INDIANAPOLIS --- The Indianapolis Colts' preseason finale at Cincinnati Thursday night is the last chance for many players to make a good impression before final roster cutdowns Saturday, when NFL teams must get to 53 players, but with some veterans likely to sit out against the Bengals, some have started to prepare for their week one Sunday night showdown against the Broncos.
"(Monday) was the first intro into a little bit of what Denver's going to be doing. Not a lot of game-planning going on, because we still got a lot of young guys that's going to play (Thursday)," said Colts linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. "So, our focus is going to be helping those guys and maximize their opportunities."
In other words, the veterans are multi-tasking this week.
"A few of us, I've opened the playbook up. I started looking at (the Broncos) a little bit," said Jackson. "(Monday) was the first introduction for myself and some other guys."
"Denver is a tough opponent. It's a lot that goes with that team offensively and defensively," said running back Ahmad Bradshaw. "You kind of have to give it a head start. We don't know who quite is going to be in for the Bengals game, but we'll get ready for them and like you said, start on Denver."
Head coach Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson must first go from 75 to 53 players in a matter of 96 hours, after Tuesday's first roster cutdowns from 90. The deadline to get to 53 players is four o'clock Saturday. This last preseason game factors into those decisions heavily.
""No doubt about it," Pagano said Tuesday, when asked if there are still roster spots open in case somebody goes out and wows Thursday night. "We're still in pencil. Some guys may have their (roster spot) inked up. I read the clips and all the rosters are set for Houston, Tennessee, Jacksonville and what not. It's all speculation. There's guys still fighting for jobs and guys fighting to keep jobs. That's every day."
It's a message Pagano drills home with his players.
"We just talked about it after practice, because all you have to do is make a 53 and then take your foot off the gas," said Pagano. "Next thing you know you walk in and your locker's taken by somebody else. Every day you walk in, you look at your jersey number, 'I'm going to do everything I possibly can within my power to make sure I don't give this up.'"
And to be there Sunday night, September 7th in Denver...