The Indianapolis Colts have been getting a lot of love for the way they have gone about business in the Chris Ballard – Frank Reich era. Making the playoff divisional round last season with a young roster, they are expected to be one the AFC’s ‘powerhouse’ teams over the next few years. Their first preseason game sees them go up against the Buffalo Bills. Here we preview a couple of interesting roster spots to look out for in this one.
Luck’s injury woes. Other QBs time to shine?
“We are where we are with that. There’s no timeline. When they say he’s healthy and ready to go, we’ll get him out there”
No, these aren’t the words of Frank Reich taking about Andrew Luck’s current ‘lower body’ injury. This in fact is Chuck Pagano talking about him all the way back in the 2017 preseason.
From what I understand Luck has a calf injury, and has for several months. Calf injuries scare me. Calf injuries that aren’t improving really scare me. As we saw in with Kevin Durant in the NBA finals, lingering calf issues can be a precursor to the much more severe Achilles tendon rupture. It’s understandable why the Colts are keeping Luck wrapped in cotton wool.
This should see the Colts backup brigade see plenty of action in the preseason, starting with Thursday’s game against Buffalo. Not only are roster spots on the line, if the Colts worst fears are to be realised, but being ready to start when games mean something.
Jacoby Brisett is firmly entrenched as QB2 and Colts fans saw plenty of him during his 15 starts in the 2017 season to know he is at least capable of starting if required. He may also sit out the Bills game, partially to protect him too.
Behind him on the depth chart sits former Bronco Chad Kelly, 2017s Mr Irrelevant. Also vying for a spot is Philip Walker, a previous UDFA who has spent time on the Colts practice squad. Kelly is talented, but is probably drinking in the last chance saloon. Walker, although on the practice squad has shown some glimpses of potential during previous preseason. Both will be expecting some game time to potentially earn back up rights should Brissett need to start. Kelly is suspended for the first 2 games of the season following his bizarre trespassing incident. Whoever wins this battle could wind up as Luck’s backup in the future, should Brisset seek pastures new.
WR Roster spots
TY Hilton is without a doubt the Colts WR1. Eric Ebron has proved a valuable patch catching option, particularly in the red zone, from the TE slot.
However , behind Hilton the WR corps is a little murky and there are certainly jobs up for grabs in the preseason.
Devin Funchess comes over from the Panthers and is likely to come in as WR2. Exciting prospect Parris Campbell has been making waves in training camp with coach Frank Reich commenting that he has been making “legit NFL I’m-gonna-be-a-stud-receiver plays”. He is likely to take the slot receiver role once the season starts. A hamstring tweak means he may rest for this game.
Therefore a slew of receivers further down the roster depth including the likes of Deon Cain who comes of an ACL injury in his rookie season, and Chester Rogers, who was involved as a rotational piece last year. Zach Pascal, who nabbed a couple of TDs last season is another name to watch in an intriguing roster sport battle.
With high hopes of a deep playoff run, the Colts look set to have a big year. However much depends on the health of Luck.
Feature image credit: forbes.com