For those diehard fans out here, PLEASE!
For those diehard fans out here, PLEASE!
Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.
Battle of AFC heavyweights
Why To Watch
This game features two evenly matched teams -- Indy with its high flying offense and suspect defense and Baltimore with its suspect offense and dominating defense. It's also a rematch of a fantastic Sunday night game from last season that saw the Ravens temporarily deny Peyton Manning the TD passing record during the Colts' 20-10 win.
With Mike Nolan gone to San Francisco as their head coach, Rex Ryan takes over as a first time defensive coordinator in the NFL. How will the Ravens handle the switch from the 3-4 defense to a more traditional 4-3 front? Has Kyle Boller improved enough to get the Ravens back to the Super Bowl or will he continue to regress at the position?
DT Corey Simon will make his debut for the Colts -- will he be the missing piece of the puzzle that finally gives Indy a chance to be successful on defense? SS Mike Doss has a NFL mandated two-game suspension. He will be replaced by Joseph Jefferson, a converted corner, and there are questions if Jefferson will hold up as a tackler against the deep and talented Ravens running back group.
This is truly a match-up of two AFC heavyweights.
When the Colts have the ball
Rushing: Changes in the Colts offensive line means a new look Colts run offense this season. Two new guards will be in the lineup as LG Ryan Lilja and RG Jake Scott will take over as full-time starters.
The Colts will predominantly run from three wide receiver sets with RB Edgerrin James as the solo back. This will allow them to spread the field and keep SS Ed Reed and FS Will Demps out of the box. This will also force the Ravens to bring an extra defensive back onto the field and play nickel, opening more inside run lanes for James. Look for the Colts to run the ball early to stay in good down and distance situations. This will also allow them to set up their play-action passing game.
By establishing the run early, the Colts will be able to check the fronts of the new look Ravens defense. The Colts can find any weaknesses and read any keys that their linebackers are struggling to read in their new 4-3 look. Look for the Colts to test the right side of the Ravens front where converted DE Terrell Suggs will be out-sized vs. LOT Tarik Glenn.
Passing: There was some talk last week that Samari Rolle may miss this game due to a suspension for violating the league's code of conduct on a domestic violence charge. Rolle and the Ravens have not heard from the NFL yet, and it looks like he will be in the lineup this week.
This will be one of the biggest tests QB Peyton Manning sees all season. He will face a secondary that has three former Pro Bowlers, and DC Chris McAlister and SS Ed Reed are top-5 NFL players at their respective positions. The Ravens tend to bring a more aggressive defensive approach to the game and like to mix in a lot of man coverage, but look for them to stay a little more conservative in this one. They can't afford to give up big plays in the game since their own offense won't be able to keep up.
Look for the Colts to go to their three wide receiver/one running back/one tight end package often. This will allow them to spread the field and spread the ball around. TE Dallas Clark will align both on the line and as a wideout, which gives Manning four legitimate receiving options on any given pass play.
If the Colts struggle to run the ball, look for Edgerrin James to become a factor out of the backfield on designed screens or quick arrow routes to keep the Ravens defense honest. The Ravens pass defense will ultimately decide the outcome of this game.
When the Ravens have the ball
Rushing: While QB Kyle Boller might be the key x-factor in determining the fate of this game, the Ravens won't even be in it if they can't run the ball and control the clock. Despite missing time last season to injury and suspension, Jamal Lewis topped the 1,000 yard mark again.
The only change to the O-line for the Ravens is UFA pickup Keydrick Vincent in at ROG for Bennie Anderson. This is an upgrade for the Ravens and only strengthens one of the better O-line units in the NFL.
The Colts have one of the weakest linebacker groups in the NFL, and they will be put to the test this week. Look for the Colts to run multiple stunts up front with their defensive ends and linebackers in order to try to shoot gaps and make Jamal Lewis declare or change directions in the backfield. Even with the addition of DT Corey Simon, the Colts front 7 is not physical enough to stand toe-to-toe with the Ravens massive O-line unit.
RDE Dwight Freeney must be careful on the backside. He is one of the best defensive ends in the NFL at chasing plays down the line, but in this game he will see a Ravens run offense that runs the cut-back run better than any team in the NFL. The Ravens need to force the Colts to bring that eighth man down in the box to open up better passing lanes for Boller, who has consistently struggled to read defenses at the NFL level.
More important than any aspect of the game for the Ravens is being able to run the ball effectively and keeping the Colts offense on the sideline.
Passing: QB Kyle Boller must play well this week. Not only because this is a big game, but because if he struggles against the Colts secondary, it could be a long season for Ravens fans.
He will face a unit that is minus Mike Doss at strong safety, will have a first time starter at strong safety in Joseph Jefferson and a young starting cornerback in Donald Strickland. Along with the linebackers, the Colts have one of the weaker back 7's Boller will face this season.
The Ravens have a very unsophisticated passing attack, so look for the Colts to stay in the bread and butter Cover 2 scheme and make Boller make throws. Look for the Colts to run some zone blitzes this week to confuse Boller as to who is rushing or coming on the blitz. When the Colts go to their sub-package defense, they can bring more heat than any team in the NFL, and look for defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis to get good outside pass rush pressure on Boller.
Look for head coach Brian Billick to stay conservative this week. More than any other week, he knows he can't afford to have Boller turning the ball over to the best offense in the NFL. They will use the backs out of the backfield and TE Todd Heap in the flat and curls. Newly acquired WR Derrick Mason is excellent finding the voids in zone coverage, and while he may not put up a lot of big plays in this game, he should help control the clock for the Ravens.
"Updated: Sep. 7, 2005, 8:11 PM ET
Simon, Calmus boost Colts' defenseBy Rick Spielman
Plenty of teams have been actively trying to shape their final 53-man rosters over the past few days, including some potential playoff teams with already strong lineups that are making aggressive moves to bolster certain positions or fill a few remaining needs.
Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle and Dallas seem to have made the biggest acquisitions as they try to reach the next level.
SimonIndy fans and players alike should be very excited about the commitment the ownership and front office made to get the best players possible to fill voids on the roster. The biggest move was the signing of DT Corey Simon to bolster the defense. This gives them another potential Pro Bowl player up front to team with DE Dwight Freeney.
Simon is a stout inside player versus the run who also can be an effective in-line pass-rusher. He posted 32 sacks in six seasons with the Eagles, but he should be even more effective in Tony Dungy's defensive scheme. In Philadelphia's scheme, which had linebackers blitzing from every conceivable angle, Simon was counted on to hold the point of attack and occupy blockers. Dungy prefers his defensive tackles to get up the field more and create a pass rush, much the way Warren Sapp and Anthony McFarland did under Dungy in Tampa Bay.
CalmusBut signing Simon wasn't all the Colts did. With backup linebacker Kendyll Pope suspended for the season by the NFL -- reportedly for violating the league's substance abuse policy -- the Colts were very aggressive in finding a replacement. The team acquired Rocky Calmus from Tennessee in a trade and claimed Keith O'Neil off waivers from Dallas.
Calmus comes with some durability issues, but brings a big, strong, physical presence versus the run. Look for him also to be a core player on special teams if he stays healthy. O'Neil also will upgrade the Colts' special teams.
Dallas made a significant move by signing WR Peerless Price. This should give Drew Bledsoe another potential big-play receiver to go along with Terry Glenn and Keyshawn Johnson.
PricePrice never fit in with Atlanta and the West Coast offense. He was much more effective in Buffalo, which employed a more vertical passing game. With Glenn and Price, Dallas has two speed receivers who can stretch the field to go along with a big, possession receiver in Johnson.
This was a combination the Cowboys tried unsuccessfully to create last season by trading for Cleveland's Quincy Morgan. It will be interesting to see if Price and Bledsoe can produce the same magic they had together in Buffalo.
WarrickThe Seahawks also made a move to upgrade their receiving corps by signing Peter Warrick, who was released from Cincinnati. With Koren Robinson gone, this restores depth to their receiving corps, which currently is comprised of Bobby Engram, Darrell Jackson and Joe Jurevicius.
Warrick played in only four games last season before being placed on injured reserve. His most productive year came in 2003, when he had 79 catches and averaged 10.9 yards as a punt returner. He can be a crafty slot receiver, and he also can return punts. He is a similar player to Engram, but younger. He should fit well in the Seahawks' offensive scheme and give them some big-play potential. This move could pay off if Warrick can stay healthy.
RobinsonMinnesota made an interesting move this week by signing Robinson. This troubled receiver has the size, speed and big-play potential that teams want, but he will drop some easy balls because of lack of concentration and focus. His lack of maturity and off-field issues have kept him from becoming the type of receiver he should be.
The Vikings have a solid group of young receivers with the emergence of Nate Burleson and first-round draft pick Troy Williamson, who has tremendous speed and upside. Veteran Marcus Robinson is a straight-line vertical threat, and Travis Taylor seems to be rejuvenated since being signed as an unrestricted free agent from Baltimore in the offseason.
If Koren Robinson can mature and overcome some personal issues -- he recently spent time in an alcohol treatment facility -- his addition potentially can give QB Daunte Culpepper another weapon. The Vikings' front office will make sure there is no financial risk in this move, so if he does fail or become a problem, they can release him with no effect on the team or the salary cap.
Rick Spielman, former general manager of the Miami Dolphins, has joined ESPN Insider as a "
Why Not Us ?
yeah I was at that game, and I remember the dumbass fans booing for not going for it. People all around me were yelling about how they paid a lot of money to see this, as if that record was owed to them.
House Name: Pacers
House Words: "We Kneel To No King"
Yeah I know .. I think Peyton even mentioned something about that afterwards.
There are some that call themselves true fans but are not.. just feel everyone should do as they see fit since they paid the ticket charge.. they are entitled to certain things...a disturbing trend in todays society...
Why Not Us ?