INDIANAPOLIS – In the last two preseason finales, Andrew Luck’s time on the field has lasted four snaps (all in 2012).
So it’s a safe bet Luck, and many Colts starters, will be spectating on Thursday night in Cincinnati.
If that’s the case, the Colts starters will head into the regular season with around a dozen drives together in three preseason contests.
Key starters Reggie Wayne and Jerrell Freeman have seen limited action during the preseason.
Ideally, the Colts starters will look a bit different in Denver then what we’ve seen over the past three weeks.
What is there to make out of the preseason action for the Colts?
Andrew Luck’s preseason stat line reads: 26-of-41 for 245 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 85.9. Luck wasn’t his best on Saturday night, but he’s still led the starting offense on six scoring drives in 11 series. He saw his complete skill position group for a couple of drives on Saturday night and has worked with an undrafted center for all but seven snaps this preseason.
Trent Richardson showed flashes this preseason but ultimately finished the first three games with 51 rushing yards on 20 carries. Will the addition of several skill guys, and the possible return of Khaled Holmes, open some lanes up for Richardson? Boom Herron was the star of the preseason, thanks to his 28 touches for 157 yards (a team-high 10 catches). Ahmad Bradshaw made his 2014 debut on Saturday night, playing 17 snaps.
In Week One, we saw T.Y. Hilton dazzle. Hakeem Nicks took the leading role in Week Two. Saturday night was reserved for Reggie Wayne’s debut. Toss in the young guys—Donte Moncrief, Griff Whalen and Da’Rick Rogers---and the Colts have seen production all throughout their receiving group this preseason.
The tight ends had their best game of the preseason on Saturday night. Dwayne Allen admitted after the game he needed those catches in traffic to take the next step in his comeback from a season ending injury. This position group has been a hot topic this offseason so we will see if Saturday’s work from Allen and Coby Fleener translates to the regular season.
The focus of this unit now shifts to the health of Khaled Holmes. His status will be monitored closely over the next two weeks after the Colts starting center played just seven snaps in the preseason. With Jack Mewhort returning to the starting lineup, the Colts seem to have found their core five with key depth coming from the likes of Joe Reitz, Lance Louis and Jonotthan Harrison. The group had protected well early in the preseason before struggling a bit on Saturday night.
The line has probably been the most impressive group throughout the preseason. A few cutback runs from the Saints are the lone blemishes from the rush defense group. With Josh Chapman and Arthur Jones in the middle of this 3-4 scheme, the Colts front has shown significant improvement in establishing the line of scrimmage this preseason.
It’s hard to completely evaluate this group without the likes of Robert Mathis or Jerrell Freeman. Both Erik Walden and Bjoern Werner have impressed this month, with Walden getting after the quarterback. Freeman was sorely missed on Saturday night, particularly in pass coverage. The combination of Freeman and Jackson in the middle was seen in the preseason opener and looked like a duo that could mesh very well together in 2014.
It’s been a slow process, one that is still ongoing, for the starting secondary. While finding a starting safety next to LaRon Landry remains up in the air, the trio of corners (Vontae Davis, Greg Toler and Darius Butler) has been intact for the last two weeks. The secondary won’t have anytime to ease into the regular season with Denver and Philadelphia waiting out of the gate.
The return positions still seem to be a bit unsettled as we head into the preseason finale. The favorites at kick returner look to be Boom Herron and Donte Moncrief. At punt return, Griff Whalen, T.Y. Hilton and Loucheiz Purifoy all continue to get reps.