The Indianapolis Colts are fresh off of a 19-18 victory over the Buffalo Bills in their first preseason game of the season last week. It was a nice win, although there are a lot of question marks surrounding the Colts as they gear up for their game against the Baltimore Ravens on Friday evening.
Chuck Pagano and company are hoping to rebound off of last year’s major disappointment. They are once again expected to be a serious contender in the AFC and are one of the top contenders to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 51. Obviously, teams like the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos are still expected to be competitive.
Andrew Luck didn’t play in the first preseason game. According to a report from Pro Football Talk, the Colts didn’t play Luck against the Bills due to their belief that Rex Ryan blitzes too much in preseason action.
Looking ahead to Friday night, there are a lot of areas that the Colts need to show improvement in. They are in need of young players stepping up and proving that they can be reliable depth. Defensively there are needs in particular, with linebacker Sio Moore going down with a fairly serious hamstring injury and plenty of other concerns.
All of that being said, what five players should the Colts and their fanbase have their eyes on in particular in the second preseason game of the year?
Andrew Luck, Quarterback
Assuming Andrew Luck does end up playing this week, the Colts will get their first look at their franchise quarterback. Even when he was healthy last season, he showed a lot of negatives that are a major concern. Indianapolis needs their star quarterback to get back on track and it’ll be interesting to see him.
Josh Ferguson, Running Back
Perhaps one of the most underrated players on the Colts’ roster is rookie running back Josh Ferguson. He was signed in undrafted free agency and there is no denying that he will make the roster and receive some carries behind Frank Gore. Ferguson has the talent to become a starter at some point in the future if he continues developing the way he should.
Phillip Dorsett, Wide Receiver
Last week, second-year wide receiver Phillip Dorsett was only able to catch two passes for eight yards. It wasn’t a big game, but he has plenty of time to show that he can step into a sizable role this season. Dorsett will be asked to be the No. 3 receiver behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief and they need him to be a major playmaker as a deep threat and in the open field.
Patrick Robinson, Cornerback
As a starter, Patrick Robinson will not be receiving too much playing time this week. Despite that fact, he is a player to watch in the limited playing time that he receives. Robinson is a major key for the Colts’ defense, as Kevin Bowen of Colts outlined in detail in a recent column.
Antonio Morrison, Linebacker
Another rookie to keep an eye on this week is linebacker Antonio Morrison. Sio Moore went down with an injury last week as we previously mentioned and Morrison could see a lot more playing time this week. He has a great work ethic, is a hard hitter, and has a chance to earn playing time this season if he wins the coaching staff over in preseason play.
Expect to see the Colts’ starters put up a good series or two and to see a lot of improvement in them from last week. Pagano and company are excited about this week’s game and these five players are must-watch talents.
Do you think the Indianapolis Colts are a serious Super Bowl contender this season? Which players do you think are their biggest X-Factors? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Photo by Michael Conroy/AP Images]