Finally after nearly four years, primetime football is coming back to Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday night.
Yes. Remember what you were doing on December 14, 2017? Well even if you don’t I can probably assume you weren’t very happy.
On that night Thursday night in Indianapolis, the Denver Broncos and *checks notes* Brock Osweiler beat the Colts 25-13. Chuck Pagano was still the head coach. And three players on that roster remain on the Colts today.
Jack Doyle, T.Y. Hilton, and Kenny Moore.
To put it simply, a lot has changed since that night. Andrew Luck retired, Jacoby Brissett became the starting quarterback, then Philip Rivers, and now Carson Wentz.
But as Indianapolis prepares for primetime action against the New York Jets, there is little time to celebrate the NFL finally sending a night game broadcast crew to the 317. If you find a way to lose this game against the league’s flavor of the month Mike White, we might as well send this season straight into the sun.
Who would’ve thought that Mike White would have stuff in Canton this season? Not me.
Anyway, there is no excuse to not play well. The Jets stink. I could care less that they beat the Tennessee Titans and Cincinnati Bengals. Robert Saleh is a really good coach, and his guys believe; Credit to them. But by far, the Colts are the better football team.
So act like it.
1) Do Simple Better
It’s usually pretty big coach speak when a head coach or coordinator says that their team needs to ‘tackle better’.
That’s actually a very common phrase out of Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus. But let’s be honest here. The Blue and White truly have to tackle better. I am completely done with the diving flail tackle attempts by Andrew Sendejo in the defensive backfield.
Nothing against Sendejo, but Colts fans are spoiled when things are normal with Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis at the safety spot. Here’s an even bigger problem. Willis is out with a calf injury. That means Sendejo, George Odum, and the newly signed Josh Jones will be responsible for stopping any Mike White air raid plans.
To note, Jones started last year for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Thankfully for the Colts, top Jets wide receiver Corey Davis is listed as doubtful with a hip problem. Michael Carter has been going off lately for New York from their backfield, but other than that, there’s not much to work with there.
Tackle simply, limit penalties, and run the damn ball (that is the team motto the last time I checked right)?
2) Feed JT
Earlier this week, Jonathan Taylor took the high road when he was asked about getting a just dismal 16 carries versus the Titans.
JT said that he’s grateful for the 16 carries because nothing in the NFL is guaranteed and some people dream of that many touches. From a personal perspective, that’s a hell of an answer and it shows the character that the Colts have in their young star.
But at the same time, the people dreaming of 16 runs in the National Football League aren’t the second best damn half back in the league. Chris Ballard drafted Taylor in the second round to feed him the ball. Not to make sure that his legs don’t hurt after every game he plays.
Derrick Henry took 28 carries and he had a freaking broken foot half the game.
There is no excuse anymore. Same goes for Nyheim Hines. He had one carry on Sunday. ONE.
I’m cool with mixing up the offense. But when you get away from the run every single week Frank Reich, you lose the fan base more and more in a season that is not helping your stock anyway.
3) Dayo Day?
You just have to feel for Tyquan Lewis.
After struggling through his first couple NFL season’s with the Colts trying to find a home in the pass rush department, he’s been not only serviceable this year, but also violent in the attack. And in the perfect play to describe the season so far for Indianapolis, it went from 0 to 100, back to zero real quick.
So now that Lewis is out for the year, who steps up?
Kwity Paye is a large human, but to this point has been a disappointment given the expectations for him as a first round pick.
Up until about a few weeks ago, I still did not know if Dayo Odeyingbo was a real human being. The second round selection out of Vanderbilt has been grinding back from his achilles injury. And he was able to get in against the Titans on Sunday.
That was about all he did, enter the game.
Reich said yesterday that the Colts are slowly easing him into the game plan. Which makes sense. But you’re getting to the point in the season where you play your big guns and worry about the consequences later.
So it brings up the question, we gonna get a Dayo sack on the Jets?
4) Carson’s Consistency
Growing up in an Italian household, the Food Network was naturally always on my grandparent’s TV when I went over to their house after school many days.
By the way, this story has a point I promise.
I love the Food Network. Alton Brown is a great watch on there, but as the emcee of the great show Iron Chef America, Alton has some terrific one-liners.
But one of them always stuck with me for personal reasons. When someone struggles, Brown likes to say ‘good chefs have bad days’. But after that, something along the lines of ‘great chefs don’t struggle two days in a row’.
Which is absolutely true. You think Gordon Ramsay is undercooking salmon two days in a row? Hell no.
Same thing can be applied to quarterbacks. Carson Wentz was really bad for 2.5 quarters battling the Titans on Sunday. But before that point, Wentz was the smallest of the Colts problems when healthy.
Good QB’s have bad games. But great ones don’t have a hard time two contests in a row. Give me a Carson comeback tomorrow night against a bad Jets secondary.
If he doesn’t have one of those special games, I’d be concerned. Then you might be getting into the territory of finding a way to save your first round pick from being placed into the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles.
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