WESTFIELD, Ind. – Matt Ryan will quarterback the Colts' offense during the first quarter of his team's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills Saturday afternoon at Highmark Stadium, head coach Frank Reich said on Wednesday.
"Play maybe a quarter, maybe a little less," Reich said. "We'll just take it as the flow of the game."
Reich and general manager Chris Ballard are still working through how much other players will play, and on and individual basis, if certain players will play at all. For those players who don't play, though, Reich wants to make sure they get conditioning work in prior to kickoff in western New York.
"That person might happen to get to the stadium a little bit earlier and do an extra workout on gameday," Reich said. "We've planned that out with (Director of Sports Performance) Rusty (Jones) and (Head of Strength and Conditioning Richard Howell) and those players and how we're going to pace them to make sure they don't de-condition at all over a three, four-day span."
Last week, Reich said it's unlikely the Colts will play their starters in their second preseason game Aug. 20 against the Lions – which will come on the heels of joint practices with Detroit on Aug. 17 and 18 at Grand Park. The tentative plan is to have starters play again against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Aug. 27 at Lucas Oil Stadium with an eye on the Colts' season opener two weeks later against the Houston Texans.
Other news, notes and observations from Wednesday's practice at Grand Park:
- Wide receiver Ashton Dulin flashed a few times during the day's padded practice. He had a physical, competitive win in one-on-one drills against cornerback Brandon Facyson, then in 11-on-11 adjusted his body to catch a pass from quarterback Nick Foles that was behind him. "He's impressive," Foles said. "He's made some plays out here that I've only seen a few guys make in my career."
- While being guarded by cornerback Stephon Gilmore, wide receiver Alec Pierce made a good adjustment to bring in a back shoulder touchdown from Ryan in one-on-ones.
- Wide receiver Keke Coutee had a handful of wins in one-on-one, too.
- Cornerback Kenny Moore II swatted away a throw to Michael Pittman Jr. in a one-on-one rep.
- Ryan picked up chunk plays in seven-on-seven periods with completions to wide receiver Parris Campbell and tight end Mo Alie-Cox.
- Foles hit tight end Jelani Woods for a nice gain in seven-on-seven; quarterback Sam Ehlinger found wide receiver D.J. Montgomery for a deep touchdown in 11-on-11.
- Defensive tackle R.J. McIntosh tipped a Ryan pass at the line that linebacker Bobby Okereke intercepted during 11-on-11; in a goal line drill, cornerback Isaiah Rodgers tipped a Foles pass into the waiting arms of linebacker E.J. Speed for an interception.
- Running back Ty'Son Williams ripped off an explosive run in a backed-up 11-on-11 period. Reich figured it could've been a 99-yard run in live game action.