Monday, September 2, 2013
Colts could have all their starters for opener
By Mike Wells
INDIANAPOLIS -- For a team that dealt with its fair amount of injuries in the preseason, the Indianapolis Colts could have the starting lineup they envisioned heading into training camp when they take on the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 8.
That’s surprising considering where things stood just a couple of weeks ago.
“Should have him out there by Thursday and should make the game," coach Chuck Pagano said of Castonzo.
Castonzo suffered a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his knee in the Aug. 24 game against the Cleveland Browns.
“It’s going well, it’s progressing,” Castonzo said. “We’re just taking it day-by-day. It depends on how well (I feel) come game time. I still don’t know, it’s not guaranteed. But it’s still my goal.”
The Colts played their starting defense against the Browns, but they never had their starting offensive unit together. Bradshaw and Allen didn't play in the preseason.
While some may say there’s a level of concern by the offense not playing together, I’m not buying it. The players they have on the offensive side of the ball -- starting with quarterback Andrew Luck and receiver Reggie Wayne -- will make things easier as long as things go well on the offensive line.
“Just looking at today’s practice and coming off a long weekend and all those guys being out there today, it looks like they practiced on their own over the weekend, to be honest with you,” Pagano said. “Even though they missed some time, when you have guys that stay with it from a mental standpoint and they take the mental reps on the side, they still know how to get lined up. Their athleticism is going to take over and so they look pretty crisp and sharp.”
It also helps they’re facing an Oakland defense that gave up nearly 28 points a game last season. I’d say Andrew & Co. got the perfect opponent to work out any offensive kinks they may have from not having the unit together in the preseason.
• Kick returner David Reed still has to go through the concussion protocol before he’ll be cleared to play against the Raiders. Cassius Vaughn and Joe Lefeged are options to return kicks if Reed doesn’t play. Reed suffered the concussion against Cincinnati in the preseason finale last week.