What We Learned: Colts vs. 49ers
RB Joseph Addai (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
RB Joseph Addai (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
Senior Writer, ColtPower.com
Posted Aug 19, 2010


The Colts got drubbed in their first preseason action on Saturday, but it's not all bad news -- though there is a lot of it. What did we learn from the first preseason game? Brad Keller takes a look.

The Colts need a miracle at quarterback: The first interception Curtis Painter threw was more on Sam Giguere than Painter, but he quickly unraveled after that, looking frazzled, feeling pressure that wasn't there, and making bad decision after bad decision.


Painter was less than impressive in his 2010 debut
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

Indianapolis then overcompensated by trying to simplify the offense, calling mostly slants, screens, and hitches, which played directly into San Francisco's hands, since they were pressing the receivers in man coverage anyway.  The fact that Painter looked dreadful playing mostly against the second team defense of the 49ers and that Tom Brandstater didn't look much better is very disconcerting.

There are three possible miracles that the Colts could experience: 1) Peyton Manning starts every game this year and doesn't get hurt at any point, 2) Painter suddenly puts everything together, or 3) Brandstater makes a quantum leap in his development.  The most likely miracle is No. 1, but you never like to count on miracles.

Once again, there is a lot of youth and talent at linebacker: The two stars of the night were rookies Pat Angerer — two sacks, eight tackles, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits — and Kavell Conner, who had six tackles and one tackle for loss.  There was a lot of speed, energy, enthusiasm, and playmaking going on with these two youngsters and Cody Glenn also looked sharp.

The veterans on the team need to teach these rookies how to tackle — especially Conner, who whiffed twice in one play on Anthony Dixon in the backfield — but it looks as though Bill Polian has not lost his knack for finding active, talented players at the position.

Ryan Diem's job is safe: It's only one game, but Adam Terry certainly looked sluggish in his backpedal and flat footed in the running game.  Donald Brown didn't look great, either, but one of the reasons he lost four yards on five carries is that he primarily ran to Terry's side.

There was speculation throughout the offseason — a lot of it by yours truly — that Terry would push Diem at right tackle during camp and the preseason and possibly win that job.  There's still time, but Terry is not off to a good start.

Diem, on the other hand, was solid but unspectacular.  If Terry keeps up this level of play, that should be more than enough for Diem to keep his job.

Jerraud Powers looks good: It was against a 49ers passing attack that has had its struggles and his interception did come from a tipped pass, but Powers covered his side of the field quite well.

He was in on most plays, played his zone assignments perfectly, and was physical in both the running game and the passing game.  He looks like Marlin Jackson with a little more speed, a little more awareness, and a lot more pop.  At this point, it looks like the Colts made the right move by sticking with the younger player.

Donald Brown looks hesitant: Again, it's only one game and one preseason game at that, but Brown looks slow to the hole, he looks like he's fighting his blocks, and he seems to be running a little too high and a little too patient.  The blocking in front of him was not spectacular to be sure, but Brown needs to start flashing some of that cut-back ability and explosiveness that he displayed last year.

Joseph Addai looks comfortable and is attacking the line of scrimmage.  He's also getting all of the touches inside the ten-yard line.  Right now, I'd say his stock with Indianapolis — and with fantasy owners — is quite high.  He could end the season with a career high in carries and a career high in touchdowns, so he's well worth a third-round pick.  Especially if Brown continues to flounder and Addai continues to produce.

It's too early to start carving the busts for Fili Moala and Jerry Hughes: Both players made some plays and both guys got after the quarterback, which is something that's refreshing to see from someone other than Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.  But, Moala still needs to show more and Hughes is still developing.

They are off to strong starts this preseason, but the hype should be kept to a low roar until they really show what they can do in games two and four of the preseason.

At least the first-team offense did well:  Bearing in mind that the starters will (hopefully) be in there throughout the regular season, it's not such a bad thing that the first-team Colts beat the first-team 49ers 10-0 even if the second- and third-team guys lost 37-7.  After struggling in the red zone early, they put together a smooth, efficient touchdown drive on their second possession and they were done for the night.  It will be interesting to see what they do with extended action in the third game, but it looks like business as usual on offense.

Let's hope the defense Larry Coyer ran with the second team is what he runs with the first team when the season starts: The blitzes, mixed coverages, zone blitzes, and exotic looks — exotic by Indianapolis standards anyway — were exciting to see.  Unfortunately, most of that was run by the second- and third-team defense.  For the most part, it was very effective and was definitely fun to watch.  It would be nice if some of those wrinkles make it into the regular season playbook.


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