The Indianapolis Colts are about to square off against the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night and the Colts defense is going to be facing a big test with Drew Brees back in the lineup. The Saints offense is known as a juggernaut and could pose a big problem for a Colts team that has played well in the preseason so far. The Colts starters are expected to play close to half and that should give the coaching staff enough time to evaluate the starters.
The Colts defensive line has been amazing throughout the entire preseason, playing great in terms of technique and gap responsibility. The run defense specifically has been amazing. Clearly the addition of Arthur Jones has made a big difference. Combine that with the emergence of Josh Chapman and the Colts opponents have had a difficult time moving them off the line of scrimmage.
The Colts defensive line is going to be in for a big test against the Saints and their interior offensive line. The Saints have two high-end guards in the NFL and they have been able to move the ball on the ground effectively. They are going to pose a big test for the Colts defense. If they can stop the run against the Saints they would be answering a big question going into the season.
The linebackers are going to have their hands full against Brees and the rest of the offense. Expect Jerrell Freeman to be matched up with Jimmy Graham for most of the game and although the linebacker can play well in space, stopping Graham is a big task for anyone. Also look to see how well Bjoern Werner plays — he’s had a strong preseason so far and if he can get pressure on Brees throughout the game it would be a good indication that he can play well while he replaces Robert Mathis. Finally, D’Qwell Jackson has had a strong preseason so far. He’s been very aggressive and attacking the ball, and that is a product of the defensive line. Colts fans should see if he can continue that play against the Saints.
The biggest test is going to come in the secondary. Stopping Brees and the Saints passing attack is a big challenge for anyone. The Colts secondary has played solidly this preseason. There is still a lot to be worked on though. There were too many illegal contact penalties that have negated turnovers and like it or not those are rules that are going to be enforced in the regular season.
Sean Payton lives to create one-on-one matchups with his offensive weapons and the Colts defensive backs are going to have to be at their best in order to slow down the Saints offense.
Ultimately the final score does not matter in the preseason game. All that matters is how the players play with their given time. If the Colts defense gets steam rolled while they play then that’s going to show that there is plenty to be fixed before the regular season. I am willing to bet that the Colts are able to slow the Saints offense. They have new additions along the defensive line that are clearly making life easy for the rest of the defense.