The Colts Re-Watch: Preseason Week 3 vs. Eagles
Each week, I will head back to the computer to re-watch the Indianapolis Colts’ previous game – sometimes multiple times – to help pick up on some things I might have missed the first go-around while watching live.
So this week, it was a chore to go back and watch parts of this Colts' Week 3 performance. Several significant players did not play due to injury, and others like Jack Mewhort and Darius Butler left due to new injuries. The offensive line was leaky, and the amount of time that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford had to throw looked like a Ken Stabler highlight from back in the day.
- The Andrew Luck-to-TY Hilton connection was in midseason form. They had a few really nice hookups (3 for 38 yards, 5 targets) where Luck placed the ball perfectly where it needed to be for Hilton. Unfortunately, there were plays between the two left on the field. Luck was harassed constantly, and he couldn’t even get the screen game going because defenders were too close in the area.
- Understanding of the offense is pretty much the most important thing for a quarterback. Who knows how much of the offense has been given to Scott Tolzien as the second-teamer as opposed to Stephen Morris as the third-teamer, but the offense seems to move much smoother and consistently with Morris under center. He led two more scoring drives in the fourth quarter on Saturday. He definitely has his struggles with accuracy downfield at times, however.
- Robert Turbin looks good. He had an 81-yard touchdown run called back due to holding. The holding call on Phillip Dorsett could’ve gone either way. The defender had his back towards Turbin when their paths crossed, so who knows much it would've affected the play otherwise.
- The Colts have been unable to squeeze much out of electric rookie Josh Ferguson so far this preseason. The first and second-team lines just haven't been opening up running lanes, and they have struggled to find ways to get Ferguson out in space. However, Tolzien was able to find Ferguson on a 16-yard screen, and that kind of playmaking ability is what has coaches hoping he pans out.
- Running back Trey Williams has made a bunch of plays in the preseason, and I don't think there's been much question that he's been their most consistent offensive skill position playmaker. He had a nice touchdown on a pass on Saturday where he slipped a tackle and made the score respectable, but he was waived this morning in an effort to get the roster down to 75 players. Perhaps the Colts can sneak him onto the practice squad in the next couple weeks. If not, he put out some great tape for other teams. He deserves a chance.
- Who is ready to see more of Donte Moncrief in the regular season after his leaping, one-handed grab on Saturday? He had All-Pro safety Malcolm Jenkins draped all over him and was still able to pull it in.
- Hearing that Mewhort is only out 2-4 weeks following a knee tweak rather than potentially a year due to a torn ACL is excellent news. Especially since Joe Haeg is dealing with his own injury currently (Haeg would be a great replacement to fill in for Mewhort otherwise).
- Ryan Kelly had his hands full with the Eagles' outstanding defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Many people have been in his shoes, but it's the first time we've seen Kelly struggle since arriving in Indianapolis.
- Overall, Denzelle Good had a better game than last week actually blocking with technique, but he did allow a pressure up the middle that killed one play, and he was dinged with a false start on another.
- Le’Raven Clark struggled in pass protection mightily at times, allowing his man to get into the mix on the Luck onslaught, but he did a little better in the run game.
- The Colts helped counter these deficiencies on the offensive line by having tight ends get on the line and block (especially next to Clark) and by getting quick passes out of Luck’s hands. That’s a big deal because that’s not a concept that was used by the former offensive coordinator. The overall performance of the line was pretty bad. The Eagles were blitzing, but you have to find ways to counter that.
- Nate Irving’s sack on the Eagles’ first drive was impressive. He timed his attack perfectly, and he squeezed through the A-gap. There was also a nice play by Darius Butler with the tipped-ball interception to end that same drive.
- Antonio Morrison did a good job of attacking and showing his aggression. He didn’t let ball carriers get past him, and he’s diagnosing a lot quicker now as opposed to when training camp started.
- Tay Glover-Wright got beat pretty bad, as did Darius White yet again. Glover-Wright missed a tackle at the catch-point on a slant route that Josh Huff took 38 yards, and he also stood no chance as Dorial Green-Beckham caught a fade route for a touchdown on him late in the half. White allowed a few receptions including a 28-yard touchdown.
- T.J. Green is coming along very well in his development. He is attacking the ball and does not look lost out there like many thought he would be if he had to play this role this early on. His work has mostly been within 15-20 yards of the line of scrimmage, so he hasn't been fully unleashed yet, but his play has been very encouraging.
- Those quick screens and crosses are a definite trend in the Colts offense so far. If offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski wants to incorporate more run after the catch this year, that's a great way to do it.
- Not only were the Colts not able to get much pressure off of the edge, but they weren't really able to contain it all game. Running backs were bouncing plays outside consistently with success.
- Penalties killed both teams (17 for 149 yards between the two). At the same time, the referees didn’t seem to know what they wanted to do either. From the commentary, to the players, to the officiating, this game was pretty unorganized.
Jake Arthur is the AFC South Division Manager, Indianapolis Colts Team Manager, Assistant Director of NFL Content and a Featured Analyst for Pro Football Spot. He is also a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @JakeArthurPFS on Twitter as well as on Facebook, Google+ and FanCred.
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