Two and a half weeks into August comes the Colts' second preseason game, this one in New York to take on the two-years-removed-from-a-Super-Bowl Giants. This game will be nationally televised on FOX, so even non-Hoosiers like me who don't have NFLN can watch without worrying about our internet connection.
Once again we'll take this spot to remind you that this game does not matter. The score doesn't matter in the least. Not after one quarter. Not after two quarters. Certainly not after the entire game.
That being said, here are three things I will be paying attention to tonight.
Will Ben Ijalana get playing time?
Last week, Ijalana didn't get into the game until about there was less than five minutes left in the game. With less than two weeks until the initial cuts, Ijalana needs all the opportunity he can get to prove that he's worth keeping another year.
Ijalana looked a tad slow on the edge last week, but showed impressive upper-body strength and latched onto defenders well. Will we have a bigger sample size to analyze this week?
I wouldn't count on it. The starters should play into the second quarter tonight, leaving less snaps for both the second and third teams. No matter what kind of time he gets, Ijalana needs to take advantage.
Where in the World is
Carmen Sandiego Griff Whalen?
Whalen was the talk of camp during the two weeks leading up to last week's 44-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills, but didn't show much during the exhibition game.
Whalen got more opportunity than any other receiver on the roster: 42 snaps was more than any other skill player not named Chandler Harnish. But Whalen was only targeted seven times, and caught just three for 26 yards.
While those weren't drops, we'd like to see more consistency from Whalen. His role would be a possession receiver on this team, and a higher catch rate is imperative.
NOTE: Whalen is inactive for tonight's game.
Can somebody, anybody, get to the quarterback?
The Colts showed a lack of pass rush that was as alarmingly bad as expected. While the starters weren't in the game for more than a few snaps, the lack of disruption in the pocket throughout the game allowed the Buffalo quarterbacks carve up a questionable Indianapolis secondary.
The Colts secondary, while having potential, is not one that can cover receivers for five or more seconds. They need the quarterback to be pressured, and there is huge concern over where that is going to come from this year. Last week Lawrence Sidbury and Caesar Rayford had the most success, with Sidbury earning six pressures and Rayford two (including the team's only sack).
Watch the interior line today to see if there is any improvement on pass rush from the middle. That was a significant problem last season, and has to improve for the Colts' defense to improve at all this year.
I hope the team doen not go through an entire season of special team breakdowns which happened against Buffalo. This would demoralize the offense and the defense which would have to play catch-up on every possession.
Great test for our Oline and our DBs. If Ijalana doesn't get in until the 4th Q again, we may as well give up on him.