INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts final road trip of the preseason will come on Saturday night in St. Louis.
Week Three of the preseason pits the Colts and Rams kicking off Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. EST (airing locally on FOX 59 and on the radio dial at 1070 The Fan).
What should fans be looking for when the Colts travel to take on the Rams this weekend?
1. Starters Run
-Week Three of the preseason means plenty of playing time for the starters. Expect the Colts starting units to play at least two quarters, and likely part of the third, on Saturday night. If past preseasons are any indication, the playing time for the starters this weekend will be the last tune-up for them until the real action comes on September 13.
2. Vaunted Rams Front
-It's the ideal test at the ideal time. The Rams and their handful of first-round draft picks on the defensive line will be what the Colts encounter on Saturday night. From the edge guys in Robert Quinn and Chris Long, to the interior bodies of Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers, the Rams should be a great barometer for what the Colts are going to see in the trenches to start the regular season (Bills and Jets).
3. More Vick Ballard
-In returning to a game for the first time in more than 700 days, Vick Ballard played eight snaps last weekend against Chicago. He should definitely see more playing time the next two weeks as the Colts try and evaluate how healthy Ballard is entering 2015. Ballard's health is obviously going to have implications in a running back room that has seen rookie Josh Robinson emerge.
4. Halftime Adjustments?
-One of the common traits in third preseason games comes from teams playing their starters into the third quarter. This allows for teams to have a series or two post halftime, implementing adjustments used in the third quarter. Some Colts players have donned scout team jerseys this week to identify the personnel they will see from the Rams on Saturday night. *5. Final Audition *
-By Tuesday afternoon (4:00 p.m. EST), the Colts will have to cut their roster from 90 players to 75. That means the final couple of quarters on Saturday will be the last time for backend of the roster guys to impress Colts coaches. A strong performance Saturday could extend someone's stay in Indianapolis another week, which would mean plenty of chances in next Thursday's preseason finale.
6. Healthy Outing
-All things considered, the Colts have had a healthy Training Camp/start to the preseason. After Saturday night, starters will likely not see the field again until the regular season opener in two weeks (September 13). If the Colts can avoid the significant injury again on Saturday, they should be very healthy when the regular season starts in Buffalo.
7. Improved Special Teams
-After two preseason games, the Colts are still in a full-on search for core special teams players in 2015. The Colts lost a couple of special team stalwarts in the offseason (Sergio Brown and Andy Studebaker) so there are roles to be filled. Finding a kick returner also looks to be a priority with Boom Herron currently listed as the team's starter on the depth chart.