We know what to expect from the Rams in this week's inaugural preseason game. But what about those dastardly Colts? Borrowing from fellow Bloguin site 18to88.com, here is a quick scouting report of this week's opponent.
The Rams D-Line could have a field day.
The Colts' offensive line has been a source of woe for years, and this year the team is planning on plugging in two rookies: tackle Robert Costanzo and small-school guard Ben Ijalana. The early returns aren't pleasant. From a Colts' scrimmage report:
While the passing game looked very good, the running game was another story. None of the RB's could find any holes to escape for yardage. This was due mostly to the poor work of the offensive line. The offensive line opened few holes over the course of the scrimmage, and whatever holes were opened were quickly filled by a swarming linebacker. Quite simply, the offensive line in its current form isn't good. At all.
The passing game is being led by Curtis Painter, with Peyton Manning still rehabbing from offseason surgery on a cervical disk in his neck. And as any attendee of Rams camp knows, it's easy for the passing game to look good when QBs are wearing the red jersey. It's another thing entirely when Chris Long, Fred Robbins and Robert Quinn are attacking from three directions.
Al Harris will be missed
Colts camp reports say that slot man Austin Collie is fully recovered from his concussion issues, and is tearing up the field, catching everything thrown his way.
He dominated the entire scrimmage, catching everything that came anywhere near him and generally being the WR that Painter and Orlovsky leaned on for the entire scrimmage. Collie had big catch after big catch to eat up large chunks of yardage.
Collie is possibly the most dangerous Colts receiver on the field at this point, with Reggie Wayne seeming to take a step backward over the last year. And covering him with a depleted corps of defensive backs sounds next to impossible, making a huge number of short passes from Painter to Collie a high likelihood.
Expect plenty of pressure in Bradford's face
Like St Louis, the Colts took an already strong defensive line and made it stronger, with the signing of former Bear Tommie Harris.
Tommie Harris provided pressure all day and was able to deflect a Curtis Painter pass from the DT position.
With a healthy Harris bracketed by stalwart defensive ends Robet Mathis and Dwight Freeney, this will be a big test for Harvey Dahl and the Rams' repurposed offensive line. As we saw in last year's preseason opener against the Vikings, when Bradford was hit or sacked eight times on three drives, fresh-legged D-linemen are awful happy to see the red jerseys come off the quarterbacks. And the adjustment period for those QBs can be shocking.
With Bradford now making his own protection calls, expect him to be more prepared for the onslaught tonight, and for the pace of the offense to move a lot quicker. We might also see a lot more running to defeat the pass rush, with a healthy trio of Jackson, Williams and Norwood ready to go.