The Indianapolis Colts, coming of back-to-back losses, look to get in the win column by beating the lowly Jaguars in Jacksonville. Jacksonville Jaguars got off to a quick start against the Eagles in their first game, but struggled mightily in the last 6 quarters. Which of these teams will get their first win of the year?
What the Colts Need to do to Win
The Colts should be more motivated than ever after last week’s collapse to the Eagles. They need to come out strong and have a relentless attack against the Jaguars. They must regain their confidence and regain their focus.
They will need a mistake free, low risk performance on offense. They need to minimize the amount of risks they take on offense and they need to establish a running game.
Andrew Luck will need to have a much better performance than the one he had last week. He needs to make more plays, he needs to let the ball out quicker, and he cannot force throws. Luck did not do enough last week and relied on his running game to get the job done. Although it’s important to have a focus on the running game, they need more production from Andrew Luck, especially on third downs. Their third down conversion percentage last week was 33%, which is horrible. Luck needs to have a bigger role this game; give him the ball.
In terms of running the ball, it seems like the 2 back attack of Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw works very well. Both played very well last week, with the only knock being Richardson’s fumbling issues. Both can get the job done in this system and both should have an active role running the ball this game if the Colts intend on having a balanced attack.
In terms of the receivers and tight ends, all of them will need to have bigger roles. Only Hilton played (relatively) well last week. Wayne will need to be more of factor on third downs. Hakeem Nicks will need to show up on important downs. Dwayne Allen will need to be a reliable pass catcher for Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener needs to be open in the red-zone. Those are their roles and so far this year, they are not fulfilling them.
The offensive line had a lot of bright spots last week, especially when it came to run blocking. They need to continue this going into this week’s game against the Jaguars. They shouldn’t change anything in between the tackles and go with the similar mindset they had last week (in terms of running the ball). They ran it extremely well in between the tackles. In terms of pass protection, they’ll have an easier task against the Jaguars’ edge defenders. They’ll need to give Luck more time than last week to make his reads and his throws.
The offensive philosophy should be to establish a running game early on, like they did last week, but become more aggressive as the game goes on. They cannot be conservative in the 2nd half, unless their lead is large. The over conservatism will not help them.
On defense, they’ll need to find ways to pressure Chad Henne and they’ll need to find the right matchups. Erik Walden dominated Andrew Gardner, the backup right tackle for the Eagles last week. The Colts should match up Walden against their right tackle Sam Young, as that’s a matchup they could win. The Colts should not be afraid to bring Josh McNary up the middle on a disguised blitz. They should try and bring pressure from every angle with occasional disguised blitzes.
Up front on the defensive line, they’ll need to stuff up the middle. The Jaguars ran about 60% of their runs up the middle and if they can eliminate the in between the tackle runs then they’ll be able to almost shut down their running game. They will need consistent penetration from Ricky Jean Francois and Cory Redding as well as Josh Chapman drawing double teams.
The linebacker unit will have a big role in this game. The inside linebackers should have run responsibilities and be worried about stopping runs up the middle. On top of that, Josh McNary should worry about their tight end, Mickey Shuler. McNary struggled last week but against a guy like Shuler, he’ll have a much better chance. The outside linebackers, as mentioned earlier, will need to get consistent pressure on Chad Henne and set the edge on early downs. Erik Walden needs to play like he did last week, simple as that. Bjoern Werner should have more of a pass rushing focus, and he’ll need to win his battle against Luke Joeckel.
The defensive backs will have the task of covering this underrated Jaguars unit. Cecil Shorts seems like he’s going to be back, Allen Hurns has surprised many and Marqise Lee has the speed and athleticism to be a big play threat. This unit is nothing to sneeze at and one could argue they are more talented than the Eagles’ receiving unit (it’s just that Henne is throwing to them). Davis should go up against Shorts (if he’s playing), and Toler against Hurns or the other outside receiver with Butler in the slot against their slot receiver. As for the safeties, Laron Landry will need to be a more consistent tackler and play in the box. Mike Adams should play all over the field and cover the deep part of the field. If the Jaguasr intend on winning this game, they’ll need to have a lot of big plays, so if the Colts eliminate that threat, they’ll be fine.
The defensive gameplan should be to eliminate the run by having an inside gap approach and stuff the middle. They’ll also need to have a conservative approach in coverage, taking away the deep part of the field and being tough at the line of scrimmage. On top of that, Erik Walden and Bjoern Werner will need to get pressure on Chad Henne and in turn, that should cause mistakes from him. The Colts must capitalize on his mistakes.
What the Jaguars Need to do to Win
The Jaguars need to make a lot of things happen on offense in order to win. They not only need to hit plays but they need to establish a balanced attack. They need to get Toby Gerhart going on the ground. The Jaguars should attack the side where Bjoern Werner is playing. Werner isn’t strong against the run and the Colts are missing Arthur Jones on that side as well. So, getting Gerthart out to the left side should be a point of emphasis in the running game. Even Jerrell Freeman is out, so the right inside linebacker for the Colts is the backup, Josh McNary. In terms of passing the ball, they should target Allen Hurns if he’s against Greg Toler. Toler is great versus deep passes but isn’t always reliable on short and intermediate passes. Marqise Lee should be someone else to target as he has some speed against this Colts defense. If Cecil Shorts is healthy, he’ll most likely go up against Vontae Davis. They should target Shorts, but Henne needs to be aware of his other targets.
On defense, they’ll need to do their best to slow down the running game early, discourage it, and make the Colts start passing the ball. The Colts will intend on doing both, and emphasizing a balanced attack, so if you make them rely on either running or passing the ball, then you have a good start. The Jaguars cannot stop Andrew Luck and the passing offense, but they can take away the ground game. They should stack the box, and have spies on the running backs for the early part of the game. Once they’ve done that, they should then try and focus on limiting what the Colts do in the passing game. This is take away the deep passes, get rushers on the end and get pressure on Luck. The Eagles did this perfectly last week and were able to significantly slow down the Colts’ passing attack.
An intriguing matchup has to be the matchup between Erik Walden and right tackle Sam Young. Young is new to the lineup and Walden had an impressive week last week versus the Eagles’ right tackle. The Colts need to get pressure on the opposing quarterback, and it seems like they’ll need to get a lot of their pressure from Erik Walden. Walden has the best matchup and they’ll be relying on him to get the pressure.
The Colts register 5 sacks.
Indianapolis Colts 27 vs Jacksonville Jaguars 10