FanPost

strengths/weaknesses going into week 1 for Colts/Raiders

Hey guys Colts fan here. I'm just trying to get a feel for the game on Sunday. I have been lurking on the site for a while, but still don't have a full grasp of your team. I know Pryor is starting along with a LT who hasn't played the position before. Some of my questions would include:

What can you guys expect from each position?

Where can we exploit you and vice-versa?

How is the rest of your O-Line?

Which gap do you tend to run to the most.

How much Pistol has been worked on?

Are you still using a zone blocking scheme?

How is your secondary?

Are your LBs better against the run or the pass?

I can answer some of these questions as well so that you guys get a better grasp as to what do look for this Sunday. On offense, our biggest weakness is still our offensive line. Satele, a name you guys might recognize, has been underwheming to say the least. On top of that, we have one of the worst right guards in the league in McGlynn. If you guys are to penetrate our line, I would say it would more than likely be from beating one of those 2 people. Our LT Costanzo is solid and improving every year. He is not elite yet, but is by far our best offensive lineman. Our LG, Thomas, was acquired from NE in the offseason and has shown a lot of promise. Lastly, Gosder Cherilus is our Rt whome we acquired from the Lions. He became the highest paid RT in the league this year and I expect a lot out of him as well. We have practically no depth on the offensive line, so if someone goes down, expect that to be another weak spot on the line.

Andrew Luck has surprised even me this preseason. He made strides I did not think he would make until year 3 or so. Most noteably is his pocket presence. Our line was ranked 2nd worst in the league last year, and he took the most hits. I'm sure that helped him with his pocket presence quickly. His completion percentage should increase this year and his interception rate should decrease because we brought in Pep Hamilton, who was Luck's OC in college. Pep utilizes a west coast type of offense with shorter passes as opposed to Bruce Arians who relies on getting bug chunks of yardage at a time. Lastly about the QB position, Matt Hasselbeck was brought in from Ten to give a veteran presence and a very quality backup in case something should happen to Luck.

Our tight end group is big, tall, and young. Dwayne Allen is our #1 TE. He had a great year last year with 45 receptions and 521 yds, 3tds. He was our 3rd round pick and surprisingly did better than our 2nd round pick TE, Coby Fleener. Fleener has been the wild card for us. He has shown inconsistency at times, but he also is a very big target that Luck is familiar with because they also played at Stanford together. I expect his stats to pick up this year as well. It should also be noted that Pep uses a mixture of 2TE sets and 3 wide. We also added a quality fullback this year, Havili, from the Eagles. The biggest emphasis this offseason from the front office was running the ball and stopping the run.

The Colts brought in Bradshaw from the Giants this offseason. He had surgery on his foot 2 offseasons ago. This offseason, it was realized one of the screwed in his leg was loose and causing pain. He had it opened up and tightened. That is why he missed camp and the preseason. He will see his first action this Sunday against the Raiders. He was primarily brought in because he was the highest rated pass blocking RB in the league. With our weak interior line, he might have to make some crucial blocks to keep Luck upright. Ballard will more than likely start. He exceeded all expectations in his rookie year with 814 yards while splitting time with Donald Brown. Donald Brown is our #3 back and bring experience to our RB core.

I am very excited about our WR core as well. Reggie Wayne is still playing like a top level WR in the NFL. TY Hilton is positioning himself for a breakout year. Surprisinglly Heyward-Bey, another name you should be familiar with, is the #2 WR. His stone hands haven't shown up this preseason and we hope that trend continues. Hilton will probably play more than DHB this season though. On a side note, DHB was used a lot in wr screen situations in the preseason. Griff Whalen is our #4 WR who also played at Stanford with luck and has shown great hands as a slot receiver.

This years Colts defense is completely different from the years past. This is the second year of the transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 and we finally have the personelle to make it work. We bulked up our run D a lot. Our starting DE will be Cory Redding, who was brought over with Coach Pagano 2 years ago from B-More. We brought in Franklin from SD as our NT. Franklin will share half the time with Josh Chapman, who was Bama's starting NT 2 years ago. He played on a torn ACL while he won the championship at Bama. He then elected to have surgery last year and spent his entire rookie year on IR. This is his first regular season action and ColtsNation is arguably most excited about this talent. He beefed up 30-40 lbs over the offseason to be 6'0'' 340lbs. The other DE is Ricky Jean Francois who we brought over from SF. We also have quality depth at all 3 defensive line positions. Spiller and Richardson were able to gouge the 1st string defense a few times in preseason, but were for the most part held in check afterwards. They will definitely be tested with McFadden and Pryor attempting to run on them.

The LB core is an unknown. Pass rush is our biggest question mark this year on defense. Mathis switched OLB spots this year and will be rushing, which was Freeney's job last year. Replacing Mathis at his old spot is Erik Walden from GB and our 1st round draft pick Werner from FSU. Our ILBs are blue collar guys that are above average. Freeman and Angerer will be starting with serviceable backups behind them. Note I would say they are in general better against the run than the pass. Also, Mathis is the one LB i would say is sometimes a liability against the run.

The secondary is the strength of the defense. The Colts brought in Pro Bowl safety Laron Landry from the NYJ to play along side a former Pro Bowl Safety in Antoine Bethea. Our #1 CB Vontae Davis, who we got from Miami last year, keeps making strides and is on the cusp of becoming a true shutdown corner. Our #2 CB Greg Toler, who we got from ARZ this offseason, is extremely physical. He led the league with his assignments having the lowest completion percentages last year. He is not afraid to jam, but will take risks to make the big play. He can get the pick, or he can put a lot of pressure on the safeties by giving up an extra 10 yards or so. Our Nickelback, Butler, is one of our CBs that was asked to start last year due to injuries. He won AFC defensive player of the week once last year, and is finally coming into his own since he does not have to match up with the opponents #1 WR.

Our special teams is a big question mark. We have an amazing punter in Mcafee and a clutch FG kicker in Vinatieri. What is suspect is our kickoff coverage. The Colts have been notorious for having terrible ST coverage, and this year will probably be the same. ugh.

Anyway that's my take on the strengths and weaknesses I think of the Colts. What are your guys' thoughts on the Raiders? Good luck this year and here's to hoping no injuries this Sunday! I'm so glad football season it back!

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