In past years as an Indianapolis Colts fan it was easy to say “It’s just pre-season, doesn’t mean a thing”. That’s because we sat and watched what to me was some of the worst football in the NFL, pre-season or not. So far this year I find it harder and harder to believe. With a team that is “under construction” with a new front office, new head coach, new quarterback and a whole new defensive scheme, pre-season means a whole lot more to a fan. We want to see if the players are buying into what the coaches are trying to sell, if there is any resemblance of cohesion and execution, any clue as to how good our new qb might be and if there is a chance that the defense will be anything more than a doormat. Against the Steelers I think we learned a little bit of all of that.
By now everyone has seen the stats, heard the experts and read the boards so I won’t bore you with all of that. What I will say is that I truly believe that the Colts are going to be better than most think. I’m not saying “worst to first” or even the playoffs, I’m saying the Colts will be in a position to win a lot of games.
In Sunday nights game, just like the Rams game, both the offense and the defense started off slow and a bit confused. Andrew Luck was under constant pressure and the Steelers‘ running backs had some pretty big holes to run through. Luck threw a pick six (I’m not even going to mention the second pick) and got sacked. The defense looked like the Keystone Kops on the big TD catch and run. It was all Indianapolis after that (speaking only of the first teams).
Down 14-0 the Colts settled down and came back with 17 unanswered points to take a 17-14 lead before giving the reigns to the second and third stringers. Watching Luck I could just see him learning and growing with every snap of the ball. By the time half time rolled around it was like he had this NFL game down, no problem. The defense consistantly stopped the Steelers and have given up a total of 10 points in two games. All the bad press the corners have been through they sure have looked pretty solid to me. I don’t care what anybody says, this team has some talent on both sides of the ball.
Jerry Hughes seems to thrive in the 3-4 defense. He’s been all over the place and looks like he wants to be a player in the NFL. When Freeny and Mathis sat down the Colts didn’t lose a thing. Between the play of Hughes and this kid Mario Addison the defense didn’t skip a beat. Again, it’s pre-season and you shouldn’t get too excited, but the Steelers took no mercy on the “New Look” Colts. Not on they’re defense and definitely not on the rookie qb.
Defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau threw a lot of different looks at Luck, and after some early confusion Luck took it all in stride against the NFL #1 defense. Yes he threw the pick six, but so did Peyton Manning, a lot. But he came back like a pro, a four or five year pro, not like the rookie that he is.
All in all there is still a lot of work to be done, but from what I see, the Colts as a whole are ahead of schedule. It’s pre-season, thank God. Because if they look this good this early, with two pre-season games left, just think of the possibilities. One can only hope and Andrew Luck is a good reason to hope.
Next is RG III and the Washington Redskins in a mini battle of the anointed ones. First teams generally play longer in the third game and Chuck Pagano has stated that he’ll play them into the third quarter. This should be a fun game to watch.
About the Author
Written by Rich Marchione
I have lived in Indiana most of my life with the exception a stint in the Marine Corps in the early 80's. I currently live in Anderson, IN, where the Colts camp out for the summer. I have followed the Colts since the Jeff George days. Back then you had to go to the game to watch them because they weren't very good and around Indiana basketball was king, so they were never on television. Then Peyton showed up and the rest was history. Now he's gone and we start a new era. I am excited about all the new changes and will be following them closely. I am married to Cynthia Marchione, I have one daughter, Kaylee and three step-children, Jason, Autumn and Nikki. I also have eight grandchildren.