The Indianapolis Colts lost their preseason opener against the New York Jets Thursday night. It was a thrilling 13-10 outing that had everyone praying it wouldn’t go into overtime.
While there wasn’t a lot to gain from this, there were a number of injuries to be had. Thankfully, Andrew Luck and the other key players escaped the game unscathed.
Obviously everything, from this game especially, should be taken with a grain of salt. If you looked across the slate of these preseason openers, you’ll notice that many starters across the league didn’t take a single snap.
Here’s what stood out from the first game of the year:
- Thin Offensive Line. Center Khaled Holmes left the game during the first drive with an ankle injury. Offensive tackle Ulrick John suffered a broken ankle. Tackle Xavier Nixon underwent knee surgery (out three weeks). Guard Donald Thomas is already on IR. The line had a bunch of questions heading into the season and now it looks like the team doesn’t even have enough bodies to rotate in. Jonotthan Harrison came in for Holmes, and wasn’t all that impressive. He forgot the snap count and launched the ball over Luck’s head. Not exactly a good start.
- No Huddle is the Way to Go. If this is a preview of things to come from the Colts offense, I might be in love. The no-huddle offense is absolutely what this team should be running. Once Reggie Wayne is added back into the mix, along with Ahmad Bradshaw, the Colts will be scoring at an alarming pace.
- T.Y. Hilton is going to eat opponents alive on crossing routes. He has been incredible at camp finding holes in the defense and it was more of the same against the Jets. He had three receptions on one drive.
- The brief controversy over Hakeem Nicks seems to have been completely blown out of proportion. His lone catch on a 3rd-and-11 was an impressive piece of route running. It kept the drive alive and proved that Nicks is already an improvement over Darrius Heyward-Bey.
- Herron. Boom Herron. Maybe Dan Herron‘s numbers as a running back don’t jump off the box score, but he might have inked his spot on the depth chart. He had seven carries for 26 yards (good for 3.7 yards per, which is better than Trent Richardson‘s last season). Perhaps more importantly, Herron led the team in receptions with six for 36 yards and a touchdown. Overall, it was a solid outing behind a questionable offensive line.
- The Unknown. Every preseason game, there is a player that no one has heard of who has a great game. That player was linebacker Henoc Muamba on Thursday. He finished the game with 12 tackles and a forced fumble. While tackles aren’t always a good indicator of success, Muamba was often found at the line of scrimmage making stops. The rookie will likely have an uphill battle to make the roster, but it was an impressive debut.
- Defensive Improvement. The Colts starting defense looked like a much more cohesive unit. That said, it was the Jets who ranked in the bottom third of the league offensively last year. They held the Jets to a mere 2.7 yards per carry 4.2 per passing attempt. Preseason numbers, but this was an infinitely better showing than last year’s preseason opener and gives a bit of hope for a defense that surrenders 87 points in two playoff games.
- Bjoern Werner. He was constantly in the backfield, but still needs to finish plays still. He is going to have to prove his worth in the first four games of the season with Robert Mathis out. Still, it was encouraging to see a higher level of activity from Werner and his play in practice carrying over to games.
- Josh Chapman. He had just a pair of tackles, but did what he was supposed to at the nose tackle position. He set the line and wasn’t pushed around. Eventually that will translate into collapsing the pocket and then we finally might be able to celebrate a Merry Chapmas.
The Colts will finish up camp in Anderson this week before facing the New York Giants next Saturday at Lucas Oil.