The Colts coaches were expected to rest the starters this week.
They didn’t disappoint.
Andrew Luck went out after one series. Wayne was out after one series. Heck, even Drew Stanton was out after one series. The longest any starters seemed to be in was two series.
Chandler Harnish got the lion’s share of the duties at quarterback, and was able to move the ball when he got into a rhythm. Luck and Stanton really never got that opportunity, and weren’t productive when on the field.
As for the rest of the team, the offensive line and defensive line showed the most improvement from last week.
Although the gameplan for both teams were extremely basic, the offensive line showed massive improvement in terms of pass protection, especially in picking up the blitz. They were still weak in the run game, failing to get any kind of a push for their running backs.
The defensive line as much more active this game, albeit inconsistent. At times, they would stand their ground, shed their blocks, and make the play. At others, they would allow seven and eight yard runs. Still, it was much better than the open sieve that was on the field last week.
However, most analysis of the team is for naught here, as the coaches blatantly used it to evaluate the individuals at the bottom of the roster. Some player analysis can be done though, here are a few players who helped and hurt their cause this week
Jerry Hughes: Hughes was active again this week, putting pressure on the quarterback and blowing up run plays. Hughes isn’t at the level of Mathis and Freeney when it comes to rushing the quarterback, but he is much more active in the run. Late in the game, the Bengals began double teaming him, and he struggled to get past them.
Mario Addison: Addison keeps showing up each week, and got two more sacks this week, although late in the game. He’ll likely be Freeney’s backup this season, and he and Hughes have looked like adequate alternatives for the pass rushing All-Pros.
Deji Karim: Karim, although not having much room to work, showed some nice burst and vision this week, and looks to be making the case to make the roster over Mewelde Moore or Delone Carter.
Moise Fokou: Fokou had his name called several times tonight, whether it was big hits on running plays, pass breakups, or forcing a fumble. Fokou seems likely to make the team, especially when you consider he has history with Grigson and was traded for along with Greg Lloyd.
Josh Gordy: While he did recover a fumble late in the game, Gordy was burned far too often throughout the game, including a touchdown pass to Marvin Jones. He seems like one of the more likely candidates to get cut after his performance, despite the fact that he was traded for just recently.
Cassius Vaughn: Given the chance to start, Vaughn also gave up multiple catches in the first half, just not having tight coverage on his assignments. Vaughn has more value than Gordy with his special teams ability, but his spot at cornerback is still worrisome.
Coby Fleener: He’s not in danger of getting cut, but another costly drop is not helping our confidence in Fleener’s hands for the season. He did have a nice 8-yard catch later however.
Replacement Refs: With the news that the NFL will start the season with the replacement officials coming recently, this performance does not help their reputation going forward. The game didn’t run smoothly at all, with penalties jamming up the process left and right. How much of that is the
young, undisciplined players, and how much was the referees is questionable,but the game just seemed poorly run all throughout.
Now, we wait.
We wait for Friday’s cuts, for waiver claims, and for September 9th.