I recently teamed up with Evan Reller, managing editor of Naptown’s Finest, to exchange questions around the upcoming matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts. Enjoy!
1. Which offseason moves are you most proud of? Do you feel that the Colts addressed what they needed in the draft/free agency? Which moves left you scratching your head?
The signings of ILB D’Qwell Jackson and DE Art Jones appear to be paying off in a big way. The front seven looks much better heading into the season. The Colts also appear to have gotten a couple good picks in the draft with OG Jake Mewhort and WR Donte Moncrief. They didn’t address the safety position and with Delano Howell re-injuring his neck, that position is becoming a liability.
2. You have the addition of veteran receiver Hakeem Nicks, get back a healthy Reggie Wayne, and then have new draft sensation Donte Moncrief. You have a crowded wide receiver battle (like the Saints). Who is projected as the starters?
Wayne and T.Y. Hilton will be the starting receivers. Nicks will be third and Moncrief is currently listed as fourth on the depth chart. I doubt much changes in that respect, and its looking like the Colts will carry six wide receivers into the season with Griff Whalen and Da’Rick Rogers. If they don’t Rogers or Whalen will be cut and I doubt either would clear waivers as both are talented and belong on an NFL roster.
3. It’s early, but do you see the Colts running the table in the AFC South again?
Absolutely. The AFC South is universally regarded as the worst division in the NFL. The other three teams have serious questions at quarterback and their rosters aren’t exactly inspiring. The Jaguars have something in Blake Bortles, but he’s still a rookie and it doesn’t look like he’ll start right away. The combo of JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney in Houston is making Colts fans nervous, but they won’t be able to move the ball this season. In Tennessee, there are questions about how long Jake Locker can stay healthy and who on that roster will make plays.
4. Trent Richardson has struggled in his short career, is there any hope that he’s able to turn things around this year with the Colts?
There is hope and the coaching staff still has confidence in Richardson. Fans continue to try to find a silver lining with him but he is still making the same mistakes as last season. It might not matter all that much if the Colts continue with the spread, no-huddle attack they’ve shown in the preseason. I would expect Ahmad Bradshaw to win the starting spot early in the year, assuming he can stay healthy.
5. Which name(s) should Saints fans be looking for Saturday that we likely have no knowledge about?
Bjoern Werner has been playing outside linebacker for Robert Mathis (and will start while Mathis serves his four game suspension). Werner is looking a lot better as a rush linebacker in his second season and will face a real challenge against Drew Brees on Saturday. NT Josh Chapman is another player who has looked really good in the preseason, and one that fans have been clamoring for awhile. TE Dwayne Allen was poised for a huge season in 2013, but a hip injury sent him to IR after one game. He’s looking like the next big name at the position heading into 2014.
6. It’s only preseason, but give us your prediction for Saturday’s game. Who wins, and why? What are your realistic expectations?
This will be the first real test for the Colts defense as the Jets and Giants aren’t exactly world beaters on offense. Despite playing well, the Colts lost both games. I’d be inclined to say the Saints, but I believe it will be a shootout. It will likely come down to which second unit has the ball last and can actually get into a scoring opportunity.