In the Indianapolis Colts’ (0-3) preseason loss to the New Orleans Saints (3-0), there were plenty of things to be improved on the day and several players that could have shone brighter.
However, there were some solid players on both sides of the ball that are making improvements as the kickoff of the regular season approaches.
Let’s take a look at the duds and studs of last weekend’s loss to the Saints:
Dan “Boom” Herron: Herron is all but a lock for the backup running back spot. What makes his situation even more favorable is that Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw have been virtually useless in the preseason so far. Let this sink in: Herron’s 68 rushing yards on Saturday night were more than Trent Richardson’s entire preseason. Herron might be just the type of running back that the Colts offense needs; he can make gigantic contributions in the passing game while also being a talented runner. He reminds me of Donald Brown in his style of play, but a tad more durable than Brown in his injury-plagued Colts career. Of course, Richardson will still get the bulk of the carries near the beginning of the season, but Boom is an insurance option that the Colts have been looking for since Vick Ballard went down.
LaRon Landry: It sure was nice to see LaRon Landry making plays again in the passing game. While Drew Brees may have terrorized the passing defense, Landry still made some decent plays, including six tackles and a defensed pass. It seems that he’s back to full strength from the lower body injuries that held him to limited practice time in the beginning of the season. The back end of the secondary is a concern right now, so his reemergence in the passing game should pay dividends as the Colts move forward.
Zach Kerr: The big man has some serious game. He came in for Josh Chapman after the starting offense got no push on the Saints starting line. When Kerr steps into the football game, things got more lively for the Colts defense; there were more defenders in the backfield making plays. Kerr finished the night with a sack in addition to five tackles. He’s a talented big man that has some personality when he plays, a welcome emergence in the Colts preseason roster. Out of the undrafted free agents that the Colts have at their disposal, Kerr might have the best chance to make the team along with Jonotthan Harrison.
Andrew Luck: Before you start throwing stones at me, watching all of Andrew Luck’s game film from Saturday night. He’s typically a crisp quarterback that never has bad throws, but he looked like a novice against the Saints. Luck finished the night 10/18 for 103 yards along with a touchdown and an interception. The interception was entirely his fault and he just couldn’t get a rhythm going following the touchdown drive that ended in a Coby Fleener touchdown. He seemed to want to force the ball to Reggie Wayne way too much and forgot some basic mechanics along the way. He is a wonderful young quarterback and plays so much better than his performance showed on Saturday night, but he did lay a goose egg against New Orleans.
D’Qwell Jackson: Jackson, along with Hakeem Nicks were this offseasons’s biggest additions to the Colts roster. Jackson has been a solid contributor in stopping the run game in all three preseason matchups, but has weakness in pass coverage. He allowed several good downfield throws, including a long throw to Jimmy Graham (who I understand is impossible to guard) and a touchdown to Marques Colston. Jackson wasn’t meant for the passing game, yet the Colts continue to put him on man coverage against better targets. He has to either step it up in the passing game or find a different scheme in which he’s used more efficiently.
Kelvin Sheppard: Sheppard just doesn’t have the speed that is viable for a backup middle linebacker. He’s bad at the areas in which Jackson excels at, including an inability to stop anything in the run game. He can often be seen running after running backs because they have better lateral quickness than he does. If Sheppard makes the team (which is a big iff) he’ll have some work to do in his ability to pursue runners.