Big matchup looming
The most challenging aspect for the Indianapolis Colts’ receivers Sunday might be one of their most basic tasks.
For Reggie Wayne Darrius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton merely getting off the line of scrimmage against Seattle cornerbacks Brandon Browner who is 6-4 and Richard Sherman 6-3 is going to prove difficult.
“They get up in your face and they’re great man-press corners” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “They challenge you. They make it extremely difficult to get off the line of scrimmage. Our guys are going to have to do a great job of working constantly to get away from those guys. They basically get up there get their hands on you and they can take you out of the game.”
The Colts are preparing for one of their toughest matchups as the Seahawks’ secondary is arguably the league’s best. Seattle has held opposing quarterbacks to a league-low 60.7 rating and the Seahawks are tied for third in the NFL with seven interceptions.
• Our analysis: The importance of this matchup can’t be overstated. Seattle’s secondary has played a major role in each of its wins including last Sunday’s at Houston. In that game Sherman had a game-tying interception-return touchdown.
The Colts have been utilizing a fair number of short and intermediate routes this season under offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. And those are the routes that could be most impacted by the press coverage of the Seahawks. Shorter routes rely heavily on timing and quarterback Andrew Luck anticipating where his receivers will be. That becomes more difficult when receivers are held up at the line of scrimmage.
A key for the Colts receivers is being quick at the line to prevent the cornerbacks from redirecting them.
“They’re going to try to use their (size) advantage” Hilton said. “Right now I’m going to work on my technique and just get better at the line.”
The Colts can win this game but despite the best efforts of their receivers the Seattle secondary is going to have an impact on this game.
“It’s going to be extremely difficult for our wide receivers to get loose get away from those guys and get open” Pagano said.
No Bradshaw - again
The Colts have provided precious little information on the neck injury suffered by running back Ahmad Bradshaw on Sept. 22 against the 49ers and with each day that passes more questions are raised.
The lack of specifics is what’s troubling. Pagano suggested Wednesday that details aren’t available.
“Until I get something definitive from our doctors and trainers I’m planning on him being around” Pagano said. “Certainly he won’t be at practice (Wednesday). We’ve made adjustments for that. Once we get some feedback once we get some answers then we’ll know more.”
• Our analysis: We’re not prepared to speculate on the nature of Bradshaw’s injury. But the fact that it’s associated with his neck is something that can’t be dismissed. Many players (former Colts running back Joseph Addai included) have had serious difficulty bouncing back from neck injuries.
Bradshaw’s absence has expanded the role of Trent Richardson acquired two weeks ago in a trade with the Browns. But the team envisioned using Richardson in tandem with Bradshaw.
Given that the team seems uncertain about Bradshaw’s status just days before Sunday’s game it appears the odds are against Bradshaw and Richardson joining forces for at least another week.
Big matchup looming