Protecting the Horseshoe

An NFL Blog with an Indianapolis Colts Focus

Re-Watching Colts week 1, 2014 vs. Denver Broncos

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[Gamebook]

NFL Network is re-airing this game right now. I figured since I didn’t pay close attention to it due to the 24-0 hole they dug themselves into, it would be a good time to see if I noticed anything a second time around.

The Colts lost the game 31-24.

Observations:

  • The Colts should have went for it deep in Denver territory on the opening possession of the season on 4th and 1 instead of punting. Pagano has to get more aggressive in these types of games and situations.
  • Luck missed a throw to Fleener on third down that was just rushed and probably should have went elsewhere.
  • Trent Richardson stuffed on the first run of his season. Had little to no burst, on other runs and screens. I think at the time watching it live I knew trouble was coming.
  • Reggie Wayne looked good in the first half. Three nice catches, and to me; he doesn’t seem like a guy that had lost it yet.
  • The Colts first TD of the season wasn’t a touchdown pass, or a run from the running back; it was a diving play with Luck stretching around the pile-on and upon review it was ruled a TD. This closed the first half at 24-7.
  • Opening possession of the second half, Colts drive down to the 1 and 1/2 yard line and on 4th and 1 Pagano calls a sneak for Luck and he’s stonewalled. Poor play-calling.
  • Poor play-calling on the Colts second possession of the second half when they stalled out in the red-zone and had to settle for a field goal to make it 24-10.
  • The Colts had so many opportunities to win this game. It really should have been no surprise to anyone that the Colts went in there in January and beat the Broncos.
  • Everything from Manning was screens and underneath really. The Colts built a book on Manning off this for the playoff game.
  • Colts trailed 31-10 with eight minutes to go. Luck’s first TD of the year passing comes on a throw to Dwyane Allen where he barely made the catch past the defender and then rushed down the sideline to stay in-bounds.
  • Indianapolis then recovered an onside kick with 7:45 left, trailing 31-17.
  • Luck then threw a tipped-ball interception deep in Denver territory off the hands of Colby Fleener after completions to Wayne and Hilton.
  • Luck throws a TD to Hakeem Nicks with 3:59 left in the game to make it 31-24.
  • Colts got the ball back with less than 3 minutes to go.
  • On 4th and 6, Luck fires a ball to tightly covered Reggie Wayne that is batted away by Bradley Roby. This effectively ends the game.

The Colts had so many opportunities to win this opener. After going back and watching it for a second time in more detail, they were better than Denver this season. I’m not surprised that they got their revenge in the playoffs to advance to the AFC title game, and arguably; they played a better all around game the first time around in Denver, especially defensively.

Despite his mistakes, Andrew Luck was 35 of 53 for 370 yards and two touchdowns, and two tipped ball interceptions. He also ran for 19 yards on five carries and a touchdown.Reggie Wayne had nine catches for 98 yards.

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March 8, 2015 Posted by | Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, NFL Network | , , | Leave a comment

Mike Florio says to pay Andrew Luck and do it now

Video can be seen here.

Florio says:

1. Improve the run defense to get through teams like New England – pointing to the last three games against New England getting it run down their throats.

2. He said it’s time to nudge Reggie Wayne aside. The time has come, even if Indy is letting Reggie come to that conclusion on his own and despite his relationship with Chuck Pagano. Don’t nudge him too much, but both sides need to move on. Sad.

3. He mentions Trent Richardson is a goner. Upgrade the position and get rid of Trent.

4. PAY UP ANDREW LUCK. He said Luck won’t politic for a new deal, Colts need to learn from the Peyton Manning examples that it would be smart and save them money to get it done sooner. Needs to happen this off-season. They still have two more years but it would just be the right thing to do to get the nucleus of the franchise locked down now. I agree.

5. Clean up the problem guys on the roster. He mentions several guys who can’t be relied upon and guys who continue with off the field problems, it’s eventually going to drag down the reputation of the franchise and the makeup of the locker room.

March 5, 2015 Posted by | Indianapolis Colts | , | Leave a comment

NFL.com Personalities debate Rodgers, Luck, Brady

I thought this was an interesting post today on NFL.com, debating which QB was second best after MVP Aaron Rodgers.

It’s really a tough an unfair debate to have. Tom Brady has won four Super Bowls. Is anyone really better than him, even Rodgers? Andrew Luck is obviously the Rolls Royce of Quarterbacks in the game. I think he’s equal with Aaron Rodgers.

Luck has youth on his side and had a couple experts on his side because of this. Take Marc Sessler for example:

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It’s nice to see a guy saying that Luck has about 15 years left. One can only hope.

March 1, 2015 Posted by | Indianapolis Colts | , , | Leave a comment

Colts re-sign Matt Hasselbeck to one-year deal

Bah, so much for the Colts drafting a young QB to groom as the long-term back-up for Andrew Luck. Today the Colts agreed to a one year contract worth $3 million dollars to bring Matt Hasselbeck back at age 39 and hold the clipboard for Luck.

But seriously – I know the Colts don’t want to waste a pick on a position they don’t feel is of need – but Blake Sims from Alabama or Connor Halliday from Washington State would be more than fine with me.

We understand that Andrew Luck is a superstar, an eater of worlds. But you have to be prepared beyond a 39-year old second stringer. The Colts need to find a young guy who can be comfortable in the role of backing up luck for a half decade or so the way the 49ers always had one long-term backup for Montana and Young.

Maybe this isn’t the year for it. The QB class in the draft looks beyond thin after those first couple guys.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Indianapolis Colts | , , , | Leave a comment

Andrew Luck’s Finest Playoff Game

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There was the miracle comeback against the Chiefs in Indianapolis of course in the 2013 playoffs, but Andrew Luck’s day against the Bengals in the Wildcard Round of 2014 was one of his most sterling performances to date in his career, and his best postseason game

[NFL.com Luck Game Highlights]

[Gamebook]

[NFL.com]

He was 31 of 44 passing for 376 yards and no interceptions, passer rating of 104.0 for the day. I actually thought the Colts might lose this game. I felt the Bengals matched up well with them and that they were finally due to get that first playoff win under Marvin Lewis.

His touchdown throw to Donte Moncrief while being brought down made the fellas doing the highlight show late-night on NFL Network just ‘woooo’ with excitement. It’s one of those plays you’ll never forget.

It was the greatest game of Luck’s postseason career, and his second of his three postseason wins.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Cincinnati Bengals, Playoffs | | Leave a comment

Andrew Brandt: Luck will set new standard for NFL Contracts

On Sports Illustrated’s MMQB, Andrew Brandt states something I can’t hope to see soon enough:

Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck will set a new standard for NFL contracts. The present threshold—$20 million per year, with $60 million guaranteed—was set by Drew Brees in 2012, and the class of 2013 contracts (Romo, Rodgers, Ryan and Flacco) hovered just below that threshold. It’s time for a market adjustment, and we’ll see it with two quarterbacks who have become the signature players for their teams.

More interesting than the numbers, though, will be the structure of guarantees in these contracts. There is a unique and potentially groundbreaking opportunity here: fully guaranteed contracts. As transcendent players barely in their mid-twenties, these two have the opportunity to demand that all five or six years of a contract be guaranteed. It is on the Colts and Seahawks to justify not doing so

I hope Luck gets some type of lifetime deal that is the largest contract ever signed in the sport. It’s something that recent reports suggested wasn’t close to happening, though. Luck said he had no knowledge of it.

Brandt also predicts we get another season of Peyton Manning, which I agree with.

It’s overall a pretty good read on what will happen this upcoming offseason that will be filled with dollars thrown and transactions that have a ripple effect on the league not only for 2015 but for the years to come.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | Contract Extensions, Offseason | , , | Leave a comment

A Couple of Things I was Told about Andrew Luck

Just an email found floating round the interwebs. Please take it for what it’s worth.

Hey this is nothing you probably haven’t already figured out but as I told you before I work part-time at WNDE in town. Well I went tonight and talked to Jake Queary and found out some stuff I don’t want to put on the forum becuase 1, I don’t want to talk about Jake’s personal life like that and 2, since i don’t have a source I can post I don’t want all the people on the forum who don’t believe to just flame me for it.

Well Jake’s GF is Donnie Walsh’s daughter and she is good friends with one of the Irsay girls. I guess she told Jake that dad decided a long time ago Peyton is never going to be able to play again and shouldn’t play agin. That’s why he keeps saying IF HEALTHY with everything he said about keeping Peyton. She also said that he understands he can’t come out and publically say just that or the fan base will go nuts when Peyton says I want to play again. She said Jim feels like a dad when you know your child is going to do something stupid you can’t stop him but you aren’t going to do anything to help him do it either.

Jake also told me that it’s a done deal we are taking Luck and they just keep throwing RG3’s name out there in case something happens to Luck like a major injury and they have to take RG3 just so they don’t make him mad.

Again like I said I don’t want to put that out there as public knowledge but I don’t mind sharing it with my internet friends.

Particularly interesting (if true) is the part about Irsay just not wanting Peyton to play anymore period. But I wanted to get this up for those of you out there who have concerns about Irsay’s latest RG3 riddle-like tweets.

March 29, 2012 Posted by | Indianapolis Colts | , , , , | Leave a comment

NFL Films’ Greg Cosell: RG3 is Superior to Andrew Luck

I’ve always enjoyed Greg Cosell of NFL Films–particularly on the actual NFL Films blog. I get the feeling he watched a lot of tape and he has a weekly column or two dedicated to the scouting of certain players of interest.

This weekend he became the latest to take to task RG3 vs. Luck, and he says that Robert Griffin III is a bit more toolsy.

I have watched 5 games of both Luck and Griffin, all from their final collegiate season. Is that enough? Some might say yes, others no. Here’s what I saw. Luck ran a very controlled and condensed offense that featured multiple tight end personnel and a high percentage of compressed formations. He had a lot of freedom at the line of scrimmage to call plays and make adjustments based on defensive fronts and coverages. That’s an essential attribute as he transitions to the NFL, one that has dramatically increased in importance in the last number of years with the complexity and sophistication of defenses. There’s no question Luck is well ahead of the learning curve in that area.

Folks, he’s just getting started here.

Overall, Luck was not asked to make many tough throws at the intermediate and deeper levels. I did not see those. I will not say he can’t make them, but based on the 5 games I evaluated it’s a projection. In addition, Luck had a tendency to lift his back foot off the ground before releasing the ball. That prevented him from driving through his throws and at times negatively impacted his velocity and accuracy. He would lean over his front foot and push the ball. That can be corrected with coaching and repetition, but it’s a concern that must be addressed.

He also added that Luck was “not a special passer based on film study” and that Luck “was an economical player who was at his best as a timing and rhythm, short to intermediate passer.”

And here’s where it got interesting to a degree, with comparisons to Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton, and even the great Peyton Manning sprinkled in.

He is not the same kind of arm talent as Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton. While charting Luck, I was compelled to reflect on Manning. Was Manning a special passer coming out of Tennessee? Most would probably say no. It raises the question: what is the connection between arm talent and high football IQ as it relates to NFL success? We know where it led with Manning. Also remember Peyton’s arm strength increased as played in the NFL.

Cosell then moved on to Griffin, which by the tone of this post you could probably guess he’s very high on.

Griffin predominantly ran a shotgun spread offense with 1 back and 4 wide receivers. What immediately jumped out was arm strength. He had a very compact and easy delivery with natural velocity. There was a snap to his throws.

There were two more aspects of Griffin’s game that Cosell really liked. The first was his patience and composure in the pocket, and the second was his ability to throw from different arm angles (Cosell refers to them as “platforms” and remain accurate.

This is just one man’s opinion that will have no bearing on the selection of these two players, but it makes for an interesting read. Cosell even suggests in the final line of his post that only time will tell who will be the better NFL player. But it’s nonetheless interesting to see the differing opinions pile up before draft day arrives.

And there’s little to no guessing going on as to who the Colts see as having the brighter NFL future.

March 25, 2012 Posted by | Indianapolis Colts, NFL Draft, NFL Films, Washington Redskins | , , | 1 Comment

Andrew Luck’s Pro Day

This pas Thursday was Andrew Luck’s Pro Day at Stanford. I was at work, watched a lot of the workout on a grainy monitor video view that only allowed me to hear some of Mike Mayock’s comments on NFL Network.

Here’s some cited tidbits that came out the morning of the workout:

“I would think it’s a mere formality,” one scout told me. “I didn’t write him up or study him, but just from crossover tape, you say, ‘Oh my God.’ He can do a lot of things. He can move. He can throw. He’s smart. He’s in a pro-style offense, so there won’t be a big learning curve …”

“He would have to have a catastrophic workout for him not to be the guy, in my opinion,” said a second scout. “The one thing he has to do at his workout in the Colts’ eyes is to come out healthy. That is it. He is easy to scout. He is ready to play now and will play at a high level in a short time.”

And from former scout Russ Lande of the Sporting News and GM Jr.: “I think more than anything, since they are going to both [RGIII] and Luck’s pro days, they want to be sure about Luck’s arm strength as that is a concern amongst some. Other than that, from what I have been told they have already decided on Luck and would only change their mind if something completely unforeseen were to happen.”

Now for the scouting of what I saw.

Effortless throws all throughout the routine. All throws appeared to be crisp spirals. It was a cold and windy day in Palo Alto, and it did not seem to impact on the throws. This would be an added bonus for a Quarterback that is headed to presumably play all home games in a dome.

Luck tossed a few deep balls starting the routine. Still effortless, tight spirals. First throw was a little underthrown, the rest have been in stride and good. He gets it out there effortlessly. The touch throws seem to be the best that he has within his arsenal.

His footwork is tremendous. Also, his ability to dodge the guy with the broom (QB coach George Whitfield) and get back into throwing motion with such quickness is remarkable.

Luck threw one ball to the left while running left and it was spot on. Here’s my favorite throw from the pro day, a 70-yard ball into the wind that was requested by some scouts.

He tallied 46 of 50 completions, and as I said before a few drops were mixed in there.

I thought that Luck showed everything he had to so that people like me and the experts could say that he’s “as advertised”. I also thought that Coby Fleener showed that he should be a 1st round pick (or get heavy consideration for the Colts 2nd round pick if he falls that far).

Here’s a few of the videos from the pro day:

And here’s an interview he did with the ESPN crew immediately following the workout:

March 25, 2012 Posted by | NFL Draft | , , , | Leave a comment