Week two of the preseason is upon us, as the Colts play on Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens. In one of Indianapolis’ only nationally televised games of the season, their de facto rival comes to town. The Colts will look to build off momentum from their 19-17 win over Seattle last week. Let’s dive into the matchup that will be Andrew Luck’s first game at Lucas Oil Stadium in almost two years.
Colts’ Defensive Line vs Lamar Jackson
Last week against Seattle, the Colts struggled to contain Seattle’s signal caller, whether it be Russell Wilson or Alex McGough. They only combined for 21 yards on three carries but routinely broke the pocket and extended plays against the Colts’ defense.
During Baltimore’s 33-7 battering of the Rams last week, Lamar Jackson flashed as the dominant mobile threat that he has the potential to be. Jackson threw for 119 yards and ran for 21 yards on five carries for a score. Jackson is a dominant athlete, is lightning quick, and might be the best athlete at the quarterback position since Michael Vick torched NFL defenses on a weekly basis.
Containing mobile quarterbacks will be a key for this Indianapolis defense in 2018 and Jackson will be an excellent test for this young defensive line. Primary edge defenders such as Jabaal Sheard and Tarell Basham will be tested in keeping contain on Jackson. The interior rushers such as Hassan Ridgeway and Al Woods will need to generate sufficient interior rush to not allow Jackson to comfortably maneuver in the pocket.
Colts’ Offensive Tackles vs Ravens’ Defensive Line
With Anthony Castonzo sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Colts have been shuffling around their line. Last week, the Colts struggled to contain edge rush, which is one of the most important duties of any offensive line. Joe Haeg and Austin Howard started at tackle. Unfortunately, both struggled to contain Seattle’s speed off of the edge.
The Ravens boast a very solid defensive line, starring wily veteran Terrell Suggs, who had a sack against the Rams and created consistent pressure. Matt Judon, Zach Sieler, and Tim Williams all recorded sacks against the Rams. Kamalei Correa recorded three sacks during the Hall of Fame game against the Bears. If the Colts cannot contain the edge in 2018, it will be markedly more difficult for Andrew Luck to remain healthy.
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The Colts already had a very important competition at receiver given the thin depth behind T.Y. Hilton. But following Deon Cain’s season-ending ACL injury and Hilton’s camp injury, receiver depth is paper thin. Aside from Hilton, Ryan Grant, and Chester Rogers, Indy will look for someone else to step up. Week 1 standouts Kasen Williams, Zach Pascal, and K.J. Brent, if he is not injured. Maybe newly signed Cobi Hamilton steps up or rookie Daurice Fountain in his debut.
Aside from Nate Hairston’s interception, no cornerback stood out against the Seahawks. Quincy Wilson, Pierre Desir, and Kenny Moore all failed to contain the Seahawks’ receivers. Against Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, and some exciting rookies, Indianapolis’ corners will need to step up.
Lamar Jackson torches the Colts’ second defensive unit and their defensive line dominates the Colts’ offensive tackles.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.