Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Indianapolis Colts [Print without images]

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Colts' defense to be tested vs. New Orleans

By Mike Wells

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts have gone from facing quarterback Geno Smith of the New York Jets in the first preseason game to facing Eli Manning of the New York Giants in the second preseason to now being truly tested in a game.

The Colts' defense, which has played well in the preseason, faces the New Orleans Saints on Saturday. Saints quarterback Drew Brees will be making his preseason debut in the game.

"It’s going to be a great barometer to see just how far we’ve come defensively," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "We’re off to a good start defensively when you look at the numbers from the first two ball games ... From an individual standpoint, position standpoint and then collectively as a unit, those guys are all excited to play an outstanding team, an outstanding offensive unit and see exactly where we’re at."

Brees and the Saints’ offense averaged almost 26 points and nearly 400 yards a game last season, which means the Colts will have their hands full defensively. The Colts’ starting defense held the Giants to 53 yards on 20 plays in fours series last weekend.

This won’t be a game where the starters barely break a sweat and then sit down. Both teams are expected to play their starters to at least halftime.

"That third game is usually the vital one," Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. "The majority of the time they play the first half, a little bit into the third. They’re a good football team. Brees is a good quarterback. It’ll be a good test for us."