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Pagano: “This is a gameplan week”

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts-Training Camp Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts are about to enter their third preseason game against a team that has repeatedly handed them lopsided losses in the Pittsburgh Steelers. Today Chuck Pagano spoke about a few things in his post-practice presser before the team’s ‘dress rehearsal’ on Saturday.

Pagano mentioned that he doesn’t know whether or not Johnathan Hankins is going to be available this Saturday or not due to getting his arm caught between two offensive linemen and has a shoulder issue. He also touched on Donte Moncrief’s status for Saturday being unknown right now, and that a decision will be made in the next two days.

But, outside of giving half answers to other injury issues and talking about the quarterback situation between Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris briefly, Pagano stated that this third week of the season “is a gameplan week, for both teams.”

Most of the preseason is very vanilla in terms of scheme and play calling, which sometimes leads us to overreact about what we’re seeing on the field from different players. This week, however, that excuse will be largely thrown out.

The coaching staff isn’t going to throw the kitchen sink at the Steelers or anything, but we will certainly get a better picture of what we should expect from those in the starting roles, as well as some of the packages they’ll be more implored to use in the regular season opener in Los Angeles.

Things like: Will Marlon Mack get some early snaps with the first unit in specific situations? Who is the team looking at to start in the nickel role at cornerback? Do JoJo Natson and Bug Howard get some looks early in the first half? How will Rob Chudzinski structure the majority of his offense? Will he make reasonable adjustments, or will he browbeat the tight ends and quarterbacks with the short passing game?

The Colts, and their fans will be looking for some answers to these, and to plenty more questions this week. I don’t think we can downplay the need for some of the pieces who have been propped up this offseason to shine, and for others to get themselves noticed at this point.

The Colts have a ton of issues right now including, but not limited to, finding a legit pass rush, scheming effectively to stop the run and maybe most importantly just to get everyone healthy. If there’s a favorite preseason week, this is it. How much will we learn from Saturday’s game, and will we find anything to be impressed with?