The Indianapolis Colts have gotten their first win, bring them to an odd looking 1-1-1. While most of a lot of Colts Nation would like to see this as a huge feat, I must warn you to tread with caution when convincing yourself the Colts are back on track just yet. While the Colts offense made the final plays necessary to pull out the win in this one, they left so much to be desired. The Indianapolis Colts offensive line is currently making simple, absent minded mistakes and seem to be robbing Jim Irsay blind.
The Indianapolis Colts are spending $42,240,344 in 2022 cap for the offensive line. That is a couple milli over double the returning Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams. The Colts having the most generously compensated offensive line in the league and providing the protection they have been is downright criminal. The offensive line has been the most glaring weakness in this team and which key injuries to playmakers on both sides of the ball, you would hope the offensive line would be a pinnacle of this team. Unfortunately for Indianapolis Colts fans, and Matt Ryan most of all, have been only let down by the incomplete blocks, lack of execution, and sometimes just total lack of assigning a blocker to the Nose. I’m thinking of one play in particular; and if you watched Sunday, I think you can remember that one. Here’s looking at you Pinter.
There’s no excuse for the current play of this unit. Quenton Nelson said following the Jaguars game that it was a fact that the offensive line was not doing their job. After the performance against the Kansas City Chiefs I can’t imagine he’s feeling much happier. Yes there we got the win, but our offensive line was glaringly the weakest unit on the field. Knowing the fans look to him to set the tone in that room and set a tone of aggression for the offense, I have to imagine he will be getting on the guys. He knows he just set the standard and got paid. Him getting paid is good for lineman, he knows if lineman want to continue to get paid like that, he’s got to be a case example for success.
All of the mistakes this offensive line have been making appear to this very unprofessional and very biased writer to be very correctable mistakes. There is a communication error. The offensive line has been unclear on assignments. Communication at the line is key. The other contributing factor being Matt Ryan. Matt Ryan is doing his best with the time given, that being said he can easily help in padding that time a bit. He hasn’t seemed to be picking up blitz packages and assigning blocking in the manner of Matt Ryan from days of old. His communication with the offensive line has been poor and this again seems to be very correctable. I’m hoping while this game left a lot to be wanted from the offense, that it was the first big “knock the rust off” game for the Indianapolis Colts.
While Matt Ryan’s play has been embarrassing for the most part to start the season, I genuinely believe he is entirely capable of getting back to Matt Ryan of old (I’d say we saw the first glimpse in that game winning drive. Only way we will ever see that regularly from Matt Ryan is if he can get comfortable. Comfort comes in the form of time provided by his blockers. More time, more comfort. More Comfort, better QB. Makes sense to me. While we can all enjoy having stole one from the Chiefs, Colts fans need to understand that our play throughout that game offensively doesn’t lead to sustainable success.
Chris Ballard has been the single greatest agent for any NFL lineman’s bank account. Paying these guys as much as the Colts have is his GM strategy. Chris Ballard’s mindset seems to have always been, have the line, the rest will fall in place. If this tactic bites him in the butt here, I wouldn’t expect many GMs to follow suit. So as much as our offensive line wants to get better for our fans. They are also incentivized to perform in order to get their colleagues and positions paid. If the Colts fail here look for GMs to keep paying the high scoring playmakers outrageously (you know all the positions we didn’t get in order to sure up this offensive line).
While I say all of this. I firmly believe the Colts are figuring it out and we will have a top caliber team in no time. Slow starts are what we do here in the Frank Reich Era, but I’m confident this squad will be world beaters in no time. The talent on the offensive line is too good not to figure this out soon.
I never seek to write stuff entirely negative, just being a realist. The news is full of stuff tailored to stress you the heck out. So while the offensive line has plenty of work ahead of them before our division bout with the Texans, I want to end shining light on a few of the positives from last game.
- Jelani Woods, 3rd round pick and rookie, had a statement game with two hauls. Good for him coming out and providing Matt Ryan with reliable and still developing hands.
- Alec Pierce absolutely stepped up when called upon. The rookie receiver had a huge impact through the air when it mattered. Good to see him get his first shine.
- Defense and special teams were absolute DOGS out there! Bravo to each Colt on that side of the ball. Another week down, another week closer to Shaquille Leonard being back in the lineup. Our defense only stands to improve, the NFL is on notice.
- Matt was making some big time throws, even if the haters would have you believe otherwise.
- Again, our biggest mistakes are very fixable ones. This is a great thing!
Thank you for taking the time to read these, the thoughts of an Indianapolis Colts fanboy and hobbyist writer. Have yourself a great day Indy fans!
For the Shoe!