Friday, October 22, 2021

Behind Enemy Lines: Indianapolis Colts Edition

Welcome to the next instalment of Behind Enemy Lines: Indianapolis Colts Edition. 

Each week I talk with fans from the teams lining up against the Dolphins that week. After another eventful week for the Dolphin fan base, it will be good to get back to Xs and Os and watch our team snapping footballs and making plays. Last week’s game was a roller-coaster, after starting with an Elandon Roberts pick 6 and a great RB touchdown thanks to an Austin Jackson pancake, it all felt like things were back on track. But at that stage, things stalled in typical Dolphins 2021 fashion.

Questionable play call after questionable play call saw the Raiders able to find their way back into the game and back into the lead and needed a Jacoby Brissett determined rally to force overtime with a TD run and 2pt conversion. But even that wasn’t enough with the Raiders coming out on top after trading field goals in overtime. 

This followed up by reputable and trustworthy people kicking off Deshaun Watson trade rumours alongside separate Tua Tagovailoa trade rumours to Washington. The source of these speculations meant that a lot of people listened and believed and that created a hell of a lot of noise. 

BEHIND ENEMY LINES: WEEK 4

So yeah, it will be wonderful to get back to watching our Fins out on the green grass of Hard Rock Stadium, and make the conversation about actual football again, if only temporary. So in the interest of talking football, I have spoken with Colts fan Zach Boyd of the No Horsing Around Podcast from Youtube, who can be found at @Coltsnation365, to get Behind Enemy Lines and see what the Colts fans think of our impending match up. 

Afternoon mate, thank you so much for giving me some of your precious time to discuss our match up. I know you’re a busy man, so I appreciate the opportunity to get your thoughts. But for those unfamiliar with your stuff, let the Dolphins fans know a little about you and your Colts fandom. 

Yeah, no worries, hello Dolphins fans, I’m Zach Boyd From The No Horsing Around Podcast. I became a Colts fan when I was 7 years old watching a Monday Night Game Colts vs Houston Oilers, I’ve been hooked ever since and it’s a joy to be in a position to share my love of everything Colts football through the podcast, a few different times a week. 

Good for you mate, I don’t think I could ever sustain a podcast, so these articles and my writing are my way of contributing to our Dolphin Kingdom. It may be a small ripple in the grand scheme of things, but we do it for the love of our teams, I get you completely. So tell me about your start, god knows ours has been frustrating and I’d wager you feel similar over there. What are the chances you can turn this around? 

It’s definitely been a tough start and we have played a brutal schedule, decimated by injuries and we haven’t been blown out or completely out of a game in any of these losses. Injuries seem to be piling up again this week and we have been playing a poor brand of football, yet my optimism in my team has me thinking there is a chance we can turn it around starting in week 4. 

Yeah and you are playing us at a good time. With starting QB Tua, starting center Michael Dieter and starting DT Raekwon Davis all already on short term IR, you are in a position where we are not at our best either. Throw in two losses, equally disappointing for different reasons and the fact the fan base is re-split over the DeShaun Watson rumours and I can see why you’d think we could be vulnerable.

Yet, some Dolphins see the Colts in a similar vein, vulnerable and an opportunity to correct our faltering season. So give us the low down on the 0-3, is it unlucky, or do you deserve to have that record? 

Honestly the season couldn’t have started any worse. We have played uninspired football to this point with some very questionable goal line and 4th down play calling. Our record could be much better with some better coaching decisions at key moments, and I feel that along with injuries, those are what are really hurting us so far. 

Oh mate, we understand THAT! You are talking to a man who supports a team who, when snapping inside their own 1 line, threw the ball wide inside their own endzone while other players were free for easy 4 or 5 yard gains. That play resulted in us giving up a costly safety last week and along with some other strange calls, ultimately ended up losing a match due to that fine margin. Add in that we are rolling our QB2 with Tua on IR and its been rough for us too. So what’s your QB been like this year? You went out and got your man in Carson Wentz, has he been part of the problem or is there more to it than that. 

I would honestly say Wentz has been one of our few bright spots he just hasn’t had the protection from our offensive line in the first 3 weeks. With injuries adding onto the suspect play calls, he hasn’t really been put in an opportunity to fully show what he can do. Now with Quentin Nelson ruled out for Sunday too, it does give us cause to worry. The majority of the fan base though, don’t think the problem is with Wentz and given the right time and space, he should help us turn this round. 

Oh see now this is getting interesting, injuries, suspect play calls and an OLine which is hampering the success of your QB… the similarities between our teams so far are uncanny. From where we stand, on paper, we’d be jealous of an OLine that has the players that you have, yet you have eluded to them being part of the problem? 

I would say with the exception of Quinton Nelson our line has played poorly. We just haven’t gotten all 5 linemen to gel up until this point to be fair we have dealt with multiple injuries up and down the line, for example with the news of Nelson being ruled out of Sunday, we could be lining up against you without 3 of our starting 5 Linemen. 

Christ, that must be frustrating, especially with Nelson in the line. He is elite elite, so for him to be in there and still have players underperforming must be a tough watch. We’re similar again, alright we don’t have that stand out name in our line, but we have invested a heavy amount of draft capital into the line and like you have had underwhelming results. But if I am not looking out for Nelson this week, who should I be looking out for as potential threats? 

Well obviously like I have said, Wentz is playing some good stuff at times, so providing he gets the right calls in his headset and the line can give him time to execute them, he could be a player this week. But of those not discussed, I’d say 2 players I would highlight Michael Pittman Jr and Johnathan Taylor but it all starts with our running game and Taylor is most likely to be utilized as our Bell Cow running back. 

Taylor is a player I liked a lot in college, Id have loved us to have drafted him personally. When I add the fact that one of our most talented run defenders in Raekwon Davis is currently on IR, then yeah, I can see why you would want to lean on your run game. On our side of the field, we obviously have ex-Colt Jacoby Brissett starting at QB in Tua’s absence. What are your thoughts on him and do you view him as a threat this weekend? 

Honestly I’d start off by saying Jacoby was an amazing teammate and a pillar in the community whilst in Indianapolis. That being said he was never able to put it together here in Indy he struggled with reading defenses and holding onto the ball way to long. As far as this being a revenge game I could see some extra motivation from him this week but I would say he is limited in his ability. The two things that he can do well is throw the deep ball and he has a tendency to be a hard QB to bring down. 

Ah see now that is interesting. JB has struggled to get the deep game going for us and it has been cause for concern for a lot of the fan base. He has over thrown a few scoring opportunities and with players like Will Fuller, Jaylon Waddle and Jakeem Grant, it has felt a bit like we’re wasting one of our key weapon sets. Considering that, and our two defeats, yet first week win over New England in their home stadium, how would you summarise the current Dolphins group? 

I see a very stingy Defense that honestly is very well coached. Especially your defensive backs, they can really make things difficult for opposing WRs. But as far as offense is concerned, I like our chances of containing you and I don’t see anyone that keeps me up at night as a major threat. 

Yeah our defense has clearly been our strongest unit so far this season, and our offense has stuttered and found it hard to get going. I would say Myles Gaskin has a pretty good YPC rating, but they just don’t seem to be dialing him up enough to make best use of him. Rookie Jaylon Waddle also has had a success in making a lot of receptions but has struggled to turn that heavy workload into anything looking like dominance or control. But less of my names, who would you say you are most concerned with from a Dolphins perspective? 

So like I have said, none of your offensive players scare me particularly, but if I had to pick a name from your offense Davonte Parker stands out due to his big play ability and as the most assured pair of hands on your team. We have mentioned defensive backs, and you really do have two of the best around in Xavier Howard and Byron Jones, they are not going to be easily overcome. 

Three of our most established veterans in there, they’re all good names from our perspective, but I’m a little surprised you didn’t mention someone like Emmanuel Ogbah or Jaelen Phillips, who has some keen pass rushing skills and match up against your bandaged up OLine. Especially if Wentz already is struggling for protection, these two could smell blood in the water. But from one QB to another, I can’t leave you without asking about the most talked about man on the Miami Dolphins roster. What is the Colts position on the future for Tua Tagovailoa? 

Honestly, I really do think Tua can win games in the NFL, both this season, and in future seasons too. But I’d suspect you would have to build a really good system around him, as I don’t think of him as elite at this stage of his career. I just haven’t seen enough from him yet. 

This seems to be a theme of our Behind Enemy Lines series really, people league wide seem to be unconvinced by Tua as a QB for this Miami Dolphins team. I still have faith in him and I hope that once he is back from his broken ribs, we can get right back on track and see him start to showcase what he can do. 

But that won’t be this week, I am certain he will be on the sideline, with a headset and his play sheet, but he won’t be steering the ship this weekend. So with those guys who DO make it onto the field, what’s your prediction for the match? 

I think the Colts win 20-16. I think this is the week we get back on track. I know we have ruled out a handful of players today, but we need to take advantage of you while you are also performing under your potential. With both teams struggling, I think it could be an ugly football game but at the end of the day I just think we are desperate for a win and we find a way to come away victorious. 

See that last sentiment, that is exactly where I am at but from our perspective. We are desperate for a win, after you we have to go and play Tampa Bay, and this game is the difference between walking into the game either 2-2 or 1-3. With that week 5 match up to come, this game could be the beginning of the end of our season, or one where we stay alive while we wait for those short term IRs to rejoin the squad. 

So with that in mind, and with the amount of injuries you guys are carrying, I think Brissett gets his win against his former team and we run out 26-17 winners. That said, I do believe you will be right with the Ugly Game prediction and I think we see a lot of the kickers from both teams. 

Thank you so much Zach for being part of this series, I appreciate your time and while I do hope your season gets back on track, I also hope that doesn’t happen until after Sunday. 

Well how about that, I tell you what, I did not expect the amount of similarities between the two teams. Underperforming OLines, Quarterback controversy, inexplicable play calling, crucial injuries at dreadful times. I could go on. This will be a very interesting match up and it will be about who can best respond to these similar weaknesses. 

I don’t believe this game will be won, I believe this game will be lost. On a number of occasions over the last two weeks, our Miami team has actively lost games by their own mistakes and errors, either from players or coaches. It sounds very much like the Colts are in a similar position in that respect. This game will boil down to who can clean up most of their mistakes, rather than the team that can make the most plays. I think the team without mistakes gets the win, and if Miami get another step forward for our OLine play, if we can get our run game going, and stop giving away 15 yard plays, then we should have enough for this patched up version of the Colts. 

Fins Up! 

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