Starters Work Concise, Injury Free In Colts Preseason Opener

Intro: The Colts preseason opener came on Sunday in Philadelphia. How much work did the starting unit get against the Eagles?

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PHILADELPHIA – The most important takeaway from Sunday came on the injury report.

Work was concise for the Colts starters on Sunday afternoon, and the injuries were non-existent.

That was the starting point for Chuck Pagano's post-game presser before the Colts head coach went into the positives and negatives from the 36-10 loss in Philadelphia.

As expected, a couple of series of action was all the Colts starters saw on Sunday in the team's preseason opener in Philadelphia.

Andrew Luck would exit after 11 snaps, finishing the afternoon 5-of-6 for 43 yards (his lone incompletion came on a Coby Fleener drop).

"Andrew was pretty sharp early on," Pagano said after the preseason opening loss.

"We had a pitch count on the quarterback, so that's why we got him out of there."

On Sunday, Luck and the starters worked with not their normal starting unit, or even regulars.

T.Y. Hilton (personal reasons), Donte Moncrief (groin), Frank Gore (rest) and Boom Herron (rest) did not play in the preseason opener.

With a starting skill group including running back Zurlon Tipton and rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, the Colts offense received to start the game.

An opening drive began with Dorsett, the Colts first-round rookie, catching two passes for 13 yards. The drive came to a close when Coby Fleener couldn't hold onto a third-down catch.

The starting offense had another series together with Luck once again looking in Dorsett's direction. An 18-yard comeback reception from the rookie highlighted a nice afternoon for his professional debut (despite a second-quarter fumble).

Veteran Andre Johnson extended the eventual scoring drive with a nine-yard snag on a third-down.

Following the Johnson third-down conversion, Luck would exit mid-drive and fellow starters began to trickle out of the game soon after (the Colts would end the drive with an Adam Vinatieri field goal).

Dorsett finished the afternoon with four catches for 51 yards, but a fumble on a 20-yard completion had his full attention afterwards.

"He's a big play waiting to happen, but again he has to take care of the football," Pagano said of No. 29 overall pick back in May.

"You're looking at a guy that's going to be an outstanding football player, but you know what you're going to remember is the turnover. But again, he's going to be a dynamic guy for us."

The defensive first-team work on Sunday came with a patched up secondary. Neither Vontae Davis (groin) nor Darius Butler (groin) played and fellow corner D'Joun Smith exited early due to a concussion.

The unit started with a three-and-out, before the Eagles went to the air to take advantage of the depleted secondary. The Colts had a chance to get off the field for another three-and-out, but Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez eluded inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman for a 10-yard scramble on a third-and-five.

Philadelphia's up-tempo, eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive (with 62 yards coming through the air) would mark the end of the day for most of the Colts starting defense.

Following the game, Pagano pointed to protecting the football, establishing the run and tackling as keys heading into Week Two of the season

"We will go back, look at the tape, make evaluations," Pagano said following the preseason loss.

"It's early. It's a long, long season and the journey just started."

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