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Colts Vs. Bengals Game Day Thread


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    • No doubt any move is a gamble of some kind or another. If its an older guy, is the player injury prone or on the downhill side of his career? If a younger guy, will he still perform with serious coin in his pocket for the first time? But in the end, you have to look at recent production. If the guy has a good rep for being a hard worker and improved his play such that he's become an impact player, he's worth the gamble, IMO. Maybe not for a contract longer than 3 years, but I like taking a shot at an ascending talent.    More importantly, if you believe, as I do, that the defense HAS to get much better at rushing the passer, especially since our D coordinator seems to have a serious allergy to blitzing, then the push to find that missing piece has to take its place front and center over other needs. 
    • This kid could make things really interesting and turn that flat-butt 4-3 into something really special with corners who can press. The scheme could be really sneaky good with that personnel. 
    • I don't know who else we really need to have a bounce back year, especially on D.  Along our DL, we either need to bring back Houston and Autry or figure out how to replace them - but both had pretty solid years.  Lewis was better than he had been his first couple years.  Buckner was a stud and Stewart was solid.  Having Turay come back healthy and seeing Banogu improve would be helpful, but they both played so little last year and hadn't done enough previously to indicate last year was a 'down year'.  At LB, Leonard was a first-team all pro again and very solid.  Walker was solid but saw his snap count decrease and Oke had his ups and downs while seeing his snap count dramatically increase (as @EastStreet pointed out,  not only did his snaps go way up compared to his rookie year but the way he was used was different).  I doubt we see Walker back, so it'd be nice to see Oke improve for sure.  Then in the secondary we had solid play from Rhodes, Carrie, Willis and Moore for the most part.  Blackmon was solid (especially early on, but he seemed to digress as the year went on - IMO, to be expected as he was raw coming in and was coming off a knee injury, I don't think he was supposed to get near the snaps he did last year, but we know what happened with Hooker and sort of forced Blackmon into the fire).  RYS had a down year, but I don't see why he can't bounce back - he's got the physical traits - I tend to think he battled some mental demons after some P-Int penalties, and hopefully he can refine his technique some and come back strong.     In all, on the D, I think we're in good shape.  Keep in mind, it seemed like 'Flus called the D a bit differently last year than he had in earlier years here.  We are, overall (aside from Houston, Autry, Rhodes) very young on D.  We had a very weird off-season last year, which (IMO) is critical for younger guys.  I can't help but think it didn't help the likes of guys like RYS and Oke who saw their roles increase and change (IMO, OKe's change was more than a 'slight' change) between their rookie year and year 2.     On O, ideally we'll see solid QB play from Wentz (I won't go as far as to saying he needs a 'bounce back' year as he hasn't been in Indy before and it sounds like there was a lot of toxicity in Philly, hopefully all he needs in a change of scenery and a reunion with Reich).  Our OL was solid, so as long as we can replace AC at LT I think we'll be OK there.  We had pretty consistent play from Hines and Wilkins throughout the year and JT got dramatically better as the season wore on -- I think if those guys can start up where they left off, we're more than fine at RB.  TY didn't have his best year, but he's be declining for about 3 years now, so if we bring him back, all we can do is hope he stays healthy and I think we'll be in OK shape.  Pittman missed some time with his leg compartment syndrome, but was solid down the stretch, so I don't think we need him to 'bounce back', just continue on his trajectory and he's gonna be solid.  Pascal was solid and I think we've pretty much seen his ceiling, so he just needs to stay solid.  It would be sweet to see Campbell and/or Patmon to emerge, but don't think we need them to 'bounce back' as we've never gotten high level results from them to begin with.     Then on STs, we were pretty solid all around.  Would like to see Blankenship add a bit more umphf to his kicks, but he was solid and Sanchez was solid punting.  The coverage and return units were solid overall.   So really, I think we need a comeback or bounce back year from RYS and maybe Oke... but overall, I don't think we need a 'bunch of them.'       I agree, pretty much  have to temper expectations on Speed being from a small school.  He did really improve on STs last year and he got his praise any time Ballard or any coaches spoke about him.  I get the feeling Ballard and staff are willing to use patience with project players (Ballard states that fairly regularly).  With Oke, Walker, Leonard and then Franklin who has more playing experience at LB - I don't think there was really much need to rush Speed into an LB role last year.  He got plenty of ST snaps and did well there, hopefully boosting his confidence that he can play at NFL level while still refining his LB technique in practices and the film room.     While I would rather see guys like Adams and Glasgow on STs - I don't think it is terrible to have them on the roster primarily as STers but being our 5th and 6th ranked LBs on the depth chart as well.  Meaning, if we went into the season with Leonard, Oke, Speed and Franklin as our top 4 with Adams and Glasgow as STers but listed as 5 and 6 on depth chart, I don't think it'd be the worst thing (especially considering we predominantly play with only 2 LBers on the field).  So, sure it'd be nice to bring in a mid-late round draft pick or sign a decent FA for fairly cheap, but I'd rather see us dishing out money to bring in a solid LT, a playmaker at TE (and maybe WR), retain Rhodes, ensure the DL was solid (either by bringing back Houston and Autry or by getting a guy like Bud Dupree/JJ Watt/etc.), and add OL depth.  In otherwords, regardless of if we bring Walker back or not, I don't think LB is a top 5 position of concern right now.   I don't think Walker is going to command a ton, but he was 15th in the NFL in tackles in 2018 (124), tied for 28th (105) in 2019 and in the top 50 in 2020 (92).  He's a pretty productive player and a solid one - so he's going to demand significantly more than he was getting as a 5th round pick on his rookie contract.  And yes, he definitely wants to play more and I think his biggest issue here is his lack of athleticism.  You're right, he'll probably play more in a 3-4 D and he will likely be offered more money by a team where he'll play a lot than what Ballard will offer him.    See the last line from Ballard in this article:  https://www.colts.com/news/chris-ballard-philip-rivers-ty-hilton-xavier-rhodes-2020-season-press-conference (Ballard on Linebacker Anthony Walker: "I have a special relationship with Anthony Walker. Selfless. Team guy. Rare leader. I hope he gets into coaching one day or scouting. Mark my words on this: if Anthony Walker gets into coaching, he will be a head football coach in the National Football League. And if he gets into scouting, he'll be a general manager. He's brilliant — absolutely brilliant, and he's made of the right stuff. I know Anthony wants to play more. We value Anthony. We'll see how it works out. I want good for Anthony."   My guess is Walker is gone.  
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