PENDLETON, Ind. —
The preseason hasn’t been kind to the Indianapolis Colts recently.
Since 2005, the franchise has a woeful record of 5-25 in exhibition games.
There’s been a lot of talk about the dawning of a new era during the first two weeks of training camp at Anderson University, and today’s game against the St. Louis Rams offers the first chance to provide tangible evidence of change.
First-year head coach Chuck Pagano said winning will be the top priority, even though he plans to rest several veterans after the first series or two.
And the players apparently have bought in.
Outside linebacker Robert Mathis certainly didn’t sound like someone preparing for a game that doesn’t count.
“It’s not just a first preseason game,” he said. “It’s a first stepping-stone to what we’re trying to get accomplished, and that’s to go as far as we want to go. Hopefully, this Sunday we’ll take a step in the right direction.”
Of course, the final score today will matter little in the long-term future of this franchise. But, soon enough, success will solely be measured by the numbers flashing on the scoreboard.
In preparation for that day — Sept. 9 in Chicago — here’s a guide to five things to watch when the ball is kicked off at 1:30 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium:
1. Andrew Luck’s playing time
The plan appears to be to get the rookie quarterback in and out quickly today.
Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said earlier in the week he thought 20-25 plays would be enough, and he didn’t want to see Luck’s playing time spill over into the second quarter.
Pagano echoed those sentiments Friday, saying two or three series should be enough for a good’s day work for the No. 1 overall pick.
Luck, himself, has remained on the fence about the topic. Though he said he’d abide by whatever Arians and Pagano think best.
“They know a lot more about football than I do,” Luck said.