This was supposed to be the big third Colts preseason game. The one where they game plan a little. The one where the starters play through the first half. The one where we get a glimpse at what this team is made of.
We did learn something watching the Colts play the Saints during Saturday night’s third preseason game. Mostly, that we liked the first two better.
Some good things did happen though. So, let’s start there.
Saturday night saw the long-awaited return of Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who hadn’t taken the field at Lucas Oil Stadium since tearing his ACL during the Broncos game on October 20, 2013.
Wayne came out of the tunnel during the pregame introductions to a hero’s welcome from the hometown crowd. I got goosebumps. And a little teary (shhh…don’t tell anyone). Welcome back, Reg! We’ve missed you around here. And apparently, the feeling is mutual.
“I guess they can always remind you where you stand in their hearts. I’ve always loved Indy. They’ve always showed me nothing but respect, treated me like this was home for me and I just want to do everything I possibly can to show that respect back to them.” -Reggie Wayne
Wayne also had his first two receptions since 2013, neither of which counted due to penalties (one on the Colts and one on the Saints). But still…Reggie’s back!
Coby Fleener gets an A+. Not only for his touchdown, but also for mocking Saints tight end (who doesn’t want to be called a tight end) Jimmy Graham. Last week, Graham’s famous goalpost dunk cost him $30,000 in fines from the NFL. Next time Jimmy Graham wants to dunk something, I’ll set him up at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He can pay me $30,000. Everyone will be happy. Especially me.
Once again, the Colts struggled during the preseason. But try to keep in mind, it is still the preseason.
The running lanes were more clogged than the streets of downtown Indy during a Colts game and Gen Con. The timing wasn’t great between Andrew Luck and the receivers. The pass rush was virtually nonexistent (with the starters anyway). And the pass protection…well, let’s just put it this way: I wanted Luck out before halftime. Long before halftime.
The Saints have a great defense. And I know the Colts wanted to test their offense against it.
But…when I see Andrew Luck getting harassed and assaulted in the pocket, horsecollared to the ground, at the bottom of a pile of defenders, and ultimately, with a 300-pound man strapped to his back…I just want to march down to the field, pull him out, and give a few disapproving looks in the process.
The Saints defense is tough. But really, do they have to be so…mean?!
My ultimate goal for the Colts third preseason game was for them to push themselves, test themselves, and come out healthy. Which, they did (sort of). Both Darius Butler and Greg Toler left the game early. I saw Butler in a walking boot on the sideline towards the end of the third quarter and Toler never left the sideline. Neither appear to be serious injuries. So, that’s a positive.
Another positive, I’ve been to two Colts games at Lucas Oil Stadium this year…and both times I’ve heard Pour Some Sugar On Me. Which tells me one thing: This is going to be a great season. No matter how it looks in the preseason.