The Indianapolis Colts will visit the Buffalo Bills this late afternoon to kick off this year’s preseason. Game time is set for 4 PM EDT, and the matchup can be watched on FOX59 or listened to at 107.5 The Fan/97.1 Hank FM.
The Bills have already announced that star quarterback Josh Allen will not play in their preseason opener against the Colts, while Indianapolis veteran quarterback Matt Ryan could play up to roughly the entire first quarter—along with other key starters.
Here are a few things to watch for:
Crispness of Matt Ryan and the Initial Passing Game
Once again, the Colts have a new starting quarterback for the fifth consecutive season, which means Ryan hasn’t had as much time with his receivers as some of his peers have had at quarterback. He has had this offseason though, but there still have been drops and miscues that have hindered the Colts offense against their defensive colleagues in camp. The Colts will want to see some progress in their passing game in live game day action.
In turn, it will be a good opportunity to see how some of the Colts young receivers such as Alec Pierce, Drew Ogletree, and even Parris Campbell are developing rapport with Ryan—along with offensive staple Michael Pittman Jr.
Rookie Nick Cross at Starting Safety
Since being selected in this year’s 3rd round, Colts fans have heard about the speed, athleticism, ball skills, and ability to fly downhill to the football regarding the talented young safety. However, we haven’t seen it in live game day action yet wearing Horseshoe Blue. Cross figures to provide a dynamic presence at safety to pair with Julian Blackmon in the backend of the Colts secondary—and it should be fun seeing him debut, even in preseason. This is an opportunity for Cross to gain meaningful reps headed into the regular season.
Who Rises in Running Back Pecking Order?
The Colts first two running back spots are firmly cemented regarding Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. Veteran Phillip Lindsay appears to have a firm hold of the third running spot, and it’s a fair question of whether the Colts will want to save the 28 year old’s legs in preseason. That being said, the fourth running back spot is still up for grabs in a competition that features Deon Jackson, D’Vonte Price, CJ Verdell, and Ty’Son Williams.
Other Young Players to Monitor
I’ve mentioned a few of the Colts receivers who are expected to have an initial impact, but there’s still other young players such as tight end Jelani Woods, offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann, defensive tackle Eric Johnson, defensive tackle Curtis Brooks, safety Rodney Thomas, and linebacker JoJo Domann who are worth keeping an eye on among others.