Don't blame Kelvin Hayden:
Well, Kelvin Hayden isn't solely to
blame for the loss. He did have a jump on the ball, it did hit him between
the two and the six, and he did drop a sure interception.
But Jacob Lacey
is equally culpable for letting Tiquan Underwood get behind him on the play
right before Hayden dropped the interception. After Underwood caught a six
yard out on the Jacksonville 37 and didn't get out of bounds, the Jaguars
inexplicably didn't call a time out and lined up.
This must have frazzled
Lacey, because he jumped the slot receiver — who was running into the flat and
wouldn't have been able to do much had he caught the ball — and ignored
Underwood, who ran a 22-yard out that put Jacksonville in field goal range.
In that situation, a cornerback does not want anyone to get behind him.
Lacey, who has shown excellent man coverage instincts in the past, should have
The person that deserves the lion's share of the blame, though, is Jim
Caldwell. When the Jaguars opened up their drive with a running play to
Maurice Jones-Drew, Caldwell called timeout. I am assuming that was
because he wanted Peyton Manning and company to get the ball back, but the
strategy had several flaws.
First of all, there were only 36 seconds left
on the clock at that point. Secondly, it was second and two.
Assuming that the Colts would somehow be able to hold Jones-Drew to less than
two yards — a faulty assumption since he was averaging four yards a carry at
that point — each play takes about five seconds. That would leave
Indianapolis with zero timeouts, the Jaguars in punt formation, and about 26
seconds left on the clock. Immediately after the Colts scored, Caldwell
should have been thinking about his strategy for Jacksonville's next drive.
The smart play would have been to let the Jaguars run out the clock and go to
overtime. Overtime is a 50/50 proposition. Trying to drive the
length of the field with no timeouts and 26 seconds is less than a 50/50
proposition and also gave Jacksonville more time to work with.
Hopefully, that was just a hiccup in Caldwell's game management strategy and
his decision was made in the moment. As the season wears on and the games
get tighter, another mistake like that one will mean another loss.
Fundamentals need a lot of work on defense: Tackling has not
been great all season, but it was simply atrocious on Sunday. Jones-Drew
is not an easy back to bring down, but the Indianapolis defenders made him look
even better. They bounced off ball carriers, took poor angles, and were
faked out of their cleats on more than one occasion — two defenders looked
foolish on David Garrard's first-quarter touchdown run.
Garrard is an
accomplished runner, but he is not Chris Johnson. Effort and gap
discipline up front has improved, but the whole unit needs to execute in order
for this defense to be effective.
Film study should be an embarrassing experience for the defense this week and
Larry Coyer needs to get back to stressing the fundamentals. At this
level, players should know how to tackle and, if they don't, they may have too
many bad habits to learn. Coyer has to get everyone to focus, Gary Brackett has to step up as captain, and the Colts defense has a lot of work to
do for the balance of the season. A bye this week would have been timely,
but the work will start this week and there should be a serious focus on
fundamentals during the week off.
The next man up behind Melvin Bullitt needs to be replaced:
DaJuan Morgan is no substitute for Bullitt and Bullitt was only a marginal
substitute for Bob Sanders. Jamie Silva would have been sufficient had he
not wound up on injured reserve as well. Morgan is not ready to be the man
in a base defense. He is a good special teams player and a suitable
defender in nickel and dime packages, but he is not a starting strong safety.
He ignored Marcedes Lewis on Lewis' 15-yard touchdown in the third quarter, even
though he lined up over Lewis indicating that he was going to be covering him.
Generally, the defense will suffer with Morgan in there, especially a pass
defense that was already starting to show signs of vulnerability against the
On the bright side, Kyle DeVan looks good: The DeVan-Mike Pollak combo at guard appears to be working. The Jaguars don't have a
ferocious pass rush, but the pass blocking was stellar and Joseph Addai averaged
four yards a carry and scored two (almost three) touchdowns. In response
to a running item in What We Learned, the silent count seems to be more stable
with De Van at left guard and there were fewer instances of Manning needing to
go under center to hike the ball and fewer instances of DeVan needing to smack
Jeff Saturday on the left thigh to get the snap off.
Reggie Wayne might be a matchup player at this point: Wayne is
starting to slide out of the elite level of receivers and into a group of pass
catchers that needs a good matchup to have a big game. There was a time
— as recently as 2009 — when Wayne would put up big numbers no matter who was
On Sunday, Indianapolis targeted Wayne frequently because he
was too much for David Jones. Expect the Colts to feed Wayne when he has a
great matchup and rely on Austin Collie and Dallas Clark when he does not in
Division games have to start meaning more to the Colts: The
Texans and their fans brought their A game in Week 1 and the Jaguars and their
fans did in Week 4 as well. Indianapolis has been on top of this division for
so long that they are a bigger rival to the other teams in their division than
those teams are to the Colts. Indianapolis needs to realize this and bring
the same level of intensity to the four remaining division games that their
opponents will bring.
Sometimes, these things just happen: Manning threw his first
interception, Wayne had an uncharacteristic fumble, passes were dropped,
coverages were blown, no one could tackle, and everyone was getting hurt.
There was game mismanagement on the part of the head coach and the home crowd
unexpectedly stepped up and showed up.
All that and Indianapolis still
should have had a chance to win in overtime. That's a sign of a talented
team. The team needs to put this loss behind them and regroup.
Fortunately, that has been one of their biggest strengths for the past ten
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The Colts matched their loss total from all of 2009 in Week 4 against the Jaguars. Brad Keller takes a look at what we learned.