Indianapolis Colts: 5 Players to Watch in Tonight's Game vs. Bengals

Robby HowardContributor IIISeptember 1, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 26: Peyton Manning (L) and Kerry Collins #5 of the Indianapolis Colts look on during the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 26, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

For the undrafted free agents, the seventh-round draft picks and the wily old veterans looking for another chance, this is their final opportunity to prove to the Indianapolis Colts staff that they deserve a spot on the team.

The last preseason game typically only features the starters for maybe two drives. Quickly into the first quarter, regular starters can already be seen in ball caps, cracking jokes with their teammates. This game has one purpose: to sort out the final roster cuts before the regular season.

Unlike some previous years, the Colts have some very important decisions to make for this year's team, especially deciding where they want to have more depth. The Polians probably haven't made their mind up just yet on who to keep and who is going to go, so keep an eye on these players tonight, most of whom are playing for their jobs.


John Chick

Chick has looked good throughout the preseason, but the competition and defensive end is fierce, since the team brought in Jamaal Anderson and Tyler Brayton in the offseason, on top of last year's first-round draft pick Jerry Hughes. If Chick continues to impress and really leaves his mark on this game, he could manage to lock up a spot.


Curtis Painter

Painter has looked decent, not good, but decent, in one of three preseason games. The Colts have never kept three quarterbacks on the depth chart during the Peyton Manning era. Painter should play almost the entire second half, so he will have plenty of time to show the Colts one last time whether or not he belongs on the team.

Painter's performance tonight matters more than anyone else's. If he looks good again, he should get a spot. But if he looks the way he did against St. Louis or Washington, he will be cut.


David Gilreath

If you look at the Colts roster, the team is rich in wide receivers. However, it's also the most injury-plagued position on the roster. If the Colts knew everyone could be healthy the whole season, Gilreath wouldn't stand a chance at making the roster.

That's not the case though. If Gilreath is able to return a few more punts tonight for a good gain, and continue to show good hands, he could snatch up one of the final spots. At the least, the Colts will retain him on the practice squad.


Mike Newton

It's no secret that the Colts don't have much depth at safety behind Antoine Bethea and Melvin Bullitt. Newton has some experience with the Colts, spending most of last season on the team's practice squad. He did play in 12 games and recorded six tackles during that time.

Last week against Green Bay, Newton had an interception and two passes defensed. If he continues that play tonight, he should find a spot as a reserve safety.


Kerry Collins

Obviously, Collins isn't fighting for his job, but all eyes will be on him tonight. It's the only preview Colts fans will get of Peyton Manning's veteran backup. He has had just eight days to learn the Colts' complex offense, so don't be surprised if he makes more than one mistake tonight.

Collins should see considerable playing time just to get acclimated to the offense. This game is important for him as its his trial run, just in case he has to start next week at Houston.