1. In preseason, I'm sure Jaguars fans were thinking the Colts would have a formidable trio of receivers in Reggie Wayne, T.Y, Hilton, and Hakeem Nicks. Hilton even called them "three No. 1 receivers". But through two weeks, I think they've been inconsistent as a group. What needs to happen for them to improve?
Well, I think they're still a very formidable group and a very dangerous one. The first two games haven't been overly impressive, but I'm not really worried yet. Reggie Wayne, however, looks great, and you wouldn't ever be able to tell that he is a 35-year old receiver coming off of a torn ACL just by watching him. He's looked very good and has stepped right back into his former role.
As far as T.Y. Hilton goes, he just hasn't been involved as much as he needs to be in the first two weeks. He started to get involved in the fourth quarter last week (when they really needed him), but overall he just hasn't been a huge factor. I think that the Colts need to play to his strengths more and be more intentional about getting him involved in the offense.
Hakeem Nicks has the same struggle he had with the Giants in recent years - he has struggled to create separation on routes. He's a good receiver but struggles to get open. Plus, he got less playing time than three different tight ends on Monday night, so he needs to get on the field more too in order for him to be most effective.
Overall, I'm not too worried about this group yet, because in addition to all of this their quarterback, Andrew Luck, hasn't looked sharp early on either. They all need to get better, there's no question about it, and I'm still confident they will do so and become a very dangerous group.
2. When will the Colts finally cut and run with Trent Richardson?
If you're asking when they'll just get rid of him completely, then the answer is that it likely won't be coming for another year or two at least. But if you're asking when they'll start moving away from him in terms of less playing time, the answer is that they already have. In each of the first two games Richardson has started, but Ahmad Bradshaw has seen more playing time.
Bradshaw is a better back and a better fit for the system, too. He brings so much more to the table that, as long as he's healthy, I think he'll continue to see just as much, if not more, playing time than Richardson. They'll still give Richardson carries and time, but Bradshaw has already begun seeing more playing time.
3. Do you think the team is better off keeping Richardson as the starter, or giving Ahmad Bradshaw more carries?
As I alluded to earlier, their best option is Ahmad Bradshaw. He's a tremendous back when he's healthy. He brings a lot more to the table all around and he's a much better fit for the system the Colts run (or should be running, at least). He's a guy who's done it before and who has done it with the Colts too, and is easily the best back on the roster. I'm all for continuing to give Richardson carries because, well, you can't abandon him right now. He has too much talent for you to do that, but you have to balance that with the realization that Bradshaw is the much better option right now to help you win. They've realized that to an extent, I think, and that has shown through his increased playing time. We'll continue to see a lot of Ahmad Bradshaw in Indianapolis as long as he's healthy.
4. Knowing what you know about the Colts deficiencies, what are some weaknesses the Jaguars could potentially exploit on Sunday?
Attack the Colts through the air. The Colts have a few pieces in the secondary who are tremendous in corner Vontae Davis and nickel corner Darius Butler, but overall the secondary has been exposed. Greg Toler is a solid starter but you can beat him, and he also gets flagged often for the way he plays.
More specifically, however, the safeties are a big weakness and LaRon Landry and Mike Adams are both players to try to take advantage of (especially Landry). And I know Marcedes Lewis is out, but the Colts have a ton of trouble covering tight ends. Teams will use that position all year round to exploit the Colts. On the defensive side of the ball for the Jaguars, the best thing I can say is to stay solid in fundamentals and do your job as a player. The Colts have the talent to beat pretty much anybody and any scheme in the league (see what they did to Richrad Sherman and the Seahawks defense last year), but we haven't really seen it consistently yet this year. When the Colts are on, there really not a ton you can do to stop them, but too often we've seen the Colts make the mistakes to beat themselves.
If I'm the Jaguars, I'm working on my fundamentals and staying with my assignments and making the Colts beat themselves, because based on what we've seen in the first two games this year, there's a good chance they'll do so.
5. How's the Colts run defense? Is Toby Gerhart screwed yet again?
The run defense is better, but still not that great. When healthy, the front seven is pretty good. But they're not really healthy. Arthur Jones (who was brought in this offseason to stop the run) suffered a high ankle sprain last week and will almost certainly miss this weekend's game, and then linebacker Jerrell Freeman missed last week's game and his status is still up in the air for this Sunday.
I do think that the Colts run defense should be able to hold their own against Toby Gerhart, and I think it's a game in which the front seven will do exactly what they were built to do, and that's stop the run (because that's a big emphasis the Colts approached free agency with). The Colts run defense isn't great by any means, but I think they should do a good job against Toby Gerhart. They should. Whether they actually will, I'm not sure.
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