We've spent a lot of time this week covering the Colts cuts, and we'll spend more time this upcoming weekend covering the same. The reality is that the Colts will need to cut down their roster from 75 players to 53 players by Saturday - meaning that Thursday night's preseason finale is the last chance the bubble players for the Colts have a chance to really impress.
"It's every kid's dream growing up to have an opportunity to play in the National Football League, get yourself in an NFL building, if you will, in a locker room," Colts head coach Chuck Pagano noted on Tuesday. "With that in mind, it's extremely difficult [for the players]. I can only imagine the emotions that are going through their heads at this point. Like I said before, last week, we had to get to 75. You can't worry about that. You've just got to focus on today, focus on tomorrow, go out and play as good as you can play. Put your best tape on film and let the chips fall where they fall."
Pagano also talked about whether the Colts have roster spots open for guys who impress Thursday, and as you would expect, the answer is yes. "No doubt about it," Pagano said. "Otherwise we would have just whacked everybody and gotten to 53. I'm just kidding. Absolutely though, we're still in pencil. Some guys may have theirs inked up. I read the clips and all the rosters are set for Houston, Tennessee, Jacksonville and what not. It's all speculation. There's guys still fighting for jobs and guys fighting to keep jobs. That's every day. We just talked about it after practice because all you have to do is make a 53 and then take your foot off the gas, next thing you know you walk in and your locker's taken by somebody else. Every day you walk in, you look at your jersey number, ‘I'm going to do everything I possible can within my power to make sure I don't give this up.'"
The reality of this week is that there are a lot of players fighting for a roster spot. At least 22 players who are on the team on Thursday for the game won't be by the end of the day Saturday. It's rough, but it's the reality of the NFL. For these bubble guys, Thursday night will be the last chance they have to impress the coaches and earn a spot. We all joke around about how it's the "meaningless" preseason game because the starters don't play, but for a lot of these players, it's a huge game, and they know they need to impress.