Found August 30, 2013 on
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Andy Dalton felt good after his only pass was completed and his only drive ended in a touchdown.
The Colts? They just wanted to get off the field without getting hurt.
Cincinnati's 27-10 victory over Indianapolis in the final preseason game Thursday night sent both teams into their final days of roster cutting with a reason to feel good about how they stack up overall.
Five things we know about the Colts after the preseason:
1. THE 3-4 WORKS: Coach Chuck Pagano wanted the Colts' defense to start looking more like the Ravens. After two years of tinkering, the Colts finally appear to have it right. The Giants went 0 for 4 in red-zone possessions and settled for four field goals in Week 2, and Cleveland managed only two field goals and didn't even get into the red zone in Week 3.
2. STRONG SECONDARY: Indianapolis has bulked up in the secondary, and it's made a difference. Vontae Davis and Greg Toler played like a solid cornerback combination. With Pro Bowler safeties Antoine Bethea and LaRon Landry behind them, Indianapolis now has two of the league's better tacklers, too.
3. PATIENCE UP FRONT: Indianapolis signed two starting offensive linemen as free agents and drafted two more linemen. After four preseason games, the group is still a work in progress. Part of the problem has been injuries. It takes time for a line to jell, and the Colts will be watching to see if this group improves over time.
4. RUN, RUN, RUN: Indianapolis hired Pep Hamilton to install a power-running game. It had some problems in the preseason, but the Colts showed they're committed to the philosophy. Getting Ahmad Bradshaw back from injury should help. Indianapolis also should be helped by the expected return of tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener for the season opener. When they're at full strength, the Colts' ground game could look much more efficient.
5. GOOD LUCK: Andrew Luck has shown no signs of a sophomore slump. Rather, he heads into the season with more confidence and more at ease than he was a year ago when he produced one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history. The new offense may limit some of Luck's numbers, but at this point, Indy's franchise quarterback appears to be ahead of where he was in 2012.
Five things we know about the Bengals:
1. DALTON'S READY: Much of their focus is on developing a diversified passing game around their third-year quarterback. He completed 66 percent of his passes in the preseason, using every available receiver. He wanted to finish the preseason sharp and did so, completing his only pass for 18 yards to Mohamed Sanu while leading a touchdown drive on Thursday night.
2. JOHNSON CAN SCOOT: One of their few significant decisions at the end of camp involves the backup quarterback spot. Josh Johnson and John Skelton opened camp competing for Bruce Gradkowski's spot. Both struggled at the outset. Johnson missed some open, short passes. Skelton, who had never run a West Coast offense, was slower to pick it up. Johnson made the biggest impact with his ability to scramble. He ran twice on Thursday for 38 yards during a touchdown drive. Overall, he ran 12 times for 143 yards.
''It's an advantage that I have that I can bring to the game,'' Johnson said. ''I just wanted to be able to show these coaches and this organization everything I can do on the field.''
3. EIFERT CAUGHT ON FAST: Tight end Tyler Eifert, their first-round pick from Notre Dame, caught just about everything thrown his way during training camp. A wrist injury limited him at the end. But his ability to run routes and use his 6-foot-5, 250-pound frame to his advantage made an impression. Look for Dalton to find him often.
4. GIO HAS BIG THINGS AHEAD: Second-round pick Giovani Bernard is technically the second-string running back behind BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he's going to be on the field a lot. His ability to catch a short pass and make defenders miss brings a new element to an offense that's been overly dependent upon A.J. Green the last two seasons.
5. ONE PLAY CAN CHANGE A LOT: When Green bruised his left knee during the first day of training camp, practice stopped and everything looked like their worst nightmare had happened. As it turned out, Green was able to return for the third preseason game and looked fine. Although the Bengals have their deepest roster during coach Marvin Lewis' 11 seasons, Green is the one player who can take the offense to a different level.
AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts is no longer a rookie, one would think the pressure would subside. However, the pressure for Andrew Luck may never dissipate.
Replacing Peyton Manning and the legacy left behind, the Indianapolis Colts second year star still has his work cut out for him.
In fact, one could say expectations are even larger after the Colts miraculously made...
This is really sad news if you’re an avid viewer of “Hard Knocks” like myself. According to ESPN, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end DeQuin Evans has been suspended for eight games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. This was reported on @ESPNNFL Twitter account:
THIS JUST IN: NFL announces 8 game suspension of Bengals DE DeQuin Evans for violating...
Cincinnati Bengals defensive end DeQuin Evans has been suspended for the season's first eight games.
Evans violated the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances for a second time, the NFL announced Friday. Evans, 26, who served a four-game suspension in 2011, hasn't played yet in the regular season for Cincinnati.
He is eligible to return to the Bengals on Oct. 28...
There are a lot of experts picking the Cincinnati Bengals to take the AFC North this season. Is Dalton ready to take his team to the top of the division? He was perfect in his last preseason performance Thursday night, the team only let him throw one pass. Dalton looked a little shaky for most of the preseason. He didn’t look as sharp as he did in years past. He has a group of...
The Indianapolis Colts' inside linebacker Kavell Connor has been a staple on the team's defense for the past two seasons. In 2011 he started on the inside alongside Pat Angerer, and finished third on the team with 104 tackles. The emergence of rookie linebacker Jerrell Freeman last season threatened Connor's starting role on the team, but when Angerer went down with...
The Indianapolis Colts didn't play many starters, and they were easily beaten by the Cincinnati Bengals. It wasn't a good game for the Colts. I guess that's what happens when Andrew Luck and the key starters don't play. Matt Hasselbeck got the start for the game. He led them off pretty well but failed to get more than 3 on the board. His performance was decent...
Kyle Larson cannot get enough seat time behind the wheel of a race car.
And that's a good thing. The 21-year-old Earnhardt Ganassi racer -- who was officially introduced Friday as the driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet for 2014 -- will run for Sprint Cup points next year while continuing in the Nationwide Series with Turner Scott Motorsports.
Larson currently is eighth in...
When the Super Bowl and all that comes with it invaded Indianapolis two years ago we wondered exactly how the first-time host would fare in putting together one of this country's biggest events. In the end most of my media buddies and I believed that Indy built a wonderful week (with mild weather that was much warmer than it had been the February before while we were in Dallas...
Kent State is retiring NFL star linebacker James Harrison's jersey.
Harrison, a longtime star with Pittsburgh and now with Cincinnati, will be honored during the Golden Flashes' season opener Thursday night against Liberty. Harrison, who wore No. 16 in college, is the fifth Kent State player to have his jersey retired, joining Jim Corrigall, Hall of Famer Jack Lambert, Eric...
Kyle Larson was introduced as the new driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Friday afternoon at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Larson is competing in his first full season in the Nationwide Series and has impressed many during this season. At age 21 Larson has many accolades[...]
National Champion Mike Doss, that is all
We’ve seen the first few episodes of HBO’s Hard Knocks featuring the Cincinnati Bengals. So far we’ve seen a few girlfriends and wives hit the show. So far – rookie RB Giovanni Bernard’s girlfriend (seen above) is by far the hottest. It hasn’t been the best season in this way, but we’ll take what we get.
Below you can see the significant others of Taylor Mays, Andy...