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Colts starters likely to play into third quarter this Saturday vs. Eagles

Baltimore Ravens v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

This Saturday is the third preseason game for the Indianapolis Colts, a game that typically marks the contest that most resembles a regular season game. In the third game, the starters typically play at least the entire first half and often play into the third quarter, giving them the reps they need to get ready for the season.

Will the Colts approach it that way in this week’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles? The tentative plan is yes, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

“We’d like to get a good half of football in and try to come out and go through a halftime procedure and make the appropriate adjustments on both sides of the ball and on special teams and open up the third quarter,” Pagano said. “That’s what you put down on paper for this preseason game and then you see how that first half goes and if we reach a number play count wise that we feel good about, that may or may not happen based on what happens in the first half. You’d like to really get them to blow out their lungs, so to speak, and play a significant amount of time.”

Plans can change, of course (see Andrew Luck not playing in the preseason opener as an example), but the current plan is to have the starters play into the third quarter against the Eagles. Last week, Luck and most of the starters played just two drives, equalling out to just over a quarter of work. This week, that workload will likely be doubled.

It’ll be the last chance to see Luck and most of the other starters until their regular season opener at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 11, as the fourth preseason game is one in which the backups play all the way. Pagano said last week that the Colts coaching staff has a number in mind for how much they want Luck to play this preseason, so whatever snaps are remaining in that goal need to come this week. So if you’re planning on watching a Colts preseason game this year, make it this Saturday’s contest, as that will be the best chance to see the starters (minus all the injured guys, of course) play significant time.