The Indianapolis Colts are getting set to take on the Chicago Bears in their third preseason game on Saturday night, and obviously, winning these exhibition contests is probably the furthest thing from their minds.
The Colts are obviously preoccupied with the status of Andrew Luck, whose Week 1 availability is still up in the air.
Indianapolis is looking to avoid falling to 0-3 in the preseason, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t mean all that much, especially if Luck isn’t able to get back to 100 percent sometime soon.
So, here are three burning questions for the Colts before their third preseason game.
3. Is the Pass Rush Going to Be Alright?
The Colts ranked just 19th in the NFL with 38 sacks this past season, and while that isn’t horrendous, it isn’t exactly what you want out of a Super Bowl hopeful, either.
Indianapolis added Justin Houston this offseason to try and bolster the pass rush, and so long as he is able to stay healthy, he should help, but veteran defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard is coming off of a knee procedure and could miss the beginning of the season.
For a Colts defense that is not great as a whole (it ranked 26th in the NFL in 2018), one thing it could really use is a consistent pass rush to mitigate the problems of the rest of the unit.
If Sheard doesn’t get back on the field sometime soon and if Houston doesn’t play a full season (something he hasn’t done since 2014), Indy may run into some problems here.
2. Is Jacoby Brissett Prepared to Lead the Colts?
We’ll get more on Luck in the next segment, but let’s assume Luck at least misses Week 1, which is looking more and more probable by the day: is Jacoby Brissett ready to take over?
It’s not like Brissett doesn’t have experience as a starter.
Remember: he stepped in for Luck in 2017, making 15 starts and throwing for 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 58.8 percent of his passes and posting a passer rating of 81.7. So, he posted mixed results.
Fortunately, Luck’s injury isn’t as serious this time around, so chances are, he will definitely be back at some point, but in the meantime, Brissett may be tasked with quarterbacking the Colts for at least one game.
For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, Indianapolis can’t afford many slip-ups over the course of the regular season, so Brissett, at the very least, needs to be sure to manage his start(s) well.
1. When Will Andrew Luck Return, and How Serious Are His Injuries?
Luck is dealing with not one, but two injuries this offseason, as he is nursing a pesky calf strain and is also fighting off a high-ankle sprain. The calf issue originally surfaced in April and reared its ugly head again in training camp, and the ankle problem seemed to sneak up on the signal-caller.
What we do know is that Luck is not 100 percent and that his status for the season opener is largely in question, with the general consensus being that Luck will end up missing Week 1.
So, just when will he return, and just how serious are these injuries?
Obviously, the calf thing must be something fairly serious, as it has been plaguing him since the spring. We also know that high-ankle sprains are nothing to mess around with.
Luck isn’t even practicing, so it doesn’t seem like he is close to coming back.
Let’s just hope this isn’t a repeat of 2017.