Week two of the preseason saw the Colts pitted against the Browns, the team they had practiced all week against. It was a sloppy affair, with 29 penalties in total worth 283 yards. The Colts looked sharper than their week one outing, but still far from what we expect to see come week one.
Despite the struggles with penalties and coming up short at the end of the game for a loss, the primary purpose of the preseason is to continue honing and shaping the roster as cuts draw nearer. With that in mind, here are some winners and losers from preseason week two.
Cain was an unquestionable winner in this game, pulling in 7 receptions on 9 targets for 80 yards of the team’s offense. He did a great many things well, from a nice toe tap on a sideline catch, to a broken tackle for big yards after a catch. Perhaps most importantly, he was a reliable and consistent target and proved he belongs at this level. Cain did drop a contested catch, but ultimately his production far outweighed that single error. With Reece Fountain out for the season, Cain is a virtual lock to make the roster, and his play indicates he could be a valuable part of the roster sooner rather than later.
Brissett had an up and down week of practice, and a similarly mixed performance in week one of the preseason. On this day however, he was solid. He showcased good movement in the pocket and consistently got the ball out quickly, something he has not always done. Additionally, his accuracy was far better than it has been this off-season. The overall result was a day where he went 8 of 10 for 100 passing yards and an 11-yard scramble.
Turay had a solid day off the edge, getting both a sack and a tackle for a loss in his time on the field. He has the speed and get-off to impact the quarterback and cause real problems for offensive linemen, and it showed in his limited time in action in this game. The Colts need a big step forward for Turay in 2019 if they have championship aspirations, and this is the kind of play they’ll need from him to make that jump. Early on in the off-season there were signs that Turay was primed for a big step forward, but that progress was hampered by a shoulder injury that has limited his time in practice. Hopefully we can expect to see more of this.
He wasn’t in for long, but his impact was more than enough to establish that you shouldn’t expect a drop off in value or play-making ability for Eric Ebron in 2019. He came back to make a great play on the ball on a throw that was behind him for a big gain, and not long after beat single coverage to make an excellent catch in the end zone for a touchdown. He looked every bit as impactful and deadly on offense as he did last season, and that wasn’t even with Andrew Luck under center.
While we’re talking tight ends, Hale Hentges looked good for a second week running, making himself valuable in both the passing game and as a blocker. He made several plays late in the game and was clearly one of Chad Kelly’s most trusted targets later in the game. Hentges grabbed all 4 of his targets and his strong and balanced play will make for a tough call for the coaching staff at cuts.
- Marvell Tell was called (incorrectly in my opinion) for pass interference on the sideline but had been in lock step with the receiver.
- Phillip Walker greatly improved his pocket presence and made some nice throws
- Muhammad Al-Quadin had a nice QB hit and very near sack to force a bad throw and end a drive
- Chad Kelly continued his run of solid play and looks like a guy who could make a quality backup.
In a down-to-the-wire receiver race, Johnson’s performance certainly didn’t do him any favors. He was targeted 6 times and had 2 drops that really sting. He has been right on the bubble in terms of his performances, but this one was forgettable. Beyond the drops, Johnson didn’t do much after the catch and wasn’t able to be a significant impact player on the field. He’ll need a great next two weeks if he hopes to make the team.
While there has been a lot of buzz around the cornerback group for the Colts this off-season, Jalen Collins has had a disappointing off-season. He just keeps showing up on the wrong side of the highlight reel, and this game was no exception. He gave up a touchdown and allowed separation far too easily down in the red zone. Despite getting rave reviews early in camp from much of the Colts media, he has steadily seemed to work his way out of contention for a roster spot.
Chris Ballard spoke very highly of Pascal ahead of camp and talked about his versatility and willingness and ability to do whatever is asked of him. Those traits are valuable, but it was Ashton Dulin, not Pascal who was back receiving kicks. Pascal didn’t make a notable contribution to the offense either, being targeted twice, and dropping a ball that likely would have meant 6 points had he hung on to it. For a guy that needs strong performances from here on out to get himself on the final 53, this performance wasn’t good enough.
- Rock Ya-Sin had a bad pass interference that was completely unnecessary and kept a Browns drive going.
- George Odum missed a big opportunity on special teams to make a big hit by overrunning the play.
- E.J. Speed continues to struggle to select good angles to the ball and takes himself out of the play at times.