Preseason Opener Had Some Bright Spots, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell Says
INDIANAPOLIS – A day later, Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said there were still things on which the team needed to work.
At the same time . . .
Caldwell, one day after expressing disappointment with the Colts' performance during a 13-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the 2009 preseason opener at Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis, said after reviewing the tape of the game there were indeed some problem areas.
But he also said it wasn't all bad.
Far from it.
"There's an old saying: '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,' Caldwell said Saturday during a late-afternoon meeting with the media at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
The game was the first for Caldwell as the Colts' head coach, and as he discussed on Friday night, he said Saturday afternoon the play of the offensive line could have been better.
The Colts allowed three sacks of quarterback Peyton Manning on their first series, which lasted six plays with one first down. The Colts traditionally have finished among the league leaders in fewest sacks allowed, and offensive linemen afterward expressed disappointment.
"It was a bad performance," Colts three-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday said Friday. "Obviously, there were a couple of highlights, but for the most part — getting our quarterback hit three or four times in just a few plays . . . that's not our style of football. We hold ourselves accountable.
"Every time you go out on the field you want to show you're the dominant group, whether that be offensive or defensive line, and show the league what you can do."
Said Caldwell, "It was a little bit of everything. We couldn't put our thumb on one thing. We have to get to work on that as well."
The Colts, who finished 31st in the NFL in rushing a year ago, rushed for 77 yards on 14 carries against Minnesota, with rookie first-round selection Donald Brown rushing for 58 yards on five carries and 2007 Pro Bowl selection Joseph Addai starting and rushing twice for 13 yards.
"It wasn't quite good enough in terms of what we're looking for," Caldwell said.
Caldwell added that Addai "looked like his old self," adding of Brown, "You can tell he's a young, energetic guy."
"He had two fine runs for us," Caldwell added of Brown, who had runs of 11 and 38 yards on two of his first three carries.
Caldwell also addressed the play of several other players, including:
• Offensive lineman Tony Ugoh, who started at right tackle and played guard after starting much of the last two seasons at left tackle. Caldwell announced on Monday that four-year veteran Charlie Johnson is now starting at left tackle. "Tony Ugoh really played well," Caldwell said. "We're certainly pleased with the progress he's making."
• Rookie wide receiver Austin Collie and rookie CB Jerraud Powers, a fourth-round and third-round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, respectively. Caldwell said each played well.
• Rookie defensive tackle Adrian Grady, an undrafted free-agent from Louisville who had eight tackles Friday. "Whenever you make eight tackles, that's a pretty good night," Caldwell said.
• Rookie cornerback Jacob Lacey, a free-agent rookie from Oklahoma State who had four pass breakups. "That's a pretty good night in this league," Caldwell said.
• Rookie punter Pat McAfee, a seventh-round selection from West Virginia. The lone punter on the roster, McAfee had seven punts for a 49.9-yard avg., with a long of 63 yards on his first punt. "McAfee hit the ball well," Caldwell said. "For the most part, he did a nice job."
• Rookie defensive tackles Fili Moala and Terrance Taylor, second- and fourth-round selections in the 2009 NFL Draft, respectively. "We have to get them going," Caldwell said. "They're getting a better feel for what we're talking about."
The Colts return to 2009 Training Camp at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Monday, then will break camp after a morning practice Wednesday. They play host to the Philadelphia Eagles in the second game of the preseason in a nationally-televised game on FOX on Thursday at 8 p.m.
"We're excited about getting an opunity to improve this week," Caldwell said. "That's our No. 1 goal."