The long offseason will finally come to an end on Thursday as the Indianapolis Colts travel to Metlife Stadium to take on the New York Jets in their first preseason game.
There are plenty of storylines to keep an eye on against the Jets as new faces get to see their first action in a Colts uniform.
Thursday, August 7, 7:00 p.m. EST
Metlife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Televison: WNDY TV23
Here’s some key things to keep an eye on:
- Offensive line play: Losing Donald Thomas again is a devastating injury to the Colts’ front five, and I’m not so certain that the current guys we have in place will be able to make an impact. We know what Cherilus and Castonzo can do, but my eyes are going to be on Khaled Holmes snapping the ball and, most especially, on how rookie Jack Mewhort plays with the first team offense. The Jets are known for having a dominant defensive line along with some solid outside linebackers as well; the new guys will be thrown right into the fire. It will also be interesting if any interior guards can step up later in the game to provide a safety cushion if Mewhort doesn’t perform well.
- Donte Moncrief: As my favorite pick in the draft, Moncrief’s playmaking ability is something that I’m dying to see in a live game. He has had an impressive training camp and has firmly cemented his spot at No. 4 on the depth chart. While it’s likely that we won’t see him much with Andrew Luck, he could still make some plays with Hasselbeck or Harnish under center. Moncrief is also currently penciled in to return kicks, so he’ll get some opportunities to make plays in the return game as well.
- The Fifth Receiver Spot: We finally get to see some competition for the spot. Since LaVon Brazill’s suspension and release, neither Griff Whalen nor Da’Rick Rogers has stood out. This Thursday’s game is a chance for both players to show what they mean to the offense and they will each have ample opportunities to do so. My hunch is that Whalen wins the spot due to his punt return ability, but Rogers is one big play from taking that advantage away.
- Third Running Back: Vick Ballard is gone. Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw firmly have the starting and backup spots locked up, but the third running back spot is a wide open competition. On the unofficial depth chart, training camp standout Dan Herron has the spot, but rookie Zurlon Tipton has shown the ability to compete for the position. Free agent pickups Phillip Tanner and Davin Meggett will also get good looks at running back to see which ones are worth keeping on the roster.
- Bjoern Werner: I’m excited to watch Werner play. If the camp rumors are true, Werner could provide a huge lift on defense. With Mathis’ absence in the first four games of the season, the coaches will want to get Werner as much experience in the preseason as possible to prepare him for starting against the Broncos in Week 1. Reports have made Werner out to be dominating on the line, and I’m ready to see him shred through a Jets’ shaky offensive line.
- Strong Safety: Right now, Delano Howell is in to start at the strong safety position against the Jets. Training camp hasn’t been as kind to Howell, so Thursday is his chance to show that he can start ably across from Landry. In spot duty last year, Howell had some good plays but also gave up some big plays in the passing game as well, so he’ll be under the microscope to make sure that he’s the correct choice over veteran safety Mike Adams.
A few notes:
- Reggie Wayne (knee) will not play in this game for precautionary reasons. Vick Ballard (Achilles) and Stanley Havili (shoulder) are also out.
- S LaRon Landry (lower body), LB Josh McNary (shoulder), CB Vontae Davis (lower body) are all listed as questionable.
- Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton won’t be out there long; one long drive ending in points will likely end their evening.
- The Jets’ first team may be out there longer as Rex Ryan tests out the Geno Smith vs. Michael Vick situation.
Win or lose, it’ll be good to get a grasp on what direction the team is headed. The Jets’ defense is a very solid and deep one, and should provide an ample contest for the new-look offense.
Indianapolis Colts football is back.
Tags: Indianapolis Colts