CALDWELL, VETERANS START THE FIX
INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts lost a 16-3 preseason game to Washington on Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The defensive front-liners played almost intact for three possessions, while some went a little longer.
Washington scored all its points on its first four drives and netted approximately 270 yards while controlling the clock in the process.
It was not a performance the defense will remember fondly, but it hardly was one that will stir anything more than the inner resolve to get better. It is much, much too early for more
Ask Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis.
"We're still learning," said Mathis. "The learning curve is getting sharper. We're still getting better. Things never are as bad as they seem. After watching film, we will make corrections. There were missed tackles, so we will get that straightened out. I feel we will be alright."
Mathis is a voice of calm who plays a game of fury. He knows how to address the club's performance Friday night.
"You have to be even-keeled. We're professionals," he said. "We have to take our criticism and chastisement. When they compliment (you), don't listen to it (laughs). We always look to get better."
If one Pro Bowl defensive end voice is not enough, try Dwight Freeney.
"Everything is fine. This is preseason," said Freeney. "This is what it's here for. You love to win games, but you look to correct issues. Whatever your emphasis is going into the game, you maximize it."
Indianapolis, though surrendering a large number of yards, kept the scoreboard manageable. The team had three red zone stands after giving up a touchdown to start the game. Washington had breakout runs of 58 and 51 yards on its first and third drives. Indianapolis tightened the bolts after the second one and stopped Washington at the nine-yard line.
Safety Jerraud Powers was among the veterans who understand the moment and know what it takes to correct the performance.
"The main thing is for us to practice on the fundamentals part," said Powers. "We're not game-planning or doing anything of that nature. We need to take care of the fundamental part from a defensive standpoint, have everybody doing their assignment. Tackling is the main thing now. I go out there today and miss a couple of tackles I normally don't miss. It's disappointing. Speaking from my standpoint, I don't feel like I played well at all, certainly not Colts-winning football.
"We will get back to the basics, the fundamentals and make sure we're tackling well and doing our job. We will be fine. When the season comes and you're game-planning, it's a lot easier. That's sort of the main thing. On offense you can honestly say, 'Catch the ball,' or 'Backs, hit your hole and hold onto the ball,' whatever the fundamentals of their aspect is. That's what we (the defense) take out of this, is guys doing their jobs the way the Colts want it to be done."
Linebacker and team captain Gary Brackett addressed the performance as well, and he knows the team will return to playing 'Colts' football.
"I guess we still have a couple of weeks to see who's going to be on the defense," said Brackett. "Whoever lines up there the mindset will be the same – run to the ball, fly around, create turnovers."
Indianapolis heads into a full-week mode before hosting Green Bay next Friday night in Lucas Oil Stadium.