There has been a lot of action in Colts’ Nation after Week Nine’s loss to the Patriots. There is a new coach, a new play caller, and a new attitude. With interim Coach Jeff Saturday, some would think that the season is all but over, but there are still games to be played.
The Las Vegas Raiders are the Colts’ next opponent. Like all of them, this game is critical not only this season but for the foreseeable future of the franchise. Both teams have started terribly, and this game may be another lackluster performance from the Colts unless these players make a huge impact.
Colts Offensive Line Must Pull It Together
The weakest link of this 2022 Colts team has been the offensive line. The highest-paid line in the league is producing one of the worst seasons in NFL history. This week the team goes up against a pass rush that hasn’t played well but has the potential to replicate New England’s nine-sack game. Protection is key! The Raiders give up an average of 371 yards total yards a game. Las Vegas ranks 31st in Red Zone touchdowns allowed.
At the same time, Indy has struggled with producing games where the receivers flourish; this game needs to showcase the sizes available at receiver and tight end for the team to have a chance to win. Sam needs time! Former All-Pro Jeff Saturday is the interim coach and should give insight on revamping this failing group.
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Colts Grover Stewart Continues Dominance
Grover Stewart is the unsung hero of Indy’s defense and maybe the entire team. So far, Stewart has been one of the consistent parts of the defensive side of the ball and is a sore eye for any opposing offensive lineman. Stewart has 25 tackles, four stops for losses, and a pass deflection in the last three games. Grover should display his power this week and put pressure on Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs.
Derek Carr has been sacked 17 times this season. Keeping Josh Jacobs under 90 rushing yards will be essential for Grover and the guys. Pressure causes panic, and Las Vegas has blown leads due to stifling defenses having success later in games. Look for Grover Stewart to contribute to the team’s sack success and overall tempo on defense.
Colts Boost Sam Ehlinger’s Confidence
It’s no secret that the Colts put the season on the shoulders of second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger. Sam needs help. Every quarterback needs a favorite target or a reliable running back they can lean on when times are tough. Sam hasn’t had that this season whether it be because of injury or play calling.
Coach Saturday has to scheme some plays to get Sam in a rhythm and in situations where he feels comfortable. This team has no time for careless mistakes that can be avoided. Throw some quick slants, utilize the big-body tight ends in the RedZone, and trust your big receivers to compete for the 50/50 balls. Scheme up some things that build Ehlinger up rather than getting him picked up off the ground.
The Colts have let fate determine the rest of the season with certain moves and roster adjustments. The season is still salvageable, but getting to the postseason is, quite frankly, an uphill battle. Can they produce a winning team after the horrible start? Yes, of course.
Indy must provide Ehlinger with plays to build his confidence which could help deliver on the field. The offensive line, in my opinion, should be blown up after this season if Chris Ballard doesn’t make any solid moves this off-season. The defense continues to play their hearts out but can’t get bailed out due to the overwhelming inconstancy on offense. Week Ten is a must-win game not just for this season but for most of the current staff and players who want to remain a Colt in 2023.