CINCINNATI — The Indianapolis Colts needed to see some consistent positivity from the depth of their wide receiver group this summer, and Zach Pascal has answered the call.
From the time the Colts put the pads on in training camp and culminating in their final preseason game Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals, the first-year wideout from Old Dominion has been a reliable playmaker, day in and day out.
Whether it was prying passes away between two defenders in practice or making tough catches in traffic during the preseason, Pascal has been impressive.
Against the Bengals, he got the start and caught three of his five targets for 33 yards and one touchdown — his second of the preseason.
His performance in Cincinnati caps a preseason that saw him pull in six catches for 91 yards and a team-leading two scores.
Despite his standout performance on Thursday night, Pascal gave himself a critique. Perhaps it's that attitude that has ultimately led to his successes.
"There was definitely a couple plays out there that I feel like I want back," Pascal told Colts.com's Caroline Cann after the game. "The post that I had there — the first post — I felt like I could've caught that. At the end of the day — good plays, bad plays — I just try and let the game come to me and have fun."
In regard to how he was able to bounce back despite having those plays he'd like back, Pascal said, "I feel like that happens all the time. I always have like one bad play then I come back and continue to play and just have fun with it."
Considering a couple spots are up for grabs in the receiving corps, Pascal did himself a favor Thursday night by validating what he's put on tape throughout training camp and the preseason.
With rookie receiver Deon Cain lost for the season with a torn ACL and the likes of K.J. Brent, Krishawn Hogan and James Wright missing recent practice time, the Colts needed players to step up to try and get a spot behind T.Y. Hilton, Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers.
“Obviously the first couple spots (are) T.Y. (Hilton) and Ryan (Grant) and Chester (Rogers), those are our guys right there," head coach Frank Reich told reporters this week. "Then really the rest of the spots are still up in the air and this last game will count.”
Teams must have their rosters cut down from 90 players to 53 by 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. They can then begin signing up to 10 players to the practice squad beginning early Sunday afternoon.