The Indianapolis Colts travel to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday for the team’s preseason opener (1 PM EST, CBS4). Weather conditions are reportedly stormy.
The field has been cleared in Orchard Park!!! pic.twitter.com/WWQlae5j4I— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) August 12, 2023
What we already know is that rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson will start for the Colts, and the remaining Indy starters are expected to play roughly a quarter—although such playing time will likely be determined on a player-by-player basis.
Colts All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard will also be among those starters that will reportedly play in limited action, as he returns from a consecutive back surgery.
For an inspiring NFL story, Bills safety Damar Hamlin is ‘scheduled to play’ for the first time following a tragic cardiac arrest in-game incident last season in January.
Otherwise, the Colts have unveiled their unofficial first depth chart of training camp, so that will presumably be the pecking order for playing time and rotations.
Things that I’ll be initially watching for:
- Anthony Richardson’s growth and development as a passer. He’s already made some significant strides throughout training camp, and we all know about his special pocket presence, but it’ll be honing in his accuracy in the short to intermediate passing game.
- The Colts backfield in the continued absence of star running back Jonathan Taylor. Rookie Evan Hull and veteran Kenyan Drake will likely be the initial one-two punch for Indy.
- Rookie wideout Josh Downs, who has been turning some heads in training camp and is competing for the first-team slot reps behind veteran (and ex-Bill) Isaiah McKenzie.
- The Indy offensive line. Is this a unit that can return to its prior formidable form?
- A young Indy secondary. This unit looks a lot different than it did finishing last year’s campaign—particularly at outside cornerback. Both Dallis Flowers and Darrell ‘DJ’ Baker Jr. are the projected starters right now, but I’m also interested to see rookies JuJu Brents, Darius Rush, and Jaylon Jones.
- Is Shaq back? He’s looked like he’s regained a lot of his quickness, athleticism, and explosiveness back throughout camp, but it’ll be something to watch for on game day.