NFL Week 7 – 7 Up, 7 Down: Seventh Circle of Heaven?

Credit: USA Today

A somewhat dross and quaint NFL Week 7 is in the books. What were the hottest topics for those in the inner sanctum within the league? Who were the headliners that made waves in the seventh week of the season? The Weekly Power Rankings have arrived and the question is: who made it to the seventh circle of heaven?

Up

1. Non QBs throwing touchdowns!

– We had a pair of non-quarterbacks to get the scoring fiesta started on Sunday within minutes of each other. 

First up, was MVP contender Derrick Henry throwing a perfectly timed pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt (on national tight end day, no less!)

Next was Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne doing the honors. 

2. Throwback uniforms for GB and SF

Two iconic legacy franchises sporting high-caliber throwback duds. Enough said. 

San Francisco’s clean 1994 throwbacks

3. Local meteorologists in the Bay Area

Every dog gets its day or so they say. Well, viewers of the Sunday Night Football broadcast heard the words, “atmospheric river” and “bomb cyclone” enter the sporting lexicon. Strange times indeed as the Niners and Colts did battle in a seemingly endless torrential monsoon. There was a crazy sequence in the first half where both teams couldn’t hold onto the slick ball, trading turnovers like baseball cards (they still do that, right?)

4. Joe Burrow to Chase is pretty pretty pretty good

– Yeah, you got the prohibitive favorite for offensive rookie of the year award catching passes from a young gun with the dawg in him. It appears that the lethality of 2019 LSU Burrow to Chase carried over to Ohio’s Queen City. Not much more to say than Larry David probably approves of the young emerging duo. This could be a weekly thing in the article. Is this the remake of the 1998 Vikings with Randy Moss?

5. Dan Campbell’s bravado and passion

– Campbell’s Lions are fighting every single week despite the stacked odds against them. Most 0-7 teams would have caved long ago and dissolved into internal dissension. You can see the tangible chemistry and passion that his players play for him. It’s too bad that Jared Goff isn’t the answer for a moribund Lions franchise. Campbell is part of an increasing trend of coaches laying it all on the line and going for it despite the odds of failing to convert first downs. May the Lions get their first win soon. 

6. Kyler Murray’s MVP candidacy

– Murray has to be the favorite for the MVP award at this point in the season, leading the Cardinals to a 7-0 record against a tough schedule. It’s not like the Cardinals are loading up on wins against the patsies of the league, either. They’ve had to deal with tough COVID issues knocking out their head coach for a game along with multiple key pieces. He’s one of the more dynamic playmakers in the league alongside the terrifying Lamar Jackson. He’s making plays like this seemingly every drive

7. Marshawn and the Legendary ManningCast 

– The affable, jovial, and loquacious Marshawn Lynch joined Monday Night Football’s ManningCast and he did not disappoint. In related news, the FCC could be just as happy that their coffers will be filled by ESPN’s banking department for Lynch’s glorious expletive-filled appearance. The only downside was Peyton “apologizing” for the fun. We need more Marshawn on prime-time TV! 

DOWN

1. Sam Darnold isn’t the present nor the future

– He has turned into a pumpkin after a solid start to life in Charlotte and 2021 will likely be his last as a starter in this league. Darnold was benched for PJ Walker on Sunday and it isn’t like Walker lit it up either. Perhaps the damage done to Darnold in New York is too much for him to rebound from. Carolina took a gamble passing on multiple rookie passers with their first-round selection. It hasn’t worked out but that’s life. The Panthers were on the periphery of the Deshaun Watson chase but now are firmly on the list of top-tier contenders for his services after the past few weeks. 

2. Brian Flores and Matt Nagy’s job security

– The expectations for either man to keep his current job beyond this season have to be slim to none. Flores has been a fun quote machine during press conferences and his Dolphins are on life support in the AFC East. Fortunately, Miami has long been the rumored destination for one Deshaun Watson. Nagy on the other hand, is a dead man walking as the Bears look lifeless, their star rookie passer running for his life, and the coach mostly ambivalent about the whole affair. It’s over for the Nagy regime in the Windy City. Flores’ rear end is firmly planted on the hot seat if he can’t turn it around. 

3. New York teams 

– Both New York teams are a colossally terrible combined 3-10 through seven weeks of this season. The Jets have a plan in place to build something at least despite the horrific decision not to have a veteran backup quarterback throughout the offseason to guide a now hurt Zach Wilson. Robert Saleh might be regretting his decision to go for this job as his defense has been something awful. Meanwhile, the Giants are just bad and rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic under the embattled Dave Gettleman. Granted, they’ve suffered a ton of injuries but Daniel Jones is looking more and more not the long-term answer. Joe Judge still has some cache so there’s that. 

4. Mike Evans and historical landmarks

– On a more light-hearted note, Mike Evans wasn’t cognizant of the implications of Tom Brady’s 600th touchdown pass and gave the ball to a now-infamous fan in the stands. That said fan was the subject of immense ridicule for giving the ball up for such little return. Evans had a hilarious reaction after the fact and a member of the Buccaneers staff had to go and negotiate for the return during the game for all to see. It all worked for everyone involved as the fan won out relatively decently, Evans scored a couple more, and Brady got to roast everyone on national TV. 

5. Chiefs D is still bad 

– Yeah, it was bad and Patrick Mahomes couldn’t bail them out on Sunday after the woebegone Titans defense held the Chiefs to a field goal. It felt like the Titans were actively trying to sit on the lead during the second half. A silver lining could be that the horrendous Kansas City defense held the Titans’ offense in check after allowing a 27-0 deficit? It’s still a long way to go but it’s increasingly looking like a massive Achilles’ heel for the franchise. 

6. Homecomings

– Not the most enthralling of contests between the two quarterbacks traded for another in Los Angeles. Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff weren’t at their best in this one. At least Dan Campbell made it entertaining with his panache and derring-do? A game that left a lot more meat on the bone, that’s for sure. Maybe next time?

7. Kyle Shanahan 

 – Are we sure that the boy wonder can evolve instead of being all hype? When opposing defenders are openly deriding your offensive philosophy, it’s time to question certain things. We all know Jimmy Garoppolo is injured and limited as a passer when healthy but at least Frank Reich adjusted to his passer’s strengths in the eternal monsoon. Shanahan will need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what went wrong. Please get healthy, Trey Lance. I mean, the coach couldn’t figure out that this play was working exceedingly well for the opposition and couldn’t adopt the same tactics? 

Previous Editions

Week 1: Opening Overreactions

Wk 2: Perceptive Repeats

Week 3: So Nice, Do It Thrice

Wk 4: Good Quads Like Saquon

Week 5: Thrive at Five

Week 4 Game Preview: Colts @ Dolphins

Credit Andy Lyons/ Getty Images
  • Date: Sunday, October 4
  • Time: 13:00 ET (18:00 UK Time)
  • Venue: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL
  • TV: CBS and NFL Gamepass International
  • Record: Colts (0-3) Dolphins (1-2)

The Dolphins and Colts, two teams who at the start of the season were widely regarded as strong playoff contenders. However, following the performances in the opening 3 weeks, both teams enter this game in desperate need of a win to get their seasons back on track.

Week 3 Recap:

To sum up in one word…frustrating. The game started so positively with the Dolphins first pick 6 since 2019 courtesy of Elandon Roberts. On the next drive the Dolphins defense then proceeded to turn the ball over on downs. That was thanks to great run stuffing of Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler. With all the momentum on Miami’s side, they even managed to get a big rushing play from Malcolm Brown resulting in a 24 yard score. Then it all changed.

The Struggles

The remainder of the game was just outright painful to watch. After a hot start, the Dolphins defense allowed Peyton Barber to rush for 111 yards and a TD. Also allowing Derek Carr to throw for 386 yards and 2 TDs. Miami just could not get off the field on third down. Nevertheless, after the Dolphins offense could not stay on the field with 5 possessions without scoring. The bend not break nature of the defense ought to be applauded, keeping the Raiders to 25 points heading into overtime.

With a full complement of healthy and talented receivers at Miami’s disposal we were hoping to see the purported modernized Dolphins attack. Far from it. It was the coaches that lost Miami this game, all stemming from the pass out of the end zone to Jaylen Waddle resulting in a safety. From there the Raiders took full advantage and never looked back.

The play calling was conservative to say the least. With the contested catch specialists in Gesicki and Parker and the speed of Fuller and and Waddle, the Dolphins never played to their strengths, electing for a dink and dunk approach. Consequently, Jaylen Waddle, the most electric receiver the Dolphins have, ended the night with 12 receptions for 58 yards. Of course there is the argument that this is down to the play of the offensive line in not giving the receivers the time to develop their routes. However, Miami had no such issues in moving the ball down field late in the 4th quarter. As Hussam Patel wrote prior to the game…

Keys to Success

Coming into the game I stated in my preview article that there would be three keys to success:

  1. Improvements on the Offensive Line– The Dolphins offensive line were by no means perfect but were atleast somewhat functional and a big improvement from Buffalo. Austin Jackson continued to be a problem in the passing game allowing rushers to go by untouched, but was strong in the run game, opening up a solid channel for Malcolm Brown to score.
  1. Explosive Pass Rush– The Dolphins pass rush was much improved managing 3 sacks and 4 TFL. Increased use of Jaelan Phillips as a rusher rather than dropping back into coverage, and more safety blitzes from Brandon Jones enabled the Dolphins to create a more consistent pass rush.
  1. Put Points on the Board– The Dolphins put up 28 points including 11 in fourth quarter when the offense eventually got moving. Ultimately however, it prove not to be enough. Conservative play calling from the outset caused the Dolphins to go 5 drives without scoring, which ultimately decided the game. Giving up a cheap safety and a missed field goal, ultimately meant that the Dolphins beat themselves.

Expectations Heading into Week 4:

Coming into this game the Colts are 0-3, having played the Seahawks, Rams and Titans, all of which are likely to make a strong playoff run. Had the Dolphins played those same opponents, it is highly likely that the Dolphins would also be 0-3. In fact the Colts and the Dolphins are very similar. 2 teams coming off losing seasons in 2019, to be in and around the playoffs in 2020, yet have regressed early in the season. Both teams have strong defenses with their struggles along the offensive line.

Nevertheless, where the Dolphins have the edge is in their overall fitness. Entering this week 12 starters have missed practice this week at some point. With the offensive line already a concern for the Colts, their problems will only be further exacerbated as the only starting lineman who has had a full week of practice is C Ryan Kelly.

I foresee another defensively dominated game from both teams. Both will try and establish the run early and often in order to control the time of possession keeping their defenses rested. Colts QB Carson Wentz has been running around scrambling for his life on 2 injured ankles. With the athleticism of the Dolphins defensive line, especially with the increased worth of Jaelan Phillips improving week on week, I can see the defense causing the Colts offensive line nightmares.

Keys to Success:

#1- Stop the Run

With a run defense as porous as Miami’s at times, the emphasis will be on stopping the Colts’ rushing game. Surprisingly the Colts chose to abandon their running game last week against the Titans with Jonathan Taylor only having 10 carries, yet averaging 6.4 YPC. There is a reason the second year running back was taken so highly in many people’s fantasy leagues, but Taylor is yet to score in 2021. In fact the 64 yards he managed Week 3 was a season high, so look for the Colts to get him involved early and often, especially considering the fitness of Carson Wentz. Limiting the damage in the run game will go a long way to coming away with a W.

#2- Establish the Run

In Week 3 the Dolphins had some success in running the ball scoring twice against the Raiders with Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown and Jacoby Brissett all managing over 4.4 YPC. The Colts defense is the 6th worst in the league in terms of rushing yards allowed, but have only allowed 1 rushing TD. This is highly relevant as the Dolphins are the worst in the league in passing TDs with only 1 over 3 games. Establishing the run will go a long way to sustaining drives and allowing the defense to rest.

#3- Better Coaching

The Dolphins play calling was far too conservative with dink and dunk plays. Both Godsey and Studesville need to do better at scheming plays to get the balls into the hands of their best play makers. For Waddle to be tied 3rd in the league in receptions but 45th in receiving yards is no mark against him, but of how he is being used in primarily in bubble screens and drag routes. The Colts adopt a very heavy zone coverage defense giving Brissett (former Colts QB) the opportunity to pick apart the defense.

Injury Concerns:

Another week, another player moved to IR. Unfortunately now the Dolphins will be without their starting center in Michael Deiter for atleast 3 weeks. Deiter was arguably the most consistent performer along the offensive line throughout all of the early woes. Now the job falls to Greg Mancz to steady the ship this week before what will be an ordeal next week @ Tampa. On the brighter side, the remainder of the active roster is healthy and good to go.

The same cannot be said for the Colts who are very beaten up. Biggest news is that Quenton Nelson is OUT, while other big names such as Carson Wentz and Jonathan Taylor are both questionable to feature. Check out the full injury report below.

Score Predictions:

Despite their record and the teams they have faced the Colts haven’t conceded more than 28 points. As previously mentioned I foresee this being a very defensively dominated game. The outcome will all depend on whether the play calling can improve, allowing Brissett to push the ball down field. Check out the ATB Dolphins staff’s predictions below:

Bradley Davies- 24-17 Dolphins

Hussam Patel- 20-17 Dolphins

Tyler DeSena- 27-17 Dolphins

Tanner Elliott- 13-10 Dolphins

Rishi Desai- 23-19 Dolphins

Jared Vandermyde- 27-13 Dolphins

Chris Spooner- 24-20 Colts

Conclusion:

This is a must win game for Miami if they are going to be any form of playoff contender this year. However, before that happens there must be a vast improvement in the overall play calling and execution on offense. Good news for Dolphins fans, the throwbacks are returning this week to Hard Rock, a fitting tribute during the Don Shula Celebration of Life weekend. Fins up!

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Know Thy Enemy: Indianapolis Colts

The newest edition of Know Thy Enemy enters divisional territory in the AFC. The Indianapolis Colts, fresh off their loss to the Rams, travel to Nashville for their first game against the Tennessee Titans. Can they escape all the bachelorette parties and honky tonks despite a crazy quarterback situation? The Titans want to put on a show with so many legendary Oilers alumni in town. Who will gain the upper hand in an eminently winnable division? 

Previous KTE editions

Know Thy Enemy: Seattle Seahawks

Key Numbers + Info (2021 season)

Record: 0-2 (0-0 AFC South)

Points scored: 40

PPG: 20

Points allowed: 55

PPGa: 27.5

Yards per rush: 4.0

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 4.3

Avg. rush yards per game: 111

Rrush yards per game allowed: 120.5

Rushing TDs: 0 for, 1 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 234

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 255.5

Passing TDs: 3 for, 6 against

Pass Completion Rate: 64%

Pass Completion Rate Against: 70%

Top Rusher: Jonathan Taylor (32 attempts for 107 yards, 0 touchdowns)

Leading Receiver: Michael Pittman, Jr (11 receptions for 152 yards, 0 touchdowns)

Top Tackler: Khari Willis (15 tackles, two tackles for loss, one interception, one pass defense)

Key Additions: QB Carson Wentz, OL Eric Fisher, OT Julien Davenport, RB Marlon Mack, CB TJ Carrie, EDGE Kwity Paye (rookie), S Andrew Sendejo, WR Mike Strachan (rookie), TE Kylen Granson (rookie)

Key Losses: QB Philip Rivers (retired), OT Anthony Castonzo (retired), DL Denico Autry, T.Y. Hilton (injured), OT Sam Tevi (injured), WR Dezmon Patmon (injured), QB Sam Ehlinger (injured)

Series History

Indianapolis leads the series 35-18

Keys to a Titans Victory

Get AJ Brown Back to Form 

The third-year star receiver had a rough outing against Seattle and hasn’t connected effectively with Ryan Tannehill to begin 2021. Julio Jones got going last week, snagging over 100 yards and a questionable touchdown reversal. It could be time for Brown to get going versus a weakened Colts secondary susceptible to the big play. He’s more than capable of generating monstrous YAC on any play. In Brown’s case, he has been massaging a knee injury which has repeatedly placed him on the injury report. Can the star join Julio in scaring the Colts defense this week? 

Establish. The. Run

Derrick Henry appeared to generate very little production until the second half last week. He single-handedly outgained the entire Seahawks offense by himself in the three quarters. The King faces a much stiffer test in the Colts front seven who could have an argument that they are better than Seattle’s front. The Titans’ best offense features a ton of play-action concepts due to the defense’s fear of Henry’s punitive retribution. Tennessee’s offensive line is a bit banged up and Todd Downing’s play-calling capabilities are somewhat in question, however. 

Pressure the QB 

Indianapolis has a severe issue at quarterback, regardless of Carson Wentz’s status (he has injuries to BOTH ankles). Wentz has continued the poor run of form that plagued him from his Philly disillusionment. If he can’t go on Sunday, then frequent signee Brett Hundley would get the nod over current backup Jacob Eason. Not to mention, the glaring issues on the line that Eric Fisher and Quenton Nelson don’t occupy. Fisher is just coming off a serious knee injury and Nelson is coming off a stint on the COVID list. Both players proved capable last week but their linemates did not. Tennessee would be wise to apply a ton of pressure on the right side to see if they can crack them. Enter former Colt Denico Autry to do the job.  

Keys to a Colts Victory

Target the left side of the OL

The last time we saw Taylor Lewan, he was being utterly emasculated and delineated into rookie mincemeat by Chandler Jones in week one. He was a last-minute inactive due to a knee injury suffered in pregame warmups last week. Although he practiced fully for multiple days this week, it appears that he isn’t as ready to return to full fitness from the ACL injury suffered last season. Tennessee has a new (old) fire to put out on the line as left guard Rodger Saffold exited the game last week due to injury. It’s gotten to the point that Tennessee might have to rely on backup caliber players at both tackle spots, Ben Jones being a constant injury worry, and regressed right guard. Enter a venomous and fierce Colts’ front seven featuring DeForest Buckner, Darius Leonard, Kwity Paye, and Bobby Okereke.

Get Titans Killer Jack Doyle Going

The former Tennessee Titans tight end has carved out a starring role for the hated rival Colts. He’s been a frequent bugaboo for the Titans due to their inability to cover the tight end for whatever reason. Indy would be wise to use him due to a lack of other receiving weapons outside of its running backs (they are very good at receiving) and a solitary threat in Michael Pittman, Jr. Unfortunately, the Titans get back linebacker Jayon Brown so he will be a boon for the much-maligned Tennessee defense.  

Run the Ball. A Lot

The best way to protect a less-than-ideal quarterback situation? Run the ball. Fortunately for the Colts, they have one of the best young running backs in the game in Jonathan Taylor. Whoever starts for them isn’t the best of options even if Wentz can go. The mere threat of Taylor and Marlon Mack should neutralize a frugal and anemic Titans pass rush. 

Injury Report

What are the odds?

Caesars has the Titans as 5.5 point favorites at -110 while the Colts are +110 dogs. The over/under has been set at 48 even. The money line is the Titans at -250 and the Colts at +205.

BetMGM has the Titans as 5.5 point favorites at -105 while the Colts are +115 dogs. The over/under has been set at 47.5. The money line is the Titans at -250 and the Colts at +200.

Prediction

INDIANAPOLIS 28

Tennessee 24

Indianapolis Colts and RAS

I find the connections between RAS and draft picks very interesting. I have done a number of articles relating to the Green Bay Packers and their connection to RAS and their draft picks. So I decided to do an article about it for other teams.

For those that do not know what RAS is it means Relative Athletic Score. Created by Kent Lee Platte. You can find his site at: https://ras.football/

I am only using teams whos GM/front office have been in place for at least three drafts. Its basically impossible to find correlations with only data from a couple drafts to work with. I feel like we can identify some trends with these teams. I like to take averages at each position so it give you an idea of where teams prioritize athletes.

Now I know everyone will say “well all you are going to find is that teams like to draft athletes”, “teams always want to get more athletic”. Which can be true. But there is more to it than that. Maybe its because its numbers and they don’t understand numbers? I am not sure. I am actually a film guy myself, but like I said earlier I still find it interesting.

Now that that is out of the way. First off we will start with the Indianapolis Colts.

Quarterbacks:

Since being hired in January of 2017 Chris Ballard has only drafted two quarterbacks. Also as we all know athleticism in quarterbacks is generally not seen as important. Even still it is interesting to look at the scores. With Jacob Eason scoring a 3.46 and Sam Ehlinger a 6.82 they average out to a 5.14

Running Backs:

With running backs Ballard has drafted four. With all their scores averaged out it comes to a 7.95. From the looks of it unless you have a special skill set(like Hines who can play all over), Ballard really likes his running backs to be athletic. If you take him out the average goes up to a 8.7.

Wide Receivers:

Now when it comes to receivers Ballard definitely has a type. Outside of Campbell all have been 6’1+ and even Campbell is close at just under 6’0. Their average RAS score comes out to a 8.26. Also of interest is it seems the Colts do not prioritize agility testing. All of them have been between poor to average in agility scores. Although Campbell had a good short shuttle score of 4.03 he does not have a 3 cone number on file. They all are also over 200 pounds. Three of them being 225+

Tight Ends:

With tight ends there is not much there to work with. Ballard has only drafted one tight end in his time. Kyle Granson in 2021 in the 4th round. Kyle has a score of a 7.72. He looks more like an h-back at 6’1 1/2 240lbs.

Offensive Line:

Since 2017 Ballard has drafted seven offensive linemen. three offensive tackles and four offensive guards. Their RAS average score was a 7.81. So pretty good, not super athletic, but up there. Now there is one guy dragging that score down. Zach Banner. He was drafted in the 4th round in Ballard’s first draft. His score was a 1.44. Which is really bad. If his score is removed the average shoots up to 8.87. So that tells us that Ballard really likes athletic offensive linemen. He also likes to draft linemen that are over 300. The lightest was Danny Pinter at 306. Five of them were 310+

Defensive Line:

Similar situation to tight end. Ballard in his time has only drafted two interior defensive linemen. Grover Stewart in the 4th round in 2017 and Robert Windsor in the 6th round in the 2020 draft. Both scored well athletically. Stewart had a 7.79, and Windsor scored at 8.68. They also have Tyquan Lewis who plays both end and tackle. If he were to be listed as an interior linemen his RAS would be a 9.69. So it seems they like relatively athletic interior linemen. Both Stewart’s and Windsor’s size and athletic testing vary so there is not much that can be gleaned from it, other than like like guys who are relatively athletic. It may be a position that he does not value as much draft wise.

Edge Defenders:

Here is where we get some interesting information. Ballard has drafted six edge defenders in his time. Their average ras score is a 9.22. This means he really values major athletes at this position. The lowest score was Terell Basham in 2017 with a ras of 8.2, the others are 9.3 or above. All have been between 250-270 when they were drafted. Ballard seems to like a range of sizes. Some smaller and some bigger. He likes fast guys. All have a 40 time of 4.7 or faster. Most importantly is overall a high level athlete.

Linebackers:

Another position of interest with the Colts. Ballard has drafted eight linebackers in his time. Seems as if it is a position he puts a lot of value in. As far as the RAS scores they have averaged a 7.3 which is pretty athletic. Even more interesting their top linebacker Darius Leonard didn’t test all that well. His RAS was a 4.9 which is basically average. If you remove his score the average goes up to a 8.2. So outside of Leonard who they must have saw something on tape that told the front office he was more athletic than he tested. They like to bring in really athletic linebackers. They also seem to like their linebackers 240 or under which kind of follows with their preference of uber athletic linebackers.

Defensive Backs:

Now this position is pretty interesting in regards to their RAS scores. So they have drafted nine defensive backs in the Ballard era. Nothing too crazy about that. One of the interesting parts is that four of them have no RAS scores. I do believe Julian Blackmon and Malik Hooker were coming off injury and that’s why they have no workout numbers. The other interesting thing is that the average score of the guys they do have RAS for is a 6.91. So a little above average. That in itself is really interesting. It tells me that athleticism is not a priority for this front office. At least not as the level it is for a number of other teams. For example Marvell Tell had a 9.2 RAS all the others are 7.35 or lower. All their db’s are of relatively average size as well.

Follow Brian Maafi on Twitter

Colts Camp Week In Review

With game 1 of the preseason coming up in a week lets look back at the past week of camp. It has been eventful there’s no doubt with some no names making waves and some old heads still turning them. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly from training camp so far.

The Good

Ben Banogu has had a great camp. Banogu is a 3rd year player and it seems the light may have turned on for him. After working with All-Pro DeForest Buckner this offseason it seems to really be paying off for Ben. Its also really nice for the Colts from an organizational standpoint as Ballard talked about giving these young pass rushers time to develop in his year end presser.

No rookie has had the impact so far in camp as Mike Strachan. The 7th round prospect from DII is having a wonderful camp and makes a great case for a roster spot. I did have Strachan making the roster as WR before camp, as mentioned here, and that holds true now as he is producing day in and out.

There’s not much to say but the drive by Kenny Moore is the reason he is as good as he is. The best slot corner in the NFL has gotten stronger and more explosive per Albert Breer. He has started playing outside corner better as well. His determination to be better and honestly I don’t know many players that make stellar plays and complain they should have done better. Big year incoming from 23.

The Bad

So far this camp there is one consistent thing and it’s not good. Injuries are everywhere and not minor ones. Darius Leonard had an ankle surgery to start it off. Wentz was diagnosed with an injury he has had since High School to miss 5-12 weeks. Quenton Nelson is found to have the same injury as a result of a developmental anomaly and will miss 5-12 weeks. Ryan Kelly suffered an elbow injury and will miss the rest of camp. DeForest Buckner left a practice with a foot injury as a precaution. Julian Blackmon, who was rated the 8th best safety entering the 2021 year by USA today, has been battling injuries and left practice Friday with his knee wrapped up. This team can be incredibly special but these injuries to prime players really hurt.

The Ugly

The worst part of camp so far is not Jacob Eason but it does affect him. It’s the offensive line hands down and specifically the LT position. With all the injuries to the offensive line it may come as no surprise they’ve struggled but the left tackle spot was a need all offseason and the front office did hardly anything to fix it. They signed an injured Eric Fischer, who is recovering from a torn ACL. Meanwhile they signed Sam Tevi to start as the solution and how is that working so far?

Great rep by Turay there to get pressure but front to back just an awful job by the Colts week 1 starter. All playoff hopes rest on the ACL of Eric Fisher. Hard to expect Eason to perform great while he’s waiting for the hit to come. Expect Eason to take a lot of snaps vs the Panthers to really establish a rhythm with the offense.