Do not be fooled by this title. I am a glass half-full type of girl so I definitely saw more good than bad or ugly this past Sunday. It was the St. Louis Rams so I know my excitement should be tempered with the fact that we did not beat a powerhouse. However, my expectations for the Colts were set pretty low for Andrew Luck, the coaching staff, and more than half of the Colts roster being new to the franchise. That being said, I figured the title “The Good, the Not So Good, and Just A Little Bad” would just not have the same panache so I stuck with the tried and true western cliche.
Andrew Luck: Obviously. Good does not even begin to describe his first NFL start but you have probably seen all the headlines and highlights regarding his stats and quarterback rating, by now.
Final Score: 38-3. A decisive win for both the offense and defense.
Preseason Ratings: Phillip Wilson of The Indianapolis Star tweeted that the overnight TV rating of 17.9 is the team’s best in preseason since 1984.
Running backs: Donald Brown is clearly the first string back. Thanks to good play-calling and downfield blocking, he scored on the first play of the game. Hopefully, we will see more of this Donald Brown this season. Draft pick Vick Ballard also had a nice outing with 28 yards in 6 attempts.
Backup quarterbacks: With all the attention on Luck, no one expected much from the backups. However, newbies Drew Stanton and Chandler Harnish both held up pretty well. Stanton was 8/11 with 83 yards receiving. Indiana native Harnish (a.k.a. Mr. Irrelevant) had a perfect 3/3 for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Receivers: We saw lots of dropped passes this game, three in a row at one point by Fleener, Brazill, and Collie.
Playing Luck for entire half: I know he needs the repetitions but with all the missed blocks by the o-line, I was getting antsy. Was anyone else yelling at their television and no one in particular to take Andrew Luck out already?
Fan interest: Fans definitely perked up with Andrew Luck’s performance and seeing that the new era Colts had potential to be good. However, if this sort of decisive winning is not sustained, fans may lose interest unless owner Jim Irsay decides to televise the games. As of right now, the season opener against the Vikings is not sold out.
Related link: Blackouts in Indy?
Injuries: This first preseason game was brutal. Backup linebacker Scott Lutrus is out for the season with a torn ACL that will require surgery. Starting right guard Mike McGlynn has a high ankle sprain. Delone Carter left the game early due to a rib injury and did not return. The worst of the injuries, in my opinion, is losing inside linebacker Pat Angerer for six weeks due to foot injury. Angerer, in my opinion, is a tough, young player who has the potential to be Pro-Bowler.
Offensive Line: Luck was hurried and scrambling many times Sunday. He has the presence of mind to roll away from pressure but the lack of a pocket for him worries me. The blocking by our offensive line was sub-par and this was against the Rams! What will happen when the Colts face stellar defenses like the Texans or the Bears? The Colts have so much invested in Luck and keeping him protected might prove to be a challenge with this offensive line.
Preview Against the Steelers:
Everyone can exhale on Luck as he looks more pro-ready than even some of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL today. Looking ahead to the Steelers game on Sunday, I will be watching the offensive line to see if they made any improvements and how they hold up against the always tough Steelers blitzes. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis only played one series against the Rams so it was difficult to see how they made the transition to the new 3-4 defense. I will be watching them, particularly Freeney, to see how comfortable he looks coming off a two-point stance. Also, with so many backs to choose from (Brown, Carter, Ballard, etc.),let’s see how offensive coordinator Bruce Arians utilizes all of them. Finally, all eyes will be on Andrew Luck again to see how he performs in his second career NFL start. Will you be watching?