The Colts question to Minneapolis to look the Minnesota Vikings astatine 8 p.m. E.T. Saturday night. Here's everything to ticker for during this weekend's crippled astatine U.S. Bank Stadium. JJ Stankevitz
1. Sam Ehlinger Gets The Start
After Jacob Eason started and played the archetypal fractional successful the Colts' preseason opener, Sam Ehlinger volition tag successful to commencement with the program for him to play the archetypal fractional of the Colts' 2nd preseason game.
No infinitesimal has seemed excessively large for Ehlinger implicit the past fewer weeks. His beardown play during signifier pushed him to divided first-team reps with Eason; helium overcame an aboriginal interception to pb a 4th fourth comeback against the Panthers connected Sunday.
"Sam bounced back," manager Frank Reich said. "That's the benignant of happening we privation to spot from our quarterbacks - intelligence toughness, to beryllium capable to person a glitch and beryllium capable to travel backmost and play bully football."
The Colts person been impressed by Ehlinger's quality to instrumentality successful and destruct pre-snap accusation to marque things arsenic elemental arsenic imaginable aft the snap. His mobility was an plus against Carolina, excessively - helium rushed for 35 yards connected 5 attempts earlier a mates of kneel-downs astatine the extremity of the game.
Ehlinger volition person a accidental to play with immoderate of the Colts' violative starters - Reich said he'll play most, but not all, of them Saturday - and, also, he'll look the Minnesota Vikings' No. 1 defence for a slightest a fewer snaps. It'll surely beryllium a trial for Ehlinger, but he's been up to the situation against the Colts' defence successful practice.
"Because the mode that the defence is successful practice, erstwhile you get successful the game, the signifier that you person is precise similar," Ehlinger said. "It's a small spot cleaner conscionable due to the fact that it's the crippled and everybody knows they can't disguise arsenic good due to the fact that if they get beat, it's a touchdown and it really matters. I would accidental it was a batch antithetic conscionable being successful the offense, operating the huddle, proceeding it, giving it to the offense. But different than that it was beauteous smooth."
2. Jacob Eason Riding Momentum
Eason completed 15 of 21 passes for 183 yards, including downfield throws for 37, 32 and 26 yards, against the Panthers. He was decisive and assertive successful his preseason debut, past carried that momentum implicit to signifier this week astatine Grand Park.
"That was 1 happening (quarterbacks manager Scott) Milanovich and I were talking astir is he's conscionable playing with a small spot much confidence," violative coordinator Marcus Brady said aft Tuesday's practice. "That's the maturation of a young backmost is conscionable proceed getting reps, they get that unrecorded action, present they're going to consciousness much comfy arsenic they determination forward."
The Colts are moving with Eason connected his extent successful the pouch - helium got a small excessively heavy astatine times against the Panthers, and mislaid a fumble connected a strip-sack successful the archetypal quarter.
But we've already seen Eason set to that accent successful signifier - connected Wednesday, helium stepped up successful the pouch to evade unit and fired a catch-and-run onslaught to choky extremity Kylen Granson successful an 11-on-11 period.
"It was my archetypal crippled successful 2 years, getting retired there, getting deed a small bit, seeing unrecorded stuff," Eason said. "Yeah, possibly (practice) is simply a small different. I'm coming retired present with a small spot more, 'Hey, I tin bash this.' That benignant of thing, and not that I doubted that I could bash I beforehand, but it's conscionable getting the reps successful the container and coming out. So yeah, the taxable has been stacking days and keeping it small. That's what I've been trying to bash and conscionable support stacking bully days."
3. Which starters play?
Reich was asked connected Wednesday if he's decided connected however galore starters he'll play.
"For the astir part, we'll person astir of our guys," Reich said. "Not each of our starters volition start. There's going to beryllium a mates that don't play, not many, but astir of our starters volition play."
This does mean Ehlinger volition get an accidental to play with immoderate Colts starters who didn't play against the Panthers.
"It's not equal. As a erstwhile backup, I faced a batch of those scenarios. There's nary mode to marque it apples to apples," Reich said. "So we conscionable person to usage our champion judgment, recognize each the dynamics that are successful spot and marque the champion with what you person astatine that time. That's portion of the evaluation."
4. Mike Strachan And Competition At Receiver
The Colts' competitive, heavy wide receiver country shined against the Panthers, and if what we've seen successful signifier implicit the past fewer weeks is immoderate indication, there's nary crushed to uncertainty we'll spot much of the aforesaid successful Minneapolis connected Saturday.
Seventh circular prime Mike Strachan has stacked time aft time of making plays, including an awesome leaping drawback for a touchdown from Jacob Eason during Thursday's practice. He's impressed wide receivers manager Mike Groh with however good he's picked things up since coming to Indianapolis successful May, and the 6-foot-5, 225 lb receiver has a definite innate skillset that he's utilized to his advantage.
"He's precise instinctive arsenic a player, he's got bully spatial consciousness successful presumption of feeling wherever the antiaircraft backmost is, the absorption helium mightiness beryllium leaning if helium gets him disconnected balance, however to respond and antagonistic that move," Groh said. "And evidently he's got the velocity and the power.
"But much than that, you tin beryllium large but not person a consciousness of timing successful presumption of being capable to elevate and instrumentality the shot disconnected the rim. And he's got that. He's shown that consciousness of timing to beryllium capable to instrumentality his ft successful the crushed and beryllium capable to spell up and precocious constituent the ball, which is simply a unsocial skill. Everybody doesn't person that."
Strachan wasn't the lone receiver to marque plays connected Sunday, nor is helium the lone receiver to marque plays passim camp. Guys similar Dezmon Patmon, De'Michael Harris, Ashton Dulin, Tarik Black and Tyler Vaughns person each made plays, too.
"Chris (Ballard) and Ed (Dodds) and each the guys person done a bully occupation putting this radical together," Groh said. "Kudos to them."
5. Continued Identity Building On Defense.
Even without astir of its starters against Carolina, the Colts' defence showed the benignant of grit and individuality that's permeated its roster implicit the past fewer years. The Colts held beardown successful a fistful of abrupt alteration situations, limiting the Panthers to a smattering of tract goals by locking things down and playing physical, disciplined shot successful those challenging spots.
"A bulk of it is simply a mentality and conscionable an cognition that you instrumentality astir it," linebacker Zaire Franklin said. "Like, 'Okay, alright our discourtesy made a mistake, but it's our clip present to marque definite that we clasp them to either 3 oregon nary points. I deliberation that's thing that we instrumentality personal. That's thing we pridefulness ourselves successful and similar I said, it was astatine slightest a bully showing today."
The Colts' defense, nary substance who's been connected the field, has played astatine a precocious level each done grooming camp. And with much starters slated to play Saturday, there's nary crushed to deliberation what that group's done astatine Grand Park won't construe to U.S. Bank Stadium.
"No defence plays arsenic hard arsenic we play," linebacker Darius Leonard said. "There's cipher who's getting disconnected the shot successful signifier the mode we do. There's cipher that's each 11 guys punching astatine the shot oregon getting aft the quarterback. It's conscionable going to marque everybody play their A crippled time successful and time out, truthful erstwhile it comes to the game, it's not similar it's their archetypal clip going hard. You're going hard each time successful practice. Everybody we signifier is conscionable similar we play truthful erstwhile it comes to gametime, it's not casual but it's 2nd quality to you."