Last week went about as well as Colts’ fans could have hoped, as the Colts clobbered the toothless St. Louis Rams 38-3.
This week will be a little different, however, as the Colts face the always-tough Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers provide a much tougher matchup on both sides of the ball, and should provide a better measuring stick for us to measure players, units, and schemes.
So, with that said, there are a few specific things that I’ll be watching for Sunday night.
- First and foremost on everyone’s mind will of course be Andrew Luck. The Colts bet their future on Luck, and in his debut he looked like he just might be worth it. Of course, this week provides a much tougher opponent, so Luck’s composure will be needed to play well against the complicated Pittsburgh defense. How he handles adversity could be a key point in the game.
- The running backs as a whole should be able to showcase more in this week’s game. Donald Brown, Mewelde Moore, Vick Ballard, and Delone Carter are the primary candidates to make the roster, and all had good moments in last week’s game. This week we should see more of Brown, as the starters play a little longer. We’ll continue to get a sneak preview of how the running backs will be used this year.
- The offensive line was a sieve against the Rams, and I don’t expect it to look any better against the Steelers’ zone blitzes. With Mike McGlynn out, I’ll be watching Seth Olsen to se if he can bring anything to the table, as well as Winston Justice to see if he can bounce back from a poor start in Indianapolis.
- Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney got very little playing time on Sunday, playing just one series to start the game. If they play more this week, we should be able to get a better idea of what their role will be in this new defense.
- Speaking of outside linebackers, Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison both looked very good against the Rams, and could prove to be a formidable second team in 2012. I’ll be watching them this week to see if their performance was a fluke, or if they can continue it this season.
- In terms of injuries, Pat Angerer’s foot injury may be the most devastating for fans, as Angerer was a very good, developing young linebacker who fans love. The Colts have two players who are going to get the longest look at replacing him: Jerrell Freemand and Moise Fokou. My personal man-crush on Freeman has been well documented, but Moise Fokou looked good against the Rams as well (albeit against third stringers). Look for one of them to get the edge with this week’s performance.
- Tom Zbikowski didn’t really impress me last week, and the Colts are going to need more from him for this patched up secondary to work this year. I’ll be watching him for some big plays this week, whether that’s in the passing game or with a big hit.
- The Colts’ coaches have preached the run game this season, and in the home opener they ran more than they passed. However, with Luck in the game, the Colts passed twice as many times as they ran the ball. Once the lead ballooned in the second quarter, they really began to pound the ball in an effort to run the clock down. The game should be closer this week, so we may get a better idea of Bruce Arians’ tendencies.
There are dozens of storylines with this year’s Colts, especially when you get down to specific players. Who/What will you be watching for this Sunday? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter: @coltsauth_kyle.