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Colts @ Cowboys (preseason) film review: Defense

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Here’s part two of the film review dealing with the defense. See part one for the offense here.

DL
You didn’t get too much from the starting crew. They were able to contain the run, but they didn’t make a lot of plays in the pass rush or in the backfield in general. On the first defensive play, Jason Ferguson collapsed the center and totally disrupted the run, but the line had a problem locking up the tackles. Both Ware and Spencer looked like they had a chance, but the Colts’ back picked up 4-yards on the play. They got a couple of good pass rushes too, but they had trouble getting their hands on the QB and bringing him down. After a sparkling camp, Chris Canty didn’t show the same thing in the first quarter. He did help stop a 4th down attempt with Bradie James, but not much outside of that. Marcus Spears was pretty much the same story, although he held the point of attack well on a couple of runs, allowing others to get the stop, and joining in one for himself. The starting three weren’t very dynamic, but Phillips kept it pretty vanilla during their time on the field.

The second group got more action with blitzes and stunts, but still was not largely effective in getting pressure. Jay Ratliff had a couple of nice plays including sharing a sack with Junior Glymph, and Stephen Bowen played well in place of Jason Hatcher against the run. Remi Ayodele got first crack at NT behind Ferguson, but he, Montavious Stanley and Ola Dagunduro failed to do anything special. Stanley also got a roughing the passer penalty. But the line prevented the Colts from running the ball, so they did accomplish job number one.

OLB
DeMarcus Ware was just a moment late in getting a couple of sacks. He was going against the rookie Tony Ugoh some of the time, but the Colts gave help from the backs and sometimes pulled the guard back to take Ware while the tackle blocked down. They were mixing up on the blocking schemes on Ware. He still made a few tackles. Anthony Spencer got a good pass rush on one occasion, and held the point of attack on the runs, so it was an OK outing for a rookie, but he didn’t make any big plays. Junior Glymph continued his good work from camp by getting part of a sack and disrupted a couple of runs. He also got a few tackles. Unfortunately, he got an offsides penalty and over-ran a few plays that allowed cutback runs. Alex Obomese helped make one of the plays of the game from the other OLB position when he tipped a pass that ended up in Keith Davis’ hands and was returned for a TD. Obomese was able to come free because they blitzed Bobby Carpenter and the blocker took him, leaving Obomese free to make a play. John Saldi made a couple of plays late in the game. The 2nd and 3rd unit defenses actually did quite a bit of blitzing and a little stunting.

ILB
Bradie James and Akin Ayodele made a few tackles, but didn’t greatly influence the game one way or the other. Bobby Carpenter had a nice stuff of a middle run and made the blitz run that freed up Obomese on the Davis INT. Kevin Burnett had a couple of good tackles and one on special teams. The Colts went to the pass heavily in the game, so the front seven was left to stop whatever runs that did come, and try to apply pressure on the QB. For the most part, they were good on the first objective, not so great on the second, and that left the secondary to make plays.

CB
Terence Newman actually got beat on a play, but they didn’t throw his way often. He also made a good open-field tackle on a swing pass. Anthony Henry made a nice play to break up a pass down near the goal line. Aaron Glenn didn’t have much to do in the game. Jacques Reeves played the 4th corner and gave up a few passes in front of him but nothing deep. Joey Thomas broke up a couple of sideline patterns and got an INT in the endzone, continuing his strong play from training camp. But he also gave up a few passes in front of him, but at least it’s better than getting beat deep. I didn’t see Nate Jones do much, and Alan Ball was the corner who got beat late for the Colts only TD.

S
With Hamlin not playing, Pat Watkins got the start and really wasn’t involved, but as long as the safeties aren’t getting beat deep, they’re doing a good job. Such was the case. Roy Williams had a couple of good tackles after passes and one in the middle hole on a run. But Keith Davis gets the award at safety for making a big play when he returned an INT for a TD. Abram Elam got a lot of playing time and made a few tackles but no plays on the ball. He also was playing special teams and made a couple of plays there. Courtney Brown was much the same, not much action so it was hard to judge. But overall the center of the Cowboys secondary held together and wasn’t much of an issue.

Kickoff coverage
Terrible, easily the worst part of the game for the Cowboys. We are missing Ryan Fowler. Bobby Carpenter had a good play in coverage and a bad one. Nate Jones got blocked off on one return. Courtney Brown lost the integrity of his lane; numerous mistakes by multiple Cowboys. But Gramatica and Folk did a nice job for most of the night either hitting the endzone or hitting it deep, so it wasn’t their fault.

Punt return, punt coverage
The punt returns went nowhere. The punt coverage was OK because Mat McBriar is so good they only returned one punt.