The Raiders will host the Indianapolis Colts in Week 10 in their first game with new head coach Jeff Saturday. To get you prepared for that game, we spoke with Kevin Hickey, managing editor of the Colts Wire to discuss the Colts entering Week 10.
1. Who is expected to call plays this week with Jeff Saturday now in charge?
It will be Parks Frazier. His most recent role was pass-game specialist and assistant quarterbacks coach. He’s been with the Colts since Frank Reich arrived in 2018 so he has a very good feel of the offense and prep.
He’s just 30 years old so he’s already one of the youngest play-callers in the NFL, and he should have a similar feel for the game as Reich did considering that was his mentor.
Expect a lot of quick-timing throws and RPO concepts to maximize Sam Ehlinger’s mobility. Mesh also will be a concept the Colts will rely heavily upon.
2. Just how bad has the QB situation been this season for the Colts?
It’s gone poorly. Matt Ryan was expected to be the bridge quarterback for at least the next two years. He lasted seven games before Jim Irsay essentially stepped in and forced Sam Ehlinger to be the starter.
Ehlinger has been fine for such an inexperienced player, but there’s so much development that needs to take place that it will hold the offense back. It isn’t just the quarterback position, though.
The Colts are paying elite money to an offensive line that is simply playing like dog water. Matt Pryor was re-signed to be the left tackle, and that was a major flop. They’ve tried to hide him at right guard, but that’s been just as bad. Then the big-money players like Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly and Braden Smith haven’t lived up to expectations this season.
3. Who is an under-the-radar player to watch in Week 10?
Defensive tackle Grover Stewart is always my answer to this question. He’s turned into an elite run defender from the one-technque, using his unique blend of size, strength and explosiveness to impact the run at a ridiculously consistent rate.
Another may be tight end Kylen Granson. A fourth-round pick in 2021 could be the only healthy tight end in the room, and the Colts have used him in the move role often. He and Ehlinger played high school ball together so we could see some increased targets.
4. Will Jonathan Taylor play on Sunday?
Taylor practiced in a limited fashion on Wednesday and was upgraded to a full participant Thursday. My gut says that he will play, but he’s extremely conscious of his health. There was an instance earlier this season in Week 6 where Taylor practiced enough to play but knew he wouldn’t be 100% and essentially held himself out of the game. So anything can happen. But if he logs a full practice Friday, I would expect him to play.
5. Who wins this game and why?
How do you pick between two of the worst teams in the NFL? The Raiders will be severely hindered on offense without Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow, and the Colts’ defense has been surprisingly strong.
However, I think there are just too many distractions and moving parts for Indy to turn around with a win. Maybe they play inspired football under Jeff Saturday, but the odds are they lose this game with one of the league’s worst offenses.
Take the under, folks. Raiders 17, Colts 13.