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Cards vs Colts: 5 questions on the Colts with Stampede Blue

Getting you ready for the Cardinals and Colts on Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts v Arizona Cardinals

The Indianapolis Colts didn’t start the 2017 season like they hoped too. In fact, maybe no team looked worse in week one than the Colts did.

That’s why, I had to get with Chris Blystone of Stampede Blue and ask him some questions heading into the game with the Arizona Cardinals.

Are the Colts in as bad as a position as it looks, let’s check out what Chris had to say.

1. Like the Cardinals, the Colts are missing their best player. Unlike the Cardinals, we know what that product looks like. How much longer can the Colts keep Scott Tolzien out there?

They cannot put Tolzien back on the field with any hopes of winning games. The Colts were 0-10 on third down conversions in week one. That is actually kind of hard to do. I fully expect Jacoby Brissett to be our starting quarterback in week two. He is infinitely more physically gifted than Tolzien, and while the Colts might have to employ a parsed down playbook with Brissett, they likely do the same with Tolzien because of his physical limitations. If Cardinals fans see Tolzien on the field they should be very excited because it won’t be pretty for the Colts.

2. Defensively the Colts have used a lot of capital, but seem to have little to show for it, do you have a theory as to why?

It is a combination of injuries and just the bulk of how many new players they have. They certainly have invested heavily in the defense this offseason. From free agents like Jabaal Sheard, Johnathan Hankins, and John Simon to rookies Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson, the Colts have a lot of new faces on the roster. While the defensive backs have struggled due to the combination of both being very young and missing two of the best players on the defense in cornerback Vontae Davis and safety Clayton Geathers, the defensive line has been a surprise strength of the Colts. They have played well against the run both in the preseason and in week one, for all the good that did them against the Rams. The one thing about this team is that the young pieces the Colts added are opportunistic types and so I expect that we will see them begin to create some turnovers with more consistency as the season progresses and they get more comfortable in the defensive scheme.

3. How has the offensive line looked this year?

It has been a crapshoot. Like everywhere else on the Colts’ roster the offensive line has been hit by injuries. 2nd year center Ryan Kelly is out after having foot surgery and was critical in the steps the line took forward last season. Also, the Colts are back to moving everyone around on the line and trying to see what works. Denzelle Good has looked solid in his move to the right tackle position, but guys like starting guards Jack Mewhort and Joe Haeg have been nicked up and missed time here and there leaving a lot of young rookies or undrafted free agents filling in. Given those circumstances, the line hasn’t been as bad as it could be, and Tolzien’s tendency to hold the ball to long doesn’t do them any favors, but they could definitely need to improve going forward.

4. Who is one player that you expect to show up on Sunday?

The easy answer is Frank Gore here, because the guy is tough as nails, always shows up to play, and has no business looking as good as he does at his age. But I’m going to go with rookie running back Marlon Mack. Mack is the kind of player who gets your attention because he has that kind of game-breaking ability that makes defensive coordinators very nervous. If our boneheaded coach had challenged a touchdown play like he should have on Sunday, Mack would have had two touchdowns, and was a very good shoestring tackle away from a third. Frank Gore will get the bulk of the carries, but when you see #25 come in, pray that he doesn’t get to the second level because the guy is a big play waiting to happen.

5. Do the Colts have a chance this week? (Score/Prediction)

The loss of David Johnson certainly helps. The Colts defensive line is pretty decent, so if they can force the Cardinals to be one dimensional and rely primarily on the pass, it will let them play aggressively and try to force turnovers. If the Colts can win the turnover battle it will go a long way toward keeping them in the game. Brissett starting will help make the Colts receivers much more effective and should make moving the ball an actual possibility given the talent there in T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. Add to that the fact that this is the most talented running back group the Colts have had under Pagano and there is a decent amount to like. However, the way I see it, the only way the Colts win is if they win ugly. I think they will be much more competitive in week one, but even without David Johnson I think the Cardinals have too much firepower and the Colts have been too inconsistent to get a win. Prediction: 20-28 Cardinals.