For the past decade plus, the Indianapolis Colts pre-season games have been rather boring for normal folk. I’m a football junkie, so I can always find something to interest me and give me a sense of what teams may do in the regular season. This year, however, is different for fans around these parts. This year, there is a lot to hold our interest throughout. There are many questions about our favorite team that will hopefully be answered in the next four games. I’ll list them in the reverse order of my concern/interest.
5. The receiving corps. I keep hearing from experts that the Colts receivers are below average to dismal. Most point to Reggie and Austin Collie as being rapidily declining and not good, respectively. The experts are wrong. They’ve looked at the stats from last year and see two bad pass catchers. They forget that Reggie and Collie had complete crap at the QB position until Dan Orlovsky took over and played average-ish. I can’t wait to see what our starters, as well as, Donnie Avery and our rookies, TY Hilton and Lavon Brazil can do.
4. The front seven on defense. With switching to the 3-4, many things change. I’m curious to see how Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis look as LB’s, not to mention our two inside ‘backers. Will the DLine play better with Mookie Johnson at the nose and Fili Moala at his natural 3-4 DE position? They don’t have to be Baltimore, Frisco, or Pittsburgh, but can they be better than the Tampa2 DLines against the run?
3. Andrew Luck. If I have to explain this to you, I will reach through the internet and bitch-slap you.
2. Cornerback opposite Jerraud Powers. Is there anyone who can put up some resistance to an opposing receiver on that side of the field? Like last year’s request at QB, I’ll settle for mediocre play at that spot. I haven’t read anything regular about how well the other guys are performing. I’ll name names if anyone deserves it.
1. The offensive line. This is my number one concern because it won’t matter how good Luck or the receivers are if our rookie QB gets his butt handed to him like Peyton Manning did against Houston in the 2010 opener (Thanks Bill Polian). If Luck gets David Carr-ed (76 sacks in one season), he probably will be injured and may be ruined. It’s hard to get rid of happy feet once you get them. And if the line can pass protect, can they run block? Nothing will help a rookie QB more than having a servicable run game to take some pressure off. I don’t want Luck to have to ever carry the team like Peyton did the last few years.
If four out of these five things are taken care of – cornerback is probably a lost cause – things will be ok this year. As long as one of those four thing is the OLine.