INDIANAPOLIS – Hard Knocks and the fighting Dan Campbell’s are arriving to Grand Park this week.
In what has become an annual tradition for the Colts, they will again play host a pair of joint practice sessions during training camp.
The Lions and Colts will practice together on Wednesday and Thursday, before Saturday’s preseason home opener between the two teams.
What should we be watching for when the Lions and Colts get together?
1. Starting Evaluations In Practice Only
From the sound of it, Frank Reich and Dan Campbell have agreed to not play their starters in Saturday’s preseason contest (preseason game 2 of 3 for the two teams).
That means the only time we will see the starters this week will be in those joint practice sessions on Wednesday and Thursday.
So, with just one preseason game remaining for the starters (next Saturday against the Buccaneers), these practices will be vital for the starters getting 1 vs. 1 action, in as close to game speed as possible.
2. Wide Receivers Beating Press
It is on the mind of Frank Reich, and many others.
How real is the Colts problem at wide receiver?
Reich said on Monday that the Colts, specifically, need to develop more at receiver when it comes to beating press coverage.
On the wideout front, we could get our first camp look at second-year wideout Mike Strachan this week. Strachan had knee surgery earlier this offseason and was on the team’s physically unable to perform list for the first 10 camp practices. The Colts brought him off that list on Monday.
How quickly Strachan is able to translate to team reps/earn the trust of Matt Ryan and the coaching staff will be important for a group needing someone to step up.
3. Different Good Vs. Good Test
Some of this is out of the Colts doing, but it’s worth nothing that this week will be the first time we see “good vs. good” against a different team this preseason.
With the Bills playing 0 starters on Saturday, the Colts 20 starters (Jonathan Taylor and Shaquille Leonard were the only Colts starters who did not play on Saturday) went up against Buffalo backups in the preseason opener.
So, besides these joint sessions with the Lions, it’s the Colts/Bucs next Saturday as the only other time the Colts starting offense and defense will also see an opponent’s starting units this month (and Tom Brady might not be playing in that contest).
Yes, it’s the Lions, and it’s not in a fully live game setting, but at least the Colts are going to get two days of work facing another team’s frontline guys.
4. Physicality Welcomed?
While the Lions stink, Dan Campbell has made it known that his team will be physical.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Lions toe that line this week, and how the Colts react to it.
Full tackling this week is likely not on the radar, but you should see some serious thudding.
And the competitive spirits of seeing a team in another jersey, and not knowing tendencies leads to a welcomed point of camp.
5. Good Trench Barometer
Maybe, it’s just my curiosity, but I am really looking forward to seeing No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson rush against Matt Pryor this week.
This past Saturday wasn’t a great performance by the Colts offensive line, and depth with that group is very unproven.
In general, this should be a good week in the pass rush department.
The Colts offensive line knows how their own defensive linemen are rushing, and vice versa.
Now, it’s facing new moves, a new test and a different color jersey.