The Indianapolis Colts travel to Buffalo on Saturday for their first exhibition game against the Buffalo Bills. What are a few things to watch for in this matchup for the Colts, whom are coming off of an 8-8 season?
The Indianapolis Colts last faced the Bills at the start of the 2015 regular season almost a year ago.
Needless to say, quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts were beaten mercilessly throughout the game — which would kick off an injury-riddled and disappointing season for Luck and the Colts that year.
The good thing for the Colts this time around is that this bout with the Rex Ryan-lead Bills will be a preseason game. Luckily, preseason games don’t carry as much meaning as a regular season game would.
Despite the final score meaning little-to-nothing, there are a few things to watch for that may give fans an inside look at the 2016 Indianapolis Colts.
Andrew Luck’s Performance
It is very likely that quarterback Andrew Luck plays just a series or two in this game. Even still, it will be interesting to see how he performs with the starting unit in the time that he is on the field.
Luck was hardly healthy throughout the duration of 2015, and didn’t play like his normal self even when he was healthy. New Colts’ quarterbacks coach Brian Schottenheimer and offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski have emphasized Luck getting rid of the ball quicker and cutting down on his turnovers this season, so seeing how Luck adapts to those changes will be something to keep an eye on.
What Will the Offensive Line Look Like?
The left side and middle of the starting offensive line looks to be set in stone with Anthony Castonzo, Jack Mewhort and Ryan Kelly in that order from left-to-right. Joe Reitz appears to be the favorite for the starting right tackle spot, but the right guard position looks to be a battle between both Hugh Thornton and Denzelle Good.
With ex-Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin now serving as the offensive line coach for the Colts, it’s time for this unit to pick up the pace and play like a competent unit. Too many times did it look to be too easy for opposing defenses to penetrate right through the line — resulting in an ineffective running game and Luck getting hit or sacked on nearly every other play. The Colts used their first-round selection on Kelly in this year’s draft to shore up the unit, so seeing how Kelly and the line perform on Saturday could give an insight into the regular season.
Will There Be Any resemblance of defense?
The Colts ranked 26th in the NFL in total defense last season — giving up about 370 yards per-game. With a thin defensive line plagued by injury as of now, and an Arthur Jones suspension, the Colts will rely on young talent and some mild inexperience for the unit.
Same as the offense, expect a majority of the defensive starters to play just a few series at the most. With the free agency addition of cornerback Patrick Robinson to start alongside Vontae Davis as well as rookie T.J. Green in the secondary, it will be intriguing to see how things shake up on the defense during the first exhibition game.
The Colts take on the Bills Saturday at 7 p.m. ET.
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