Well that was deflating.
From scraping past the Oakland Raiders – often compared to an expansion team – to scoring just three second half points against the Miami Dolphins in a close loss, the 2013 season hasn't exactly got off to the best of starts. Whilst head coach Chuck Pagano isn't in immediate danger of losing his job, there are murmurings of discontent amongst the fans, and the upcoming trip to San Francisco promises to be another struggle.
But hey, at least our rookies are impressing, right?! Well, not so much.
After last week's shoddy -3.0 grade from PFF – making him the second lowest rookie of the week, with only D.J. Fluker worse – Werner improved this week to reach an decent 0.0 grade. Werner vastly improved in run defense, moving up from a -1.6 to 0.4. With Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers on the horizon, Colts linebackers will be asked to play contain and seeing an improvement in rush defense from Werner bodes well for the future.
From a pass rush perspective, Werner again marginally improved from -1.5 to -0.5. PFF note that Werner had just one Quarterback Hurry against the Dolphins, but Sunday saw Werner record half a sack, his first since entering the league. There were signs of promise from the German after a tough first week, but his hopes of continuing that into Week 3 seem bleak, coming up against a watertight 49ers offensive line.
Week 1 saw Thornton play just three snaps, but the injury to Donald Thomas thrust Thornton in at left guard for 61 of the 73 snaps against the Dolphins. Thomas has since been placed on injured reserve, meaning Thornton – or Joe Reitz – will start at left guard. Thortnon's promising pre-season didn't carry over against a talented Dolphins defensive line, as PFF gave him a -2.4 grade for his performance.
Thornton struggled in pass protection (-2.4), giving up a sack, two quarterback hits and one quarterback hurry. He was much better in run blocking (0.1), whilst his screen blocking was also better than his pass protection. (-0.5)
Grigson spoke before the draft of how rookie offensive linemen have a lot to adjust to when entering the league, and this would appear to be the case for Thornton – particularly when he's been slated to play the right guard spot ever since he was selected out of Illinois.
Running back Kerwynn Williams was promoted from the practice squad after Vick Ballard was placed on injured reserve and whilst he saw no snaps from the running back position, he did feature in the return game. Fourth round offensive lineman Khaled Holmes and fifth round defensive lineman Montori Hughes were once again inactive, and Justice Cunningham remains on the practice squad. Safety John Boyett remains unsigned having been waived after an incident with police.
It's all positive, isn't it?
Well... Werner's still not even average yet, but I think we mostly understood he was a project and not honestly a Day One Stud. The thing to watch for is continued improvement, however marginal.
Calm down. This is still a rebuilding year. We all knew the Colts weren't as good as their record last year. I honestly think the Colst are about even with the Dolphins, as our last game suggested. The Colts are a possible wildcard team in a weak AFC. As awesome as Luck is it would almost have been good for the team to suck for a few years so it could load up on high draft picks like the 49ers and other newly dominant teams have done.
Given where he was drafted, it'd be nice to get immediate production from Werner. But I've accepted the fact that this first year I would be happy if he just continues to show improvement and then makes the second year leap.
@hankster Draft picks? We talkin´ bout draft picks? (I couldn´t resist)
@DougEngland Yeah, we all knew he was a project. It's not a huge surprise to see him struggling to adjust early. I just hope he works out long-term.