It was going to be a monumental task any way.
The Green Bay Packers are way better than the Indianapolis Colts. That’s not debatable. Pulling a major upset at home could be a huge lift for a franchise that is in the middle of a rebuild (even though they won’t say it) and lacking in talent on both sides of the line.
Now we find out that their leader, head coach Chuck Pagano, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. It is said to be a treatable form of cancer. I am not a doctor but from what I hear and what I’ve seen, leukemia, any leukemia, is a real bitch. I pray, as do we all, that he recovers, and recovers fully.
Taking the reins for the Colts will be offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The Colts will soldier on. Arians has stated that coach Pagano would not want his players to “win one for Chuck”. Playing with emotion is something most players do any way. But when you go through something like this it is best to just go out and do your job. Period. The best way to honor your ailing head coach is to execute the way he coached you. Stay in your lanes, fill your gaps.
Clay Mathews, holy crap. How will the already woeful offensive line stop that monster? With three step drops and screens, that’s how. I have stated time and time again that the Colts don’t run enough screens, if any. As much pressure as Andrew Luck consistently gets on him you would think Arians would alleviate that by calling more screens. Make defensive linemen second guess their rush by worrying about being fooled into a set up.
The Colts receivers are going to have to keep their eyes open early on their routes. If Luck uses the three step drop they won’t have a lot of time to get open. I would expect the Packers to get in the faces of the Indianapolis receivers right on the line of scrimmage, leaving very little windows for Luck to throw in to. He’s already ranked with one of the worst completion percentages on passes 10 yards or less. I also believe that Green Bay will bring their safeties up close to prevent any running game (not that there is one). I think they’ll be able to do this because of the lack of time Luck will have to throw.
Defensively the Colts are going to have to put pressure on Aaron Rogers. Dwight Freeney may be back this week; and if he is you have to believe that a messed up ankle will slow him down a bit, physically and mentally. Defensive coordinator Greg Manusky definitely has his work cut out for him. As I say every week, stop the run, pressure the quarterback, stop them on third down and get off the field.
We will without a doubt see what the Indianapolis Colts are made of this Sunday afternoon. I don’t expect them to win but I sure would like to see some heart. Make it a game and don’t give up, no matter what.
I have no prediction. I’m not that smart.
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.