Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills Gameday Preview

COLTS OVERVIEW

Back in January 2000, the week after the Bills playoff game in Tennessee that Shall Not Be Mentioned, the Titans dispatched Indy en route to their lone Super Bowl appearance.

Since that eight-day stretch, the two teams have spent the last decade going in opposite directions. Many Bills fans see the franchise constructed by Colts general manager Bill Polian – nine playoff appearances, two Super Bowls, and a Lombardi Trophy during that period – and remember with nostalgia (and more than a little anger at his forced departure) the days when he made all those playoff memories possible in Western New York.

BILLS PLAYERS TO WATCH

QB: Chan Gailey left starter Trent Edwards in the Washington game longer than planned, hoping he could end his action on a positive note. Didn’t work, and as Tim Graham noted in a blog post Tuesday night, the Bills starters are still looking for their first preseason touchdown in two years. Ouch. (To be fair, Edwards didn’t get much help from the cobbled-together offensive line. Flashback to 2009, anyone?)

Following a decent relief performance by Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm gets his turn as the second-stringer this week. If he wants a shot at being the No. 2 going into the season, much less the starter, it would behoove him to play well tonight.

RB: Wow. In the span of a few plays, we went from speculating how the Bills were going to find enough playing time for Fred Jackson, Marshawn Lynch, and C.J. Spiller to wondering who’s going to carry the ball until Jackson and Lynch return from injury. Gailey and crew won’t want to overwork Spiller, of course, so I’m looking forward to watching plenty of Joique Bell and Chad Simpson (who I thought wasn’t all that bad in Indy).

WR: So much for hoping David Nelson would continue to make his move in this week’s game; the rookie free agent from Florida is the latest wideout to fall victim to the injury bug, although he sounds hopeful that he’ll be back on the field soon. Meanwhile, his absence – along with Hardy and Easley – allows fellow rookies Donald Jones, the just-signed Aaron Rhea, and hometown favorite Naaman Roosevelt some more chances to catch the coaches’ eyes.

Chad Jackson is still lurking on the depth chart, too. I already liked his chances of making the final 53; at this point, he may have already locked up a roster spot by attrition.

TE: The depth chart in the game release hasn’t changed from last week; Derek Schouman is still listed fourth, behind Michael Matthews. Do they keep all four, or is his time in Buffalo running short?

OL: So, Jamon Meredith and Kirk Chambers didn’t look so hot against the Redskins. Can we hope that with the starters on the field – even if just for a few plays – the line can protect whoever’s at QB? Otherwise, it’s going to be a loooong season. One hopes Buddy Nix is constantly keeping an eye on the waiver wire, just in case some veteran depth becomes available.

DL: This week, it’s the Colts who will be without multiple OL starters. With that in mind, I’d love to see some domination by the Bills’ defensive linemen, who should get Spencer Johnson back in the rotation. And hey, was that really a John McCargo sighting at FedEx Field?

LB: So far, Chris Ellis may well be the best of the converted Des at rush LB; I’m still in “show-me” mode on both Kelsay and Maybin. Knew the switch to the 3-4 was going to be a work in progress, but they have to provide a little more resistance to opposing offenses than they did last week, or it’s going to get ugly quick. Get well soon, Mr. Posluszny.

DB: C’mon, football gods. Really? The last 10 years haven’t been enough, so you have to go and sit Jairus Byrd down for the next month – or possibly longer – too? Not fair. Enough already.

Even with Dallas Clark sitting this one out, the guys who will be on the field should get a good workout against Peyton Manning. As it stands right now, I agree with keeping Florence ahead of McKelvin, and I’m not quite ready to dump Reggie Corner despite a concerning performance last week.  And with the uncertainty surrounding Byrd’s outlook, who steps up to make a name for himself at safety?

LINKS

Colts depth chart | 2010 preseason stats
Bills depth chart | 2010 preseason stats

Welcome to the Blogosphere:
ESPN AFC East (Tim Graham) | AFC South (Paul Kuharsky)
Bounce it off Phil B. (Indianapolis Star – Philip B. Wilson)

Lori Chase, a staff columnist for Two Bills Drive, can be contacted at lchase (at) twobillsdrive.com.

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09/08 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
09/15 Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm
09/22 @ New York Jets 4:25 pm
09/29 Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm
10/03 @ Cleveland Browns 8:25 pm
10/13 Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/20 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
10/27 @ New Orleans Saints 1:00 pm
11/03 Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
11/10 @ Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 pm
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12/08 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 pm
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