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Saturday, August 13, 2011
Three things: Colts-Rams

By Paul Kuharsky

Three things to look for in tonight’s preseason opener for the Colts against the Rams in St. Louis, where kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET.

The quarterbacks will have a big opportunity starting tonight to vie for the great job of working as Peyton Manning's backup. Manning has not yet returned from May neck surgery. Curtis Painter has gotten strong reviews for his progress, and the team likes Dan Orlovsky. Can they run an efficient offense and string together any drives after failing to do much in the scrimmage last week?

Local undrafted running backs Chad Spann and Darren Evans are roster long shots. But they will likely get plenty of action against the Rams and those carries will give the team a chance to evaluate them and see if they should be in the running for a fourth slot behind Joseph Addai, Donald Brown and Delone Carter.

Pat McAfee has said he expects to put roughly 80 percent of his kickoffs deep enough that they won’t be returned. Playing inside the Edward Jones Dome, does the Colts' kickoff coverage unit get any work? Or do we see the beginning of an era where not being good at it won’t matter nearly as much?