Sorgi Will Make Third Career Preseason Start in Hall of Fame Game
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The way Jim Sorgi is approaching it, it's no big deal.
So, the Colts' fifth-year quarterback is gettin a rare chance to start for the Colts, and so it will be on national television in the NFL's preseason opener.
So, Peyton Manning won't play.
So, it's one of the first chances Sorgi will have to work extensively in game conditions with the Colts' first-team offense in several seasons.
All of the things are true, Sorgi said, and he's looking forward to the opunity.
But Sorgi said he won't approach it as if it's anything extraordinary.
"I've started before in the preseason, so that won't be anything different," Sorgi said Friday morning as the Colts began preparations to play the Washington Redskins in the NFL's preseason opener, the Hall of Fame Game, at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Sunday at 8 p.m.
"In the last game of the preseason, Peyton sometimes doesn't play, so I get to start. Usually, it's at Cincinnati, so it (Sunday) is (just) a game.
"You've got to go out and play it."
Sorgi, the Colts' top backup quarterback behind Manning, will make his third career preseason start Sunday, with the first two coming in the final games of the 2005 and 2007 preseasons.
The difference this season is Sorgi is starting not the final game of the preseason, but the first, a situation brought about by Manning's absence after having a bursa sac removed from his left knee 10 days before the start of training camp.
Sorgi has played extensively in each of his four previous preseasons, but never has started a regular-season game.
His only extensive work with the Colts' starting unit? A Colts loss in Seattle late in the 2005 season and a loss to Denver in the 2004 season finale, games played after the Colts had clinched their playoff seeding and games Manning left early.
"It's going to be a new experience for him," Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said. "He's had games where he knew he was going to play the majority of the game, but going in starting and getting us off to a good start will be new for him. I expect once that first series goes he'll be fine."
Dungy, like the Colts' offensive starters, has praised Sorgi's performance this far in training camp, during which he has worked for the first time without Manning in meetings and at practice.
On Wednesday night, during the Colts' first night practice of 2008 Training Camp, Sorgi led an impressive late-practice drive in the two-minute session and completed several long passes downfield, including one to wide receiver Marvin Harrison and another to wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez.
"Jim's done a great job," Colts right tackle Ryan Diem said. "Peyton likes to take as many reps as he can in practice, so Jim hasn't always gotten the chance to get in there and work with us as much as he'd like to, but I like what I see.
"He's doing a great job. He's leading the ship just like we want him to."
Sorgi said the notable aspect of Sunday's game isn't as much that he's starting, but that he's doing so in the Hall of Fame Game.
"That will be neat," he said. "It's another game. It's special to play in the Hall of Fame Game and special to play in the first preseason game of the year, but I've started in the preseason before. I know how to go out there and what the mindset is to play and hopefully win the ballgame. That's the kind of mindset I'm going to take into the game."
Sorgi said his approach in the game won't change much from his approach in past appearances.
"I'm not going to go out there and try to do too much," he said. "I'm going to go out there and let the players around me play and make plays. I'll take what they give me. I'm not going to try to force too many things, and hopefully, that leads us to a lot of first downs and touchdowns.
"I'll play as long as the coaches want me to play and then I'll go sit down."
Also on Friday, Dungy said the six players on the Physically Unable to Perform list – Manning, safety Bob Sanders, defensive end Dwight Freeney, tight end Tom Santi, offensive guard Ryan Lilja and linebacker Tyjuan Hagler – won't play Sunday.
He also said linebackers Gary Brackett and Clint Session and wide receiver Marvin Harrison aren't expected to play.
"He's doing great, but we'll see what the doctors have to say, when they actually want him to go live," Dungy said of Harrison, who missed 11 games last season with a knee injury. "He's right on schedule in terms of practicing and running. When we want the live work, whether it will be Week Three or Week Four, we'll see."
Also, the Colts signed linebacker Brandon Archer – who spent six games on the Colts' active roster last season – and waived wide receiver Charles Dillon. Archer spent much of the offseason with the Denver Broncos before being released recently.
"It's just a matter of sitting down and going over it," Archer said. "It's just trying to hit the (play)book in the next couple of days. I'm going to take up my coach's time as much as possible, clear out everything I learned at Denver and get back to what we have here."