Bengals vs. Colts: Game Preview

colts bengals tbfWe have finally made it to the last preseason game of the 2015 NFL Season. This game means about as much as the winner of “So You Think You Can Dance”, meaning that no one cares and it doesn’t actually mean anything. The fourth game is for all those fighting for a roster spot and the Indianapolis Colts have quite a few players who are still fighting to stay on this team or make it for the first time. Obviously there are a few guys that are set in stone, but the questions of how many running backs or receivers will be carried on to the 53-man roster won’t be answered until after playing this one out. Here are some keys things to watch for this Thursday night when the boys in blue take on the Cincinnati Bengals.

Duron Carter:
Carter had a great start to the offseason, but when it comes to playing in games he has been lackluster. The Colts had hoped to see him playing like a newer version of his father, Hall of Famer Chris Carter, jumping over everyone and making spectacular catches. He hasn’t done that. I think we all got our hopes up because of his pedigree and now we are feeling let down even though he is technically a rookie. I don’t think the Colts will cut him or give another team the chance to snag him so I think he makes the roster. The question is: Will he be number 5 or 6 on the depth chart?

Vick Ballard:
I think the majority of us were hoping that Ballard would come out and start slamming the ball up the gut like he did his rookie season. If not that at least see improvement, but that hasn’t happened and I’m not sure it will. He has one more game to show that he is worth keeping around as rookies Josh Robinson and Tyler Varga have definitely made moves up the depth chart and into the minds of the Colts faithful. I personally don’t think it matters what Ballard does against the Bengals and expect him to get his walking papers with the hopes that he finds a soft landing spot.

Who wins the nose tackle battle?
The battle between Josh Chapman, David Parry, and Montori Hughes has been somewhat fun to watch. Chapman flashed last week the talent that everyone knew he had. It seems he blew up the center and smashed the running back in the backfield with ease. On the other hand, Parry has been doing that and also commanding double teams most of the preseason. Hughes hasn’t done enough for me to say he can start, but he should make the roster. He has the talent, but is a guy that is for giving breathers. Parry is the clear front runner for the starting spot unless Chapman plays the same way he did against the Rams. Depending on how this game shapes up, defensive coordinator Greg Manusky might give him the nod to begin the season as the starter, but I can see Parry push for more time and I feel could eventually take the job from Chapman. I think it’s a “Why wait?” scenario. If Parry is the future then let the future takes it’s course instead of holding it back.

There are a few other battles that need to be settled, but I feel the majority of his roster is set already. I’m not sure many of us will watch this game or just have it on the radio as background noise, but for those watching/listening, keep an eye on Carter, Ballard, Chapman, Parry, and Hughes the most.

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