Blue Friday Game Preview: Browns vs. Colts

Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis ColtsMidway through this preseason, the Indianapolis Colts (1-1) will host the Cleveland Browns (2-0) for their last home game before the regular season.

After dropping their first game against the Bills, the Colts bounced back last week against the Giants, and you can look back on that game ap colts_1376879157990_2418678_ver1.0_640_480here: http://truebluefans.org/2013/08/19/colts-vs-giants-post-game-wrap-up/

The Colts will be without their top two tight ends Saturday. Coby Fleener suffered a knee sprain against the Giants, and although he has practiced, he will sit out this game. Dwayne Allen returned to practice this week after being out with a foot injury, but he too will stay on the sidelines for this game.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw started practicing for the very first time since becoming a Colt, foot injury, but will not play this game.

Starting guard Mike McGlynn will also be sitting out due to a knee injury he suffered in practice. Jeff Linkenback will replace him, and if he impresses the coaches he could have a shot at getting he starting job. McGlynn has not been too good this preseason.

However, there is still some good news. The world will finally get to see LaRon Landy in a Colts uniform. Landry, who was acquired in free agency this summer, has been out the past two weeks with a knee injury, but came back to practice this week.

Offense:

The Colts starting offense has look decent in their little time together this preseason. On offense, the questions coming into the season were not about Andrew Luck or the passing game, but instead the concerns were mainly about offensive line, along with having a strong running game.

The Colts made moves to help the offensive line this off-season, and much optimism was created, but that optimism has probably faded through these past two games. Too much pressure has been allowed up the middle which is making it difficult to effectively run the ball and keep Luck safe. The main goal is protecting the franchise QB. Last season, Luck was hit an absurd amount, and although he is a big guy who seems to take hits well, coaches and fans still fear for his health if he continues to take the contact he does. There’s no beating around the bush, the offensive line must approve.

Luck’s weapons continue to impress and appear to be ready for a dynamic season. Young phenom T.Y. Hilton has had back-to-back games with a touchdown, and continues to impress everyone. After a quiet game against the Bills, veteran Reggie Wayne caught three balls for 37 yards and a touchdown against the Giants. Questions still surround newly acquired Darrius Heyward-Bey, and after having no catches with only one target against the Bills, he led the team against the Giants with four catches for 42 yards.Colts-Brian-Spurlock-USA-TODAY-Sports

The running game hasn’t been what some expected, at least yet. Through these first two games the Colts only have 160 rushing yards, and that must improve. Although the Colts do not need to be a running team with Luck and all his weapons, they do need a reliable and effective running attack. Despite the lack of success running so far, optimism still remains for the offensive line getting better and the presence of Ahmad Bradshaw.

Defense:

If you watched both preseason games, you would have noticed a difference in the Colts defense. Against the Bills, the Colts just couldn’t stop anything. The Bills were able to pass for 315 yards with three touchdowns, and also rush for 136 yards. However, the Giants weren’t nearly as successful as they only passed for 152 yards and an interception, and only got 95 yards on the ground.

The Browns come into this game being one of the best offensive teams in the preseason, and much reason is because of the play of Brandon Weeden. Weeden struggled in his first year with the team, and many feared he would continue to slump this season. Fortunately for the Browns, Weeden has been impressive in the preseason by passing for 229 yards with three touchdowns and also completing 18/25 passes. Trent Richardson missed the first preseason game, but played last week and looked strong with 33 yards on six carries.

Trent-RichardsonThis is a Browns offense that has looked very impressive, and the Colts will have to be on their best game to slow them down.

First round pick Bjoern Werner still needs to show good signs, mainly for his confidence. Right now Werner is basically backing up Robert Mathis and coming in on third downs as a pass rusher, and the rookie only has one tackle this preseason. Hopefully Werner can make the best of his playing time and show why he was worthy of a first round pick.

The other new defensive acquisitions are starting to look very promising. Erik Walden has been impressive, and led the Colts in tackles against the Giants with six, and also added a sack as well. Greg Toler also looked good against the Giants in coverage, and also had an interception. He is appearing to be a good number two corner back. Finally, the Colts are hopeful that the return of LaRon Landy means a little bit of toughness added to the team, and another player that can help stop the run.

The game will be played in Indianapolis this Saturday at 7PM ET.

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