AFC South: Caesar Rayford

Mike Wells: General manager Ryan Grigson said, “Don’t rule out anything,” when asked about that possibility last week. But I’m not sure they do it because of the depth in this year’s draft.

"I think just good scouting 101, draft common sense, you would assume there are going to be players in those mid-rounds that’s going to be heavy with talent that maybe in other drafts you wouldn’t have been able to get,” Grigson said. “You’d have to take them a couple rounds higher. I’m excited and I think a lot of other general managers and coaches are excited as well, because I think this is going to be a deep draft class.”

The Colts have picks in the second, third, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds in the May draft.

We’ll find out if not having a first-round pick (sent to Cleveland for running back Trent Richardson) will hurt the Colts at some point, but they do have an extra pick in the 2015 draft. Grigson was able to trade linebacker Caesar Rayford, the 27-year-old rookie and former Canadian Football League standout, to Dallas for a seventh-round pick last September.

Rayford had a team-high five sacks to go with two forced fumbles in the preseason last season.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts were going to fill the roster spot created when they traded linebacker Caesar Rayford to Dallas on Tuesday.

That’s not surprising.

The Colts did that by moving tight end Dominique Jones from the practice squad to the 53-man roster and signing tight end Justice Cunningham to the practice squad.

The Colts now have four tight ends on the active roster with Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Jack Doyle and Jones.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said Allen and Fleener are expected to play against Oakland during his media session Monday. They may play, but adding a fourth tight end to the active roster has to make you wonder how healthy Allen (foot) and Fleener (knee) really are.

The Colts need Allen and Fleener healthy because they're key components to what should be a lethal offense this season.

The Colts claimed Doyle, an Indianapolis native, off waivers from Tennessee on Sunday. Titans coach Mike Munchak talked about Doyle to the Tennessee media.

“He’s a guy that you liked the way he developed,” Munchak said. “He was a guy undrafted. We liked what we saw, but to carry four tight ends is hard when you carry a fullback. You never know with that whether it’ll be over or not be over. That was a guy that worked well and earned a spot. I’m proud of him, happy for him. A guy that could be undrafted and make a 53, that’s pretty good.”

If Fleener or Allen isn’t healthy, Colts fans could see Doyle, an Indianapolis native, sooner than expected.

Colts trade preseason standout to Dallas

September, 3, 2013
9/03/13
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Linebacker Caesar Rayford went from being a player that couldn’t get an invite to an NFL training camp, to being a 27-year-old rookie in the Indianapolis Colts’ camp, to beating the odds and making the 53-man roster, to now being traded.

The Colts traded Rayford to the Dallas Cowboys for a conditional draft pick in 2015 on Tuesday, according to ESPN's Todd Archer.

Rayford was the Colts’ most effective pass-rusher in the preseason, leading them with a team-high five sacks to go with two forced fumbles.

His value to the Colts decreased when the team acquired linebacker Cam Johnson from San Francisco on Monday. Trading Rayford allows Johnson the opportunity to get more reps in practice and potentially help a defense that could use some pass-rush assistance.

Players usually don’t like to be traded, but in this situation Rayford should feel good because his preseason performance proved to teams that he could play in the NFL.

That’s not too bad for a player who spent time in the Arena and Canadian Football League and couldn’t get NFL teams to invite him to training camp until this summer.

Colts still searching for pass-rush help

September, 2, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS – One of the biggest questions not involving the offensive line with the Colts was who would be Robert Mathis' pass-rush partner.

That question started earlier this year when the Colts decided not to bring pass-rush specialist Dwight Freeney back. And it remains unanswered.

That’s not good when the regular season is just days away.

The Colts know that, too, which is why they acquired another pass-rusher in linebacker Cam Johnson from San Francisco on Monday. They released tight end Justice Cunningham to make room on the roster.

The Colts' front office liked what they saw on film from Johnson, who starred in the preseason for the 49ers. His performance in the preseason finale against San Diego sealed the deal for the Colts. Johnson, a seventh-round pick in 2012, had two sacks, blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. That performance earned Johnson a spot on the 49ers’ 53-man roster.

The Colts were hoping to get a better indication of who could complement Mathis, who had a team-high eight sacks last season, in the pass-rush department during the preseason. Rookie linebacker Caesar Rayford led the Colts with five sacks in the preseason, but he did it against backup players and won't likely get much playing time on defense this season.
Here's today's Reading the Coverage:
  • Mike Chappell of The Indianapolis Star talked to linebacker Caesar Rayford on making the team. Rayford is a feel-good story because of the road he’s taken to get to the NFL: the Canadian and Arena leagues. He didn't get invited to an NFL training camp until he was 27 years old. Now he’s on an NFL roster.
  • Phil Richards, also of The Star, caught up with ESPN colleague Bill Polian and talked to him about his transition from general manager to analyst. I never covered Polian, but many in the media say he was difficult to deal with because he wasn’t a fan of the media. Now he’s part of the group.
  • Conrad Brunner of 1070 The Fan put a wrap on the preseason by saying the starting unit is solid but there are questions about the depth of the team. Depth of receiver is a concern because the Colts kept six, but one of them -- LaVon Brazill --is suspended the first four games of the season. And a second one, David Reed, suffered a concussion against Cincinnati in the preseason finale.
  • Kevin Bowen from Colts.com gives his reaction to the 53-man roster.

Indianapolis Colts cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
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Most significant move: Defensive lineman Fili Moala didn’t play in the preseason because was he was still rehabbing a knee injury from late 2012, but that didn’t stop him from making the roster. Keeping Moala put an end to fellow defensive lineman Drake Nevis’ time with the Colts. Fullback Dominique Jones was cut, leaving the Colts with only one fullback on the roster, Stanley Havili.

A feel-good story: Linebacker Caesar Rayford kept hearing from NFL teams over the years that they liked what they saw out of him on video while he played in the Arena Football League. Rayford, however, never got an invite to a training camp from any of those teams. That changed this year when the Colts, led by general manager Ryan Grigson’s willingness to search anywhere for talent, invited Rayford to camp. Rayford didn’t disappoint, either. He had a team-high five sacks during the preseason. Rayford now has a spot on the 53-man roster. The 27-year-old rookie’s best bet to get on the field will likely be on special teams. He’ll take it after getting looked over for so many years while he played in the Canadian and Arena Football League.

What’s next: Grigson and his staff aren’t going to sit tight. They’ll continue to monitor which players -- especially offensive linemen and possibly fullback -- around the league were released, and don’t be surprised if the roster the Colts take into their season opener against Oakland on Sept. 8 is completely different than the current one. The Colts will likely add quarterback Chandler Harnish and linebacker Daniel Adongo to the practice squad if both players clear waivers. Adongo didn’t play in the preseason, but the Colts are intrigued by the former rugby player. Harnish was on the practice squad last season.

Colts cuts: LB: Daniel Adongo, Josh McNary, Monte Simmons, Shawn Loiseau. DB: Larry Asante, Marshay Green, Sheldon Price, Daxton Swanson. OL: Thomas Austin, Ben Ijalana, Bradley Sowell, Lee Ziemba, Emmett Cleary. DL: Lawrence Guy, Drake Nevis, Martin Tevaseu. QB: Chandler Harnish. FB: Robert Hughes. TE: Dominique Jones. WR: Jeremy Kelley, Jabin Sambrano, Lanear Sampson

Predicting the Colts' 53-man roster

August, 30, 2013
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Here’s my projection at what the Colts' 53-man roster will look like:

Quarterback

Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck

Comment: The Colts are in good hands with Luck and Hasselbeck.

Running back

Ahmad Bradshaw, Vick Ballard, Donald Brown, Kerwynn Williams

Comment: Williams locked in his spot as the fourth running back by rushing for 92 yards against Cincinnati. He’ll also likely return kicks.

Fullback

Stanley Havili, Dominique Jones

Comment: Havili proved that he can be another option for Luck to throw to out of the backfield against Cleveland last weekend.

Wide receiver

Reggie Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey, TY Hilton, LaVon Brazill, Griff Whalen, David Reed

Comment: Colts are set with Wayne, Heyward-Bey and Hilton, but depth is still a concern at receiver.

Tight end

Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Justice Cunningham

Comment: You have to cross your fingers that Fleener’s preseason problems were just that and they won’t linger into the regular season.

Offensive line

Anthony Castonzo, Donald Thomas, Samson Satele, Mike McGlynn, Gosder Cherilus, Hugh Thornton, Joe Reitz, Khaled Holmes, Jeff Linkenbach

Comment: The Colts’ scoring success depends heavily on how well this unit protects Luck

Defense

Defensive line

Cory Redding, Josh Chapman, Ricky Jean Francois, Aubrayo Franklin, Montori Hughes, Lawrence Guy, Drake Nevis

Comment: The defensive line has to prove it can stop the run.

Linebackers

Robert Mathis, Erik Walden, Bjoern Werner, Caesar Rayford, Pat Angerer, Jerrell Freeman, Kavell Conner, Mario Harvey, Kelvin Sheppard

Comment: Rayford is the surprise name on this list, but the 27-year-old former Canadian and Arena League player earned a roster spot by having a very strong training camp.

Cornerbacks

Greg Toler, Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, Cassius Vaughn, Josh Gordy

Comment: The Colts are in good hands if Davis and Butler play like they did during the preseason.

Safeties

LaRon Landry, Antoine Bethea, Joe Lefeged, Larry Asante

Comment: Asante made a strong case to make the roster with an interception against Cleveland and 13 tackles against Cincinnati. Don’t count out Sergio Brown, though.

Special teams

Adam Vinatieri, Pat McAfee, Matt Overton

Comment: No comment necessary

Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star made his 53-man roster projection earlier this week.

Conrad Brunner of 1070 The Fan did the same.

Observation deck: Colts-Bengals

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
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CINCINNATI -- No Andrew Luck. No Reggie Wayne. No Cory Redding. No Antoine Bethea or Robert Mathis, either.

In what’s the biggest yawner of the preseason because starting players rarely play, the preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals was all about borderline players trying to make one final impression on front office officials and the coaching staff before the 53-man roster has to be set by Saturday evening.

Here are other observations from the Indianapolis Colts’ 27-10 loss to the Bengals:
  • Third-string quarterback Chandler Harnish played for all but the first two series of the game. He didn’t do anything to help his case to play behind Luck and Matt Hasselbeck. But that’s not surprising, because Harnish struggled the entire preseason. Harnish started 2-of-6 but managed complete six of his next seven passes to finish 8-of-13 for 55 yards and a touchdown. He was also sacked twice. Harnish’s best bet is that he’ll be brought back to be the team’s practice-squad quarterback.
  • Rookie running back Kerwynn Williams took advantage of Ahmad Bradshaw not playing and Vick Ballard getting only a handful of snaps to be the lone bright spot on offense. The seventh-round pick rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries. Williams will likely be the fourth running back on the depth chart. He’ll also be the team’s primary kick returner. "He's got the heart of a lion," coach Chuck Pagano said. "He's produced really every week and made big plays. He's put enough out there so you have to give it some heavy consideration."
  • Safety Larry Asante followed up his 48-yard interception return for a touchdown against Cleveland last weekend by getting a sack and also recovering a fumble in the first half. Asante had a game-high 13 tackles. He had only four tackles total in the first three preseason games. Asante's play the past two games keeps him in the mix to make the roster as one of the safeties.
  • Receiver/kick returner David Reed, acquired from Baltimore on Aug. 21, left the game with a concussion.
  • Linebacker Caesar Rayford stood at his locker still in his pads mad at himself long after the game. The rookie seemed to be in a good position to make the team with a team-high five sacks heading into Thursday. But he wasn't pleased that he didn't close out the preseason the way he wanted to. He had only two tackles against the Bengals, with one of the tackles being in the open field. Rayford did enough early in the preseason to earn a roster spot.
  • Linebacker Daniel Adongo, the rugby player attempting to play football for the first time, didn’t play during the preseason because Pagano wasn’t comfortable putting him the game. That didn’t stop a press box announcer from saying Adongo had a special-teams tackle in the first half. A No. 46 got the tackle for the Colts, but it wasn’t Adongo. It was tight end Dominique Jones. Jones later caught a touchdown pass from Harnish.
What’s next: The Colts open the regular season against the Oakland Raiders at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Sept. 8.

What to watch for: Colts-Bengals

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
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Here’s what to look for in tonight’s preseason finale between the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals.

Actually, here’s what not to look for first.

Don’t expect players like quarterback Andrew Luck, receiver Reggie Wayne, defensive linemen Robert Mathis and Cory Redding to play much if they even play at all. Coach Chuck Pagano said earlier this week that some players may not play. He didn’t mention any specific names, but it’s easy to assume he was talking about the team’s key players.

Thursday’s about players trying to make one last run at solidifying a spot on the 53-man roster. Rosters have to be set by 6 p.m. EST on Saturday.

Here’s a look at several players who can help their chances to make the roster by having a strong performance against the Bengals.
  1. LB Caesar Rayford: Barring a complete collapse, Rayford should be on the 53-man roster. But don’t expect him to take things lightly against the Bengals considering the road he’s taken to even reach this point. The 27-year-old rookie has spent his career playing in the Canadian and Arena Football Leagues. Rayford leads the Colts with a team-high five sacks in the preseason.
  2. WR Griff Whalen: Whalen, a former teammate of Luck’s at Stanford, started training camp strong before a groin injury set him back momentarily. But he bounced back strong by catching four passes for 57 yards against the Cleveland Browns last weekend. Another strong performance will likely solidify the fourth receiver spot for Whalen because the team’s current fourth receiver, LaVon Brazill is suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance policy.
  3. DE Fili Moala: A knee injury has hurt Moala in more ways than one. The 2009 second-round pick started eight games last season before suffering the season-ending knee injury. He missed most of training camp while recovering from knee surgery to put him further behind the competition for a roster spot. There’s no guarantee Maola will play against Cincinnati, which could hurt his chances even more.
  4. WR/KR David Reed: The Colts acquired Reed when they traded running back Delone Carter to Baltimore on Aug. 21. Reed’s best attribute is his kick return skills because he's only caught five passes in his first three seasons. He led the league in kick-return average in 2010. Expect Reed to get an opportunity to return kicks against the Bengals.
INDIANAPOLIS – If coach Chuck Pagano’s comments are any indication, you shouldn’t expect to see quarterback Andrew Luck or any other of the Indianapolis Colts’ key players on the field when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals in their preseason finale on Thursday.

“We’d like to get everybody significant amount of reps,” Pagano said. “Some guys will get less than other guys and there might be a few cases where a guy won’t play at all."

Pagano later added that playing time will be based on age and health.

What about Luck, coach?

“If he gets a series, that would be great. If he gets nothing, that would be great,” Pagano said.

That sure sounds like Luck will be on the sideline wearing a baseball cap and sipping out of a Gatorade cup during the game Thursday.

Luck played one series and threw one pass in the preseason finale last year as a rookie. The Colts won’t get anything out of him doing the same thing this year.

It’ll be a good thing if players like Luck, Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis and Cory Redding don’t play against the Bengals.

There’s no need for them to. They’ve already proven they’re ready for the regular season. Luck went 29-of-44 for 322 yds, four touchdowns and an interception during the preseason.

Thursday is about the borderline players making one final run at the 53-man roster. Players like Caesar Rayford, Griff Whalen and Kerwynn Williams should get a significant amount of playing time.

RTC: Rayford making his case

August, 26, 2013
8/26/13
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Here’s today’s edition of Reading the Coverage:

The Indianapolis Star has an item on linebacker Caesar Rayford making another case to make the final 53-man roster after he picked up a team-high fifth sack in Saturday’s win over the Cleveland Browns.

Rayford will have another shot to lock up a spot on the roster when he’ll likely get extensive playing time in the preseason finale at Cincinnati on Thursday.

The Associated Press has a story on former Colts QB Peyton Manning making another commercial. This one is quiet compared to the catchy cell phone commercial the future Hall of Famer made with his brother Eli. Peyton teams with John Elway, John Lynch and Chauncey Billups to promote the 2014 BMW Championship golf tournament in Denver.

The Terre Haute Tribune has a story on the harsh reality of roster cuts. The Colts have to cut three more players by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday and get down to 53 players by 6 p.m. ET Saturday.

Observation deck: Colts-Browns

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
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INDIANAPOLIS -- It’s not often that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck will take a backseat, especially on a night when he once again proved he’s ready for the start of the regular season, to anybody on the roster.

Luck did his part in leading the Colts to 17 points during his seven series on the field Saturday, but he turned out to be just a footnote because of how the defense looked against the Cleveland Browns.

Yes, the Colts defense, in particular the starters, was the dominating force. That’s the same unit that finished in the bottom third of the league in all of the major statistical categories last season.

With their starting unit together for the first time in the preseason, the Colts defense held Cleveland’s starters to four first downs, 109 yards and zero points.

Those stats aren’t from a quarter of play or even a half. The Colts did it while playing into the third quarter.

“The defense was outstanding,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said after the 27-6 preseason victory.

It wasn’t only the starters who played well for the Colts. Their success continued after the first unit called it a night early in the third quarter.

The Colts finished with three sacks, two forced fumbles -- recovering one of them -- and they returned an interception for a touchdown. They had six sacks and an interception in their game against the New York Giants on Aug. 18.

“They’ve been opportunistic,” Luck said. “Interceptions, guys getting hands on balls, sacks, you name it. They’re playing their butts off.”

Here are other observations from the game:
  • Who needs the preseason? Not Luck. Luck completed eight of his first nine passes and finished 16-of-25 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Saturday brought the second-year quarterback’s three-game preseason total to 29-of-44 for 322 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Luck has taken his fair share of hits, but he’s been sacked only twice. That’s a step in the right direction for the Colts in their attempt to cut his 41 sacks from last season in half.
  • The Colts were right when they said they planned to use the fullback this season. Fullback Stanley Havili started his night off with a nice block to help spring running back Vick Ballard free for a 15-yard gain on the right side on the Colts’ first series. Havili was on the receiving end of Luck’s first touchdown pass -- from 3 yards out -- in the second quarter. The Colts have only three touchdown passes -- regular season or playoffs -- to a fullback since 2003. Havili was also responsible for Luck’s first interception of the preseason. Havili was open deep in Cleveland territory, but the ball went right through his hands and into the hands of Browns defensive back Tashaun Gipson at the Browns’ 2-yard line. Havili finished with two catches for 18 yards.
  • It was bad enough that Luck was sacked on the Colts’ opening drive. It was even worse that they lost their starting left tackle on the same play. Anthony Castonzo left the game with a right knee injury. Joe Reitz stepped in and played tackle in Castonzo’s place. Pagano said Castonzo has a mild sprain of the medial collateral ligament. He and receiver Nathan Palmer, who also injured his knee in the second half, are both scheduled to undergo MRIs on Sunday. The Colts can’t afford to be without Castonzo for an extended period of time because the offensive line is already a question mark with him in the lineup.
  • Receiver Griff Whalen was back on the field after missing the previous game with a groin injury. He came back at the right time, since rosters have to be trimmed down to 75 players by Tuesday. Whalen, the media darling during the first two weeks of training camp, made his case to be the fifth receiver -- fourth when LaVon Brazill is serving his four-game suspension at the start of the season -- by catching four passes for 57 yards from backup Matt Hasselbeck. Lack of depth at receiver has been a major concern for Colts in the preseason. Whalen helped his cause with the way he played Saturday.
  • Linebacker Caesar Rayford picked up his team-high fourth and fifth sacks of the preseason. Rayford has a unique story because he’s a 27-year-old rookie whose playing career has consisted of playing in the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League. Rayford missed out on his sixth sack of the preseason when the play was nullified by offsetting penalties.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts linebacker Caesar Rayford's physique is better suited for playing power forward on the basketball court. He stands 6-foot-7, weighs 267 pounds and says he'd be a Dennis Rodman-type player.

“I did play basketball,” Rayford said. “I was recruited out of high school. I still play basketball a lot in my offseason. That’s like my conditioning because I do love playing some basketball. That was my first love.”

Rayford’s first love may be basketball, but he’s currently on the football field trying to make things difficult for the Colts' coaching staff and front office officials when they have to trim the roster.

Rayford, who played at the University of Washington, heads into Saturday’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns with a team-high three sacks. One those sacks led to a fumble and Dax Swanson returned it for a touchdown.

“Certain situations he has shined and we're looking for good things from him coming up in this game," Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. "Every week is just a process of building guys up and keeping on working with them, and right now he's having a pretty good preseason."

Rayford’s football résumé doesn’t include the NFL. He spent time playing in the Canadian and Arena leagues. The 27-year-old Rayford had almost 30 sacks during his three-plus seasons with the Utah Blaze of the AFL.

“You got the guys that get the front door. You got the guys that get the back door,” Rayford said about the scenic route he’s taken to try to reach the NFL. “Then you got guys like me that got to climb the house and jump through the chimney. Hopefully that landing doesn’t hurt too bad and I get back up. I’m definitely blessed for the opportunity.”

Rayford faces an uphill battle to make the roster because veteran Robert Mathis and first-round pick Bjoern Werner are ahead of him at the rush linebacker spot.

Saturday is the final time Rayford will be able to impress the coaching staff before rosters have to be trimmed from 90 to 75 players next week.

“He’s making a case for himself, obviously,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “You come in here not knowing anything about what we’re doing and he’s shown up on game day…. Got a long way to go, but he’s definitely taking advantage of the opportunities that he’s getting out there and he’s being productive when he’s out there.”

RTC: Bradshaw practices in pads

August, 21, 2013
8/21/13
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Here’s today’s reading the coverage of the Colts:

The Indianapolis Star has a story on the Colts-themed sports bar, Blue Crew, a fan favorite, closing for the third time since May 1.

Veteran Colts reporter Mike Chappell of the Indy Star writes about tight end Coby Fleener’s inability to catch the ball in the preseason.

Chappell also writes about several players, including running back Ahmad Bradshaw, practicing in full pads for the first time in training camp.

Colts.com talked to Caesar Rayford, a 6-foot-7 linebacker, who has made an early impression in training camp after previously playing in the Arena and Canadian Football League.

Observation deck: Colts-Giants

August, 19, 2013
8/19/13
12:06
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The transition to being more of a run-oriented team is still a work in progress for the Indianapolis Colts.

That’s understandable when the quarterback is Andrew Luck, who set three rookie passing records last season.

Indianapolis gained 22 yards on eight rushes while Luck was in the game during their 20-12 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday.

That stat is misleading. Luck gained 14 yards scrambling on one play. You don’t have to be a math major to realize that means the Colts gained a total of eight yards on their seven other rushes.

Ouch.

The Colts have attempted 19 passes and 11 runs in two preseason games with Luck on the field.

Establishing the run will make things easier for Luck. The Colts want to avoid having him throw the ball 50 times a game, and it’ll open things up for opportunities downfield, especially once Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) joins Vick Ballard in the backfield.

Luck played like he's ready for the regular season against the Giants. He also had some good fortune.

Luck was under pressure when he threw a pass that should have been intercepted by Giants cornerback Aaron Ross. Ross hit the ball up in the air and Reggie Wayne, for whom the pass was intended, also tapped the ball in the air before coming down with it in the end zone.

Luck finished 9-of-13, including completing nine of his last 10 attempts, for 107 yards, two touchdowns and no sacks. Luck’s second touchdown to T.Y. Hilton was perfectly thrown right out of the reach of the Giants defender. Hilton showed off his footwork by keeping both feet in bounds.

Luck completed passes to four different players, including his top three receivers Wayne, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Hilton (four catches, 42 yards).

The Colts finished the game with more rush attempts -- 33 for 88 yards -- than pass attempts -- 28.

Other observations:
  • Two of general manager Ryan Grigson’s free-agent signings had impressive performances. Linebacker Erik Walden (six tackles) easily beat Giants tackle David Diehl for a sack on Giants quarterback Eli Manning in the second quarter. The Colts are looking for another player besides Robert Mathis to put pressure on the quarterback. Cornerback Greg Toler came underneath and intercepted a Manning pass intended for Hakeem Nicks. Toler’s aggressiveness isn’t surprising. That’s how the Colts secondary has played throughout camp.
  • After spending the first quarter not getting any pressure on the quarterback, the Colts finally got it going after Walden’s sack. They finished with six sacks. Linebacker Caesar Rayford and defensive end Drake Nevis each had two sacks. Colts coach Chuck Pagano told reporters after the game that Rayford, a former Arena Football League player, will make things difficult once it’s time to trim the roster down.
  • Tight end Coby Fleener's preseason hasn’t gone well. He left the game with a sprained knee. The sprained knee added to another unimpressive performance. He dropped what should have been a long catch and run from Luck in the first quarter. Then, he wasn’t looking for the ball coming across the middle on a pass from backup Matt Hasselbeck in the second quarter. Sunday’s performance added to to his fumble, dropped touchdown and concussion during the Aug. 11 game against Buffalo. The Colts have high hopes for Fleener and fellow second-year tight end Dwayne Allen this season. Allen is out with a foot injury and Fleener can’t hold onto the ball to go with his now sprained knee. That’s not good.
  • Rookie linebacker Bjoern Werner had an impact in his preseason debut. He made a tackle for a 4-yard loss and barely missed out on a sack. Werner is making the transition from playing on the defensive line at Florida State to being a rushing linebacker.
  • Veteran kicker Adam Vinatieri used his 40-year-old leg to nail a 52-yard field goal on the final play of the first quarter. The 52-yarder was Vinatieri’s longest since he made a 53-yard kick against Tennessee last season.

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