Originally Posted by fluoropolymer
I know the team has to take it game by game, but let's face it - Indy is the 800 pound gorilla we have to face down the road. For those of you out there that are far more brilliant than me, how do we take gays like Gates & Clark out of a game?
I like this area of discussion and have been meaning to bring it up myself. This defense over the last couple of years has been specifically built to answer the Colts style of offense. I don't think you try to take Harrison/Wayne/Clark out of the game. I think you force Manning into making mistakes.
If Manning has all day to throw, everything else becomes moot. You have to be able to get reasonable pressure without blitzing...and when you do blitz you have got to get in Manning's face. He feels the pressure from the outside and gets rid of the ball effectively. When he gets pressure that affects his downfield vision, his form gets sloppy and his accuracy and decision making suffer.
If Manning can read a zone or man coverage correctly, he has the advantage since almost all his throws are timing passes or checkdowns. Asante's success last year was keyed off his ability to sell man coverage when he was actually in zone (able to jump other receivers routes) or sell zone and then quickly recover to his assigned receiver (like in the AFCC game). Adalius has the same ability.
I think the key is going to be the play of the slot and deep DBs in the nickel (Gay, Wilson, Merriweather). Is it a coincidence that they are all either S with CB experience or the reverse? None of them were on the field for the AFCC game so I would expect a gameplan that utilizes their flexibility to give Manning looks he hasn't seen before.
The Colts run and pass effectively out of their "stretch" play. In fact, they really don't have many other formations that they run out of. You have to be able to stop the stretch run without having to "sell out" your defense to do it (and get burned by play-action). A completely healthy Seymour is key here, which is why I was actually happy to see him on the PUP list...take the time and have him fresh and dominant for the Indy game and playoffs.
Manning really came into his own (and won a championship) when he learned that sometimes you just have to take what the defense gives you and move the chains. It is great to have Harrison and Wayne, but really utilizing the TEs and RBs in the passing game puts a real strain on the defense.
You can't really stop a 3 yard dumpoff to Addai, but you have to keep those from becoming 1st downs. There is a direct correlation to the number of punts/FG attempts the Colts have and the chances that you see the "Manning Face" sometime in the 2nd half.