2018 Colts Preseason Preview: Colts/49ers, Week 3

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INDIANAPOLIS — Two teams on the rise in the Indianapolis Colts (1-1) and San Francisco 49ers (1-1) face off in their final dress rehearsal before the regular season. Be sure to tune in because this may be your last chance to watch these teams' star players until Week 1 of the regular season on Sept. 9.

BROADCAST INFORMATION

  • Saturday, Aug. 25, at 4:30 p.m. ET
  • Indianapolis; Lucas Oil Stadium
  • TV: WXIN “FOX59” — Greg Rakestraw (play-by-play), Rick Venturi (color), Barry Krauss (sideline) | NFL Network re-air at 12:00 a.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 27
  • To find out what games will be on in your area, check here.
  • Radio: WFNI “1070 The Fan” | WLHK “HANK FM” — Matt Taylor (play-by-play), Jim Sorgi (color) and Caroline Cann (sideline)

ALL-TIME SERIES

  • Colts lead, 26-18, including five of the last seven dating back to 1995. In the preseason, the 49ers lead, 1-0.
  • Last game — Week 5 of 2017. Colts won, 26-23.

COACHING STAFF

Colts:

  • HC Frank Reich
  • OC Nick Sirianni
  • DC Matt Eberflus
  • STC Bubba Ventrone

49ers:

  • HC/OC Kyle Shanahan
  • DC Robert Saleh
  • STC Richard Hightower

KEY NEW FACES

Colts:

  • RB Nyheim Hines/Jordan Wilkins
  • WR Ryan Grant/TE Eric Ebron
  • OL Quenton Nelson/Braden Smith/Matt Slauson/Austin Howard
  • DL Denico Autry/Kemoko Turay/Tyquan Lewis
  • LB Darius Leonard/Najee Goode

49ers:

  • RB Jerick McKinnon/Alfred Morris
  • WR Dante Pettis
  • OL Mike McGlinchey/Jonathan Cooper/Weston Richburg
  • LB Fred Warner
  • DB Richard Sherman/D.J. Reed/Tarvarius Moore

OTHER SIGNIFICANT CHANGES

Colts:

  • The Colts got an almost entirely new coaching staff this offseason led by head coach Frank Reich, and general manager Chris Ballard went into his second offseason of flipping the roster.
  • From 2017 to 2018, there could be as many as a dozen or more new starters.
  • With the coaching change came a switch to coordinator Matt Eberflus' 4-3, Tampa-2 style defense from the hybrid 3-4 defense. The offense under Reich and coordinator Nick Sirianni should be much more aggressive, exotic and matchup-based than in years past.
  • With all of these changes comes fierce competition in camp for numerous open spots along the roster.

49ers:

  • San Francisco gets a full offseason with Jimmy Garoppolo after acquiring the quarterback in-season before last year’s trade deadline. Garoppolo started the 49ers’ final five games in 2017 and won all of them, leading them to a 6-10 finish after the team started 1-10.
  • The 49ers replaced former starting running back Carlos Hyde with free-agent pickup and former Minnesota Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon. McKinnon is a great fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense as an explosive, three-down back.
  • The offensive line has been a sore spot for a few years now, but after using the No. 9 overall pick on potential starting right tackle Mike McGlinchey and signing interior linemen Jonathan Cooper and Weston Richburg this offseason, they should expect some improvement up front.

STORYLINES/THINGS TO WATCH

  • “The Final Dress Rehearsal” — The third preseason game is known as “the final dress rehearsal” for the regular season, as starters across the NFL typically play about a half of football and then usually not at all in the fourth and final game. This should be our final chance before the regular season to see primary players.
  • Luck vs. Garoppolo — When these two teams played early last year, the Colts were without quarterback Andrew Luck and the 49ers had yet to acquire Garoppolo. We should now get to see these two franchise quarterbacks dueling it out in the first half.
  • Competition At Defensive End — The Colts have a couple of known commodities at defensive end in Jabaal Sheard and John Simon. Outside of that, it seems like a wide-open battle for the remaining edge spots. It bears monitoring how Tarell Basham, Chris McCain, Ryan Delaire and Anthony Johnson perform, as well as rookie Kemoko Turay if he plays.

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

While I would love to point out particular individual matchups, there are certain key players on both sides who we don’t know whether or not they’ll play Saturday. Therefore, here are some position groups to keep an eye on instead.

  • Colts WRs vs. 49ers CBs — Veteran Richard Sherman leads a promising group of 49ers corners including Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward, D.J. Reed and K’Wuan Williams. With the injuries they’ve had, the Colts could use a good showing from a receiver outside of T.Y. Hilton. Last week, we saw receivers Zach Pascal and Steve Ishmael stand out. This will be a decent group of defensive backs to evaluate these receivers against.
  • Colts TEs vs. 49ers LBs/Ss — The Colts are deep at tight end, but the 49ers have a quality group of linebackers and safeties to guard them. I am particularly interested to see any battles featuring the Colts’ Eric Ebron against 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster. Ross Travis and Erik Swoope being covered by rookie linebacker Fred Warner would also be another matchup of highly-athletic players.
  • Colts OL vs. 49ers DL — The 49ers have a young defensive line to get excited about featuring the likes of Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner. On the flipside, the Colts have the same thing on their offensive line. What will a matchup with San Francisco’s defensive front look like for Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Braden Smith and the Colts’ offensive line?
  • Colts CBs vs. 49ers WRs — The 49ers have a couple of playmaking veteran receivers in Pierre Garçon and Marquise Goodwin coupled with two young studs in Trent Taylor and Dante Pettis. This group blends quickness, route running and the ability to stretch the field. It’ll be a great test for Quincy Wilson, Pierre Desir, Kenny Moore II, Nate Hairston and the rest of the Colts’ corners.

INJURY UPDATE

Since official pre-game injury updates are not required until the regular season, these are simply players who have been declared to be out indefinitely, for a period of time beyond this game or have missed a lot of practice recently.

Colts:

  • DT/DE Denico Autry (lower leg), WR K.J. Brent (knee), OT Anthony Castonzo (hamstring), DT/DE Tyquan Lewis (foot), RB Marlon Mack (hamstring), RB Robert Turbin (ankle), LB Anthony Walker (groin) and WR James Wright (knee).
  • On a conference call with the media on Monday, head coach Frank Reich said he hoped to have T/G Denzelle Good back on the field against the 49ers after missing the last couple weeks with a hamstring injury. On Thursday, Reich said the plan is to get Good about 20 snaps on Saturday and that he will likely be playing with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback (who runs the second unit).
  • Reich also expects S Malik Hooker to play in his first game action since tearing an ACL midway through last season, barring any setbacks.
  • Thursday, Reich said Turbin was a limited participant in practice and that there is a "slim" chance he plays Saturday.
  • After missing a good chunk of time in training camp to a knee injury, Turay is back doing live team drills in practice and is hopeful to play against the 49ers.

49ers:

  • RB Matt Breida (shoulder), S Marcell Harris (hamstring), OL Erik Magnuson (hamstring), RB Jerick McKinnon (knee) and RB Joe Williams (ribs).

REFEREE ASSIGNMENT

BETTING LINE

PRESEASON LEADERS

Colts:

  • Passing — QB Jacoby Brissett (207 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Jordan Wilkins (47 yards)
  • Receiving — WR Steve Ishmael (62 yards)
  • Touchdowns — TE Darrell Daniels, WR Zach Pascal, WR Chester Rogers (1)
  • Tackles — LB Zaire Franklin (12)
  • Sacks — DT Hassan Ridgeway (4.0)
  • Interceptions — CB Nate Hairston (1)

49ers:

  • Passing — QB C.J. Beathard (263 yards)
  • Rushing — RB Raheem Mostert (57 yards)
  • Receiving — WR Victor Bolden (86 yards)
  • Touchdowns — WR Richie James, RB Jeremy McNichols, WR Trent Taylor, RB Joe Williams (1)
  • Tackles — LB Elijah Lee (9)
  • Sacks — DT Jullian Taylor (1.0)
  • Interceptions — CB Emmanuel Moseley (1)

PRESEASON TEAM STATS

Colts:

  • Total offense — 26th (274.5 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 17th (19.0 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 19th (202.0 YPG)
  • Running offense — 27th (72.5 YPG)
  • Total defense — 2nd (230.5 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 9th (18.5 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 1st (117.5 YPG)
  • Sacks — 6th (7)
  • Running defense — 22nd (113.0 YPG)
  • Time of possession — 8th (31:40)
  • Turnover margin — 22nd (-1)

49ers:

  • Total offense — 1st (421.5 YPG)
  • Scoring offense — 19th (18.5 PPG)
  • Passing offense — 2nd (330.5 YPG)
  • Running offense — 19th (91.0 YPG)
  • Total defense — 18th (330.5 YPG)
  • Scoring defense — 9th (18.5 PPG)
  • Passing defense — 22nd (241.5 YPG)
  • Sacks — 28th (2)
  • Running defense — 12th (89.0 YPG)
  • Time of possession — 10th (30:46)
  • Turnover margin — 29th (-3)

NOTES AND QUOTES

  • There are several connections between these two teams involving current/former members. Current 49ers formerly with the Colts are Garçon, punter Jeff Locke, offensive lineman Mike Person, safety Tyvis Powell, defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina and director of pro personnel Ran Carthon. Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone and running backs coach Tom Rathman also both played for the 49ers during their playing career.
  • On Wednesday, the Colts signed free agent running back Tion Green and waived running back Josh Ferguson with an injury designation; Ferguson cleared waivers and reverted to Indy's IR list. The Colts actually waived Green on Monday, but Ferguson’s groin injury in the team’s Week 2 preseason game with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night caused a need at the position. Although Ferguson seemed like a fit for this new offense, he unfortunately struggled to stay healthy this summer. He also sat out much of training camp with a hamstring injury.
  • 49ers defensive tackle Cedric Thornton announced his retirement on Wednesday. They signed free-agent defensive tackle (and central Indiana native) Chris Jones to take his place.
  • On Thursday, the 49ers traded linebacker Eli Harold to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2020.
  • Reich said that rookie offensive guard/tackle Braden Smith will play guard this week, getting some other guys reps at right tackle. Smith started Monday night's game against the Baltimore Ravens at right tackle.
  • Hooker on his journey to return to the playing field: “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been out for a year and a couple weeks after that. For me to finally get out there and get cleared to be able to go out there and play on Saturday it’s a great feeling.”

49ers @ Colts 2017 - HIGHLIGHTS

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