Colts Preparing for Saturday's Contest Like it was a Regular-Season Game
INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL is amidst its preseason schedule, but the Colts are preparing for this weekend's contest like it was a regular-season game.
Head Coach Jim Caldwell and his staff are spending the week trying to simulate their regular-season routine as much as possible, from how they study film in meetings to how they travel to the game.
"Everything is done exactly like it would be done in a game week," Caldwell said. "It's a great dry run so the first time they are doing this, it's not when we are preparing for Jacksonville (in the season-opener)," he said.
With new personnel on staff and players who are unfamiliar with how the team practices and travels leading up to a game, Caldwell said the Colts are trying their hardest to "replicate everything" from a regular-season week as the team prepares to face the Detroit Lions this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Ford Field.
The team's schedule is a day ahead of where it normally would be since the Colts are playing their third preseason game on a Saturday, opposed to a Sunday, as is custom during the regular season.
But Caldwell said the team's schedule is very similar and the team has been in "game-week type preparation" since Monday.
"Everybody can see where the problems may be and where we'll have to make some adjustments," Caldwell said. "It's a great exercise."
The players are benefiting from the exercise, too.
Next week, the Colts play their fourth and final preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. But since the game will be played on a Thursday, it gives the Colts a short week of preparation and forces them to use this week as their final test run.
"That's going to be a short week," Manning said. "Coaches will be evaluating players all the way until the end for the last two cuts, but for the veterans, this (the Detroit week) is really an important week. It will get you ready for the season."
Saturday's game at Detroit also will more closely resemble a regular-season game on the field. Instead of the starters appearing for just a few plays, Caldwell said the team's first-unit offense and defense will play the entire first half and a little bit into the third quarter, to give players a better feel of what it is like to come out of the locker room after halftime.
"We should get a pretty good look at our guys," Caldwell said. "In the second half, we'll begin to substitute and get some other guys some work as well."
Defensive captain and middle linebacker Gary Brackett said he thinks this week is beneficial for players because the team starts to focus more on its opponent, like it does during the regular season.
"The other two (preseason) games were about our schemes and where we line up," Brackett said. "Now, we take a look at Detroit and what they like to do, their formations and tendencies. We get a beat on the team, and I think we are able to play a little better game because we know what we are in for."