Indianapolis Colts vs Green Bay Packers: Reasons For Colts Fans To Watch
Over the past five years, the Indianapolis Colts have won a total of four pre-season games.
When you couple that with the fact that over the same period of time (and longer), Indy has won at least 12 regular season games—it seems a little absurd for Colts fans to pay much attention to the pre-season.
If the Colts win one pre-season game this year (that's a big "if") it'll probably be this one.
Historically, most teams play their starters longer in the third pre-season game than any of the others.
Not to mention the fact that Indy owns a 5-2 pre-season edge over the Packers.
Even if they do lose, here are a few reasons to tune in to tonight's game.
Offensive LIne Chemistry
A lot of experts are picking the Colts to win the Super Bowl this year.
But...if they have one reservation, it's the offensive line.
With Pro Bowl center, Jeff Saturday, out of commission for tonight's game (he had arthroscopic knee surgery on August 10th) the Colts' mediocre offensive line will likely be worse.
Unless third year veterans Jamey Richard and Mike Pollak can find the chemistry they had their rookie year, Colts fans will likely see a lot of short yardage passes from Peyton Manning.
Tight End Situation
The Colts have assured fans that All-Pro tight end, Dallas Clark, will be ready to play in the season opener at Houston.
But most Colts fans know that they can't really trust the organization to be completely forthright with injury news.
Even so, Peyton Manning has a habit of making his tight ends look very good (last week Jacob Tamme caught a touchdown pass).
Look for some big plays out of Gijon Robinson and Jacob Tamme. Since one of them will have to step up if Clark is unable to make the season opener.
Joseph Addai has scored a touchdown in each of the last two pre-season games, and he's definitely the starter. But you don't have to be a starter to be a play maker in the Colts offense.
The Colts drafted Donald Brown to take some of the load off of Addai.
Last year, Brown had some trouble picking up the Colts blocking schemes- and he also had some injury problems (he only played in 11 games).
The Colts already know what they have in Addai- tonight Colts fans will probably see a lot more Donald Brown than they're used to.
Reggie Wayne is Peyton Manning's go-to guy.
But by the end of last season, Pierre Garcon was absolutely electric.
He led the team in yards per catch with 16.3.
Peyton Manning already knows what Reggie is going to do on the field- that's not something they need to work on.
This is Garcon's third season, and receivers usually catch on to the pro game in their third year.
Tonight Pierre Garcon makes his 2010 season debut. So look for Manning to throw the ball at Garcon a lot tonight so that he can get a feel for his progress.
Last season, Anthony Gonzalez was slated to be the starting wide receiver opposite Reggie Wayne.
Well yet another injury in the season opener left the door open for Pierre Garcon to take that starting job—and it doesn't look like he's giving it up.
Another problem for Gonzalez is second year man Austin Collie (who led all rookies in receiving yards last year with 676).
Tonight Gonzalez will likely play most snaps out of the slot (where he was sensational a few years ago).
But Austin Collie didn't really do anything wrong to lose the job.
Four Receiver Sets
Speaking of receivers.
The Colts have an enviable problem: how do they get all of their talented receivers on the field at the same time?
With Dallas Clark out of the line-up tonight—offensive coordinator, Tom Moore, will have a chance to see what he's got with Wayne, Garcon, Gonzalez, and Collie on the field at the same time.
Even when they won the Super Bowl, Peyton Manning never had this many weapons to throw to.
Like Pierre Garcon, Clint Session is making his 2010 season debut tonight against the Packers.
Last season he showed flashes of brilliance, but he was inconsistent.
2010 will be his second season as a starter, and last year he showed a knack for making tackles in the backfield.
He also was pretty good in pass coverage.
The Packers will probably try to test him with tight end Jermichael Finley.
Colts fans haven't seen much of Bob Sanders the past few years.
Which is unfortunate, because (when healthy) he's a true game changer.
Sanders has been pretty happy with his progress in training camp, but he was a little disappointed by his lack of production in last week's loss to the Buffalo Bills (he only had two tackles).
Bob Sanders is a former Defensive Player of the Year and a two time Pro Bowler, so look for him to make some big plays tonight against the Packers.
The Colts offense has looked pretty good this pre-season.
With the first team offense on the field last week, the Colts scored twice (a 17-yard touchdown run by Joseph Addai and a 21-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Manning to Jacob Tamme).
Since it's the third pre-season game, the first team offense will spend at least part of the second half on the field.
Tonight seeing more of the same is a good thing.
Peyton Manning vs Aaron Rodgers
Unless both clubs get to the Super Bowl (which is not all that unlikely), this will be the only time fans will get to see these two quarterbacks on the field at the same time.
Fantasy football players know that these two guys are expected to be the cream of the crop this year.
Watching both guys light up Lambeau Field is as good a reason as any to watch the game tonight.