Kevin Nogle (KN): The Colts's offensive weakness appears to be the offensive line, allowing four sacks to the Oakland Raiders last week. Were the Raiders lucky, or is the offensive line one of the main concerns this season?
Brad Wells (BW): Did you see Irsay's tweets on Thursday? That give you an idea as to whether or not the line is a concern? The main issue with the line is the interior, specifically the play of center Samson Satele and right guard Mike McGlynn. Both are terrible. However, because Ryan Grigson paid them a lot of money, the Colts feel compelled to play them. That is literally THE only reason I can think of as to why Satele and McGlynn are still out there. Rookie Hugh Thornton has outplayed McGlynn in the limited time Thornton has seen snaps, and I'm pretty certain a stuffed corpse in a jersey could block better than Satele at this point. During the offseason, Ryan Grigson traded second-year center A.Q. Shipley to Baltimore for a cheese sandwich and tickets to "Phantom, On Ice!" Shipley outplayed Satele last season, but because Satele was owed more money, Shipley was shipped and Satele was kept.
KN: What are the biggest changes to the Colts' offense this season as they transition from Bruce Arians last year to Pep Hamilton this year?
BW: The implementation of a fullback is the biggest, most visible change. Arians hates fullbacks, preferring to utilize more 3-wide packages. Hamilton is also a "West Coast" offense guy, even though he, apparently, doesn't like being labeled that. The offense is indeed a "west coast" system, utilizing more short passes and a power running game.
KN: Andrew Luck could be described as a little above average at the quarterback position, and the Colts have done a great job in keeping and acquiring talent around him. Obviously, we all know what Reggie Wayne brings to the offense, but how are the Colts using Darius Heyward-Bey and T.Y. Hilton, and how involved in the passing game are Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen?
BW: The Colts aren't using T.Y. Hilton enough, which is the by-product of using a fullback and starting Heyward-Bey over him. DHB has been very good in preseason and was good in Week One, but Hilton is a dynamic playmaker. He had a better "fit" in Arians' system than in Hamilton's, and that's unfortunate. Personally, if I had a choice between having T.Y. Hilton on the field or a fullback, I'd go T.Y. The players should determine the system, not necessarily the other way around.
Dwayne Allen likely won't play on Sunday because of a hip injury. Coby Fleener has been hot garbage so far this season. He's gaining a rep as a "soft" player who looks great in shorts, but, when pads and live-hitting come into play, he turtles up.
KN: How's our buddy, cornerback Vontae Davis, performing this year?
BW: Tough to tell. He looked good in preseason, but the Raiders didn't really throw at him last week. I'm using Sunday's game as a good measure for Vontae's growth. He'll likely be matched-up on Brian Hartline and Greg Toler on Mike Wallace.
KN: In, essentially, the exact opposite of the offensive line issues, the Colts' pass rush only sacked Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor once, with two quarterback hits. Is this an indication of a lack of ability to get after opposing quarterbacks, or were the Raiders simply able to protect Pryor/Pryor's ability to run away from the rush?
BW: The Colts have no pass rush outside of Robert Mathis. This is a big concern of mine, and it seems to be by design for head coach Chuck Pagano. He's so preoccupied with stopping the run that he's lost sight of the fact that teams throw to win in the modern NFL. Rookie Bjoern Werner is useless as a stand-up linebacker, and is much more comfortable (and effective) as a defensive end with his hand on the ground.
If you couldn't tell from my answers, I don't think Ryan Grigson will win the Executive of the Year award two years in a row. I'm also not very big on Chuck Pagano as a head coach right now. Love him as a person, but in the six games he's coached (including last year), the Colts have blown double-digit leads in half of them. Pagano strikes me as a conservative, defensive-minded coach who values running the ball and stopping the run. Such coaches are dinosaurs in modern football, especially when the team's quarterback is Andrew Luck.'
Thanks to Brad for taking the time to give us a closer look at the Colts. Make sure you check out my answers to some of Brad's questions about the Dolphins. And, you can follow Brad on Twitter: @StampedeBlue
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