Colts/Ravens Notebook: Offensive Line Offers Ample Protection For Andrew Luck

Intro: In the Colts/Ravens preseason Notebook, we take a look at the how the first-team offensive line looked blocking for Andrew Luck, an update on injuries to T.Y. Hilton/Vontae Davis and how the young wide receivers played against Baltimore.

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INDIANAPOLIS – It was the talk of the offseason dating back to earliest days of 2016.

Could the Colts improve their offensive line play in ultimately keeping Andrew Luck upright?

On Saturday night, we got our first glimpse into that.

Here's a notebook look at the Colts falling to the Ravens, 19-18, on Saturday night.

**Pass Protection Gives Andrew Luck Ample Time To Work

**If the Colts played on grass, Andrew Luck's jersey from Saturday night could have been hung right back up in his locker with hardly a stain on it.

Luck can (and did) thank his offensive line for allowing him plenty of time to go through his reads and finish his return to game action a perfect 8-of-8 for 71 yards in 20 total snaps.

"A fantastic job," Luck said of the offensive line not allowing a sack or hit when Luck was in the game for two series. "They did a heck of a job. They played their butts off."

Saturday was Luck's first time working with new rookie center Ryan Kelly.

It was also the same starting offensive line look Luck should expect in Week One of the regular season.

Earlier in the week, new starting right guard Denzelle Good said it had been a "grind week" on the practice field.

The physicality was increased and the Colts wanted to improve their trench play from the preseason opener.

"I definitely think that it translated onto the field well," Good said of the message getting across to the offensive line in practice.

"We came out firing on all cylinders as an offensive line. Everybody was on their assignment, on their job with a lot of effort. I feel like we definitely moved some guys and created some space in the run game. I think we are going to continue to build on that."**

Davis, Hilton, Mathis Sit Out Saturday Night

**The Colts were without three of their stars on Saturday night.

After the game, Chuck Pagano explained why he held CB-Vontae Davis, WR-T.Y. Hilton and OLB-Robert Mathis out.

-Davis (ankle): Pagano said the cornerback rolled his ankle in practice on Thursday. Some swelling of the ankle made Pagano's decision to keep Davis on the sidelin.

-Hilton (hamstring): In Buffalo, Hilton did "overextend" his hamstring trying to catch a crossing route near the sideline. Hilton did practice all last week but with his hamstring still being a bit tender, Pagano did not want to take a chance.

-Mathis (knee): It sounds like Mathis might not get out there this preseason. No. 98 is practicing, but Pagano knows he doesn't need to see what the franchise's all-time sack leader can do in August.

Other injuries from Saturday night were as followed: OT-Kevin Graf (ankle, carted off the field), OT-Joe Haeg (ankle, had a boot on his right foot in the post-game locker room), S-Stefan McClure (hamstring) and CB-Patrick Robinson (groin). These four will be evaluated on Sunday.

The Colts return to practice on Monday and will be on the field through Thursday, ahead of their third preseason game on Saturday, Aug. 27 versus the Eagles.**

Young Receivers Show More Flashes

**For a second straight week, the Colts had the same undrafted receivers make themselves noticed.

Rob Chudzinski spoke earlier in the week about wanting to see someone go up and take the opportunity to round out the wide receiver group.

On Saturday, it was Tevaun Smith (two catches for 18 yards and a touchdown) and Chester Rogers (five catches for 31 yards and a 26-yard punt return) once again producing.

Smith scored on a fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line, winning inside on a slant route touchdown.

In college, Smith found the end zone at Lucas Oil Stadium.

During last year's Big Ten Championship, Smith scored a touchdown for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

"I remember scoring a touchdown in this stadium and now I'm back in here and got another one," a smiling Smith said on Saturday night. "It's definitely a good experience doing that."

Rogers, an undrafted receiver from Grambling, has had the most individual impact this preseason.

A 26-yard punt return showed the special teams impact the Colts could have in the speedy Rogers.

Both Smith and Rogers were in the middle of the Colts' locker room on Saturday, using a temporary locker.

When roster cuts come in the next two weeks, Smith hopes to be a permanent resident inside that home locker room.

"My goal," Smith said, 'is to get a real locker."**

Colts/Ravens Snap Counts**

  • These starters on offense played two series, totaling 20 snaps on Saturday: QB-Andrew Luck, OT-Joe Reitz, OG-Jack Mewhort, TE-Dwayne Allen and OT-Anthony Castonzo.
  • No surprise in seeing Frank Gore for just three snaps on Saturday. Gore had one carry for five yards. Gore has now had just 10 total carries in the past four preseasons.
  • Scott Tolzien (13-of-18 for 107 yards and a touchdown) played 34 snaps on Saturday night. Third stringer Stephen Morris (7-of-11 for 66 yards and a touchdown) entered in the fourth quarter and played 22 snaps.
  • Defensively, we saw some starters stay in a bit longer than others, including S-T.J. Green (27 snaps) and ILB-Nate Irving (26 snaps).
  • Starters NT-David Parry, S-Mike Adams and OLB-Erik Walden all played 13 snaps.
  • We saw Arthur Jones make his 2016 debut, playing 10 snaps in his first game since last preseason.
  • Fourth-round pick ILB-Antonio Morrison led the defense in playing 40 total snaps, finishing the night with a team-high seven tackles.

Photos from the preseason home opener against Baltimore.

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