Anthony Castonzo and Jerry Hughes, Performance Review

Castanzo impresses after seeing significant time

Jerry Hughes and Anthony Castanzo have both been two of the most watched players this offseason. With good reason, both are the last two Colts 1st round picks. So I felt they deserved a separate post entirely to breakdown their game against the Redskins. I’ll start  with Castanzo after the jump…

Anthony Castanzo played a pretty good game in my opinion. I watched every snap he took very closely, and I like this kid a lot. He held his own against Orakpo most of the time (though he was not without his bad plays), and once Orakpo went out Castanzo played excellent against the backup. He got solid push on a few running plays, and showed some strength and a high motor out there. Orakpo kept trying to get by Castanzo by just running wide outside of him, but Castanzo was quick enough most of the time to push him outside far enough so he couldn’t get to Painter. Castanzo still has a long way to go, and he must get better at reading blitzes. On one play, Castanzo chose to double team the DE expecting Orakpo to drop into coverage, and Orakpo ran in untouched. This happened again on a running play later in the game. Castanzo simply chose the wrong man to block, and it cost the Colts a play. He’s a rookie and has a lot to learn, but he played well tonight. He showed why he was drafted in the 1st round and how much potential he really does have, and showed an improvement from the Rams game. He should only get better. Now onto Jerry Hughes, while unpopular among some Colts fans (for reasons I can’t fathom), he played well. I kept a running total all game of how many times he got pressure, and how many times he was double teamed. I set a clear definition of what I constituted as a pressure, and a double team. For a pressure, Hughes had to force the QB to make some sort of adjustment. Basically, he had to dump it off quickly, or start running away from Hughes. I counted 6 times he got pressure, and I do not count his would be sack if Nevis didn’t get there half a second earlier as a pressure. As for double team, what I set as a definition of a double team is this. Hughes needs to be blocked by either two linemen at the same time, or have a linemen hover around waiting for Hughes to break loose of the OT. Basically, anything around those lines was counted as a double team. There were only 3 times Hughes was double teamed. It was mostly after he started getting pressure, but it was hard to double team him with Matthews and Nevis destroying the interior line. The one thing to note is that I noticed early in the game, Hughes wasn’t sprinting on running plays. He would be free of a block, but was just jogging toward the RB. He didn’t do it anymore later in the game, but it was discouraging to see him not give it his all every play. It was early enough so he really shouldn’t have been tired. Overall, he played pretty well. If you just look at the stats, he just had a few tackles (and I’m not sure they will credit him with half a sack for that play that Nevis got there just a bit early), but if you watch every snap he played, twice, like I did, you’ll see that he played a pretty good game. He, in all likelihood, will be the heir to Freeney/Mathis. It is completely unreasonable to call him a bust when we have not seen him play significant time yet. Moala barely saw any time his rookie year, and he’s doing just fine. It is way to early to call him a bust, and it is expecting way too much out of a kid who is behind two Pro Bowlers. Both players played well considering the circumstances, and I expect great things out of both players. Especially Castonzo, he really, really impressed me tonight.

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.