Hot reads: Jets 13, Colts 10
Hot reads from the Colts’ 13-10 road loss to the Jets in the preseason opener Thursday night, in which the most interesting development had nothing to do with what happened on the field:
>> Matt Hasselbeck summed it up the occasionally impressive but generally sloppy performance from the overall team pretty nicely. “I can just sense that it’s going to be a tough week of practice,” he said. “Chuck (Pagano) is going to be on us. There’s stuff that isn’t characteristic of what we do. So, whether it’s personal fouls or penalties in general, substitution situations, putting the ball on the ground in the center-quarterback exchange situation. There’s tons for the coaches to jump all over and critique us on and we should be prepared for that. We should be prepared for very uncomfortable meetings, to just take it like a man, be coached up and try to get better at those things.”
>> Twelve did not play, including starters Vontae Davis, LaRon Landry, Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne, and they were joined on the sidelines during the game by starting center Khaled Holmes (sprained left ankle on the opening drive), rookie right tackle Ulrick John (right ankle), defensive tackle Jeris Pendleton (right knee) and linebacker Daniel Adongo (biceps). Holmes’ status is by far the most impactful, given the Colts already are down one starter (left guard and backup center Donald Thomas). More information should be available later today, but it did not appear to be serious.
>> Pagano hates what he calls “friendly fire,” and the Colts had plenty of self-inflicted wounds. Rookie center Jonotthan Harrison, forced into the action quickly by Holmes’ injury, cost the team 25 yards and a possible touchdown with two bad snaps (one on third-and-goal from the five). The defense committed two 15-yard penalties to help fuel the Jets’ only touchdown drive, a face mask by Josh Gordy and a personal foul on Sergio Brown. Throw in failed containment on a 15-yard scramble by Michael Vick on third-and-nine, and the home team’s score was virtually gifted by the Colts.
>> Pagano on those mistakes: “You can go back and look at history just to find out that if you give up a big play or if you have a penalty on defense, chances of them scoring go way up. So we had a facemask on that drive and then we had an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which is inexcusable. We can’t do those things. We can’t beat ourselves like that.”
>> So, get ready for the final five days of training camp at Anderson University.
>> The first unit offense played together just 12 snaps, used the no-huddle and produced a nice 59-yard drive that resulted in a field goal. Andrew Luck was 4-for-5 for 53 yards and converted a couple of third downs. Three of those throws went to T.Y. Hilton. Trent Richardson had one nice 8-yard run, but hardly enough to render judgment.
>> The offensive star of the game for the Colts, by far, was backup running back Boom Herron, who rushed for 26 yards on seven carries, caught six passes for 36 more and scored the team’s only touchdown in the second quarter. At the very least, he showed the necessary burst and shiftiness to fill the Donald Brown role.
>> While Herron was slicing and dicing the Jets’ defense, former teammate Chris Rainey was slicing and dicing Herron in a wild Twitter rant. Rainey was released early in camp for reasons previously unannounced, but made it clear it was the result of discharging a fire extinguisher in the players’ dorm, and pointed the finger at Herron in a post: “u was in the hallway with me that night when we was horsin around with the fire extinguisher. Man up like I did.” Rainey followed up by tweeting he was “pissed” watching the game and said he was released despite not breaking any team rules. So guess what happened this morning? Herron deleted the Tweets, apologized and blamed a cousin for the posts.
>>The defensive star of the game was linebacker Henoc Muamba, who’s trying to follow Jerrell Freeman’s footsteps from the CFL. He racked up 11 tackles on just 36 snaps, showing the expected sideline-to-sideline pursuit while also looking strong as a run-defense finisher.
>> In general, the defense played much better than the offense, limiting the Jets to 235 yards, but quarterback containment was a problem. Vick and Geno Smith gained 29 yards on four attempts.
>> The second half was just brutal. With Chandler Harnish at quarterback, the Colts managed 16 total yards, two first downs and did not convert any of their four third-down situations.
>> Interesting note from new sideline reporter Steve Andress, whose interview with Dwayne Allen revealed the tight end planned to travel to Clemson University today in order to attend his graduation. Allen will receive his degree in health sciences and should be back in time for practice Saturday afternoon.
>> As for the play of the young players on the interior of the offensive line (including rookie left guard Jack Mewhort and second-year right guard Hugh Thornton), Pagano said it was “awful early” to render much of an opinion, particularly in light of the injury to Holmes. “By the second quarter, we’re down two on the O-line. And you talk about Donald Thomas, yeah we’ve got our work cut out for us,” he said. “We’ll get home and we’ll assess the damage, see the extent of those injuries and make the necessary moves that we have to make.”
>> For awhile, it appeared Adam Vinatieri’s uncharacteristic shank of a 29-yard field goal at the end of the first half might cost the Colts a victory. As it turned out, it spared us all from overtime. Savvy veteran move, Vinny.