The Colts will once again finish off the another week of the preseason when they head to New York to face the Giants.
Colts owner Jim Irsay was very unhappy with his team’s performance against the Bills last week. It really was a lackluster effort all around from the team (aside from T.Y. Hilton laying out for a TD). This will be a more spirited effort from the team all around.
Here’s what to watch for:
- Playing Time. Coach Chuck Pagano said that the starters would see more time in this game. This will probably depend on the flow of the game, but it sounds like Andrew Luck and others will play roughly the entire first half. Expect the Giants to do roughly the same thing.
- Quality Opponent. The Bills are not a good team, and really only have a handful of very good players. The Giants, on the other hand, have a lot of upper tier talent. This will be the first look at the Colts facing a Manning (ok, not that one, but still). And if you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and view the Manning brothers new video. (And yes, I used this bullet point as an excuse to link to that video).
- Pass Rush. Who’s going to put pressure on the quarterback? Robert Mathis didn’t play much against the Bills, and rookie Bjoern Werner was held out of the game. Werner should see time this Sunday, and hopefully that will help. So far the Colts have shown a very vanilla defense and opted not to blitz very much. The Colts managed just one sack last week (vs 45 dropbacks from Bills QBs). At the very least, it would be nice to see Eli Manning have to scramble a bit.
- Run the Ball? Against the Bills, the Colts handed the ball off just 14 times, out of 65 total plays (totalling 67 yards). That doesn’t exactly echo the style that Pep Hamilton and Pagano have been preaching. Expect the team to have a bit more balance on offense. This won’t be a homecoming for Ahmad Bradshaw, who played with the Giants for the past six seasons. Bradshaw will be out once again. Donald Brown, Delone Carter, and Kerwynn Williams need to make the most of their time on the field if they want to claim a roster spot.
- Special Teams. Specifically, will they be able to not fail as hard as last week? Coverage was lackluster and ugly. Players had no discipline and zero effort. They were without a lot of players last week, but there still should have been more cohesion from the unit. Pat McAfee was his usual beastly self, but he can’t boom 50+yard punts and tackle the return man every time. Not allowing a punt or kickoff return for a touchdown will be a win this week.
- Better Protection. Specifically from the interior. Center Samson Satele and right guard Mike McGlynn were awful last week. Unfortunately, the rookies are still hurting and won’t get time on the field. Satele and McGlynn need to prove that they are starting caliber offensive linemen, and against the Giants line is a good chance to do so.
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