2022 Colts Preseason: Five Takeaways From Game Two

August 22, 2022

The Colts are more than halfway through their preseason games and we shouldn’t put much stock in losing games at this stage. Although, it begs the question; what are the Colts learning?

By all observations, the Colts are saying and doing the right things. Matt Ryan has the team in a good spot with his leadership. Head Coach Frank Reich heaps heavy praise on players on both sides of the ball. Heck, even Chris Ballard oozes confidence when he speaks about the work the Colts are doing. So, why aren’t the Colts winning yet? Is it time to panic? The answer is absolutely not. It is not time to sound the alarms at all. Here are the biggest takeaways so far.

One – Sam Ehlinger’s Offseason Work is Evident For The Colts

Second-year QB Sam Ehlinger continues to light it up this pre-season. He looks poised in the pocket. He looks downfield. He’s patient and he’s confident. His footwork has improved. Ehlinger has spoken at length about how he’s worked on his mechanics and velocity this offseason. That work has translated to some great stats to build upon. This preseason, he’s completed 19-of-22 passes with 224 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also has five carries for 26 rushing yards. It remains to be seen if the Colts will carry three quarterbacks on the roster, but Ehlinger has made a great case for himself.

Two – The Colts Young Wide Receiver Core Is Making Waves

Chris Ballard has been preaching for several months about how he believes in the wide receiver core. This is evident as the team has yet to bring in a veteran Wide Receiver (not even fan-favorite T.Y Hilton). We’ve seen second-round pick Alec Pierce continue to build on his great camp with steady improvement in winning his one-on-one matchups and his release off the line.

Additionally, his teammates Dezmon Patmon and Mike Strachan are coming in hot. Patmon had himself a day on Saturday with five catches for 103 yards, including a 50-yard yard touchdown. Mike Strachan, who has been injured, added three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown as well. There is plenty to be excited about with this group. Time will tell if the group is as strong as the Colts staff implores.

Three – Although Shaky, The Colts Have Optimism At Left Tackle

Dating back to last season, the Left Tackle position has needed some love and major attention. The Eric Fisher experiment was not great, with Fisher allowing seven sacks. The Colts parted ways with Fisher and GM Chris Ballard handed the starting Left Tackle position to Matt Pryor. However, the Colts drafted Offensive Tackle Bernhard Raimann in the third round of the 2022 draft and have thrown him into the mix with Pryor. Neither player has wowed during their reps this preseason, but Raimann shows great promise and could potentially take over the starting spot. That bodes well for an otherwise solidified line.

Four – The Colts Defense Is Capitalizing On Opportunities

Shaquille Leonard has to be proud of his teammates. The defense has been a turnover machine through two games with a whopping six turnovers. Not to mention, the lights are coming on for rookie Safety Nick Cross and 2021 second-round pick, Defensive End Dayo Odeyingbo. Cross has made his presence felt in camp and in both preseason games, including a wonderful pass break-up in the end zone during the Detroit game. The lights are coming on for Dayo and it shows. Odeyingbo had three pressures and two sacks for the Colts. This adds to a great preseason resume that now includes ten pressures.

Five – The Colts Cannot Go Wrong with Either Kicker

This position battle has been covered in camp, but there hasn’t been a lot of coverage on the battle between Rodrigo “Hot Rod” Blankenship and Jason Verity. Coach Frank Reich spoke about how consistency at the kicker position is critical. Thus far for the Colts, Blankenship has steadily improved as the season has transpired, boding well from his injury woes last season. Verity did not look great in the Buffalo game, but rebounded very nicely in the Detroit game and made both of his opportunities.  Right now, it remains to be seen who wins the job, but if history is on the right side, put your stock in “Hot Rod”.