A late afternoon game in the Eastern Time Zone against a banged–up, desperate team that needs a win. What's not to like? Not being too certain of even who is playing and a road game against a desperate team. Make no mistake; the Colts have some talent. You just might not have heard their names before...
UBIC - Offense
Phillip Dorsett (WR - #15) With Dante Moncrief on the shelf and even the availability of T.Y. Hilton in question, Dorsett will be the WR2 and perhaps even the WR1 on Sunday. This may not be the worst news for the Colts on Sunday, as Dorsett has been productive in the first two games of his second season of actually getting reps in the NFL. In fact, he is second on the team only to Frank Gore in Yards From Scrimmage (Dorsett has 124, Gore 141).
The primary concern with Dorsett is that he is an unreliable receiver, catching only five balls on 11 targets. Part of the sub-50% receiving ability involves the depth of the patterns Dorsett is involved in; his yards per reception average is a gaudy 24.8. Dorsett is not large (5'10", 185 pounds), but was timed at 4.25 seconds in his 40 at University of Miami's pro-day in 2015. This speed makes him a dangerous big-play threat on Sunday.
It was that speed that resulted in him being the Colts first round draft pick in 2015. He saw spot duty in 2015, but has looked like a bona fide NFL caliber receiver in the pre-season and so far in 2016. If T.Y. Hilton plays, he will command most of the attention from the Bolt's secondary, but the Colts would not mind that if it frees up Dorsett to get behind the defense once or twice. This may be an interesting test for former teammate Dwight Lowery and his coverage skills.
Jack Doyle (TE-#84) Doyle has gotten his chance to become the starting TE for the Colts with the departure of Luck's former Stanford roommate Colby Fleener. Doyle has had to fight for his NFL career, going undrafted out of Western Kentucky in 2013, he managed to compete his way onto the roster and remain on the team since then. Previously buried on the depth chart, Doyle has scored twice in his first two games as the TE #1 on the team. The 6'5", 255-pound Doyle does not add much as a blocker, but does run good routes and has decent hands. Luck will look for Doyle when his WR's can't get open and in the red zone. The Colts would not object at all if he can get TD #3 of the season on Sunday.
UBIC - Defense
Ted Monachino (Defensive Coordinator) With a lot of guys on his D-line and secondary banged-up, a linebacker group that is old, banged-up, or cast-offs from other teams, Coach Monachino has his work cut out for him on Sunday. Even figuring out who he has that is healthy enough to play will be a challenge. Then comes directing a defense to stop or slow down a team that has scored 65 points in the last two games.
The challenge is larger considering that this is his first shot at a defensive coordinator position. Coach Monachino coached ten years at the college level and another 10 in the NFL. He has had good teachers. In Jacksonville, he worked under Jack Del Rio as his Defensive line coach for four years. This was followed up with a six-year gig in Baltimore coaching the linebackers under John Harbaugh. Monachino has a reputation for being a stickler for detail and a fairly low-key coaching style. He also is known as a high-energy, hard-working coach.
He does believe that defenses need to attack and disrupt; being reactive and a "bend but don't break" philosophy is just not in his background. Jacksonville may not have had the personnel to successfully attack, but they did anyway under Del Rio. Baltimore DID have the personnel to attack, and they did, even under former Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano.
Whether he has the personnel to attack successfully in Indianapolis remains to be seen. It is telling that at one of his press conferences, he mentioned the names of the great linebackers at Baltimore he coached and how fortunate he was to coach that group of players, since "better players make you a better coach; I get that." What he can put on the field and how effective those players are is a huge question mark for both teams going into this Week 3 game.
Mike Adams (S - #20) Like a bottle of wine, Adams has gotten better with age. By football standards, though, the unusual aspect of his career is that he has played his best professional football after the age of 32. He is 35 now, which makes him fairly remarkable in a sport where most men playing his position are retired or playing back-up. He entered the league with the 49ers in 2004, played three seasons for that (at the time) awful team and then joined another awful team in Cleveland, where he remained a rotational DB until 2010 and 2011 when he became a starter. He got a shot at football royalty in 2012 and 2013 in Denver, then joined the Colts in 2014. He has started 29 games for the Colts in 2014 and 2015, being selected for the Pro-Bowl in both seasons. He had not been to the Pro-Bowl before that.
Adams career includes stints at CB, SS, and FS. His intelligence, experience, and versatility are his best assets as a professional football player now. In the last two seasons, he has ten interceptions to his credit, nearly half his career total of 23. PR will need to be careful throwing into the middle on Sunday. If this is Hunter Henry's first major action game, he has a challenge in store for him if Adams is on him for most of the game.