INDIANAPOLIS --- It's only a preseason game, but the Colts starting defense improved against the run against the Bears Saturday night compared to its initial effort at Philadelphia, holding Chicago starting running back Matt Forte to 8 carries for just 24 yards (3 yards per carry).
"I think it was a huge improvement from last week," said defensive tackle Arthur Jones. "Obviously anytime you play football you want to come out with a win. We didn't get that done today, but there were a lot of upsides, and I'm excited to get back to the drawing board this week and clean up the little things. I am excited."
Forte has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons and is one of the better pass-catching backs in the NFL as well. It was a step up in performance from Philadelphia, when the Colts defense allowed 51 rushing yards on 9 carries in the first half (5.7 ypc).
"You know we had good situational defense," said head coach Chuck Pagano, about the defense, in addition to the early success stopping the run. "We held them in the red area and forced field goals, which was good to see. We held them to nine points in the first half. On third down they were 0-for-5 so there are good things to draw on once we look at the tape coming out of this game."
Another intriguing development is 5th-round rookie defensive tackle/nose guard David Parry getting playing time with the first team Saturday night, which was a continuation of the first-team reps he saw in joint practices against the Bears this week.
"Not just him, but Henry (Anderson) too. I told both of those guys that you aren't rookies anymore," said Art Jones, already making it clear to the rookies in his positional meetings what's at stake for the Colts in 2015. "We expect you guys to perform at a high level. You are here. That's the nature of the beast. It's the next man up, no matter how old you are or how young you are. You are in a Colts uniform for a reason. Those guys have shown great flashes of promise for this year. I am excited for them and I am excited that those guys are Colts."
"It was huge, big to get my feet wet in there with the ones," said Parry, the Stanford product. "I have some things to work on coming out of this first game...I'm going to study the film, and try to get better everyday in practice."
The message from Owner and CEO Jim Irsay has been clear, starting in the early offseason --- stop the run. It appears the Colts are doing everything (and using anybody) they can to make that happen.