It's the starters' preseason game. 5 starters are out (Brock, Lilja, Sanders, Vinatieri and Hayden), but we will see Peyton, Wayne, Gonzalez, Charlie Johnson, Robert Mathis, Dwight Freeney and all of those guys playing in the second quarter. After seeing what happened to Tom Brady against the Redskins, I am much more nervous for this game than I should be. All it takes is a right defensive end getting to Peyton, hitting him on his blindside and hurting his shoulder like what they did to Brady. Good thing the Colts are starting their most talented left tackle...Oh wait.
This is Johnson's game. He has to keep Peyton standing up or else we will see Ugoh at left tackle in Week One. Ugoh has outplayed Johnson in the preseason so far, and if it happens again, Mudd and Caldwell can't justify starting Johnson. The most important thing about the offense is to keep Peyton Manning on his feet so he can throw a few touchdowns a game. If that doesn't happen, someone needs to go. In this case, it is Johnson. If a right end nails Manning I will be very upset with Caldwell and Mudd for not starting the better left tackle.
The rest are after the jump.
Sorgi is back! Get happy, everyone. Sorgi will be able to play so the "Out with the old, in with the new" fallacy will go away now. We will see that Sorgi is better than Painter and people can be quiet about that. He won't throw off his back foot in the redzone directly to a defender. He won't scramble out at any kind of pressure and throw on the run instead of stepping up in the pocket. I think once people see Sorgi on the field again they will realize how much of a better player he is than Curtis Painter.
Garcon really needs to play well if he is going to see the field this year. He's dropping too many passes. I'm not Peyton Manning and I don't know how he thinks, but dropping a Peyton Manning pass would probably be the equivalent of dropping someone's baby. That's not going to fly in the regular season. Austin Collie is really good as we have seen. Caldwell and Co. aren't going to send out players just because. Garcon has to earn his spot on the field. So far he hasn't done that. If he drops some passes today it will be hard to justify him actually playing.
I want to see him do something. I want to see him get to Matt Stafford and punish him for coming out early. Moala has been rather quiet this preseason. I was expecting him to make some more noise. Today is his chance. The defensive tackle position is very crowded. He needs to live up to expectations pretty quickly if he wants to see the field early and often. With the Johnsons appearing to be the starters for Week Two, Moala needs to make a case that he is starter material for Week One.
Humber has to keep on playing like he has. Adam Seward is gone, so he now has a great chance on making the roster. He is in a big competition with Freddie Keiaho and Jordan Senn for a roster spot, and he is definitely the least experienced being a UDFA. The fact that Keiaho has a job in this league shows how much experience matters to the Colts. Humber has been really good, and he has a great chance of actually making the final cut, but he will have to prove to be better than Keiaho and Senn.
Like I was saying above, Keiaho is definitely not guaranteed to make the roster. Hell, the only reason he is with the team is that they weren't comfortable with the backup linebackers. I'm sure if they front office and Caldwell knew how good Senn and Humber would turn out to be they wouldn't have signed him. Keiaho has to earn a spot like every other backup linebacker. Seward getting cut shows that no backups are locks to be on the final roster. Keiaho is not one of the top 6 Colts linebackers right now, and he has to step it up if he wants to make the 53 man squad.
He is just not that good. Jennings is not as good as Jerraud Powers, and it has shown this preseason. Jacob Lacey has even played much better. It's not just keeping the nickel back spot. It's keeping a roster spot. Jennings has not had the career a second round pick should have. Jennings has to justify that he is better than Jerraud Powers who has been a nice surprise.
This is the best preseason game for looking at the starters. For the most part people put way too much stock into the preseason. I feel bad for the people who use the preseason to draft for fantasy. It's obvious that teams don't really care how good players do in the preseason. That's why Lance Ball is a Colt and not a Ram. Ball was phenomenal in his rookie year's preseason with the Rams, but he didn't make the final roster. This third game is different. It is now just two long weeks until the season starts. For this game we will see a lot of the starters. If Mike Pollak struggles it will be something of concern unlike the first two preseason games. The same goes with all of the question mark starters. If you really want to put stock into a preseason game, today is your day.