INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts have won their last two preseason games and stand on the cusp of the franchise’s first winning preseason record since 2003.
That year, they beat Cincinnati in the finale to accomplish that task, and it led into a season when Indianapolis followed a playoff berth with another one.
True, there is no symmetry between a possible 3-1 preseason record and the assurance of another playoff berth, but every time a team takes the field winning is the objective.
“Any time you have the horseshoe on your helmet, you’re excited to strap it up and play,” said tackle
There are a number of things on which to work and a few roster decisions hanging in the balance with a looming cut from 75 to 53 players by Saturday.
Here are SEVEN THINGS TO LOOK FOR OR THAT THE COLTS HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH ON THURSDAY:
SETTLE UNIT NUMBERS – Three tight ends or four? One fullback or two, or is a tight end a possible fullback? Offensive line – eight, nine or 10? Ditto defensive line, where some performers there have said there will be a number (how many?) of tough cuts. Has
BEYOND THREE – We know
LINE PLAY –
BOLT DOWN ON RUN – The Bengals bring a 170.7 rushing average into the game with a 5.6 per carry average. Six different backs have gains exceeding 10 yards, two with bursts longer than 40 yards. The team’s first-team defense, some of which could open, has allowed gains of 10-plus yards in each preseason outing. The outcome matters, but so do evaluations. This is one final test to measure where the team is in its attempt for a more staunch rushing defense.
BE SPECIAL, AGAIN – Cleveland posed a threat last week in the return game with a returner who had gone to the house. Cincinnati has two, Brandon Tate and Dane Sanzenbacher, who have scored on punt returns exceeding 70 yards, and the Bengals are averaging a whisker under 30 yards per kickoff return. Tom McMahon wants to settle on his final defenders, and the back end of the roster largely is determined by special teams prowess. Thursday is a time to shine.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
CORY REDDING (on how key is it to be productive in the snaps players will get in the finale)
“Any time you step on the field, you want to give 100 percent. After the game is over, it’s shot out across the league to 31 other teams, so you never want to put out bad tape. I don’t care if you’re out there for one play or 51 plays. Regardless of how long we’re out there or anybody’s on the field, any time you step across that white line, you want to give 100 percent effort.”