Last night we finally had the opportunity to watch Andrew Luck and co. play against a quality team in a hostile environment when the Indianapolis Colts kicked off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football. Despite losing 24-26 on a late Pittsburgh field goal, the new look Colts showed us many things to feel positive about.
So just like last week, here are the Studs, the Duds, and the Question Marks from this week’s game.
Andrew Luck – QB – Last night saw a young rookie QB get rocked by a pick-6 touchdown on a bad throw and return the field minutes later and lead a stellar scoring drive. We saw poise, confidence, and a young man who is determined to learn from his mistakes. Kind of takes us back to 1998 when we watched a young man named Manning do the same thing. Luck’s second pick came on a bobbled ball by TY Hilton, so we really can’t blame him for that. After starting 2-9, Mr. Luck finished 14-16 and showed great chemistry with one Reggie Wayne.
Griff Whalen – WR – After watching Collie go down with what we hope is not another concussion, Whalen stepped in and showed great hands and the ability to be an underneath threat out of the slot. In one half of a football game, he went from roster long shot, to 5th WR challenger. Whalen’s impressive line – 5 catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.
Mario Addison – OLB – Waiver claim to rotation player, Addison again showed great speed and instincts as a rush OLB. Addison also again proved his worth as a special team’s player getting down the field quickly and locating the ball carrier. Addison is all but guaranteed a roster spot.
Jerry Brown – ILB – Brown is a guy who nobody, I mean NOBODY, has talked about to date. He was more of a camp body than anything. Last night he threw his name in the pot of possible Pat Angerer injury replacement starters with an impressive 8 tackles in one half of play. While he has a ways to go, Brown showed a knack for finding the ball and decent coverage skills.
Drake Nevis – DT/DE – Nevis is a holdover from the old regime who is coming off of a bad injury and switching positions. Last night, Nevis showed the intensity that made him very popular as a rookie in Indy from the DE spot. He has the ability to play end against the run and shift into the middle for passing downs and had no trouble breaking through a rebuilding Pittsburgh line to make plays in the backfield last night.
Pittsburgh Stud – David Gilreath – WR – Wish the Colts had held on to him. He looks like a small version of Antonio Brown. Great pickup by the Steelers.
Coby Fleener – TE – Sorry to do this after two games but I have not seen a TE block that poorly EVER in an NFL game. Fleener has elite receiving skills and size for a TE, but his blocking is an absolute joke and will keep him off of the field in favor of Dwayne Allen until he figures it out. To be a successful TE in this league, you have to be able to block. So far, Fleener has not show an ounce of blocking ability.
Tom Zbikwoski – S – I am a Golden Domer through and through so putting Zibby in the Duds section this week stinks, but his coverage skills last night were poor at best. Zibby failed to read downfield routes and was left 10-15 yards away from wide open WRs in zone coverage. His whiff of Antonio Brown put me over the top (embarassing). Zibby is a great run Safety, but he has to improve his coverage skills quickly. Bethea cannot cover the whole field.
Donald Brown – RB – Yes he improved as a runner, but the pass blocking is terrible. I don’t care if Brown averages 8 yards a carry, if he cannot pass block better, he will not be on this team – PERIOD. With a rookie QB, we need a backfield blocking presence. Vick Ballard and Mewelde Moore are far superior pass blockers and are just as capable runners.
Austin Collie – WR – It was scary to hear that Collie had concussion symptoms and is also a real shame. This guy has worked so hard and is such a talented player, that he does not deserve to deal with these issues. At the same time, if reports are positive that he did in fact suffer another concussion, it might be time for Collie to call it quits. 4 concussions this early in a career is bad news and his long term health is more important that anything football related. My fingers are crossed for him not for the teams sake, but for his personal health’s sake.
Backup QB’s Drew Stanton and Chandler Harnish – Both look good at times, and both look terrible at times. We do not want to be in the same boat as last year if Luck were to go down so both need to play much more consistently in games 3-4 of the pre-season or the Colts might look for replacement options on the waiver wire.