Preseason football is not high quality football, for the most part. Teams do not game plan for the preseason contests and there is unlikely to be more than a series of scripted plays, if that. That means even when the starting units are playing for a team they can at times look sloppy.
With that said though, it makes it much cheaper for the average joe to afford tickets.
Hence, my wife and I decided to attend Saturday's game and were able to score tickets for $35 each. NFL games cannot be attended for $35 each, especially in Chicago or at a perennial playoff team's stadium like Indianapolis.
So Ashley and I made the two-hour and 45 minute trip down the road to Indy to cheer on the beloved. We attended with her cousin and her cousin's boyfriend, both Colts fans.
While this post will be my game-only observations, I will include a couple venue observations.
1) If you're attending a game in Indianapolis, get there early and check out "Touchdown Town." I don't know if it's a preseason-only thing or not but a block in front of Lucas Oil Stadium and a nearby parking lot at blocked off for NFL Play 60 activities and a live band, among other attractions like a Colts merchandise booth and a couple food trucks. The big draw though is the $3 beer stands. Beats paying $6.50 or whatever it is inside the stadium!
Here is the wife and I outside of Touchdown Town:
2) Lucas Oil is a cool place to watch a game, we were up in the upper level nosebleeds but it was actually a really nice area because it almost felt like you were watching the All-22 film. I could key in on a player before the snap and watch how he reacted to the action and see all the other players and action around them as well. Click here for a panorama photo I took from our seats.
Now, onto the game:
Running back appears to be a position of depth and, perhaps, strength
Matt Forte doesn't play enough in the preseason to really get a great rhythm going, but there isn't a reason to believe he is going to take a huge step back this season. Behind him Jazquizz Rodgers actually looks like a solid No. 2, especially for a guy with a 3.7 yards per carry career average. Rodgers was hitting the hole well last night and carrying defenders with him. Behind him rookie Jeremy Langford showed the speed and elusiveness that made him a third round pick. The Bears actually appear to have some depth behind Forte and with the amount of running the team seems intent on doing, the position could be a strength for the team.
Pass defense might still be bad
The sample size is small but there should be a little concern about whether or not the Bears' 30th ranked passing defense from a year ago has improved a ton. Second year corner Kyle Fuller struggled covering T.Y. Hilton and, at times Andre Johnson as well. Tim Jennings didn't look particularly inspiring either. Again, a small sample size but it's tough to get confident when the same players from last season are returning and not looking better.
Wide receiver seems all right, but still needs to get healthy
I really thought that it would be noticeable to watch the team play with out Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White, but I was pleasantly surprised. Marquess Wilson looked the part before leaving with a hamstring tweak. Eddie Royal was solid despite having only one catch. Behind them I was satisfied with what I saw from Josh Bellamy, who should get credit for playing special teams and then majority of the game on offense. With the injuries Bellamy might stick and provided he makes a good impact on special teams, he might stay on for the whole season. Northwestern rookie Rashad Lawrence also looked good, showing some good moves and speed but he will still face an uphill battle to make the roster.
Front seven coming into their own
Pernell McPhee, Jared Allen, Eddie Goldman, Brandon Dunn and Lamarr Houston all looked good at times Saturday night. They were able to break through the Colts' starting offensive line to take down Andrew Luck. Ideally this trend will continue and if the defensive line and linebackers can carry it over into the regular season then perhaps it can mask a few of the deficiencies of the secondary.
What stuck out to you from Saturday?