Plenty of Positives to Be Found in Preseason Loss to Green Bay, Caldwell Says
INDIANAPOLIS – As Jim Caldwell saw it, an adage held true Thursday.
Very, very true.
Caldwell, entering his second season as the Colts' head coach, said when reviewing a preseason road loss to the Green Bay Packers Friday morning, what he believes is a football truism very much applied.
"I made this statement last night, and it does indeed hold true," Caldwell said early Friday afternoon, one day after the Colts lost, 59-24, to the Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., in the third game of the 2010 NFL preseason.
"You're never as good as you think you are when you win, and you're never as bad as you think you are when you lose.
"After you've had an opunity to look at film, you certainly look at things a little differently."
Caldwell said while the Colts committed too many turnovers, and too many penalties, there were high points. Quite a few, actually.
Caldwell said many of the high points came early.
The Colts, after receiving the opening kickoff, moved 67 yards in two plays. Running back Joseph Addai rushed 49 yards on the first play of the game, and quarterback Peyton Manning passed 18 yards to third-year wide receiver Pierre Garcon for a touchdown on the second.
"You take our situation: we take the ball, first drive, in two plays we're in the end zone," Caldwell said. "That's a pretty good start. You have to be pleased with that."
Caldwell said while the defense allowed 337 yards and five touchdowns passing, including three by Aaron Rodgers in the first half, the unit played well in the first quarter after allowing a quick touchdown on the drive after Garcon scored.
The Packers tied the game, 7-7, on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to Donald Driver, but the Colts forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Packers series, then held Green Bay on downs when defensive tackle Antonio Johnson stopped a sneak by Rodgers on 4th-and-1 from the Colts 22.
"They took the ball and they scored," Caldwell said. "The next time they had the ball, it was three-and-out. Our offense went down and got a field goal. The next time we go down our offense scored a touchdown, so that first quarter was pretty good quarter that looks about the way we play."
Caldwell said the momentum turned in the second quarter, with Rodgers passing 15 yards to tight end Jermichael Finley to cut the lead to three and the Packers recovering a muffed punt by Colts rookie returner Brandon James to turn a 10-point Colts lead into a four-point deficit.
"The turnaround was right at the end of the second quarter," Caldwell said. "That's where we fumbled a punt. We muff it, they get a touchdown. Then, we get situation where they take it down the field. A penalty stops the clock when the clock's running, they get a shot at the end zone and they score another touchdown. But in between that time, our defense did a great job on a fourth-down stop, so there were a lot of good things in the first half.
"Those are the things that get lost. There's such a thing as getting lost in translation. That gets lost in the evaluation of a ballgame until you have an actual opportunity to go back, look at the film and digest what happened.
"There were a lot of good things in that regard."
Notable among the positives:
The continued return to strength of safety Bob Sanders, who registered five tackles and forced a fumble. It was Sanders' second appearance of the preseason after missing 14 games last season.
"He looked a lot more settled than he did the week before," Caldwell said. "He knocked a ball loose on a caused fumble."
Caldwell said the reality was that penalties and turnovers overshadowed the positives, and contributed heavily to the final score.
The Colts committed 12 penalties for 116 yards, and also committed four turnovers, two of which led to Packers touchdowns.
"There were a lot of guys who did nice jobs out there, but some of that – because of the fact that in the second half we had all the miscues and the penalties and etcetera – things got a little bit out of hand," Caldwell said. "That's what happens when you have an inordinate amount of penalties and turn the ball over. You're going to get some scores like that, that get a little out of hand.
"But overall, when you look at the meat of what we were trying to get accomplished, there were a lot of good things in there. But also, there are some things we have to get straightened out."
The Colts in the preseason have committed 12 turnovers while forcing five. They also have 23 penalties for 196 yards.
"You've just got to keep working and try to emphasize it," Caldwell said. "You certainly don't want to go out there and try to play scared. (Senior Offensive Assistant) Tom Moore has this saying, 'Let's play smart. Not scared.' That's what we're trying to do.
"We still want to be aggressive, but just make sure we protect the ball and then get some more turnovers. We had a couple of loose balls we didn't get. Those things come.
"We have a lot to work on. The good thing is, we have a couple of weeks."