INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts finished the 2011 preseason on Thursday night in Cincinnati. The roster currently stands at 80 players and the team must get to 53 by Saturday.
Head Coach Jim Caldwell says the team had good work in the preseason. While the evaluation period during that month may not have been optimal or exactly as it has been in past seasons, it did yield the amount of time for decisions to be made.
"We have what we have in terms of the amount of time we had," said Caldwell. "If you would draw it up obviously it's not exactly like you'd want, otherwise you wouldn't have all OTAs (organized team activities) and rookie mini-camps and things of that nature that are in place for us to utilize. With the amount of time that we have, we're doing the best job we possibly can with the information that we're going to have presented to us through their play. We think that we have with the information we've gathered from the amount of time that we've had, we think we'll be able to make the right decision."
Typically the final cutdown has not included the volume of players the Colts will have to decide on this weekend. For that reason alone, the job will be a bit tougher.
"It's one of those things with a few more people it certainly throws a few more folks in the mix in terms of evaluation and those kinds of things," said Caldwell. "It does make it a bit more difficult in that regard. You just have a little more to do, but it's well worth it, obviously…We do that tomorrow, so we haven't begun that process yet. That's what we work our way through in the next 24 hours. We do have some idea obviously…but nothing is etched in stone as of yet."
Caldwell said the club seemed to emerge from the Cincinnati game without injuries appearing too serious, nothing evidently beyond just the normal bumps and bruises associated with the game.
He did indicate the early flow of the contest altered the planned rotation at quarterback. Veteran Kerry Collins played most of the first half and Dan Orlovsky played the rest of the game. Curtis Painter saw no action, but that was not part of the team's approach to the game.
"One of the things we were looking at was we wanted to make sure Kerry had a road to get a pretty decent amount (of work)," said Caldwell. "One of the things I considered was playing Kerry the first quarter and then playing Curtis the second quarter. We were going to let Dan have the remainder of the game. We just sputtered quite a bit on offense early-on there. We just didn't get an opportunity to get as many things done in that first quarter as we liked, so we stretched it out a little bit to get Kerry a few more plays."
Caldwell noted there was no change in Peyton Manning's rehabilitation and progression: "He's still working hard and still moving along. (We have) nothing to announce at this particular time."
With no personnel announcements involving players being made until later in the weekend, Caldwell did announce an addition of a consultant to his game day staff.
"I've been looking for a couple of years now for a guy to work on a game day status for us, an individual who maybe had a little time on his hands but also an individual who had some experience as well that we can utilize for replay and things of that nature," said Caldwell. "We have found that person. We have hired Jim Tressel. Coach Tressel was at Ohio State and had great record there and at Youngstown State. He's been a head coach for the past 24 or 25 years, a guy I've known for quite some time and been very familiar with. We're going to hire him as a game day consultant. He was at the game yesterday just observing. He will actually be working with us come next week. He will be in the (coaching) booth and will work with different aspects for me. One in particular is kind of a replay consultant. What we're going to do is maybe take a couple of things off some of the guys' plates that are up on the box so they can fully concentrate strictly on their position. Thus, he will be able to work some of those areas and become an expert in those areas. That's where we will utilize him. He is a game day consultant."
Tressel, 58, led Ohio State to a record of 106-22 and eight Bowl Championship Series games in 10 seasons at the school. He was 135-57-2 in 15 seasons at Youngstown State, including four Division I-AA national championships. His career mark is 241-79-2.