Four-Down Friday: How Will The Colts Go About Improving Their Pass Rush?

Posted Sep 12, 2014

Intro: What’s on the minds of those in Colts Nation? Will Trent Richardson see his carries rise in Week Two? Are the “trade winds” going to be blowing for a pass rusher?

INDIANAPOLIS – You asked them and we answered them.

Here’s “Four-Down Friday” which is a weekly Twitter Q and A piece that will run every Friday.

This week’s installment of questions focuses on the pass rush options for the Colts, the offensive balance going forward and what Eagles team will be arriving to Lucas Oil Stadium for Monday Night Football.

This is the million-dollar question moving forward. Replacing 111.0 career sacks is nothing to turn your head at and it speaks to the quality of a player, and a man, that Robert Mathis has been for this organization.

If there is a small silver lining in this it’s the fact that Erik Walden and Bjoern Werner have gotten virtually every single first-team rep throughout the offseason in preparation for the first month of the season. Both Werner and Walden had their moments during the preseason. Another name to watch at outside linebacker is Jonathan Newsome. The rookie fifth-round pick had 16.5 sacks in two seasons at Ball State and impressed in one-on-one drills during Training Camp. Also, the Colts are going to have to get pressure from other areas of the defense, too, not just off the edge (i.e. the pass rushing ability from inside linebackers Jerrell Freeman and Josh McNary).

A total of six carries for Richardson wasn’t in the cards during the week’s game plan. Things obviously had to be adjusted once Denver jumped out to an early lead.

The good news though is Richardson was effective with nine touches for 51 yards on Sunday night. If the Colts can stay on schedule that should allow for the balance this offense wants to develop. It should be noted that Ahmad Bradshaw (10 touches for 89 yards) was particularly effective against Denver. The Colts would love to rely on that duo to a greater extent in the weeks to come.

It will be very interesting to see which Eagles team shows up on Monday night. A pair of strip/sacks against quarterback Nick Foles led to short fields and the Jaguars took an early 14-0 lead in the season opener. That was very uncharacteristic for Foles, who had just four turnovers all last season.

The floodgates would open in the second half after the electric Darren Sproles scampered 49 yards on a fourth-and-one play to start a streak of 34 unanswered points for the Eagles. I tend to think the second half Eagles is the team that is more indicative of what the 2014 version is all about. I expect a very competitive game on Sunday with two teams that have realistic aspirations to play deep into the playoffs.

We are approaching the one-year anniversary of those famous tweets from Jim Irsay that eventually led to Trent Richardson arriving to Indianapolis during the middle of Week Three. Even last year, we saw Ryan Grigson trade pass rushers right near the start of the regular season.

There’s no doubt Grigson and his staff have evaluated, and will continue to explore, all options to improve the Colts pass rush. Of course it’s a two-way street when it comes to trades and there’s a reason we don’t see many of those moves during the season. Pass rushers are a hot commodity in the NFL and hopefully the Colts young edge players (Walden and Newsome) can begin to emerge.

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