The Colts are notorious as “non-performers” through pre-season. That is a given. They view preseason as an opportunity to evaluate personnel, and to get into game shape. Yet, you can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a bit of concern in Indy this morning. They honestly don’t know at what point Peyton Manning will be ready, so they had to be giving his back-up, Curtis Painter, quality reps in preparation to begin the year as the starter…
If that’s the case, the argument that the Redskins defense was, once again, dominant through the first half, even with mixing in a generous portion of second and third stringers, is a bad omen for Indy, and a very positive sign for Washington. Indianapolis was able to manage but a single first down, and did not penetrate the 50 yard line until the second half. The Redskins dominated the line of scrimmage. A significant part of the first half saw the Corners in tight man, with 2 deep safety help… So much time was spent in this posture, that it’s clear that some scheme testing/evaluation was part of the plan… Painter had few opportunities to make uncontested completions… and pressure was adequate to force the issue on many occasions. Once again we must acknowledge that this was not Manning… but it’s clear that the defensive scheme was effective, and that the defense understood and properly executed it.
The good – This team is clearly stacked at running backs who understand, and can execute Shanahan’s one cut scheme. The O line is able to make the blocks to spring consistently significant runs from Hightower and from Helu. Both demonstrated the ability to make the most of plays that appeared shut down. The very nice 6.1 Yards/Carry was sweet. The efficiency of the running game was the primary reason the Redskins won the field position battle (despite the incredible efforts of the Colt’s punter, who consistently made huge kicks). While only one touchdown was scored, the Redskins moved the chains at will during the first half.
John Beck was 14 of 17 with no picks, and a rating of 101… also sweet. His decisions were sound. He certainly didn’t hurt his case to be the starter.
The not-so-good – Trent Williams was on his heels… a lot… often against players who are fighting for a position. He was called for Illegal Formation at one time for lining up too deep… undoubtedly an attempt to get a little extra distance. One has to wonder if he is having some pain that might be slowing him down, because he certainly didn’t look like the Trent Williams of last week, when he played very effectively against consistently better opponents.
Grossman demonstrated that he isn’t strong enough to overcome a weaker supporting cast. When frustrated, his historical tendency towards questionable decision making resulted in a pick when he made a throw that just wasn’t there to be made. Note that last week, Clemons did much more with the same level of talent around him (and less experience in the offense, as well, by the way).
It remains to be seen if either Beck or Grossman can be efficient enough under Regular Season conditions to prevent defenses from loading the box. If “NO”, the running game becomes ineffective, and we will see our offense unable to sustain drives. If “YES” there will be no defense that we play that can stay effective into the 4th quarter.
All in all, not a bad outing for the team…