The Indianapolis Colts opened their 2017 preseason as they normally do, with a loss — this time to the Detroit Lions. The Lions joined the Horseshoes for a joint practice session starting last Thursday, then met them on the Lucas Oil field on Sunday. Andrew Luck did not dress but instead patrolled the sidelines, observing the on field performance of the team. He must have surmised that without him under center, the team’s offense is pretty hapless. Granted, three of the offensive lines normal starters were held out, including center Ryan Kelly, Ty Hilton and Frank Gore saw minimal action and the reserves carried the burden. And therein lies the problem. Quarterback Scot Tolzien who has been running the offense all through the training camp was just underwhelming in his performance. If he goes into the season as the regular starter it will be disastrous for the Colts. The Colts’ only touchdown came as time was running out. Free agent running back Troymaine Pope scored on a one yard plunge with no time left on the clock. Pope played in the fourth quarter and led the team in rushing with thirty one yards in seven carries and a twenty five yard reception.
Defensively, the team’s normal starters were up against Detroit’s normal starters, including quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Big Blue acquitted itself fairly well, ending the Lions drive with a nice interception by outside linebacker John Simon. Simon is one of new GM Chris Ballard’s off season free agent pickups. Simon last played for division rival the Houston Texans. After that first drive the subs on both sides took the field. Edwin Jackson led the team with 5 tackles. He made a strong case for his making the team’s roster as a reserve and special teams player. The good news was that the team’s top draft pick Malik Hooker made four tackles and generally looked sharp coming off the PUP. The Colts pass rush was anemic as usual. This is a long-time problem that has yet to be solved.
The biggest single issue was a lack of execution by both the offense and defense. Quarterbacks Stephen Morris and rookie free agent Phillip Walker handled the quarterbacking duties from the second quarter on and neither displayed any ability that the offense could build upon. But the Colts, as Coach Chuck Pagano observed, kept shooting themselves in the foot with penalties. Just about any good play the Colts made was negated by a penalty. That is just lack of concentration and discipline. The Colts just did not seem to be properly prepared.
What looked good for the Colts? Special teams. Yeah, our special teams will once again be a strength. Automatic Adam Vinateri looked to be his usual self. Recently signed free agent punter Jeff Locke has quickly fit in and will be fine in the regular season. The kick coverage was solid and rookie Marion Mack showing kickoff returning potential.
In the end we still don’t know what kind of a team the Colts are. Was it that the Detroit third and fourth stringers are just better than the Colt third and fourth stringers, or are the Colts the Titanic headed for an iceberg?
Andrew Luck on Opening Day?
Will Andrew Luck be in the starting lineup against the Rams on opening day? The answer is a resounding “who knows.” The official stance of the front office and the coaching staff is his arm is recovering on schedule, whatever that means. When asked by the media about the situation after the game, owner Jim Irsay used a whole lot of words to say “I don’t know.” Looks as though we will know when we know. firstname.lastname@example.org