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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts will open up the doors of Lucas Oil Stadium for the 2018 season on Monday night.
Week Two of the preseason will see the Colts and Ravens get together after the two teams had joint practices together on Friday and Saturday.
Here are 7 things to watch as the Colts take on the Ravens at 8:00 PM:
Luck’s Next Step
-The plan for Luck on Monday night is for him and the starters to probably hover around 3 series, and play into the second quarter. Playing time aside, Luck has pointed to a couple of specific goals for the rest of the month. Luck wants to sharpen up his timing with new guys like Ryan Grant and Eric Ebron. He also wants to work on his throws down the field. That’s something we didn’t really see much in the preseason opener last Thursday (4 of Luck’s 6 completions were at or behind the line of scrimmage). We will see if that changes on Monday.
Right Tackle Job Settled
-Easily the most wide-open position battle on the offensive side of the ball resides at right tackle. What a week and change it’s been at right tackle. J’Marcus Webb started there against Seattle. In returning to Grand Park, rookie Braden Smith was the right tackle starter for three straight practices. Then, on Thursday, the Colts turned back to veteran Austin Howard to start, before Smith got back into the lineup as things closed down in Westfield. Phew. Denzelle Good has not returned to practice and one would think he will definitely factor into this competition before it’s all said and done, too. It’s hard to see this position battle solved before the Colts play the 49ers this coming Saturday. But time is ticking on needing to establish some chemistry up front
Defense Showing Up
-Let’s be honest, the starting defense did not even have a mediocre performance in the preseason opener. Seattle (using two different quarterbacks) marched the length of the field on each of the first two drives. That Indy defense was bending majorly, before breaking on the opening drive in Seattle and then got bailed out by a poor throw in the end zone on the second series. Do we see more of an edge set, some pass rush and playmaking on third down from the secondary in Week Two of the preseason?
Clayton Geathers Back On The Field
-Last week it was all about Andrew Luck returning to the playing field. Monday, it looks like it will be about safety Clayton Geathers making his 2018 debut. The hard-hitting safety has practiced for the last week and a half with the starters, with some occasional rest. Geathers was thought to be a building block of the future before neck and knee injuries have really stunted his growth. Will his return to health change that as he plays in the final season of his four-year rookie contract?
Any Receivers Emerge?
-It would be nice if the Colts let some of their lesser known wideouts get a good amount of run with Jacoby Brissett on Monday night. You need to properly evaluate what you have in the likes of Reece Fountain, Krishawn Hogan, K.J. Brent (who injured his knee on the final day at Grand Park), Kasen Williams, etc. It would be nice, too, if Chester Rogers showed a little more in a game setting, after a more subdued Training Camp for the third-year wideout. Rogers did have a nice end to camp at Grand Park.
Nyheim Hines Handling Punts
-The preseason opener was a night to forget for Hines. The rookie struggled mightily in handling punts. Hines is clearly a favorite of the Colts with all the responsibility they are throwing at the rookie. But ball security is the most important aspect as a returner, so Hines better clean that up. Offensively, Hines has had a nice bounce back week, getting more and more starting reps with the injuries to Marlon Mack and Robert Turbin.
-Before Nate Hairston’s gifted interception on the second series versus Seattle, the Indy corner missed a couple of opportunities to get off the field. The Colts need more playmaking from their corners, especially with a quiet pass rush. It still remains to be seen how the Colts will handle the exact playing time for the likes of Kenny Moore, Pierre Desir, Quincy Wilson and Hairston.