Jeff Saturday hoping to go 2-0 against the out-for-blood Eagles (Colts-Eagles NFL Week 11 short thoughts)

While plenty of the league and sports media were clowning the Colts for hiring Jeff Saturday, and one week later Josh McDaniels looks like a chump and this Colts fan has a new found confidence in the offensive line. Jeff has already displayed more emotion and animation than Frank Reich may have during his entire tenure. While I’m sure experts and other coaches are still going to be turning their noses up at Jeff, I’m nothing but grateful for the passion he brought to the team that was so desperately needed.

Jeff has had the Colts practicing outside in preparation for this matchup with the Eagles. While this game is being played at Lucas Oil so it will be inside, Jeff Saturday has this team passionate again. This team had all the talent, just needed some toughness. A touch of old school may do this team some good. Jeff Saturday may have inadequacies as a head coach, but in one game (sure, against the raiders…) he has them playing with a toughness and attitude they were lacking under Reich.

8-0 had been the Eagles best record in franchise history prior to their loss at the hands of Taylor Heinicke and the Commanders (been there). Jalen Hurts had a less than season standard stat line for that night. Jalen Hurts has been able to get the Eagles offense firing on all cylinders as he’s been making his case for NFL MVP this season. They have been a force of nature this season stepping up to the occasion at all but their most recent outing.

The Eagles have quickly followed their post Super Bowl drought with one of the quickest rebuilds a franchise could hope for. Props to the front office for making the moves necessary to compete consistently in today’s NFL. Not only compete consistently, but compete at the highest levels consistently now.

While the Colts are under a new head coach, this game by no means will be a cake walk for the Eagles. The Eagles are dealing with the first adversity they’ve had to coming off the loss to the Commanders. With nothing to lose and still plenty of talent, a reinvigorated Colts team could be a very dangerous opponent for a team looking to find its footing again.

The Colts offensive line absolutely stood up to the Raiders less than impressive defensive line. Their ability to finally get some ground at the line of scrimmage allowed Jonathon Taylor to have a performance that we expected to be seeing weekly at the beginning of the season. Say what you will about the Jeff Saturday hire, he immediately injected energy into the offensive line, the Colts most glaring issue. One week down and he was able to put a better performance on tape, than our “offensive minded” head coach was able to get out of the line. It’s amazing how this opened up the whole offense. We were finally seeing an offense gain tempo on the back of reliable protection. Protection that made it possible for routes to come to fruition and allowed Matt Ryan to properly process his reads. If this offensive line can continue to find its stride, I have high hopes for the Colts in this one.

In my personal and unprofessional opinion, I am so happy to see Matt Ryan back under center. While it was a sample size of 1 game against the Raiders, he gives us the best chance to win if the offensive line is able to provide any protection. While Sam’s legs gave us chances when there was absolutely zero protection for the Colts’ playmakers, if Saturday has the big nasties rejuvenated and ready to push around the Eagles’ defensive front Ryan is the guy to ride with.

As for the defense, Grover Stewart continues to be an absolutely dominant interior plug. He has come forward to add pressure on the defensive line that is not only invaluable to the team as whole, but also valuable to Deforest Buckner in particular. In season’s prior, most of if not all of the Colts’ front line pressure came on the shoulders of Buckner. With the development of our defensive front, Buckner has been freed up from the focus of the protection, allowing his game to flourish in turn. The pressure provided from our defensive front will be crucial to victory for the Colts here (no duh). Jalen Hurts agility takes his broken play potential through the roof. The Colts front 4 will have to provide consistent pressure while also protecting and closing the edge competently. Collapsing the pocket onto Jalen will be crucial to the Colts defensive success.

Vegas has the Colts as 7 point underdogs in this one. I have to say I optimistically (and possibly ignorantly) think the Colts will keep it close at home and be able to put together a 4th quarter to pull this game out. I have now switched again back to full steam ahead on competing this season. While some may be ready for a tank, I want to continue to see what kind of football this team can play under a new leader. Let’s shock the country and pull this win out Colts!

Thanks for taking the time to ready these short thoughts of a Colts fanboy. Have a great day Colts fans. Down with the Birds!!!

For the Shoe!

-Burke

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