A total of 75 players will take the field Thursday at Paul Brown Stadium.
For those players, the 60 minutes of football will serve as one final audition to see if they will survive the 53-player cut that comes less than 48 hours later.
Here’s a look at five Colts who are sure to see plenty of playing time on Thursday:
Outside linebacker Caesar Rayford
Rayford has become the unsung hero of the 2013 preseason with five sacks. The former Arena Football Leaguer would be continuing his job as a juvenile counselor if he weren’t in opposing NFL backfields week-after-week.
“My mindset is like it doesn’t matter what I did last game. I’m just going to go out and compete like nothing happened, make the best of every play, every opportunity I get. What I did last game doesn’t matter about this game. It’s all about Cincinnati and got to go out there and compete, because those guys, they ain’t worrying about what I did last game. It’s what I do now.”
Quarterback Chandler Harnish
Harnish calls the preseason his “Super Bowl” and that’s especially the case in game No. 4 where the third string quarterback will get more than a bulk of the snaps. Last year, Harnish played three and a half quarters in the preseason finale and led the offense on a pair of touchdown drives, thus earning a roster spot.
“This is a big evaluation for myself. Last year, I had the opportunity to play most of the game and I’m expecting a lot of playing time this year too. I’m just going to go out there play my game, have fun, prepare like I’m a starter and just go out and show my value to this team.”
Safety Delano Howell
In Week One of the preseason, Howell played 89 snaps (99 percent of all defensive snaps) against Buffalo. He led the team in tackles and has continued to impress all preseason long.
“This is the one we’ve been looking forward to for the young guys, for guys that are trying to prove something, trying to claim a spot. There’s going to be a lot of opportunity, a lot of snaps and everything. I know all of us, all the young guys and everything, people that are fighting to earn a spot, they’re all going to be taking advantage of it.”
Inside linebacker Mario Harvey
Harvey turned in a strong performance last week against the Browns and he has fond memories of last year’s preseason finale. Harvey recorded six tackles, two for loss and eventually earned a roster spot.
“Every chance you get on the field is very important because you are fighting for a spot on the team, to feed your family, fighting for your legacy, your name so it’s very important.”
Safety Joe Lefeged
As an undrafted free agent in 2011, Lefeged had seven tackles in the final preseason game and earned a roster spot. Injuries have sidelined the third-year safety for much of training camp but he is expected to be out there on Thursday evening.
“It’s big but you don’t want to think about it too much. You want to focus on your assignment and go out there and have fun. If you think about the result and things you can’t control, that’s when the mistakes happen.”
Tags: Caesar Rayford, Chandler Harnish, Delano Howell, Joe Lefeged, Mario Harvey
Posted in Colts Blog
With the majority of the preseason behind us, I thought I would break down how the first-team offense has fared this season compared to last season.
The stats below include the offensive numbers for the first-team offensive drives led by Andrew Luck through the first three preseason games of 2012 and 2013.
16 offensive drives led by Andrew Luck. Those drives added up to 577 total yards, 33 first downs, 45 points and 2 turnovers.
-Luck: 40-of-64 (62.5%) for 514 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions.
-34 total rushes for 99 yards.
13 offensive drives led by Andrew Luck. Those drives added up to 468 total yards, 28 first downs, 34 points and 2 turnovers.
-Luck: 29-of-44 (65.9%) for 322 yards, 4 TDs and 1 interceptions.
-31 total rushes for 134 yards rushing.
-When breaking down the numbers per drive, the stats are very similar from a production standpoint (yards, points, first downs). It was pretty remarkable how prolific the Colts first-team offense was during the preseason last year. That has carried over in 2013 with Luck only throwing one interception, and one could argue that wasn’t the quarterback’s fault.
-It was no secret that Bruce Arians entered every game with a handful of deep balls on his play sheet and the clock didn’t hit triple zeroes until he used them all. We haven’t seen the deep ball much in the preseason, but the yards per attempt numbers don’t show a major discrepancy. In 2012, Luck averaged 8 yards per attempt. This season he has averaged 7.3 yards and the offense does not have the stereotypical ‘dink and dunk’ style of most West Coast systems.
-The rushing numbers are the major change from 2012 to 2013. For everything that has been made about Pep Hamilton’s ‘balanced’ offensive attack, there’s no denying that the numbers speak for itself. In 2013, the first-team offense has averaged 4.3 yards per carry versus last year where the unit averaged 2.9 yards per rush. Luck isn’t quite throwing the ball as often and the first-team offense has done a very efficient job on the ground.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Pep Hamilton
Posted in Colts Blog
The Colts are less than 36 hours away from their 2013 preseason finale. Today’s news looks at the debate of who the Colts No. 2 receiver and a look at the quarterback who will get ample playing time on Thursday night.
Take a look below at the top pieces from Wednesday, August 28th.
By: Stephen Holder, Indy Star
One of the most heated discussions among Colts fans centers around who should be the Colts No. 2 receiver.
To answer that, Holder went right to the two men involved in the question.
Said Hilton: “It hasn’t really held me back. That’s where they have me at, so wherever they put me, that’s where I’ll play. I’m happy and they’re happy, so I’ll play it all day.”
“I definitely look at it like a win-win situation,” Heyward-Bey said. “T.Y. made plays last year and he’s made plays this preseason. But I think we have it set up where he’s not losing anything. When we go three wide, he’s out there. When we’re in two-receiver sets, we’re (throwing) passes, but we’re doing our running game too.
“Being a wide receiver, part of what I do is blocking downfield, taking out safeties. So, I definitely play my part and T.Y. plays his part and I think it works well for everybody.”
By: Reggie Hayes, News-Sentinel
Chandler Harnish has been in this situation before.
Last year, Harnish shined in the Colts preseason finale and earned a roster spot.
This season he’s on the bubble once again and the game against the Bengals is just over 24 hours away.
“It’s never an easy situation, but at the end of the day you can’t worry about things you can’t control,” Harnish said.
“You go out and play hard and put yourself in position to win the game. You do everything you have to do as far as preparing to go and execute the game plan, and let the chips fall where they may.
“I understand it’s an unbelievable privilege to play this game,” he said. “Whatever happens, I know there’s a plan and I’m excited to attack it, whatever that adventure might be.”
Tags: Chandler Harnish, darrius heyward-bey, T.Y. Hilton
Posted in Colts Blog, COLTS DAILY HEADLINES