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2019 NFL Preseason Game 2: Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts Open Thread

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NFL: AUG 15 Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts wrapped up training camp with their second of two practices with the visiting Cleveland Browns on Thursday. The competition was quite “spirited” at times and a few skirmishes broke out ahead of today’s game. It will be interesting to see if any of that carries over to game action.

The coaching staff set the expectation that projected starters will likely stay on the field longer than they did a week ago. Fans may get to see the first team units play for a quarter. Whether the team will continue to hold out some starters is yet to be seen.

While the Colts and Browns got a chance to face off against one another for a couple of days this week, fans shouldn’t confuse that with game planning for a specific opponent. A full week of opponent specific work will likely happen next week when the team returns to West 56th Street. It is fair to think that individual players should benefit from additional reps against their opponent, but this game won’t resemble what you can expect in the regular season.

The team will continue to be primarily focused on observing how individual players develop, ensure each player understands their role and is in proper position, and reach some decisions about limited roster spots. It may make the contest more enjoyable if viewers spend more time focusing on players who they are interested in seeing perform and less on winning the game.


DEFENSE

Two of the top starting position battles on the team are still at middle linebacker and cornerback.

Last week, Bobby Okereke will got his feet wet against Buffalo’s first and second team offenses. He showed the athleticism scouts and coaches have raved about and did a nice job of covering a lot of the field. He has continued to split first team reps with Anthony Walker, depending on match-ups and groupings. Can he build off of his first game and push Walker over the last two weeks of the off-season?

Rock Ya-Sin put together arguably the most impressive defensive performance of training camp. No player had their hands on the football more, creating turnovers and wreaking havoc against a laundry list of receivers. He is making it very hard for the coaching staff to determine who will take the third and final starting position at corner.

What makes the situation even more difficult is that Quincy Wilson put together an impressive training camp performance of his own. He is in great shape, continues to look comfortable in man coverage, and has been used all of the field. No player in Indy’s secondary has more versatility. Can he hold off the rookie to start across from Pierre Desir or will he rotate in on a match-up basis?

I will continue to keep a close eye on the development of E.J. Speed. He had a mixed showing in Buffalo but his athleticism is eye-popping. He has been pushing Matthew Adams for snaps at strong side linebacker and needs preseason games to stake a claim for more time on the field. I will also continue to keep an eye on the fight for final roster spots at cornerback between a veteran like Nate Hairston and rookie converted safety Marvell Tell. An ongoing general observation will also be around signs of an improved pass rush. Young players need to step up if the Colts defense hopes to take a step forward this season.


OFFENSE

Jacoby Brissett needs to have a better performance than he did against the Bills a week ago. If Andrew Luck is unable to take the field at the start of the season, he is the presumed starter and will need to be sharp if the Colts want to get off to a strong start. The offensive line didn’t make life easy for Brissett, and they also need to show signs of life, but this preseason could be the last meaningful tape he can put out to the rest of the league as he hopes to earn a sizable contract and starting opportunity in 2020.

With the injury to Daurice Fountain, and the likelihood that he will be placed on injured reserve, the fight for the last spot at wide receiver becomes more interesting. At this point, one has to assume that T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess, Parris Campbell and Deon Cain are all tentatively safe. Do the Colts keep one or two more?

If one, the battle will be between Chester Rogers (who the coaching staff has gushed over) and Zach Pascal (who does just about everything). Rogers may have the slight edge as the team’s primary punt returner but Pascal returns kicks and serve as a special teams gunner.

If two, the battle will be between Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, and local prospect Krishawn Hogan. This trio has been productive at various times over the last couple of years and have shown the ability to produce on offense. Pascal’s special teams value could push him to the front but Johnson suffered a season ending injury last season just as he looked to be breaking out a bit. Hogan is another big body who could give the Colts a replacement for Funchess’ role if he has to miss any time.

While Jordan Wilkins misses time with a foot injury, Jonathan Williams has a chance to continue making a claim for his spot on the roster. He was one of the most impressive offensive players on the team against the Bills and has had a strong training camp.

The battle for the last tight end spot, assuming the Colts keep 4, will continue to heat up with the return of Ross Travis to the field. Travis and undrafted rookie Hale Hentges are very different players. Travis is a downfield receiving threat, in same type of mold as an Eric Ebron. Hentges is a strong blocker, possible H-Back, and has been more reliable than expected as a receiver without the athleticism, in the mold of a Jack Doyle. Arguably, Mo Alie-Cox is more of a Doyle-type player as well. Could that give Travis an edge?

As mentioned previously, the offensive line needs to show signs of improvement. They have had plenty of opportunities to develop a distaste for some of the players they will be facing today and they need to show some of the same bully mentality they did a season ago.


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Game Time

4pm PM ET on Saturday August 17, 2019

Location

Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, IN

TV Channel

Courtesy of 506 Sports, here are the local television listings:

WXIN (FOX/59 - Indianapolis)

NFL Network

WBKI (CW/58 - Louisville)

WFFT (FOX/55 - Fort Wayne IN)

WCWW (CW/25 - South Bend IN)

WTWO (NBC/2 - Terre Haute IN)

WPBY (ABC/35 - Lafayette IN)

WEHT (ABC/25 - Evansville IN) [delayed to 7 PM CT]

WCIA (CBS/3 - Champaign IL)

Commentary

Play-By-Play: Greg Rakestraw

Color Analyst: Rick Venturi

Sideline: Larra Overton

Radio

WFNI (107.5FM/1070 The Fan) and WLHK (Country 97.1 Hank FM)

Play-By-Play: Matt Taylor

Color Analyst: Jim Sorgi

Sideline: Jeffrey Gorman

“Enemy” Blog

Dawgs By Nature

Twitter

Follow @StampedeBlue for the complete Colts coverage on Twitter before, during, and after every game.

Facebook

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Podcasts

Check out the Stampede Blue Podcast Network for all your Colts audio content!

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INACTIVE LIST


COLTS TEAM ROSTER

No. Pos. First Last
No. Pos. First Last
2 QB Brian Hoyer
4 K Adam Vinatieri
7 QB Jacoby Brissett
8 P Rigoberto Sanchez
11 WR Deon Cain
13 WR T.Y. Hilton
14 WR Zach Pascal
15 WR Parris Campbell
20 RB Jordan Wilkins
21 RB Nyheim Hines
23 CB Kenny Moore
25 RB Marlon Mack
26 S Clayton Geathers
29 S Malik Hooker
30 S George Odum
31 CB Quincy Wilson
33 RB Jonathan Williams
34 CB Rock Ya-Sin
35 CB Pierre Desir
37 S Khari Willis
38 CB Ryan Lewis
39 CB Marvell Tell III
42 S Rolan Milligan
44 LB Zaire Franklin
45 LB E.J. Speed
46 LS Luke Rhodes
49 LB Matthew Adams
50 LB Anthony Walker
51 DT Jihad Ward
52 DE Ben Banogu
53 LB Darius Leonard
56 G Quenton Nelson
57 DE Kemoko Turay
58 LB Bobby Okereke
62 T Le'Raven Clark
63 C Josh Andrews
64 G Mark Glowinski
72 T Braden Smith
73 T Joe Haeg
74 T Anthony Castonzo
78 C Ryan Kelly
80 WR Chester Rogers
81 TE Mo Alie-Cox
84 TE Jack Doyle
85 TE Eric Ebron
86 TE Hale Hentges
90 DT Grover Stewart
92 DT Margus Hunt
93 DE Jabaal Sheard
94 DT Tyquan Lewis
96 DT Denico Autry
97 DE Al-Quadin Muhammed
99 DE Justin Houston