Last week was a huge step forward for us from a maturity standpoint. Not all wins are going to be pretty, but I am glad we were able to pull it off. I believe this game will go down as one of the more remarkable games in franchise history! Obviously, the first half against the Texans really was a wake-up call. We really were on our heels and took a step back as a defensive unit. It was the first time we allowed a 300 yard passer in 11 straight games. But, I am glad we had our backs against the wall. The fact that we are able to stare adversity in the face, and punch back - shows a lot about the character of this team. Overcoming adversity allows you to grow as a team.
Andrew Luck is a very talented quarterback, who is advanced beyond his years. We really need to minimize the big plays this week, and that starts with locking up our smothering defense. With Luck being under center this week – we have to stay on top of their receiving core in Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and T.Y. Hilton. Luck has the arm strength and the precision to dice up a defense that leaves him any sort of window to throw through. We really have to minimize these windows, spend less time peeking into the backfield, and get back to the fundamentals that this defense was built on.
This week’s matchup also provides an opportunity to go against my former teammate Andrew Luck. It was incredible to be able to play with such a technician in college. I’m not at all surprised at how easily he has transferred his abilities in to the NFL. He always was a great leader and he has allowed the Colts to not really skip a beat after letting Peyton go.
With him on the opposite team, I’m treating him like any other opponent. Having had the ability to practice against Luck and watch him in college doesn’t give me any advantage. The guy is so good that he doesn’t have any tendencies that are easy to pick up on. That is what the great ones do; they have no tells. He is constantly adapting and changing. The NFL is a completely different planet compared to college. I can’t rely on my past in approaching this week. Again I’m hitting the film hard this week. I’m studying the formations and trying to gain as much of an advantage as I can. That’s always been my philosophy, do not leave any rock unturned. I’m preparing for Andrew and the Colts as if I had never played against him (or with him for that matter) before. You can never rest on your past experience because athletes evolve.
In addition to locking up our pass coverage, we also spent a lot of time on our run D as well. With Bradshaw out, the majority of the carries are going to go to Trent Richardson. Much like Foster, Richardson is an elite back that runs with a lot of power. When facing a hard-nosed runner like this, we have to stay low and wrap up. Running backs like Richardson are tough to bring down. Staying fundamentally sound when talking will limit the big runs.
The great thing about the NFL is there are star players of all ages. It is unbelievable to me to think about the things Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck have been able to accomplish under center – in only two years as pros. These two have brought a lot of excitement to this game, and I believe we will be saying their names for many years to come.
I am very excited to get this game under way. This is our second big road challenge away from our 12’s. We need to head into this environment ready to play Seattle football. Just like any other week in the NFL – this Sunday is going to take a complete team effort to come out on top. I am excited to go up against my friend Andrew Luck. I was lucky enough to play with this talented quarterback in college, and maintain a great relationship. Although we remain good friends, we are true competitors on the field. This is going to be a dog fight, and I am looking forward to every minute of it.