Indianapolis Colts-Washington Redskins Preseason Primer


The Indianapolis Colts will defend their home turf for the first time this season.

Well, sort of.

That’s really to say the team will get to see if the young players it’s counting on in 2011 are up to defending the home turf when the games matter as the Colts welcome the Washington Redskins to Lucas Oil Stadium in preseason action at 8 p.m.

What to watch for when the Redskins come to town?

  • Anthony Castonzo starting at left tackle. Apparently it hasn’t taken the Colts’ first-round pick to get up to speed following the NFL lockout that was perceived to slow his progress. Castonzo has gotten the nod in camp, supplanting Jeff Linkenbach as the first-team left tackle on Indy’s depth chart. The Boston College product has had a humbling welcome to the NFL in lining up against Dwight Freeney — much less Freeney AND Robert Mathis — and he did a fine job as a backup in the Colts’ first preseason game, so it will be interesting to see what kind of work he does against Washington’s Brian Orakpo while he’s in. This is the guy who’s supposed to be the long-term shield for Peyton Manning’s blind side, so we’ll see if early returns are positive.
  • The new offensive line on the whole. Today’s starting front five will see Castonzo at left tackle, Joe Reitz at left guard, Jeff Saturday at center, Ryan Diem at right guard and Linkenbach at right tackle. I’m intrigued to see how Diem does at guard; he’s been the team’s longtime starter at right tackle but hasn’t played particularly well there since suffering a knee injury in 2007, one that caused him to miss nearly half that season. Perhaps he could better open holes for the Colts’ much-maligned running game at the interior position, where results have been inconsistent at best with guys like Mike Pollak, Kyle DeVan, Steve Justice and Jamey Richard.
  • Pressure on Redskins QBs. I’d venture to guess that Freeney and Mathis aren’t likely to play much again this week. That means it’s showtime for Jerry Hughes. The 2010 first-rounder has a plethora of mediocre-at-best quarterbacks to feast upon tonight in John Beck, Rex Grossman and Ben Chappell, a rookie from nearby Indiana University. Trent Williams and Jammal Brown are tough tackles to get by, but if Hughes truly has progressed in camp like team officials say, we should see something. Should.
  • “Leadership” from Painter. Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star reported the Colts like quarterback Curtis Painter’s leadership and resiliency. As much as Colts fans might contest that, I actually can see it. Painter had a nice drive against the Rams last week before exiting. It’s just that as many poor decisions come with his good moments. What I want to see is Painter take control of the huddle, make plays, score touchdowns and prove he can run the offense consistently. I think he has the physical tools to play the quarterback position. He just needs to be more consistently solid mentally. I want to see him succeed in that way. Seriously, how much more heat can a guy take for not being Peyton Manning?

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