Colts look to recover from big loss, face Bengals

Don’t let the record fool you – preseason scores matter to Colts

coach Jim Caldwell.

Caldwell said he was embarassed by the 59-24 loss at Green Bay

last Thursday, saying the team should have too much pride to

perform so poorly. The franchise allowed its highest preseason

point total since surrendering 70 to the Los Angeles Rams in 1950,

when the Colts were still in Baltimore.

”It never sits well,” Caldwell, who has a 1-6 record in

preseason games, said. ”To think that we don’t pay attention to

the scoreboard – we do. We have some pride in how we play. That

just shows us we have a lot of work to do.”

Indy will try to improve in its preseason finale on Thursday

against the Cincinnati Bengals.

While the Green Bay debacle resonated throughout the past week,

reserve players will be focused simply on making the team. Caldwell

gave them extra incentive on Wednesday, reminding them that past

players such as Jeff Saturday, Aaron Moorehead, Dominic Rhodes,

Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt and Jamie Silva made the team based

on their performances late in the preseason.

”This morning, we went through a couple of scenarios and showed

a few film clips of guys that had gotten to the last couple games

of the preseason and made everyone stand up and take notice,” he

said. ”We kind of worked our way back through the years through

the archives.

”Often times, you can talk about it, but a picture’s worth a

thousand words.”

Reserves are expected to play most of the game. Caldwell

wouldn’t say how many positions are up for grabs, but he said

Thursday’s performances will be key factors in determining who

stays.

”Anytime you have an opportunity to take the field in this

league, it’s one that individuals have to relish and take advantage

of,” he said. ”I think there are a lot of men out there that are

going to be jockeying for position for jobs and opportunities. We

are assessing them and seeing where they fit in. It is very, very

important for them, this particular ballgame.”

The Colts would like to see a bit more offense from their

reserves. Indy has scored on 7 of 15 possessions this preseason

with Peyton Manning leading the way, but on just 3 of 26 without

him.

The Colts entered training camp looking for punt and kickoff

returners. Devin Moore, Sam Giguere and rookies Brandon James and

Ray Fisher have battled for the spots.

Moore has averaged 32.3 yards on four kickoff returns and 25.5

yards on two punt returns. James, a rookie from Florida, has

averaged 24.3 yards on 10 kickoff returns and 6.6 yards on five

punt returns. Giguere averaged 20.4 yards on five kick returns.

Fisher, a rookie from Indiana, has a 58-yard kickoff return.

The Colts haven’t named a front-runner for either job, but they

like what they’re getting overall. Indy is averaging 25.3 yards on

kick returns and 9.8 yards on punt returns in the preseason.

”I can tell you overall we have improved,” Caldwell said. ”I

think that’s quite evident, just in terms of return yardage and

things of that nature. The battle between the individuals that have

been doing those duties for us continues, and Thursday night will

be another night to assess and see where they are.”

The Colts also will try to figure out which new running backs to

keep. Caldwell has been pleased with Moore and Javarris James and

says both will get significant action against Cincinnati.

Moore has 52 yards on 10 carries, while James, cousin of former

Colts star running back Edgerrin James, has 53 yards on 15

carries.

Caldwell isn’t sure how many backs he’ll keep behind Joseph

Addai, Donald Brown and Mike Hart.

”A lot of that depends on what happens the next couple of days

or so,” he said. ”Those guys (Moore and James) have certainly

shown some spurts. They maybe have not been given the opportunity

to get an extended amount of work, but they certainly will tomorrow

night. That will be a part of the evaluation process. Both of them

are very capable.”