CINCINNATI – The final preseason game for the Indianapolis Colts was all about players having a final opportunity to try to turn the heads of the front office and coaching staff.
With quarterback Andrew Luck and the rest of the starting offense watching from the sideline, third-string quarterback Chandler Harnish spent the majority of the game trying to avoid being sacked. Harnish was sacked five times, and the Colts didn't reach 100 total yards of offense until the third quarter.
Here are some other thoughts on the Colts' final preseason game:
The Colts were already a fragile team on the offensive line when they entered training camp last month. They showed the current state of the line when Tyler Hoover played left tackle. Why is it a big deal that Hoover was playing left tackle? Because he’s a defensive end. The Colts were hit with another blow on the line when Joe Reitz, who plays guard and tackle, suffered a high ankle sprain, which means he’ll likely be out for a few weeks. Center Khaled Holmes (ankle), guard Hugh Thornton (unknown injury) and tackles Anthony Castonzo (rest) and Gosder Cherilus (rest) did not play.
Rookie Jack Mewhort has played all five positions along the offensive line at some point in his career. He played only three preseason games, and he's already started at two different positions. Mewhort, who is projected to be a starting guard, started at center against the Bengals.
Undrafted rookie Jonotthan Harrison, who had been starting in Holmes’ place, did not play because he was dealing with a right hand injury. Having Mewhort, who was an All-American center coming out of high school, makes you wonder even more if Holmes will be ready for the start of the regular season. Holmes has yet to practice since spraining his ankle three weeks ago.
Receiver Da'Rick Rogers' talent can't be questioned. His maturity is the issue. He proved that again when he caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Harnish in the fourth quarter. Instead of dropping the ball or handing it to the official, Rogers punted the ball into the stands. With rosters trimming down to 53 by Saturday afternoon, antics like that give the Colts every reason to cut Rogers.
The Colts are looking for as much pass-rush help as they can get with linebacker Robert Mathis suspended for the first four games of the season. Rookie Jonathan Newsome picked up his first sack of the preseason when he went untouched off the edge and got to Jason Campbell in the first quarter. Newsome, the Colts' fifth-round draft pick, is listed as Erik Walden's backup at linebacker.
As expected, Colts coach Chuck Pagano rested 20 of his 22 offensive and defensive starters. Mewhort, Mike Adams and Colt Anderson (one of whom wil be the starting safety) were the only projected starters to play. The Colts open the regular season at Denver on Sept. 7.