his 5 years I think they should almost be assuming the backup will be needed at some point). Much to his benefit, Eason got to sit behind Rivers (a future HOF QB who excels at a lot of the things Eason got knocked on, e.g., reading defenses) and Brissett (a solid leader) as a rookie.
  23. I imagine you are correct. Not that I ever came close to the NFL, but I do remember in my HS days there were rules where coaches couldn't 'lead' practices until a certain date, but the captains could lead them and the coaches could 'watch from a distance' or get feedback from captains about who was showing up, how things were going, etc. Of course, there is a lot we don't know as fans. Not disagreeing that Doyle getting timing down with Wentz would be a very good thing, but for all we know Doyle could be in physical therapy working out kinks from a 'clean-up' type surgery or for some reason be getting feedback from the higher ups that he needs to be resting his hip right now. Also, it looks like those photos are from 1 day, so for all we know Harris/Dulin/Doyle etc. could have been there a couple days before or enroute to joining Wentz a day or two after the photos were taken. And yes, it will be interesting to see what we do with the WR group. As I stated earlier, if they all are healthy out of training camp/preseason my guess is TY, Pittman, Campbell and Pascal are locks as WRs 1-4. Then we have kind of a logjam with Patmon, Strachan, Dulin, Harris (potentially Nelson and some other UDFA signings) for WRs 5-6 (my guess is we'll keep 6, but wouldn't be shocked if we kept 5 or even 7 as some of these guys have special teams value). We know Dulin is a solid ST guy as a gunner and he can be used to return if need be. Harris reminds me a bit of Hines and he showed a lot of explosiveness the few opportunities he was granted. We know Ballard like size as a trait in WRs and Patmon and Strachan certainly have plenty of that. The knock on Patmon coming out last year was he was a bit raw and didn't play with the physicality to match is size. The knock on STrachan is that he's raw and coming from a small school. Obviously the coaches thought highly enough of Patmon to not risk putting him on the PS and exposing him to the waiver wire. It'll be interesting for sure.. I wonder if there's any chance Patmon moves to active roster and Strachan has the same treatment as Patmon last year (i.e., a healthy scratch every week as to not expose him to the waiver wire).
  24. One thing I remember is the next year when we signed Andre Johnson and Frank Gore, they were interviewed and said that they were talking to eachother (as former Hurricane teammates) about where to sign and they brought up that play and said they wanted to play with Luck in Indy because they thought he was special and was gonna give them both a ring. Recently, Gore said the only regret he had signing with INdy was that Luck didn't stay healthy for longer.
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