The Indianapolis Colts have finally scrubbed the floor with the preseason and now we’re on to real football. While most of the preseason Week 4 games are largely unwatchable, there were some interesting points to take in while we all await the construction of the Colts initial 53-man roster.
Here are a few takeaways from the Colts 7-6 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday night.
JoJo on the gogo?
JoJo Natson again flashed some of what we’ve come to love watching in the return game and as a receiver as well. Natson caught a bomb from Stephen Morris along the sideline, positioning himself perfectly to have room to make the catch and get some yards after the catch. The 51-yard catch and run was the Colts largest play of the game, but at the end of the run Natson fumbled and subsequently knocked the ball out of bounds saving possession. Smart, but a slip nevertheless.
Natson also showed off his reach going up for a pitiful Phillip Walker pass nearly coming down in bounds. He got one foot and a hand in, but unfortunately that doesn’t count in terms of a reception. It may have stood out to the coaching staff though.
But, then we have some bad news. Natson fumbles a punt return after showing off some of his dynamic speed and change of direction that the coaching staff loves. Again, the Colts were able to retain possession. Natson also muffed a punt as well, and three strikes — as an undrafted guy — often takes you out.
Can Natson survive some of his miscues from Thursday night? Will the Colts coaching staff give him the benefit of the doubt given his playmaking ability? We shall see.
Brian Schwenke got a workout
The return of Schwenke couldn’t have come a better time. No more Deyshawn Bond or Adam Redmond snapping the ball to whoever wins the starting role under center for the first game of the season. But, he wasn’t just getting a run through for the preseason finale.
Schwenke played well into the second half and showed some struggles as he’s working to get himself back into playing shape after sitting out all of training camp. He’s absolutely imperative to the success of the offensive line with Ryan Kelly being out an undetermined amount of time.
He’ll have over a week to get himself rested up and back in next week’s practices to work himself back to where he needs to be for the season opener. This was a good move by the coaching staff. He needed those reps badly, and we still don’t even know what we have in him to begin with.
Sean Spence is back, Jeremiah George makes another play for the roster
Our question regarding whether or not Spence would be hit with an injury designation was answered Thursday night. He looked good, tackled well and was reasonably good in coverage for sitting out the last three weeks of practice. Spence needed the reps to make a last-ditch effort to get himself onto this roster.
Spence finished with 5 tackles on the night, but was again able to add some pressure from the linebacker position. I’m hopeful for Spence because I think he’s a better all-around player than a couple others who are almost certain to make the roster, namely Jon Bostic.
Jeremiah George continued to impress from the inside linebacker position as well. He’s a phenomenal special teams player, shoots the gaps effectively and is one of the best from the position in pursuit. George finished with 6 total tackles and a tackle for loss and forced a fumble early on in the game. He’s a gamer and I’m interested to see if it’s enough to land him a spot.
Undrafted rookies showed the ability to create pressure
Garrett Sickels and Jhaustin Thomas were two players to watch coming into this one. Neither had seen significant snaps to this point in the preseason and they had a lot to play for. Both, showed the ability to get pressure from their respective positions and a few times they even collapsed the pocket together.
Thomas who is more of a defensive end was placed inside a handful of times and was able to create from that role, becoming more impressive as the game wore on. Sickels showed the ability to play both roles from his linebacker position, holding the edge effectively and getting an effective pass rush at times as well.
These two simply don’t have the skills to beat out those above them for a roster spot, but I would bet they’re almost surely a priority for the practice squad going forward.
Basham showed some get-off
As you all know, Tarell Basham was one of the Colts’ draft picks that I have been dying to see something from in terms of creating a pass rush. He continues to be used primarily as the strong side backer setting the edge and getting a secondary rush, but he did show some burst a handful of times as well.
Basham shot inside a couple times, and also showed a nice outside swim move and a spin counter move helping collapse the pocket in which Barkevious Mingo ended up getting credit for a sack. I was happy to see it, and I’d love nothing more than to see more of it in the very near future.
Basham also had a couple special teams tackles as well and that will undoubtedly be an area in which he is expected to contribute for the team.