Irsay calling out his team isn't a bad thing

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
8:41
PM ET
INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Irsay could have walked into the locker room at the Colts’ facility on the west side of Indianapolis and told his team and coaching staff they need to do a better job protecting quarterback Andrew Luck.

But as he did during the preseason when he took his displeasure to Twitter, the Colts' owner wanted to make sure everybody -- all 231,000 of his followers and their retweets -- knows he means business.

[+] EnlargeAndrew Luck
Andy Lyons/Getty ImagesAndrew Luck was sacked four times in the opener, and that has Colts owner Jim Irsay concerned.
I’m sure most of you know by now about Irsay tweeting that the Colts need to better protect Luck this weekend against the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins sacked Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden six times in their Week 1 victory. Luck was sacked four times against Oakland last week.

The Colts’ success this season will hinge on Luck being able to stay on his two feet. The Colts can’t afford to have him getting sacked 41 times again this season. If you recall, coach Chuck Pagano said they want to cut his sacks in half. They’re already behind schedule.

I liked that Irsay didn’t single out the offensive line, because the tight ends and running backs also are responsible for protecting Luck. But running back Vick Ballard is one player who can stand up and say he did his job against the Raiders. Ballard was 6-for-6 on blocking assignments.

I went back and watched the film of Luck’s four sacks. Not all of the blame could be put on the offensive line.

Here’s a breakdown of the sacks:

  1. Luck rolled to his left and ended up being pushed out of bounds by safety Tyvon Branch.
  2. This one was on the offensive line. Lamarr Houston just beat left tackle Anthony Castonzo to get to Luck.
  3. Nobody picked up cornerback Tracy Porter on his blitz from the left side. He went in untouched to get to Luck.
  4. The Raiders didn’t bite on the Colts’ play-action and Jason Hunter stayed at home, allowing him to get to Luck for a 13-yard loss on fourth-and-1.

You can expect the pressure to be even greater on Luck and the Colts on Sunday. Pagano talked about having to know the whereabouts of Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake. Wake had 2.5 sacks against the Browns.

“Pretty much 99.9 percent of the time, he’ll be lined up to our offense’s right, defensive left,” Pagano said. “That’s one thing, know where he is. It’s a different thing getting him blocked.”

Some fans don’t like Irsay’s approach for calling out his team on Twitter. I like it. He did the same thing after their preseason loss to Buffalo last month.

You can also expect Irsay to continue to challenge his team on Twitter until they play to his standards. They didn’t spend all that money in the offseason to continue to allow Luck to take a pounding.

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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