The Colts travel south to take on the Jags Thursday night in a game that means everything and nothing. The playing time situation is in everyone's mind. I think the Colts will go for the win. If they get up big they will bring the starters out. I would hate to see them bring the starters out if they get down early, though. I think that kind of capitualtion is tantamount to throwing in the towel and would demoralize the squad. Keys to the game look like this.
Can the Colts linebackers move parallel to the line of scrimmage? If they can it means that the DTs are getting, if not penetration into the backfield, enough push to create a static LOS from which the linebackers can fill gaps. If they can it means that the ends are not getting fooled into over rushing the packet and are "setting the edge" or holding the point of attack on the outside. That kind of containment will be critical against MJD.
Will the Jaguars be forced to blitz to create pressure? A team cannot sit back against Peyton all day. Time of possession does not hold meaning with the Colts. You have to attack the Colts offense or you are just going to end up watching it. The Jags' front has not been able to pressure QBs, despite the big draft picks, and if they blitz Peyton to get pressure it will be a deciding factor. The Jags secondary is banged up, and if they can't handle both Garcon and Clark in single coverage (assuming they double Reggie) then the Colts will call up plays with Reggie as the primary, suck the double to him, and then check down to Clark on the crossing route or Garcon in the intermediate middle. Its a pick your poison situation, and the Jags have to choose wisely or they will get cut up.
Can the Jags go deep? The Colts focus on keeping things in front, and in the season opener, Garrard threw for only 122 and the Jags only had two pass plays over 15 yards. As a consequence, the Colts front focused on MJD and he was held to under 100. The Colts front 7 has had a helluva season, and the rookie corners have been really good with Bethea and Bullitt looking out for them. Now, though, Bullit is banged up a bit and so is Jerraud Powers, arguably the Colts' best corner. Will they be able to hold onto the Jags' receivers. Will we see more of Tim Jeennings' laughably underachieving coverage? A big component will be the Colts ability to get pressure off the edges. Our corners tend to play loose, which gives them a good read and some cushion. If the QB has time, the cushion kills you because of the threat of a second move by the receiver after you break on the first (the double move, obviously). Pressure helps but it only ever comes from Freeney or Mathis.
The St. Louis Cardnials should resign Matt Holliday. They have never had anyone else protect Pujols the way he did. He is an adequate fielder and can probably be had cheaply in the current market for outfielders. If you bring Holliday on for three more years I think he adds a lot of breathing room in August and September. I also think there isn't an alternative to his output on the current roster or available at a better price on the FA market.
After successfully completing my belt test in my Judo class yesterday, I got to hear some priceless phrases.
"You have pretty decent balance and flexibility for somebody as old and out of shape as you are."
"That is not the best Tomoe-nage I have ever seen, but it is the best Tomoe-nage I have seen from somebody as old and out of shape as you."
"Its nice to see you throw that Morote Seoi-nage Kodokan style, you don't see a lot of old and out of shape guys doing that."
See the trend?