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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Colts looking sharp as preseason concludes

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Even in the year of their championship defense, the Colts are silencing critics.

That said, if there is such a thing as a preseason monkey, it was effectively removed last week for those that care about meaningless statistics.

A team not recently noted for preseason prowess, the Colts were dominant in their final preseason home game, a 37-10 rout of the Detroit Lions. More importantly, their second preseason win in the past 12 games served indication the first team is showing little signs of slowing down despite injury and offseason losses.

“It definitely feels good not to have to talk about how we haven’t won a preseason game, so I thanked the team for winning so we wouldn’t have to answer those questions,” joked head coach Tony Dungy.

With less than a week before their NFL Kickoff against the New Orleans Saints, there is no doubt the Colts are ready to defend their title.

If anything was reaffirmed with last week’s victory, it was that the Colts’ offense is still one of the league’s most feared. Peyton Manning and company are quickly rounding into regular season form, despite the adjustment to changes in the offensive line. With the starters expected to see limited or no time in their preseason finale Aug. 31 in Cincinnati, Manning said the team’s focus remains on fine-tuning.

“We’ve got another week left of preseason and then a short week to get ready, so I think you need to use the whole time, every practice, every film session counts,” he said. “But it’s certainly getting closer and we’re getting excited about it.”

Defensively, the Colts received a boost with the return of safety Bob Sanders to active duty, just in time for the start of the regular season. Though he was not as sharp and Dungy would have liked, he continues to provide a spark that contributes to the team’s overall aggressive play. Taking no chances, Sanders is also expected to see limited time this week in Cincinnati. Additionally, franchise defensive end Dwight Freeney has been scratched as a precaution to nurse a bruised right thigh.

With nothing more to prove, the contest with the Bengals will in fact be more of a final audition for players teetering on the roster cut line. The Colts must trim their roster to 53 players by Saturday, making the Bengal’s contest meaningless by most accounts, but the most important for several players.

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